|An Image of Baba Amte|
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: B.A.LL.B from Wardha Law College
Religious Views: Hinduism
Died: February 9, 2008
Place of death: Anandwan, Maharashtra
He was the winner of the Padma Vibhushan (1986) and the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1985).
He established Anandwan in 1949, a leprosy care center, in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, where patients were offered care and a self-reliant way of life.
About His Life
Baba Amte was born as Murlidhar Devidas Amte, on December 26, 1914, in Hinganghat, Wardha.
Called Baba by his parents, Amte was born in luxury — his father was a landowner and British government official.
He trained as a lawyer and for a while, enjoyed the life of a rich young man, horse-riding, hunting, playing bridge, and tennis.
However, he was soon involved in the freedom struggle and began working with Mahatma Gandhi.
Baba Amte’s Social Activist Journey
Baba Amte was convinced that leprosy patients could be truly helped only when the society found a cure for what he called ‘Mental Leprosy’ — the stigma and fear associated with the disease.
Thus was founded Maharogi Sewa Samiti, Warora — or Anandwan — where leprosy patients were provided with medical care and a life of dignity, engaged in agriculture, and various small and medium industries.
Baba Amte’s wife, Sadhanatai Amte, played a crucial role in setting up and running the village.
To fight the stigma associated with leprosy, Baba Amte injected himself with bacilli from a patient, to prove the ailment was not highly contagious.
Baba Amte also involved in other social causes. In 1985, he launched the first Knit India mission for peace — at the age of 72, he walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, a distance of more than 3,000 miles, to inspire unity in India.
He organized a second such march three years later, traveling over 1800 miles from Assam to Gujarat.
In 1990, he left Anandwan to take part in the Narmada Bachao Andolan and lived on the banks of the Narmada for seven years.
Baba Amte passed away on February 9, 2008.
He was buried and not cremated, as he wanted his body to be of use even after death. (Burial makes the body uses for the micro-organisms in the soil as against ash immersion in rivers which pollutes the water).
Awards & Achievements of Baba Amte
1. Padma Shri, 1971
2. Ramon Magsaysay Award, 1985
Citation: “In electing MURLIDHAR DEVIDAS AMTE to receive the 1985 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes his work-oriented rehabilitation of Indian leprosy patients and other handicapped outcasts.”
3. Padma Vibhushan, 1986
4. United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, 1988
5. Gandhi Peace Prize, 1999
6. Rashtriya Bhushan, 1978: FIE Foundation Ichalkaranji (INDIA)
7. Jamnalal Bajaj Award, 1979 for Constructive Work
8. N.D. Diwan Award, 1980: National Society for Equal Opportunities for the ‘Handicapped’ (NASEOH), Bombay
9. Ramshastri Award, 1983: Ramshastri Prabhune Foundation, Maharashtra, India
10. Indira Gandhi Memorial Award, 1985: Government of Madhya Pradesh for outstanding social service
11. Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award, 1986: Delhi
12. Fr. Maschio Platinum Jubilee Award, 1987: Bombay
13. G.D. Birla International Award, 1988: For outstanding contribution to humanism
14. Templeton Prize, 1990 [Baba Amte and Charles Birch (Emeritus professor of University of Sydney) were jointly awarded the prize in 1990]
15. Mahadeo Balwant Natu Puraskar, 1991, Pune, Maharashtra
16. Adivasi Sewak Award, 1991, Government of Maharashtra
17. Kusumagraj Puraskar, 1991
18. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Dalit Mitra Award, 1992, Government of Maharashtra
19. Shri Nemichand Shrishrimal Award, 1994
20. Fr. Tong Memorial Award, 1995, Voluntary Health Association of India
21. Kushta Mitra Puraskar, 1995: Vidarbha Maharogi Sewa Mandal, Amravati, Maharashtra
22. Bhai Kanhaiya Award, 1997: Sri Guru Harkrishan Education Trust, Bhatinda, Punjab
23. Manav Sewa Award, 1997: Young Men’s Gandhian Association, Rajkot, Gujarat
24. Sarthi Award, 1997, Nagpur, Maharashtra
25. Mahatma Gandhi Charitable Trust Award, 1997, Nagpur, Maharashtra
26. Gruhini Sakhi Sachiv Puraskar, 1997, Gadima Pratishthan, Maharashtra
27. Kumar Gandharva Puraskar, 1998
28. Apang Mitra Puraskar, 1998, Helpers of the Handicapped, Kolhapur, Maharashtra
29. Bhagwan Mahaveer Award, 1998, Chennai
30. Diwaliben Mohanlal Mehta Award, 1998, Mumbai
31. Justice K. S. Hegde Foundation Award, 1998, Karnataka
32. Baya Karve Award, 1998, Pune, Maharashtra
33. Savitribai Phule Award, 1998, Government of Maharashtra
34. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Award, 1988: FICCI, for outstanding achievements in training and placement of disabled persons
35. Satpaul Mittal Award, 1998, Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust, Ludhiana, Punjab
36. Adivasi Sevak Puraskar, 1998, Government of Maharashtra
Gandhi Peace Prize, 1999
37. Dr. Ambedkar International Award for Social Change, 1999
38. Maharashtra Bhushan Award, 2004, Government of Maharashtra
39. Bharathvasa award, 2008