The winner of this year's Maanav Adhikaar Paaritaushik (Human Dignity Award) of Rupees One Lakh in memory of Professor M. M. Guptara, is:
Dr Arun Gadre, of Pune, Maharashtra.
Arun Gadre is a doctor and a writer.
The citation reads:
"Dr Gadre worked for some 20 years in a rural part of Maharashtra as a gynaecologist: instead of working in a major city where he would have received a reasonable income and a comfortable quality of life, he chose rather to invest the best years of his life to helping rural women. As the only MD within a radius of 50 km, in a draught prone and poor area, with much more irregular electricity than in our cities, with scarcity of water, paucity of trained assistants, no blood transfusion facilities, and no one to assist, he conducted around 5500 deliveries as well as other major surgeries.
"In spite of his heavy duties in the challenging environment, Dr Gadre somehow found time to exercise his gift for writing, to produce in fact many different books. Two of them are due to be published soon, one on ante-natal care and one on HIV/ AIDS counselling. However, he has 14 books which are already published - three for semi-literate people on medical subjects, two medical textbooks, one on premarital counseling, one is a work of philosophy, one is autobiographical, and six are novels.
"Many of the books have won awards. His philosophical work, BHAVA PESHI, won the Shenolikar Puraskar for the best book of the year in philosophy from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Pune, as well as the Marathwada Sahitya Mandal Puraskar. His novel, EK HOTA FENGADYA, won the Shankar Patil Puraskar for the best novel of the year, from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, Pune. His novel GHATACHAKRA won the H. N. Apte Puraskar from Maharashtra State as well as the VS Khandekar Puraskar for the best novel of the year from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Pune. His latest novel, VADHASTAMBH, won the Vikhe Patil Puraskar, as well as the Vaman Malhar Joshi Puraskar for the best novel of the year from Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Pune. His latest book, a biography of the (now practically unknown) founder of modern India, William Carey, has just been published under the title: “Ase Hote William Carey” (Rajhans Prakashan, Pune).
"We probably have many people in our country who have put in decades of medical work in poverty-stricken, resource-poor and ill-connected rural areas, but there are hardly any who have combined that with outstanding literary work– and all of Dr. Gadre's works, whether philosophical, biographical, fictional or medical, provide evidence of a deep commitment to humane values which seem to be under threat in our world. We hope that the award will inspire many people to follow Dr Gadre's example of self-sacrice, and of the triumph of the human spirit over adverse circumstances, and that it will therefore inspire even more people to serve our rural areas with distinction".
Dr Gadre is the second winner of the Maanav Adhikaar Paaritaushik (Human Dignity Award). The first winner was Dr John Dayal, a Member of the Indian National Commission for Minorities.
Recognising that the award is only a token, the Guptara family deeply appreciates Dr. Gadre's lifetime of outstanding service to our country.
Dr Gadre is available for interview on (Indian) mobile: +91 9822246327