About the Book
A fairy tale romance and a blueprint for anyone who wants to venture into social service, this autobiography of Sadhanatai Amte-a woman who chose to marry a frezied man and a dreamer, Baba Amte-is also of her willing surrender in love without the slightest loss of her identity. It is s document of the dreams they dreamt for humankind and their struggle to put life into them. These memoirs presents the portrait of a woman beside a man; a perfect consort who has the ability to tame the living storm, Baba Amte.
Written without a stance, the distinctive simplicity of this transparent narrative, as compared to other similar writings by women has the power to stir its readers with its salty sea-air tang and the warmth of a fruitful mad pursuit of a goal-at once personal and impresonal.
A book like this-a saga of suffering, hopes, tensions and success, as well as the thrill of pleasure of work the two experienced while pursuing their goal-will serve as a beacon of light for posterity and as a model in human relationships.
About the Author
Sadhana Amte is the wife of the renowned social worker, Baba Amte. Born in Nagpur, in the state of Maharastra in 1926, she hails from an orthodox Hindu brahmin family. She chose to marry Baba Amte, against the wishes of the members of her family and came to stay with outcasts and untouchables, She has stood by Baba in every social venture and likes to make light of her labour by calling it a romance. Though gifted with a fine sense of humour and a talent for writing, she had to be coaxed into writing these memoirs.
Shobha Pawar is a student and a teacher of English literature, and currently a lecturer at S. P. College, Pune. She has been a visiting faculty at the University of Pune and other colleges for some years. Poetry has always been her first love and area of research too.
Smt. Sadhana Amte (affectionately referred to by everyone as Sadhanatai) and her husband Muralidhar Devidas Amte (again affectionately called Baba Amte) are the greatest Indians living today. Each one of them is a legend in their own right. It has been an act of love for her countrymen that Sadhanatai wrote Samidha, her autobiography. It has' been equally our good fortune that Smt. Shobha Pawar has produced an English version of Samidha in order to get Sadhanatai's message across to all the young women and men of our country. Both for Sadhanatai and Baba Amte, their life is their message. Shobha has rightly pointed out that Sadhanatai represents a rare combination of confidence and compliance, work and worship, and labour and love. Shobha is right in pointing out, "to say that Sadhanatai is the woman behind the great man, Baba Amte, is to belittle her contribution to the mammoth work Baba has done. She is the woman beside him, extending her hand in things great and small, in times dark and bright."
Baba Amte and Sadhanatai have also inspired their children through their personal example. Thus Vikas, his wife and children are continuing the great work at Anandwan, while Prakash and his wife Mandakini are doing remarkable service both to tribal families as well as to wildlife in the dense forest of Bhamragad in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. To Sadhanatai and Baba however all members of the human family are the same. They thus embody the spirit behind the concept, "Vasudeva Kutumbakam" in its totality. Sadhanatai has provided support to all the movements for human wellbeing and environment protection initiated by Baba - whether it is in the field of giving purpose and joy in life to those affected by leprosy or the Bharat Jodo (Knit India) movement or the Narmada Andolan. In. everyone of the activities of Tai and Baba one can see God leading people on the right path.
This is one of the most moving and inspiring books I have ever read. Had not Shobha Pawar translated it into English, I would have lost the inspiration and guidance one gets when reading the book. I would like to express our deep admiration, respect and affection to Sadhanatai for this labour of love for fellow human beings. Both Baba and she are excellent examples of the spirit behind the following poem: by Rainer Maria Rilke:
Again andagdin in history Some special people wake up They have no ground in the crowd They move to broader laws
They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold audacious actions The future speaks ruthlessly through them They change the world.
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