MurlidharDevidasAmte or Baba Amte isn’t just any other name remembered for being a saints or priests. But a name that would echo for many more years to come.
Born on December 26, 1914 in a family of Brahmans, little Amte regardless of his parents disapproval ate and played with servants kids and lower caste children. He came to be known as Baba not because “he was a saint but because his parents addressed him by that name.”
Baba Amte was trained I law and he practiced this at Wardha and was soon also involved in various national movements across the nation against the British. He also spent some time at Sevagram ashram of Mahatma Gandhi and was soon a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
Recipient of many awards like Padma Sri in 1971, Padma Vibhushan in 1986, Gandhi Peace Prize in 1999 and more. Amte to shun all the misbelief about leprosy, he volunteered to be a patient in the experiment where he allowed bacilli from a leprosy patient to be injected in himself.
Soon after this he founded three ashrams and treatment centres for the patients. And somewhere in August 1949, he started a hospital in Anandvan under a tree that became a major revolution in terms for leprosy patients and Amte’s relentless crusade. Baba Amte breathed his last on 9th February 2008; but his work didn’t stop there even after his death his two sons- Dr Prakash and VikasAmte and his two daughters in law- Dr.Mandakini and Dr.Bharati have all dedicated their lives to cause of leprosy and other causes.
Not only has he given life to leprosy patients but also for other causes like deforestation, plastic recycling, and illiteracy-where he also built a project/school for rural school dropouts and illiterate youth.
Q1. Do you have a personal mission statement?
Ans: Presently it would be to get a good sleep (Laughs). No on a serious note it would be to grow a person and develop myself to my full potential. And maybe someday who knows when but some day be remembered like Baba Amte.
Q2. What is the biggest frustration you think the youth is facing right now?
Ans: I think as a journalism student when I look at today’s youth including myself; I would we are one confused generation and that’s the biggest frustration the youth is facing right now. When we decide to do something our parents shun us down; forcing us to live a life where we aren’t happy.
Q3. What do you think gives today’s youth a meaning?
Ans: The hopes to see a better world. The hopes to live a better India. The India where there aren’t any wars on petty issues like religion.
Q4. How do you keep a sense of perspective when life gets difficult?
Ans: I think the fact that life keeps moving on no matter what and that even my worst days would have only 24 hours keeps me moving ahead. Not just that but I do believe that no one is perfect; everyone has flaws and these flaws is what makes us who we are and in order to become a better version of ourselves it’s important that one makes mistake and conquers it successfully.
Q5. How has the story inspired you?
Ans: There was a time when even I was among the people who had the misconception that leprosy can be contagious but as we go through it’s not. Baba Amte truly is martyr in the lives of these people because it’s because of him people like me are inspired to take up this cause and fight for it.
Written by: Aakruti R Desai | Intern at Web Interactive Films.
AAkruti is Konkani by birth, Manipalite by choice and proud to be one. Studying Journalism with specialization in PR and Filmmaking at Manipal University. Acting runs in blood and can talk hours in row about books and films.