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Prakash Amte : Dining with the Lions

There are times when you just can help not being inspired by someone’s story about his trysts with ‘life’. Dr. Prakash Amte’s story is one such anecdote of what passion and love alone could achieve for mankind. Lt Baba Amte’s son, Dr. Prakash has been practicing medicine in the tribal villages of Chattisgarh, Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh since the last 50 years or more. He runs a project called Lok Biradiri Bikalp which has now grown into a Hospital, Residential School & Orphanage for injured animals.

His father first introduced him to this other life that Indians live and imbued in him the want to do something for the greater good of the society. The tribals of Bhamragad had no access to electricity, transportation or basic necessities let alone education when Dr. Prakash, fresh from his M.B.B.S degree, first went there. They were exploited, malnutritioned and living below the poverty line. Soon after, his wife Mandakaini, a physician from Nagpur joined him in the forest for the noble cause. From reluctant patients to the first successful case of treating a burn patient to getting more and more patients is a wonderfully exciting and moving story of its own. A definite watch.

One of the most complex cases he got was of a bear attack. The man was brought from 60kms on stretcher and it took him 2 days to reach. Scalp open, eyes blinded and blood soaked he reached Dr. Prakash for treatment. He amazed Dr. Amte with his sheer tolerance when he received 100 stitches on his scalp without uttering a single moan. And we keep complaining about such small pains in our lives. Such is the generosity and tolerance of those who do not have enough to be intolerant and selfish.

The tribals around had a lot of cataract cases. Dr. Amte decided to take help from his friends in Nagpur but all of them refused due to lack of infrastructure in that small forgotten village in the heart of India. He decided to perform cataract surgeries on his own and the tribals encouraged him as they didn’t have their eyes to lose anyway of the operation went bad! He brought all equipments and performed his first cataract surgery where his assistant was reading out the instructions to him from a book. And yes, the surgery was a successful one. Since then there has been no looking back.

Yet, the adventures of this humble man didn’t come to an end. The story of the animals orphanage is as intriguing as the story of an M.B.B.S performing complex cataract surgeries. Dr. Amte and his wife were shocked to see that the tribals ate anything that moved. Even monkeys which have religious importance in India were a part of their menu. Once, they saw a group of tribals returning from their hunting, carrying a dead monkey with an alive baby sucking at his dead mother.  After much negotiation, the villagers agreed to part with the baby monkey in lieu of food. This was back in the year 1974. Dr. Amte somehow convinced the localites not to kill the babies and today his orphanage has more than 70 animals which include deers, tigers, lions, snakes, leopards, crocodiles, bears and what not. You need to watch the talk to see the pictures and believe.

What would have you done had you become a doctor & philanthropist? Treat patients for free at the maximum? Dr. Amte has risked his life and his social participation selflessly and relentlessly served this section of downtrodden and forgotten people in the heart of India. His trysts have won him many accolades like the Ramon Magasaysay Award from Philippines and a stamp named after him in Europe. Yet, he has been carrying forward the legacy that Lt Baba Amte started with the leprosy patients and has passed it on to his children. His two sons and their families stay with him and work for these people and his grandsons have many friends in the orphanage to piggyback upon and play with. Those toddlers fearlessly ride on the backs of leopards and wreathe snakes around their necks. Three generations of the family have dedicated their whole lives for this great cause.

Yet, you may not find a man more humble in his speech and thoughts. As he sits on the stage with Khadi as his attire and smile as his make-up, all he asks for is that the Indian youth come visit him at his place, see the condition of the people around be inspired to do something worthwhile in their lives. It takes only love and compassion to win the fanged ferocious animals, let alone the world. Dr. Prakash Amte and his family have it in oodles. And they deserve a standing ovation and kowtow for this brilliant spirit in life!

This entry was published on July 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm and is filed under Inspiration, Science & Technology, Society & Rural India. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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