Monday, February 16, 2009

The Amte family

Baba Amte

Prakash and Vikas Amte

Prakash Amte, his wife Mandakini Amte have been awarded the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership. "In electing Prakash Amte and Mandakini Amte to receive the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes their enhancing the capacity of the Madia Gonds to adapt positively in today's India, through healing and teaching and other compassionate interventions," the board of trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation said while naming the couple for the award.

"Prakash Amte grew up in Anandwan, an ashram and rehabilitation center for lepers in Maharashtra founded by his father, the renowned Gandhian humanitarian Murlidhar Devidas Amte, or Baba Amte. Prakash was busy with post-graduate surgical studies in Nagpur when Baba Amte called him, in 1974, to take over a new project among the Madia Gonds. In a leap of faith, he and his wife Mandakini abandoned their urban practices and moved to remote Hemalkasa," the citation reads.

This is a remarkable family. Baba Amte died last year at the ripe age of 94.This extraordinary man lived the last 40 years of life as a virtual cripple ridden by the illness, ankylosing spondylitis. His indomitable spirit and ability to work hard never died. Drs Prakash and Vikas are his sons. They, along with their equally dedicated wives, are carrying on the legacy of Baba Amte.Those of you who have lost faith in human spirit and what it can achieve should do a Google search and read about his family.

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