CONSCRIPT YOUR CONSCIENCE BABA AMATE* FOR SOCIAL GOOD** Coming to...
CONSCRIPT YOUR CONSCIENCE
BABA AMATE*
FOR SOCIAL GOOD**
Coming to this sophisticated metropolitan tarnished with prejudices. You have to
city from Somnath Jungle, my friends, I inspire the youth who is finding in the
feel like Sabu, the elephant boy. Lecturing canvas a convenient place to hide behind
is not my profession, so to me, speeches, and to avoid purposeful action. Like the
like babies, are easy to conceive but difficult paints of the artist, therefore, the young
to deliver. I wonder, therefore, how far I mind is your raw material. You too must be
will succeed in putting forth to you my able to get an insight into the problem. For
present heartache.
this you will have to live with the disturbed
You are here to take training to motivate and frustrated youth.
the youth, to awaken their social con-
In social work, we usually live for the
science. You have to deal with a disturbed people. That is why you 'adopt' a village.
generation, a generation which is eager to Do you realise that the villagers resent this
see results. They have waited long enough. patronising? I work with the blind, the
It is a volatile, vocal generation, belonging leprosy patients, the physically handicapped.
to the present volcanic period. J
I live with them. They have stopped being
You can deal with it only if you know sorry for their deformities long ago. They
the maxim that, 'unless one is inspired one have stopped being sorry for what is lost
cannot inspire, unless one is moved, one and are zealously living with what is left.
cannot move others.' So you have first to Your adopted villagers are not even
be inspired for the cause, to be moved for physically handicapped. Nor are they
the purpose. You have to conscript your orphans. They know also that they are
conscience for social good. You have to not responsible for their plight. They do
court voluntary imprisonment. 120 hours need aid, but they also want to live by
is only a minimum term for NSS youth.
their own efforts and with self-respect.
NSS is like a cricket pitch where you will
Shri V. S. Khandekar, Marathi Littera-
coach the youth in the game of social teur, has written about an adopted son who
service. But, friends, you have first to train could never forgive his real parents for
yourselves to be the coaches. It is your changing his name, his environment. The
work to create harmony out of the present adopted villagers too, resent the word
chaos by training youths in the field for adoption. They do not really wish to be
social service.
aid-addicts. They want to live by their own
You have to be an artist who finds a efforts and improve their lot with self-
challenge in the blank canvas before him. respect.
Intently looking at it with a piercing vision,
With them and with the youths you have
his imaginary lines become alive. His to build a "fellowship of pain."
characters start acting. The youth has a
blurred vision at present. His mind is
* Shri Baba Amate is a well-known Social Worker and normally a resident of Maharogi
Sewa Samiti, Anandavan, Warora, Chanda District, Maharashtra State.
** In September 1971 an Orientation course was organised for NSS Officers at the Tata
Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay. Shri Baba Amate was invited to deliver the
valedictory speech. This is a gist of his speech.

88
BABA AMATE
must also be responsible for the results. You
must be able to say with confidence that
"he tested me before he entrusted m e ! "
Youth organisation must be a University
without walls. Like the set books, there is
You, as the coaches, can give the vision. no set path for you to reach the goal. Youth
But there must also be passion and com-
finds his own way. And if he does not
passion. And even before this trinity, there find it, he makes a way like the spacemen
must be conviction.
exploring outer space. In Ethiopia they had
A carpenter's son was the first man who organised 'Hammer and Nails squads' of
lived with the people. He lived with them the youths. Thousands of youth went on
and carried the cross for them. If we can-
building houses, schools, hospitals as a
not carry his cross, let us at least attempt crash programme. Joining the squad was
to walk in the shadow of his cross.
compulsory to start with. Later, it was made
Chesterton has said "if we can find voluntary. But by then results achieved
sublime inspiration, in the ruins of the old caught the mind of the youth and the
Churches, why can we not find sublime activity went on with equal zeal.
inspiration in the ruins of man? If we find
Devotion leads one to complete surrender
beauty in the ruins of Ajanta, why do we to one's cause. It is not the same as sub-
abhore a man's deformity? Ajanta was the mission. The starting of an august and noble
creation of man, but is not the man the institute, is always the result of such zeal,
creation of the Almighty? This recurring devotion and dedication of a missionery.
question is disturbing and must be solved.
To a drunkard, it is said, the first peg
If you find the 'why' of it, you will find the of wine or liquor is bitter, tasteless and
'how' of it.
he sips it with effort. Then he takes the
This is the age of instant effervescent second peg and enjoys the drink. But when
revolutions, because the youth is anxious he has the third peg, the wine drinks the
for instant results. But such revolutions man and consumes him fully. Social service
bring in their wake autocrats, dictators. You envelopes the youth in the same way. When
have to tackle such a hasty generation. So you start working in the field, you have
you have to work with the youth. Your blisters on the hand, which test your
work and not talk should be your patience, your steadfastness. When you
sermon.
persist the next day, the blisters give way
Our Society is stumbling against slogan-
and pus oozes from them. But to you it is
stuffed politics. Slogans can never inspire really the joy that oozes out of these
youth for real action. They must be enthused wounds! You are therefore, unmindful of
for self help. When you work in the slums the pain and thus as the days pass, the
or in hospital, you have to inject in their work engrosses you, engulfs you. I would
minds enough confidence so that they help like you to be such an addict of social
you to help them.
service.
One does come across dangers. But youth
Thus your personality is enriched when
has the greatest disregard for danger. You you search for the darkest corner of
have to see that the youth work with society and dedicate yourself to light a
devotion, dedication and love. This is the candle there. The confidence that you thus
trinity for success. You must be responsive get in the field of social service is more
to the sensitivity of the young mind and contagious than any disease.

CONSCRIPT YOUR CONSCIENCE FOR SOCIAL GOOD
89
In your work there must be a perfumed fondle the bow and fiddle with the arrow.
embrace of love and co-operation.
You have to act swiftly and act with
You have to work in a society, which dedication.
has lost its sensitivity. How long can you
I wish you God speed in your work.