Damodar Ganesh Bapat was a ‘Maun Sadhak’ who inspired many from his seva but never sought any publicity for his work, said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale in Raipur on Monday (April 25).
Hosabale launched the book, ‘Sevavrati Karmayogi Padma Shri Dr Damodar Ganesh Bapat’ by Sunil Kirwai, which details the life and work of social activist Bapat.
The Sarkaryavah said it was not in Bapat’s nature to seek any praise or publicity for his work.
Born in the Pathrot village of Maharashtra, Bapat completed his education in Nagpur. He took up a job in Nagpur but was never satisfied with it. The urge to work for the social causes was too strong in him.
In 1970, he moved to Jashpur in Chhattisgarh and started volunteering with the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. He started teaching the tribal children and imparting them the basic education of life.
While working with the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Chhattisgarh, he got to know about multiple leprosy patients. After seeing the deplorable condition of the leprosy patients from close quarters, Bapat decided to dedicate his life to the service of the leprosy patients.
Sadashivrao Govindrao Katre founded Bharatiya Kushtha Nivarak Sangh (BKNS) in 1962 to take care of leprosy patients. In 1972, Bapat associated himself with the organisation and continued his seva till the last breath of his life. For 45 years, he served as the secretary of the organisation.
Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has written the preface of the book. “Although Shri Bapat was awarded with Padma Shri, he was not famous. Very few people knew him. And even lesser people understood him. The reason was his self-less personality. He never sought any recognition or praise for his work,” Bhagwat wrote.
The publisher of the book Pradip Kumar said it was not easy to write a book about a personality who had sought no publicity for himself for his lifelong devotion to a cause. Sunil had to go to multiple places to collect information about him as he barely talked about himself.
At the age of 87, Bapat passed away in Chhattisgarh on August 17, 2019. He was awarded Bharat’s fourth highest civilian honour, Padma Shri, in 2018.
Recognising the services of Bapat for the leprosy patients, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said in his condolence message, “Shri Bapat had taken several initiatives for the rehabilitation of leprosy patients along with their treatment at the ashram.”
Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uikey condoled the death of Bapat, saying, “He dedicated his life to serve others, to serve humanity. Shri Bapat has done an exemplary work all his life by serving leprosy patients, which will always be inspiring to others.”
The 160-pages book has multiple stories about why Bapat’s life can be summed up in two words: Nishkam Karmayogi.