Muralidhar Devidas Amte was born on 26 December 1914 in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
Becoming Gandhi is not easy for anyone. Gandhi is another name for sacrifice. If Murlidhar Devidas Amte got this name after Mahatma Gandhi, then there is no exaggeration in it. He is not called modern Gandhi for nothing. The story of Baba Amte is similar to the way Mahatma Gandhi, the son of the Diwan of a princely state, a renowned lawyer, leaving aside his glittering practice abroad, not only worked for the independence of the country but also for the backward classes.
While Mahatma Gandhi worked against untouchability and discrimination, Baba Amte worked for the upliftment of leprosy patients who were despised by the society. He has contributed to the freedom struggle, Narmada movement and other areas for social upliftment. That is why he is called modern Gandhi. On the death anniversary of Baba Amte on 9th February, let us know his story.
Baba Amte was from a prosperous family
Muralidhar Devidas Amte was born on 26 December 1914 in Wardha district of Maharashtra. His parents were from a Brahmin family of Hinganghat village. Father Devidas Barbaji Amte was an accountant, who had eight children. Baba Amte was the eldest among his eight siblings. Just as Mahatma Gandhi's childhood was spent with pride in the Diwan's house, in the same way Baba Amte's life was also going on like that of a prince. He was so fond of hunting that at the age of 14, he had a personal gun and started hunting bear and deer.
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Named after parents
By the way, the story of Murlidhar Devidas Amte getting the name Baba is very interesting. He did not get the name Baba because of any saint or saint or because of his simple life, rather his parents used to call him Baba lovingly in his childhood. This name remained with him throughout his life. Well, young Baba Amte had become fond of driving cars and watching Hollywood movies. He also used to write reviews of English films. During this period he also continued studying and after MA-LLB, he started practicing law. It is said that Baba Amte was considered a successful lawyer of Wardha.
Freedom fighters fought a case against the British
Due to his profession, he also came in contact with the freedom movement and Mahatma Gandhi. When the country called upon young Baba Amte, he joined the freedom struggle. In the year 1942, the British Quit India Movement was going on and the British were imposing various types of cases on Indians.
Baba Amte started working as a lawyer for Indians captured by the British during the freedom struggle. Due to this, he got the opportunity to stay in Mahatma Gandhi's Sevagram, where he came in contact with Bapu. Here he started spinning the charkha and also adopted Khadi. Meanwhile, Mahatma Gandhi came to know that one day some British soldiers were making fun of a battle. On this Baba Amte saved that girl. After this Mahatma Gandhi was named Abhay Sadhak.
Trembling when I set out on a trip to the country
Baba Amte was completely dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and was also greatly influenced by Vinoba Bhave, who was running the Bhoodan movement. When Baba Amte started touring the country, he came to know how much poverty there was in the country and on top of that, there was a lot of injustice being done to the poor. Then he was deeply moved after seeing a leper patient.
Baba Amte himself has written that I was never afraid of anyone. Fought even the British to save a girl. Once the sanitation workers challenged me to clean the gutters, I did that too, but when the same person (Baba Amte) saw Tulsiram as a living corpse, he started trembling with fear. After seeing Tulsiram he became distracted. After this he dedicated his entire life to the lepers.
Determined to eradicate leprosy
Baba Amte saw how lepers were ostracized from the society. They have to face an embarrassing situation. His treatment was a distant matter. On this he took a step forward. He believed that until the mental leprosy associated with this disease is not freed, the society will not effectively accept lepers as its part. People at that time believed that leprosy was an untouchable disease. To prove this wrong, he himself once even gave an injection to a leper who was suffering from severe infection.
Along with this, treatment of lepers, their service and bringing them into the mainstream of society became the priority in the life of Baba Amte and his wife. He also arranged employment for the patients who recovered from treatment.
Anandvan Ashram was established in 1949.
Baba Amte and his wife Sadhana Amte also established three ashrams for the care and rehabilitation of lepers in Maharashtra. First of all, on 15 August 1949, he established a hospital for the treatment of leprosy under a tree in Anandvan. Here, along with treatment, lepers were also given the opportunity to earn a living by working in small and medium industries.
Baba Amte also established the Lok Biradari Project in 1973 to help the Madia Gond tribals in Gadchiroli district. To bind the people of the country in the thread of unity, in the year 1985, at the age of 72, he also traveled on foot from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Three years later, he made a second journey of about 1800 miles from Assam to Gujarat. In 1990, when he joined the Narmada Bachao Andolan, he left Anandvan and lived on the banks of the Narmada river for seven years.
order not to burn but to bury
Due to his love for the environment, Baba Amte had ordered to bury himself after his death instead of burning him. Due to age related diseases, he died on 9 February 2008 in Anandvan, Maharashtra and his body was buried as per his wish.
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