Saturday, 9 February 2008

Baba Amte: The Last Legend in a Nation of IT czars and growing billionaires

Baba Amte passed away in Anandvan (Maharashtra) at the age of 94.

A lawyer by profession, freedom fighter and a Gandhian, he had dedicated himself to the care and rehabilitation of the leprosy patients.

He was the voice of the voiceless. He fought for the tribals and undertook the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Gandhi called him 'Abhay Sadhak' (one who fearlessly sought the truth).

One of the greatest sons of India, Murlidhar Devidas 'Baba' Amte should have been the most natural choice for Bharat Ratna, which unfortunately got embroiled in a political controversy.

He fought against cate prejudices, communalism and raised his voice against social injustice. His sons, both doctors, are of course, carrying on the legacy and working for the poor and the unprivileged. Anandwan (Wardha) has school, college, printing press and cottage industries and lots more, all run by leprosy patients.

Baba is no more with us. And there is hardly anybody close to his stature in this nation of over a billion. We have hundreds of business barons, trade tycoons and IT czars but few who are ready to embark upon a similar journey. And that is the tragedy of modern India.

He famously said that compassion knows no religion, sect or ideology. Can we imbibe that alone?

Baba Amte [December 26, 1914-February 9, 2008]

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