Google honours Baba Amte with Doodle on 104th birth anniversary

Baba Amte with Dalai Lama Baba Amte with the Dalai Lama | Anandwan website

Google launched a Doodle on Wednesday in honour of the 104th birth anniversary of social activist Baba Amte. Amte, who died of cancer in February 2008, was a prominent activist who worked for the rehabilitation of leprosy patients and also to further the cause of national unity.

The Google Doodle on Baba Amte is a slideshow, depicting key events from his life as an activist, starting from the freedom struggle with Mahatma Gandhi.

Amte was born in a wealthy Maharastrian Brahmin family in 1914. He had studied law and began practice as a lawyer on his father's prompting. Amte's father wanted him to become a lawyer in order to look after the family estate. Amte continued his legal practice until he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle.

Amte's encounter with a leprosy patient changed his life. Amte described the encounter as “seeing a rotting mass of human flesh with two holes in place of a nose.... literally a living corpse”. Amte began Anandwan, an ashram dedicated to the rehabilitation of leprosy patients, in Warora in Chandrapur district in 1949. From its humble beginnings, Anandwan has spread its work across Maharashtra.

Amte also campaigned for national unity, marching from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in 1985 with a band of 100 young followers when he was 71 years old. The initiative called the 'Knit India March' was repeated again three years later, with Amte walking from Assam to Gujarat.

Amte was the recipient of multiple Indian and international awards including the Padma Shri, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Magsaysay Award, the UN Human Rights Prize and the Templeton Prize.