Baba Amte tends a respectful patient: A superman among social workersThere is no one quite like him. He has given a lifetim
Starting out alone, he has undertaken path-breaking work among the extremely backward Madia-Gond tribals of central India: he has established non-formal schools, hospitals and rudimentary agricultural training facilities to help shield them from the cultural shock caused by the onslaught of civilisation. If the achievements are out of the ordinary, so too is the man behind them.
Murlidhar Devidas Amte, 67, superman among social workers and rural developer extraordinaire, shuns the dogma of religion, refuses to join any political platform, and teaches his leprosy patients to spurn welfare aid: he wants them to produce enough to satisfy all their wants.
No known stereotyped mould can quite suit Amte. While he wears khadi, the hallmark of all social reformers, his reasons are not nationalistic. The khadi, along with slippers made from discarded truck tyres, is a part of his attempt to form an entirely independent community, one which does not rely on the outside world for any of its needs besides sugar and salt.
He dresses, not in the customary dhoti or kurta-pyjama but in a kachha (shorts) and vest. He sports long sideburns, probably a hangover from his student days when, the son of a rich jagirdar, he used to drive to law college in a Singer sports car with leopard skin upholstery.
Personal Supervision: He does not drink or eat meat, but does not object if his sons choose to do so, and has an intense admiration for the hard-drinking, fun-loving, free-sex culture of the Madia-Gonds. He lives with his wife, in a simple cottage at the leprosarium, but boasts about the five-star comforts on his projects, refusing to subject either himself or his men to any unnecessary hardships. And yet, when the need arises, Amte will undertake the bone-rattling journey to his farthest projects without a thought for the weakened spine which has made him, technically at least, a bedridden person.
Today Amte, or Baba as he is popularly called, continues to personally oversee and supervise the sprawling projects started 30 years ago by his Maharogi Sewa Samiti. A programme which started as a small leprosy relief camp with six patients, now has projects spread across Chandrapur, Maharashtra's largest district (25,641 sq km).
Anandwan, which borders Warora, a small town 120 km from Nagpur, has today grown into a 450-acre complex. It encompasses 300 acres of lush farmland, residential accommodation for 1,400 leprosy patients, schools for the blind and handicapped, a 1,300-student college of arts, sciences and commerce, and an agricultural college for 500 students.
Massive Programme: A hundred kilometres from Anandwan, in opposite directions, lie two other projects, Ashokwan and Somnath. The Ashokwan farm, run by 100 cured-or negative-lepers, is a model seed farm which produces agricultural seeds for the state-run seed agency, earning enough to partially subsidise the treatment at Anandwan.
Somnath, on the edge of a reserve forest, was a barren parcel of rock-strewn land 15 years ago. Today 450 negative leprosy patients in six communes have reclaimed 600 of the 1,300 acres of land, and every year another 100 acres are brought under the plough. The 25 family communes are not only independent in their needs but also manage to produce such large surpluses that they support the non-earning projects and hospitals.
Farthest away, at the end of a gruelling 10-hour bus drive from Anandwan, is the Lok Biradari Prakalpa at Hemalkasa, a complex consisting of a general hospital, a 140-student non-formal school and five satellite training centres set in a radius of 30 kilometres.
These aim to teach agricultural methods by demonstration, distribute improved seed varieties to the tribals, and perform the role of primary health centres under the umbrella of the general hospital. With the natural food sources of the Madia-Gonds destroyed following the exploitation of forests by government contractors and paper mills, Amte is determined to help them develop an agricultural economy to prevent large-scale migration to the cities.
Explained Amte: "I had decided, long ago, that I would never turn away any person who came to Anandwan, no matter how crowded we got. And today you can see that we have managed to provide for everybody."
The general hospital at Hemalkasa, run by Amte's younger son. Prakash and his wife, Mandakini both doctors -has treated over 100,000 Madia-Gonds in the seven years since it was set up.
Moreover, complex surgical operations are performed in an area which has no electricity or running water, no telephones, and is cut off from the world for six months every year by the monsoons. The Samiti's projects, between them, produce enough grain and foodstuffs to be virtually independent, though government grants are received for the educational institutions and a portion of the leprosy treatment.
Last year Amte's projects produced 47 tonnes of foodgrains, 55,000 litres of milk, over three tonnes of vegetables and 13,000 eggs. Government grants paid for only 30 per cent of the Rs 50 lakh budget.
Eighty per cent of the grant is used to run the university-affiliated Anand Niketan College of Arts, Science and Commerce and the Anand Niketan Agricultural College. Private donations account for another 6 per cent of the budget, and a medical research grant from Oxfam, a British social welfare group, provided another 4 per cent.
The rest came from production by the patients themselves, something which makes this programme stand out from other social welfare efforts. Explained Amte: "My basic concept is that charity destroys and only work builds a person. These outcast people needed a chance, not charity, and you can see the tremendous use they have made of the opportunity given to them."
Rs 14 in cash, a lame cow and 25 acres of forest land in a stone quarrying area, Amte's fantastic dream was gradually converted into reality through sheer perseverance and an incredible faith in himself.
With only the lepers, his wife and himself to do all the work from forest reclamation to leprosy treatment, it was a battle for survival at first. But soon, the first well was dug, and a year later a pair of ageing bullocks was donated to them. At the end of three years they were self-sufficient, apart from sugar, oil and salt. By then, the numbers had grown: there were 60 patients and six wells.
Anandwan thrived and grew through the '50s and early '60s and the Government donated more land to the Samiti. Trees were felled, rocks uprooted, and lush green fields, which produced three times the local crop yields, appeared.
"But I was determined that Anandwan should be as much like a normal community as possible," says Amte proudly, "and, like any good community, should make a contribution to the outside world."
In 1962, at the time of the Chinese aggression, the lepers staged a drama for local villagers, and raised Rs 2,000 for the National Relief Fund. Two years later, they decided to build a college for the town of Warora. Everything, from brick laying and construction to furniture-making and electricity installation, was done by Anandwan's residents, and most of the Rs 2.5 lakh spent on it came from the farm produce. Says Amte: "The beneficiaries had become the benefactors."
New Targets: By the mid-'60s Anandwan had become a bustling community with cooperative farms, communes and a school for the blind. A workshop for the handicapped included printing presses, a tin can project, carpentry, metal works and a hand-spinning and weaving unit. Ashokwan, too, was a fully-developed cooperative farm and Amte was ready to reach for broader horizons.
He developed a plan for a "workers' university", which would educate students in everything from science and technology to agriculture, personal hygiene and lifestyle. Every student would be given two acres of land to cultivate and experiment with, and would be entitled to the yield from his land, after paying for his board.
"A true teacher is one who lets you hatch your own eggs," he explains. "And with this concept both learning and extension education would be at the same spot. The incentive to study exists because he carries away the produce of his farm, not just a paper degree."
With the blessings of the Planning Commission, Amte was given 2,000 acres of barren forest land in 1966, and Somnath came into being. In the following year, student volunteers from all over India came to help develop it, and 25 acres were brought under the plough. But local politicians had mobilised the population against the project, and claiming the the land rightfully belonged to them, they started a struggle to oust Amte and his men.
Sarvodaya leader Vinoba Bhave was called to arbitrate, and he asked Amte to relinquish 700 acres of land, along with all rights to the natural irrigation from streams and springs. Without irrigation, Amte's dream was shattered, but he proceeded to build a model farm on the land that remained.
The Somnath farm produces yields which are five times higher than those of local farms. An extension campus of the Punjabrao Krishi Vidyapeeth, which borders it, is barren and dry by comparison. Says Amte of the Somnath success: "We have no secretary, no executives, no graduate agronomists to help us make a profit. Why then are the Government farms, which have all these, losing money?"
While the earnings of Somnath and Amte's other projects are used to subsidise non-earning units, every person on the communes is allowed to earn a small sum. Kitchen gardens, fruit trees, and small herds of goats and sheep are maintained by community members and the produce from these is treated as a personal income.
Over 600 patients in Anandwan, and several more in the outlying projects, maintain post office savings accounts and regularly despatch money to their relatives. Cackles Amte gleefully: "These men who were cast out of their homes now send back money. And when they go home for a holiday they are received like kings." Deoman, whose disease was arrested so late that his hands and feet were reduced to stumps, runs Anandwan's dairy and flour mill, since "his administrative abilities are still first class".
Babu Shiwde, a tailor who became incapable of using a sewing machine, has nevertheless trained 25 men to stitch all the clothes for the residents. Says Shiwde proudly: "My hands may be useless but I do more important work here than I did as a tailor in the outside world, and I am respected for it."
Stressing Culture: In 1973, Amte embarked on yet another ambitious programme: the education and uplift of central India's Madia-Gonds. who were just emerging from the stone age. Building a small thatched hut in the heart of Madia territory in Hemalkasa, he spent a year among the tribals he had first seen when he ran away from home at the age of 14. The next year his son and daughter-in-law, both of whom had recently qualified from Nagpur Medical College, took over from him. They treated the diseased, dispensed medicine, and started a small demonstration farm on the land around the hut.
Cut off from Anandwan and the world for half the year by floods, they nevertheless managed to build, among other things, a general hospital which treats 2,500 Madias a month. The school and satellite centres are manned by lepers and Madias. Amte's latest project at Hemalkasa is a residential school for tribals which will house 140 boys and girls. "My aim is to offer them an education that will make them proud of their culture," he says. "You can't impose your textbooks and modern educational techniques on them. These people should grow up proud of their grandfather's culture, not shunning it."
But the constant physical work, coupled with crippling jeep rides between Anandwan, Somnath and Hemalkasa, finally began to take their toll on Amte's health. By 1971 two of his vertebrae had to be replaced by animal bone after he developed cervical spondylitis from the jarring drives over dirt tracks and untarred roads.
Seven years later five of his lower vertebrae had given way, and had to be partially removed in a complex spinal operation. Amte has since been unable to sit up for any length of time, and can only stand or lie down.
And it is his work that has earned him the undying loyalty of the outcast and mutilated "human ruins" whom he has helped to regain confidence and self-respect. In the colonies he has meticulously built, Amte is revered and respected, though he makes it clear that he will not allow a gulf to develop between his patients and himself.
At Anandwan, former patients stroll into the small cottage he shares with his wife, Sadhanatai, squat on his bed, and discuss problems of administration. Although accused by many of being an autocrat and of running his projects dictatorially, Amte displays a sense of fellowship and equality with the inmates that is nothing short of remarkable.
On arriving at any project he is invariably greeted by a crowd of residents. Unfailingly, he goes round the group, meeting each person, asking after his health, the progress of his assigned work, and any problems that he may have.
Government Indifference: There have been, however, sounds of disapproval from World Health Organisation (WHO) officials who question the validity of segregating and colonising leprosy patients in an age when the disease is wholly curable and no different, in principle, from other communicable diseases like tuberculosis and cholera.
Says Dr K..K. Koticha, director of the Acworth Leprosy Hospital in Bombay: "Amte's admirable work can never be questioned, but today it is increasingly felt that the concept of segregation only perpetuates the myths and misconceptions about leprosy. It would be ideal if every patient is kept in his own social and economic environment and given regular treatment like for every other disease."
In the outside world Amte's efforts have not gone unnoticed, though he maintains such a low profile that the national press has taken little notice of his efforts. Dr M.S. Swaminathan, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, has repeatedly lauded his role in the country's development, but little has been done about using his agro-economic models on a larger scale.
His projects have been visited, the models studied and praised, but governmental follow-up on these visits remains pathetically slow. "There are too many paper pregnancies in India," said Amte bitterly.
Mahatma Gandhi once called him the "abhaya sadhak", or fearless seeker, but there is little trace on the records of either his search or its findings. Finally, in 1971, he was awarded the Padma Shri after which the Government, feeling its duty was done, buried his name somewhere in the files of the Health or Agriculture ministries.
But a string of private trusts took over where the Government left off, and Amte was awarded the FIE Foundation Rs 1 lakh award in 1978, the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 1979, and last year the Nagpur University made him an honorary Doctor of Letters.
Foreign Recognition: Characteristically, Amte and his work have been far better received abroad than in his own country. Lady Barbara Ward Jackson, an economist who specialises in Third World problems, recommended his name for the Nobel Prize. In a letter to Mrs Gandhi, Jackson called him "a most remarkable Indian" and a "saint". Given the Rs 1 lakh Nehru Award for her contribution to development earlier this year, she donated the entire sum to Amte.
His name came up for the International Monetary Fund's Paul Hoffman Award for Innovative Development, but again, with no governmental backing, he was dropped from the lists. Belatedly, the Films Division is now planning a documentary on his work.
Amte, notwithstanding his claim that he abhors personal publicity, has been lionised through the printed word in the West. The Unbeaten Track, a book by Count Arthur Tarnovski about men involved in path-breaking work around the world, and Turner's More Than Conquerors contain glowing eulogies on the man and his achievements.
But Amte is probably best summed up in the words of Robert Hart, the author of a treatise on forest farming: "Baba Amte must be one of the most remarkable men in the world, and his achievements are far more significant than those of any political leader today."
Do you need Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research with with essay, research paper, homework or even dissertation?
Visit our website – https://goo.gl/HKbmHS (assignmenthelp24.com)
plank junior high student missing assignment
fiu honors application essay
how to create resume cover letter
transportation in the year Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research 2050 essay help
email cover letter sample monster
insist on yourself never imitate essay definition
machu picchu informative essay conclusion
homework folder system in kindergarten
genes determine intelligence essay
ford motor company essay
facile explication essay
essay on maths phobia causes and remedies in 1200 words
essay essential grammar reading writing
help grade my essay
walter dean myers slam essay outline
animals should not be used in medical research essay
essay on my great grandfather and i
peter cloos dissertation
college golf resume cover letter
jean baptiste grenouille analysis essay
ap human geography demographic transition essay words
human resources topics for research paper
racism in the 1930s essay topics
sid nid mcc mnc assignment
london essay writer software
college scholarships no essay
ben e axler scholarship essays
a real homework machine poem
essays in jurisprudence and philosophy hart
sample essay argumentative writing activities
metropolitan museum of art case study
national festivals of india essay wikipedia free
afgji winter holiday homework packet
garmin jeevan essay writing
mcs 044 solved assignment ignou
susan sontag essays online
the world has become a smaller place essay
buying essays online uk nationwide
essay on divorce and remarriage
articles why homework should be banned in school
sigmund freud the uncanny bibliography examples
masla e kashmir essay in urdu
college essay life changing moment definition
how to write and reference an essay
a life changing story essay examples
discipline problems among students essay
cooperation and competition essay
ib extended essay forms
my favourite social reformer baba amte essay scholarships
j’essaye d’oublier sniper youtube banner
essay about ib program requirements
putting a title of a book in an essay
essay critique free
khan academy english essay writing
the homework in spanish
class in america 2009 gregory mantsios essay format
homeworks tri-county electric portland mi
our environment and pollution essay
essay about nick vujicic married
human trafficking essay in malaysia kuala
sorry is the hardest word to say essay
nancy ma irs essay
negations essays in critical theory pdf to excel
essay writing topics for ielts
ca bar essay grading
informational social influence example psychology personal statement
richard branson entrepreneur essay
reflective essay on night by elie wiesel
goodbye to all that didion essay txt
mes indian school holiday assignment 2013 nba
leibniz new essays on human understanding pdf
an essay on the fair and equal treatment of all persons in namibia
biography Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research bibliography difference between iphone
middle school research paper assignment description
writing the conclusion for an essay
essay about emilio aguinaldo picture
phd dissertation philosophy length of small
pen vs sword essay writer
writing a good thesis statement powerpoint 5th
critical thinking company editor in chief reviews
writing essay on Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research compare and contrast topics
trying new things essays
hui pun hing scholarship essays
letter of intent for internship application essay
help me write my english essay font
english continuous writing spm essay
good essays example
small steps book trailer assignment
what motivates you at work essay examples
dharm ki aad essay definition
cukstaw apa annotated bibliography
spain culture topics for essays
short essay on my best teacher
do not hesitate cover letter
essay on the war powers Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research act
chapter 1 research paper introduction apa
sat essay example
spazio academia essay
super hero figures for a college essay
the homework machine book trailer rubric
what can i do to protect the environment essay
essay for civil services exam prep
public school vs private school compare and contrast essay conclusion
great leaders in history essay
oxford gcse maths higher homework answers
coursework questions othello
how do i write essays on mac
personal statement research plants
hardy weinberg worksheet ap biology essays
small town descriptive essay about a place
essays in sanskrit script wikipedia
bshf 101 solved assignment 2009 toyota
homework stahp meme Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research face
virginia plan vs new jersey plan compare contrast essays
triazacyclononane synthesis essay
genuinity certificate from ignou assignments
law firm cover letter associate professor
distracting driving essay topics
book titles in essays turabian style
writing a website bibliography
advantages disadvantages using public transport essay help
dr essay article generator reviews
how to write a research paper outline chicago style
digital india essay in marathi language
buy research papers online
explain essay test
a journey by plane essay
fax cover letter number of pages
history of urban planning theory assignment
montaigne essays frame translation
book cite in essay mla
pete bley on assignment healthcare staffing
debt of bones terry goodkind analysis essay
oathall community college homework format
essay for environmental awareness pictures
ap government and politics essay topics
revision notes for geography gcse coursework
brave new world and shakespeare essay
hypospadia classification essay
clerkship cover letter tips 2016
reflective essay on project management
homework tracker for kids
cola wars continue case study analysis apa
madhurvani essay topics
product management case study pdf format
cigarettes should be more expensive essay
sports concussion essay
dissertation scope of study
smith essays on deleuze difference