25 Facts About Baba Amte


Murlidhar Devidas Amte, popularly known as Baba Amte, was an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for his work for the rehabilitation and empowerment of people suffering from leprosy.


Baba Amte has received numerous awards and prizes including the Padma Vibhushan, the Dr Ambedkar International Award, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Templeton Prize and the Jamnalal Bajaj Award.


Murlidhar Devidas "Baba" Amte was born in an affluent Deshastha Brahmin family on 26 December 1914 in the city of Hinganghat in Maharashtra.


Baba Amte soon became involved in the Indian independence movement and, in 1942, began working as a defense lawyer for Indian leaders imprisoned by the colonial government for their involvement in the Quit India movement.


Baba Amte spent some time at Sevagram, at the ashram started by Mahatma Gandhi and became a follower of Gandhism.


Baba Amte practiced Gandhism by engaging in yarn spinning using a charkha and wearing khadi.


However, Baba Amte wanted to create a thinking and understanding that leprosy patients can be truly helped only when a society is free of "Mental Leprosy"-fear and wrong understanding associated with disease.


Baba Amte strove to dispel the widespread belief that leprosy was highly contagious; he even allowed bacilli from a leper to be injected into him as part of an experiment aimed at proving that leprosy was not highly contagious.


Baba Amte struggled and tried to remove the stigma and ignorance surrounding the treatment of leprosy as a disease.


Baba Amte founded three ashrams for treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients, disabled people and people from marginalised sections of general society in Maharashtra.


On 15 August 1949, he and his wife Sadhna Baba Amte started a leprosy hospital in Anandvan under a tree.


In 1973, Baba Amte founded the Lok Biradari Prakalp to work for the Madia Gond tribal people of Gadchiroli District.


Baba Amte involved in other social cause initiatives like, in year 1985 he launched the first Knit India Mission for peace-at 72 years he walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, a distance of more than 3000 miles, to inspire unity among Indian people and organised second march three years later travelling over 1800 miles from Assam to Gujarat.


Baba Amte participated in Narmada Bachao Andolan in year 1990, leaving Anandwan and lived on banks of Narmada for seven years.


Baba Amte devoted his life to many other social causes, most notably the Quit India movement and attempting to raise public awareness on the importance of ecological balance, wildlife preservation and the Narmada Bachao Andolan.


Baba Amte participated in her husband's social work with equal dedication.


Baba Amte left her governmental medical and moved to Hemalkasa to start the projects after they married.


Baba Amte later founded "Somnath" and "Ashokwan" ashrams for people suffering from leprosy.


Baba Amte followed Gandhi's way of life and led a spartan life.


Baba Amte wore khadi clothes made from the looms at Anandwan.


Baba Amte believed in Gandhi's concept of a self-sufficient village industry that empowers seemingly helpless people, and successfully brought his ideas into practice at Anandwan.


Baba Amte used Gandhi's principles to fight against corruption, mismanagement, and poor, shortsighted planning in the government.


Baba Amte used to say that if there are hundred thousands of universes then God must be very busy.


In 1990, Baba Amte left Anandwan for a while to live along the Narmada River and joined Narmada Bachao Andolan movement one of whose popular leaders was Medha Patkar, which fought against both unjust displacement of local inhabitants and damage to the environment due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river.


Baba Amte died at Anandwan on 9 February 2008 in Maharashtra of age-related illnesses.