With the passing away of Baba Amte, India lost the brightest star in social firmament. A Titan among social workers, Baba Amte distinguished himself as a humanitarian par excellence for his decades of exemplary service. He took discarded leprosy patients to his fold when social stigma was at its peak. He founded Anandwan for giving shelter and total care for leprosy patients and lived among them all his life. He demonstrated to the world that love and dedicated work can bring immense happiness to leprosy patients discarded by an unrepentent society. Baba Amte brought to focus the plight of leprosy patients and opened the eyes of the society for understanding and care of leprosy patients.
With the drastic reducting of leprosy cases from 4 million to less than a lakh, India achieved leprosy elimination status. Baba Amte's spectacular contribution to the cause of leprosy earned him many national and international awards, the major ones include Magsaysay Award, Padma Bhushan and Damien Dutton Award. Long physical ailments didn't deter him from his avowed goals, he inspired innumerable people to help the cause of leprosy. The void left by him is difficult to fill and leprosy sufferers feel orphaned by his demise. Baba Amte did India proud by his selfless and distinguished humanitarian work. He will certainly live in the minds of millions of people the world over.
Dr. A.R.K. Pillai
Indian Development Foundation
(formerly Indian Leprosy Foundation)