The Doodle slideshow follows Amte’s life, which he dedicated to serving those in need, especially the ones afflicted with leprosy.
Created by Vrinda Zaveri, the doodle starts off with a portrait of Amte looking ahead in the distance future.
The next features his unity marches which crisscrossed from north to south and later west to east.
Another features his “Anandawan”, a village and centre he established for leprosy patients. “We salute Babe Amte for a lifetime of service to humanity,” said Google as they dedicated the day in 1914, when Amte was born.
Amte was born into a wealthy family in Maharashtra on this day in 1914. He studied law and was running his own successful company by his 20s. But despite his privileged upbringing, Amte was aware of the country’s class inequalities throughout his childhood. In his 30s, he left his practice in order to work alongside the underprivileged. It was during this time that he came across Indu Ghuleshastri, whose kindness to an elderly servant touched him deeply, and the two got married.
An encounter with leprosy patients changed his life, and he made their welfare and rehabilitation a life-time mission. Confronting that fear, Amte identified the state of “mental leprosy” that allowed people to feel apathetic in the face of this dreaded affliction. He said: “The most frightening disease is not losing one’s limbs, but losing one’s strength to feel kindness and compassion.” Amte dedicated his life to the cause of fighting leprosy – he defied social stigma by injecting himself with bacilli to prove that the disease was not highly contagious.
In 1949 he established Anandwan-meaning “Forest of Bliss”-a self-sufficient village and rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients. A strong believer in national unity, Amte launched his first ‘Knit India March’ in 1985. At the age of 72, he walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, more than 3,000 miles, with the simple purpose to inspire unity in India. In a time of national strife, Amte was accompanied by 100 men and 16 women, all under the age of 35. He organised a second march three years later, travelling over 1,800 miles from Assam to Gujarat. In recognition of Amte’s tireless work, he was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 1971; in 1988 the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights; and in 1999 Gandhi Peace Prize. His legacy lives on through his two sons who share their father’s sense of compassion.
One of Baba Amte’s sons, Dr. Prakash Amte and his wife Dr. Mandakini Amte run an animal shelter home, called ‘Animal Ark’ in the Hemalkasa village in the Gadchiroli region of Maharashtra. They also provide medical services to the tribal people.
Dr. Prakash and Dr. Mandakini were awarded the Ramon Magsasay Award in 2008 for their work in Gadchiroli.
His other son Vikas Amte runs the Anandwan now.
Source: The Economic Times, The Better India & MINT