The story of doctor couple Dr Prakash Amte and Dr Mandakini Amte is an extraordinary one. Son of social reformer Baba Amte, Dr Prakash followed in his father’s footsteps and dedicated his medical practice to uplifting the lives of the tribal folk in Maharashtra and neighbouring states Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
His wife Dr Mandakini too dedicated herself to the cause, selflessly leaving behind a life of comfort in the city in favour of service to humanity in the most under-developed parts of India.
Years later, their service was recognised on both national and international platforms, earning them the Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2008. Dr Prakash was also awarded the Padma Shri in 2002 and the ICMR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.
The duo are now hailed as examples of ‘purpose beyond profit’, which was the theme this year at the SABERA Awards 2021, where the duo made a rare media appearance and gave an interview together to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor.
In the candid discussion, they share the difficult journey they have traversed from setting up a makeshift medical clinic in a dense forest in 1973, which has now grown to a larger network of hospitals and schools in the region serving rural and indigenous populations.
Their NGO Lok Biradari Prakalp also includes an animal shelter, and their sons are now taking forward the parents’ noble legacy.
Though the interview was conducted in Hindi, the video is available with English subtitles. In it, they speak of the extent they had to go to earn the trust of the local people, including learning the tribal language and conducting emergency surgical procedures in the direst of conditions, even without electricity.
They also talk about the first breakthrough patient they treated, who came “lying horizontally on a stretcher” from miles away and returned “walking by himself, standing up vertically”, thus paving the way for a floodgate of patients.
View the complete discussion here:
For more coverage about the SABERA Awards 2021, click here.