Social worker baba amte essay

Social worker baba amte essay

Born — 26 December 1914
Achievements — Baba Amte is one of the greatest social reformers India’s ever had. He gave his lucrative career as barrister for social service. He was so great a person that he dedicated his entire life to the care and rehabilitation of leprosy patients. Often Baba Amte allowed his body to be used for carrying out experiments to grow leprosy germs.

Hailing from a well-to-do family of Jagirdars and born on 26 December in 1914 at Hinganghat in the Wardha district of the Maharashtra state, Murlidhar Devidas Amte is one of the most remembered Indian social reformers. Even though he was trained as a barrister and was operating a successful practice at Warora, yet he gave it all up to dedicate himself totally into social service when he noticed the poverty all around him. He was lovingly called Baba Amte.

Infact, the life history of Murlidhar Devidas Amte is full of touching incidents. He was so great a person that he dedicated his entire life to the care and rehabilitation of leprosy patients. Often Baba Amte allowed his body to be used for carrying out experiments to grow leprosy germs. His social project at Anandwan adjacent to Nagpur in the Indian state of Maharashtra is world renowned because it has done a lot to dismiss injustices against leprosy patients.

Read on more about the biography of Murlidhar Devidas Amte or Baba Amte. In the year 1985, Baba Amte started the Bharat Jodo or the Unite India movement beginning from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and then again from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh in the year 1988. The main objective was to reinstate peace and whip up environmental awareness. In the year 1990, Baba left Anandwan to reside alongside river Narmada with the objective to fight against social injustice to local inhabitants there.

Baba Amte was honored with numerous national and international awards for his selfless service to the society his entire life. The Government of India presented him with the Padma Shree Award in the year 1971 and then the Padma Vibhushan in the year 1986. The Welfare of the Disabled award was presented to him in the year 1986 and Gandhi Peace Prize in 1999. Among the host of international awards Baba Amte got were Damien-Dutton Award in 1983, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1985 and so on.

Date of Birth: December 26, 1914

Place of Birth: Hinganghat, Wardha, Maharashtra

Parents: Devidas Amte (Father) and Laxmibai (Mother)

Spouse: Sadhana Guleshastri

Children: Dr. Prakash Amte and Dr. Vikas Amte

Education: Wardha Law College

Movement: Indian Freedom Movement, Anandwan, Bharat Jodo, Lok Biradri Prakalp, Narmada Bachao Andolan

Religious Views: Hinduism

Died: February 9, 2008

Place of death: Anandwan, Maharashtra

Murlidhar Devidas Amte, better known as Baba Amte was an Indian social worker and activist who worked for the empowerment of poor suffering from leprosy. From a child born with a silver spoon, Baba Amte dedicated his life to serve the downtrodden people of the society. He was influenced by the words and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and left his successful law practice to join India’s struggle for independence. Baba Amte dedicated his life to serving humanity and he moved forward with the motto “Work Builds; Charity Destroys”. Baba Amte formed Anandwan (Forest of Joy), to serve the people suffering from leprosy. He was also associated with other raging social and environmental issues like the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). For his humanitarian work, he received a number of prestigious awards including the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1985.

Early Life and Education

Muralidhar Devidas Amte, popularly known as Baba Amte, was born on December 26, 1914 in Hinganghat, Wardha district in Maharashtra. He was the eldest son of Devidas and Laxmibai Amte. His father Devidas was a powerful bureaucrat with the pre-independence British administration and a wealthy landowner in the Wardha district. Being the first child of an affluent family, Muralidhar was born amidst much affection and was never denied a single thing by his parents since childhood. His parents lovingly called him ‘Baba’ and the name stuck with him. At a very young age, Baba Amte owned a gun and used to hunt wild boar and deer. Later, he went on to own an expensive sports car, cushioned with panther skin. Amte studied law and earned his LLB degree from Law College in Wardha. He set up a law practice in his native town which soon became successful.

In 1946, Baba Amte married Sadhana Guleshastri. She was also a believer of humanity and always supported Baba Amte in his social work. She was popularly known as Sadhnatai. ‘Tai’ in Marathi language means «elder sister». The couple had two sons, Prakash and Vikas, both of whom were doctors and followed in their father’s footsteps of keeping up with his altruistic vision of helping the poor.

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Influence of Gandhi

Baba Amte is hailed as the last of the true followers of Gandhi’s philosophy. He not only internalised the philosophies directed by the Mahatma, but also embraced the Gandhian way of life. He inherited the Mahatma’s spirit of standing up for injustice in society and serving the downtrodden classes. Like Gandhi, Baba Amte was a trained lawyer who initially sought a career in law. Later, just like Gandhi, he was moved by the plight of the poor and ignored people of his country and dedicated his life to their betterment. In search of his true calling, Baba Amte relinquished his ceremonial dress and started working with the rag-pickers and sweepers for some time in Chandrapura district. When Gandhi came to know about Amte’s fearless protests against some Englishmen disrespecting women, he gave Amte the title ‘Abhay Sadhak’. He later focussed his attention towards serving patients suffering with leprosy and spent most of his life aiming to provide better treatment facilities as well as social awareness towards the disease. В

Role in Indian Independence Movement

Baba Amte was initiated into the Indian Freedom Movement following his mentor Mahatma Gandhi’s example. He participated in almost all major movements led by Mahatma Gandhi and organised lawyers to take up defence of the jailed leaders all over India during the Quit India Movement.

Social Activism

Baba Amte, often referred to as the last follower of Mahatma Gandhi, lived and worked following his mentor’s life. He led a Spartan life, wearing only Khadi clothes woven in his rehabilitation centre at Anandwan, ate the fruit and vegetables grown in the farms there, and worked towards Gandhi’s vision of India, alleviating the sufferings of thousands. В

Working for Leprosy Patients

Baba Amte was moved by the plight and social injustice that leprosy patients faced in Indian society. Suffering from a dreadful disease, they were discriminated against and driven out of the society, which often lead to death due to lack of treatment. Baba Amte set out to work against this belief and create awareness for the disease to banish misconceptions. After pursuing a leprosy orientation course at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, Baba Amte started out on his mission along with his wife, two sons and 6 leprosy patients. He set up 11 weekly clinics and founded 3 ashrams for the treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients and people disabled due to the disease. He worked tirelessly to relive patients from pain, with himself attending to them in the clinics. To bust several myths and misconceptions about leprosy being highly contagious he injected himself with the bacilli from a patient. He vociferously spoke against marginalisation of the patients and their treatment as social outcasts. In 1949, he started working towards building the Anandwan, an ashram dedicated towards helping leprosy patients. From under a tree in 1949, to a 250 acre campus in 1951, the Anandwan ashram now houses two hospitals, a university, an orphanage and even a school for the blind.

Today Anandwan has evolved into something rather special. It not only includes patients suffering from leprosy, or disabled thereof, it supports people with other physical disabilities as well as several environmental refugees. Being the largest community of differently-abled people in the world, Anandwan strives to instil a sense of dignity and pride among its inhabitants by building up their self-worth. As a community, the inhabitants work towards maintaining a self-sustainable system, by cultivation and crafts providing the necessary economical backbone.

Lok Biradri Prakalp

In 1973, the Lok Biradri Prakalp, or the Brotherhood of People project was initiated by Baba Amte to induce development among the Madia Gond tribe of Bhamragad taluk in Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra, India. The project involved building of a hospital for the indigenous tribes in the area to provide them with basic healthcare. They also built a school with hostel facility for children to provide education and a centre, teaching livelihood skills and training to the adults. There is also a special project, the animal orphanage, which takes in and cares for the young animals orphaned by the hunting activities of the local tribes. It has been named as Amte’s Animal Park. В

Bharat Jodo March

Baba Amte launched the nationwide Bharat Joro Andolan in December 1985 and took up the Bharat Jodo Yatra across India. His goal was to spread a message of peace and unity, unifying the country against communal violence raging across the length and breadth. Amte, along with 116 of his young followers, embarked on a 5,042 km journey starting at Kanyakumari and ending in Kashmir. The march inspired much enthusiasm, re-infusing the countrymen with a sense of oneness.

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)

In 1990, Baba Amte left Anandvan to join Medha Patkar’s Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement). While leaving Anandvan Baba said, «I am leaving to live along the Narmada. Narmada will linger on the lips of the nation as a symbol of all struggles against social injustice.» In place of the dams, the Narmada Bachao Andolan demanded for an energy and water strategy based on improving dry farming technology, watershed development, small dams, lift schemes for irrigation and drinking water, and improved efficiency and utilization of existing dams.

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Baba Amte on Youth

Baba wanted the youth to enlighten themselves with knowledge so that they can understand the meaning and importance of India’s freedom. Baba had once said, «We must try to understand this power contained in the roots of trees. Only when you will understand this phenomenon, will you find the courage to embrace adventure and perform what needs to be done. Those who want to bring about creative revolution must fully understand this root phenomenon.»

Death of Baba Amte

In 2007, Baba Amte was diagnosed with leukemia. After suffering for more than a year, Amte left his mortal body on 9 February, 2008 at Anandwan. Many renowned people from across the world offered their condolence at the death of the great soul. The body of Baba Amte was buried and not cremated.


Baba Amte’s relentless work for the neediest of his countrymen was acknowledged worldwide in the form of prestigious awards and aides, both national and international. He was awarded the Padma Shree in 1971 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1986. He was a proud recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 1979 for his work with leprosy patients and Welfare of the disabled award in 1986 for his endevours in Anandwan. He won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1985 for his humanitarian activism and the Templeton Prize in 1990. Both these international awards brought him worldwide acclaim. He was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2000 along with 10 million rupees cash reward which he directed towards his projects.


His humanitarian projects have been carried forward by his sons, Dr. Vikash Amte and Dr. Prakash Amte. Dr. Vikas is the chief functionary at Anandwan while Dr. Prakash is associated with the proceedings of the Lok Biradri projects in Hemalkasa.

Amte, the great social reformer

MUMBAI: ‘Charity Destroys, Work Builds’ was the mantra of the last of India’s great social activists, Baba Amte, revered as a saint in his lifetime and as a god by the thousands of lepers he cared for.

Innumerable awards, including Padma Vibhushan and the Magsaysay Award came the way of 94-year-old Murlidhar Devidas alias Baba Amte, who once allowed bacilli from a leprosy patient to be injected into him for further tests, justifying the title ‘abhaysadhak’ given to him by Mahatma Gandhi.

Born on December 26, 1914 in Wardha district of Maharashtra, Amte trained as a lawyer and participated in the freedom struggle against the British Empire. He spent time at Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Sevagram and was also influenced by Vinoba Bhave, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sane Guruji.

Amte’s life was a story of one man’s colourful odyssey to conquer his own fears and expand the notion of justice and peace through innovative experiments. His most famous experiment was the Anandwan, literally meaning, the Forest of Joy, where he breathed his last on Saturday after battling cancer.

Amte’s admirers included the Dalai Lama who described his work as ‘practical compassion, real transformation and the proper way to develop India.’

Baba Amte will also be remembered for his many peace and justice marches across India, his solidarity with the aborigine tribes, and his opposition to big dams like the Sardar Sarovar project on Narmada river.

Amte was awarded the UN Human Rights Prize, the Magsaysay award, the Templeton Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and several other humanitarian and environmental prizes.

Right from his childhood days, Amte rebelled against the prevailing injustice and discrimination in the society on the basis of birth, caste and creed.

After completing his education in Law successfully, he decided to disown his paternal property and pursue emancipation of leprosy patients single-mindedly.

Amte, who did a leprosy orientation course at Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, started the Anandvan commune for leprosy patients, with his wife Sadhana, two sons and six leprosy patients.

Anandvan soon became the nerve centre of Amte’s relentless crusade, helping leprosy patients become self-confident persons capable of cooperative and creative leadership.

With a view to bring about national integration and check communal violence, Baba Amte took up the

Bharat Jodo Yatr

A in December, 1985 from Kanyakumari to Jammu and covered different states reiterating his plea for checking religious fundamentalism, linguistic and territorial bickering and keeping the country above individuals.

He was honoured with several national and international awards including the Padma Shree (1971), Jamnalal Bajaj Award (1979), Magsaysay Award (1985), Welfare of the disabled award (1986), Padma Vibhushan (1986), G. D. Birla International Award (1988) and the Gandhi Peace Prize (2000) for his selfless service to the deprived segments of the society.

The Dr Ambedkar International Award, 1999 for Social Change was given to Amte for espousing the cause of the exploited and underprivileged, fight against injustice and inequality.

Amte, often referred to as the last follower of Mahatma Gandhi, said there was no alternative to the Father of the Nation.

«Gandhiji established a permanent relationship with the common man with a thread and spinning wheel. He could start a mass movement with a pinch of salt,» he said.

In a nation which many say has slipped out of Gandhism’s clasp, Baba Amte rigidly held firm to the Mahatma’s ideals and demonstrated it in his firm belief in village industry, empowerment of the people, uplift of the poor and by leading a spartan life.

He wore khadi woven from the looms of the Anandvan rehabilitation centre and ate fruits and vegetables cultivated there. Amte rarely missed an opportunity to acknowledge his wife Sadhana’s contribution to his work.

Amte’s sons, Vikas and Prakash, are doctors and have followed in his footsteps. Vikas looks after Anandvan and Prakash works for the welfare of the Madia and Gond tribes in Hemalkasa in Vidarbha.