Respected Late Shri.Bapusaheb M. Deshmukh has set an example of what social service can do for the suffering humanity. He dedicated his entire life and made immense efforts for rendering service to poor and needy people in order to improve the social conditions of society. He didn’t have any motive of self profit. He had a natural impulse to help men in distress and so he toiled day and night in the service of others.
In those days, death rate was much higher in villages due to the lack of medical facilities. Villagers were not able to cure deadly diseases. One of those diseases was ‘leprosy’. Person suffering through leprosy had to deal with inhuman treatment from other people. As leprosy was considered as divine curse and a punishment of past sins, patient had to suffer not only from leprosy but also from economic and social losses including participation restriction in community. Physical and emotional distress used to kill patient first than that deadly disease. People used to maintain distance from the affected person and family members of affected person due to the fear of infection. Due to the lack of knowledge, risk of transmission of the disease ruled people’s mind which led negative attitude towards affected person. No deadly disease has been more closely associated with stigma than leprosy. Today medical science has made drastic development in curing of almost all deadly diseases. But the time before decades was not the same. Moreover, villages were more backward in terms of knowledge and good treatment.
Affected persons and their families used to be very much discouraged by the negative attitude and discrimination of society. Dealing with inhuman treatment became more challenging and exhausting than overcoming the deadly disease. Participation restriction and feeling of helplessness killed their expectation to live their precious lives. But there was one person who used to have great distress seeing these suffers and inhuman treatment of these patients. He was ‘Bapusaheb Deshmukh’. He wanted to help these sufferers wholeheartedly. So, he decided to toil for them and bring them their lives back. He took a decision to work and dedicate his entire life in the welfare of the society.
Bapusaheb tried to stop the inhuman treatment of people towards lepers. He tried to guide people with good knowledge. With his immense efforts and continuous hard work, in 1935, he came up with one leprosy centre in a small village named ‘Kashikhed’. At that time when Bapusaheb brought this leprosy centre, the village had around 400 patients suffering from that deadly disease. Bapusaheb took the responsibility of all financial help in medicines of all these 400 patients wholeheartedly. He started to convince the patients that there are chances of overcoming this disease which led to expectations of lepers for living their precious lives.
Bapusaheb opened one government authorized hostel for the full time living of these lepers. He started to take care of the affected persons there too. He made arrangements of living of around 50 patients in hostel wherein he provided them food, medicines and all the required things from his efforts only. He worked hard in all possible ways to cure the affected people. As all his social services were done decades ago, the village was not that developed at that time. He had to face tremendous problems in transportation, electricity supply and travelling for medicines and other needed things. He walked on foot for miles, used oil lamps and bullock-cart to walk for the development of society. He faced very hard days in his life for working for others. Living and dedicating whole life for welfare of others isn’t very easy thing but he proved how high the level of helping others can reach. This hostel and leprosy centre is still now existing and working for lepers under the name of this social worker.
Social work of Bapusaheb was not only in one field. He tried to help others and work for others as much as he could do. He toiled and made unparalleled efforts in the development and welfare of society. His contribution to many lives is refundable. He lived for people and worked for people. He dedicated his whole life in helping others without any self-profit. Due to his kind and helping nature, he reserved soft place in everyone’s heart for himself. He never concentrated on self-pain. He focused on suffering people and tried to rescue his pain by helping the suffering people. While helping others and supporting them for their bright future, he had to face many challenges. He fought against every trouble and struggled every moment as he wanted to succeed and complete his mission of helping others and developing society. Social service which Bapusaheb was doing had influenced many hearts and minds. He himself tried to suffer all pains and struggle hard while working for others and rendering service to others.
People in village were very poor. They were not able to fulfill even their daily needs. There were families who didn’t have money for their food too. Bapusaheb helped them and arose a wish of living better life in all sufferers. It was not possible for Bapusaheb to leave people without helping. He wanted to make everyone’s life worth living. So he tried his best to vanish all the problems from others’ lives. He wanted to see everyone happy that’s why he took each and every possible effort for their happiness. He was not able to see people suffering from poverty. Many children didn’t have any means to fulfill their daily needs too. He saw parents committing suicide due to poverty and children dying off starvation. Bapusaheb had a very soft and helping heart. Due to poverty and lack of knowledge, children didn’t use to go to school and perceive education. There was lack of knowledge regarding education among villagers.
Bapusaheb tried to help poor children. In 1981,he made a government authorized hostel for poor children to live. He provided shelter to these poor children. Due to poverty, children were not able to perceive education. So Bapusaheb took efforts to educate these children by admitting them in school. He worked day and night to provide all types of facilities he could give in his hostel. Around 30 poor children used to live in his hostel. He made arrangements for their food,enough water and playground to play. He wanted these poor children to live their lives as other children were living. So, he did his best to see them happy and satisfied.While doing all these, he had to take many efforts but he didn’t stop himself from working for others. Though the sweat on his forehead was due to working for others still he did it. Making hostel government authorized was not that easy work but he did it though after failures. Because he knew he cannot loose. His working for betterment of these poor children,providing them food,shelter,water and fulfilling all their basic requirements is notable. This hostel is still working under the name of this great social worker.
His social works didn’t stop here. He did uncountable services for the welfare of society. His inner voice always urged him to work for others and not to stop until he sees better future of his surrounding people. Only aim of his life was betterment of suffering people and development of society. He worked for it wholeheartedly ignoring all the pains and struggles he had to face. It took time to get support from other people for social service. So he had to work alone for many years. His helping nature helped many to live their lives successfully. He used to find happiness in the happiness of others and so he used to work for others. He has set an example of how one should work for completing his or her mission.
Due to lack of knowledge,villagers were not aware of importance of education. They didn’t know how essential education was. Even when they started knowing about the importance of education,they started to admit only boy child in school. They didn’t give equal importance to the study of girl child. We know how biased and badly girl child was treated in past. In ancient times,there was no equal right distribution in girls and boys. Girls were not allowed to go out of home for any self reason. Girls were forced to do all the activities according to boys. Gender discrimination was seen more among villages due to lack of knowledge. According to their thinking, girls were only for cooking food and doing household chores,girls don’t need to study and educate themselves,future of girls lie in kitchen. All such thinkings prevailed in the minds of villagers and so they never thought of admitting girl child in school and educating them.
Bapusaheb felt very bad seeing all such narrow-minded thinking prevailing in society. He never discriminated people on the basis of gender. He knew how important it is for both the genders to be educated. So he started to spread the idea of educating girl children too. He tried to explain many people and tried to change their thinking process about gender discrimination. He did his best to make people aware about the importance of educating girls. But the opposition he got from villagers was also very strong. Villagers were not ready to agree with the thoughts of Bapusaheb though he tried his best to convince each one of them.
But slowly revolution started to take place as Bapusaheb announced that he will open special school for girls. So,in 1984,in village named ‘Talegaon Dashasar’,bapusaheb opened a school named “Madhyamik Kanya Vidyalaya”. Slowly but eventually change started to take place.Villagers started to admit their girl child in school for her education. Many girls were able to get education due to Bapusaheb. The contribution of Bapusaheb for making lives of many people happy is remarkable. Initially Bapusaheb didn’t have many students to study in his school but as the days passed , he got many students to study. As the number of students were increasing,it was not possible for Bapusaheb to let all students take education in such small rooms. So, he gave 4 rooms from his own layout for study and after some days he made a building for girls to study. Still that school is renowned school of village. These all changes would never have become possible without the unstoppable efforts of Bapusaheb. He is responsible for the betterment of many lives of his village.
Late Bapusaheb Deshmukh was awarded with “Dalit Mitra Puraskar” on 26th March 1975 for his social work and all time efforts for the development of society. His contribution for the welfare of society is remarkable. This all rounder personality who always used to think for others and used to work for others left us on 28th July 1995. All his social works and his unbiased thinking will be remembered by us always. We are blessed with this selfless human who brought a very positive revolution in many lives. We should take inspiration from this great personality and should try to act selflessly like him for others. He provoked amongst us a thought that we should work for our society, for our country and should make others happy.