26th Dec, 2018 – Google Doodle celebrates Baba Amte’s birthday with a slide show of his life and work . Murlidhar Devidas Amte, affectionately known as Baba Amte was an illumined sage with extraordinary insight. This social worker and activist dedicated his life in serving those in need, especially those suffering from leprosy.“Charity destroys, work builds” – became Baba’s life-long credo. Click To Tweet
Baba Amte was born on this day in the year of 1914 in Maharashtra. He belonged to a wealthy family and used to indulge himself in hunting wild animals, playing several sports and driving luxurious cars in relatively young age. He owed a successful law firm by his 20s. Though he was born in a wealthy and rich family he was always aware of the class inequality that prevails in Indian society. When this difference started to prick his conscience, Baba Amte left his practice in order to work alongside the underprivileged.
How ‘leprosy’ changed his way towards life
This iconic global figure and legendary personality changed completely when he came across a man affected with leprosy. It’s not only the aliment of that man that affected him but he was also shaken with the realization that the “normal” people is affected with a “mental leprosy” where he/she can’t feel kindness and compassion for people who are suffering. That is the cause that Baba Amte dedicated his life to fight the odds faced by people with leprosy and other disabilities.
The Forest of Bliss
Baba Amte’s greatest contribution is establishing Anandwan meaning “Forest of Bliss” that served as a self-sufficient village and rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients. When Baba Amte set up Anandwan the area was a rocky land and forested backyards of eastern Maharashtra. Baba himself, his wife, two sons aged 1 and 2, an army of people effected with leprosy and other social outcasts created fertile fields from barren rock land and forests and tilled it from scratch with half a dozen tools and their stumps of hand.
Anandwan village is now a home to some 3,000 inmates who are victims of social apartheid. It is a classic representation of the village of Gandhiji’s visions. Anandwan has also served as social laboratory for experimenting with Baba Amte’s social and economic philosophies. As a result, these experiments have yielded some of the most daring social and ecological programs in India.
As a strong believer in national unity, Baba Amte launched the first knit India March in 1985. At the age of 72, he walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, a distance of more than 3,000 miles with a simple purpose to inspire unity in India. He organized a second march three years later, travelling over 1800 miles from Assam to Gujarat.
The world’s homage to Baba
The nation recognized Baba’s relentless work and awarded him with Padma Shri in 1971. Baba Amte also won the 1988 United Nation’s Prize in the field of Human Rights, and the 1999 Gandhi Peace Prize. His legacy is being successfully carried out by his two sons Vikas and Prakash Amte. Baba’s elder son Vikash says it correctly,” Baba Amte is a process. One death won’t breach that. He has already given a direction, reason, logic and purpose.”