India Post has issued a commemorative postage on Dr Shivajirao Ganesh Patwardhan on 28th December 2017.Dr.Patwardhan devoted his life for leprocy patients. Dr Shivajirao Ganesh Patwardhan (28 Dec. 1892-7 May 1986) was influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. During the explosion of an epidemic- Plague in Kolkata, he helped the people by treating the patients. He worked for Ramakrishna Mission at Allahabad during 1915-1916. He also worked at Wardha for one year.
Then he came to Amravati in 1917 and started his medical practice. During 1918, an epidemic- Influenza was spread over Amravati and the Government Institutions were unable to treat the patients properly. In that critical situation, he again helped the affected patients with his medical knowledge. Dajisaheb was highly inspired by the thoughts of Lokmanya Tilak, M.K.Gandhi, G.K.Gokhale etc. In 1920, after the death of the great freedom fighter Tilak, the freedom movement was lead by Mahatma Gandhi. Dajisaheb also actively participated in this movement. He lead the non-cooperation movement in Amravati. He initiated in Salt Satyagraha at Dahihanda and invited the people. He was imprisoned because of breaking the rules and participation in freedom movement for first time on 12th July 1930 for nine months, second time on 15th Jan 1932 for one and half year and third time on 9th August 1942 for three years.
When Dajisaheb was at Shioni jail, one incident transformed him to come to a final decision of devoting his entire life for betterment of the lives of lepers. That incidence was: He saw a leper, who had committed suicide and whose body was being devoured by dogs on the street. So after returning from jail in 1945, he preferred to serve leprosy patients rather than joining politics. On 26th September 1946 he laid the foundation of ‘Jagdamba Kushthanivas’ in presence of Aacharya Vinoba Bhave. Then with the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi in 1947, Dajisaheb decided not only to treat the leprosy patients but also to rehabilitate them so as to make them self-reliant after being cured. When Dajisaheb was working for lepers, he realised that the treatment itself is not enough for them. So he decided to give all the residential patients a specific work as per their capabilities and interests. So he started various workshops like :- Carpentry workshop, Irony smithy, Carpet weaving centre, Printing press, Hand-loom and Power-loom workshop, Sewing workshop. He also demanded the Government that the workers working in every department should get properly paid.
After that Dajisaheb thought to re-stablish the cured patients into the society. For this purpose he arranged the marriages of cured patients and rehabilitated them. This was the first successful innovative experiment in all over India. The next question in front of him was about the children under the dark shadow of leprosy. For this, in 1962, he started Nursery, Primary school & High school at Tapovan for all the children. He worked very hard to make the various ‘Kushtha Samiti’ at National as well as state level. In the year of 1984, he handed over the total charge of Tapovan to the Government for India. On 10th November 1984, he left the Tapovan and went to Chandur-Railway. He started “Prayopaveshan”(self-sacrifice by refusing to take food and water) on 20 April 1986. He breathed his last on 7th May 1986.