Our HistorySocial service was started about 60 years ago
Christian missionaries pioneered the organised effort for the care of leprosy patients in India. Local initiative was singularly lacking.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who involved his followers in leprosy service projects. While pursuing his political struggle for the freedom of the country, he also undertook very wide ranged constructive programme for building up the nation. It was his perception that one of the main reasons for the disintegtration of the rural society was the superstitions in the regard to leprosy and consequently the callous abandoning of those afflicted by it. Leprosy service formed a part of the Gandhian endeavour, as much as removal of untouchability, propogation of Khadi and spread of literacy. A number institutions devoted to leprosy work came up during the freedom movement.
Kushtarog Niwaran Samiti was however born after independence in 1952. Panvel taluka where the prevalence of leprosy was as high as 16 to 17 percent in a thousand was choosen by the two eminent Gandhians Sarvashri Annasaheb Dastane, Appasaheb Vedak, along with their associates Jaynarayan Kasat, Maganbhai Rana,S.M.Prabhu, P.J.Pandya later Sarvshri Annasaheb Sahastrabuddhe, Govindrao Shinde, Prakashbhi Mohadikar and Haribhau Damle laid the foundation of Shantivan. Shri S.M.Joshi, Shri Bhausaheb Dhamankar, and Shri Rambhau Mohadikar, who devoted their lives to this noble cause. At present Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari is the President of this prestigious Samiti.
The serious assault on the disease begain in the forties when the use of deposone as a specific remedy received general acceptance. It was realised that the best method of control of the spread of leprosy was to find people with disease and treet them promptly. Deformities can be avoided by beginning the treatment at a very early stage.
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