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Katre Guruji: A Saint Who Walked Over Leprosy

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Some succumb to the hardships but few tame the scars of life into their guiding force. Sadashiva Govindrao Katre, also known as- Katre Guru Ji- was the man belong to the later genre, who not only defeated his own sufferings but also helped countless to do the same.

Sadashiva Govindrao Katre, the founder of the largest Leprosy Rehabilitation Center at Chapa in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, was himself a leprosy patient but converting his pain into his power, he became an unparalleled crusader against leprosy.

In Aron town of Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, born to Govind Katre and the Radha Bai, child Sadashiva was the only son of his parents with three sisters as siblings. Misfortune hit him early as at the age of 8, he lost his father. From this point his whole life became a bitter struggle. After secondary education, he joined Railway.

In 1948, when ruling regime imposed a ban on RSS, being a dedicated Swymsevak, Sadashiva faced 6 months imprisonment as thousands of other too met with the similar oppression. Mean while his wife, Bayotai, passed away. Taking the unethical advantage of his crucial circumstances one of his sister refused to return cash and jewellery kept as safe-deposit with her. But worst started when Sadashiva diagnosed with leprosy. Learning about his heinous diseases first his family, friends and relatives distance themselves from him, then slowly and gradually his body become dysfunctional like an ugly wound. In absence of any money or any other support, Sadashiva eventually took harbour in a Christian Missionary’s Hospital, where he received some treatment. But soon he found conversion is their main objective under the disguise of service and when he refused to convert, the missionary’s threw him out.

In this darkest phase, Sadashiva met GuruJi (Second Sarsanghchalk of RSS), who transformed his life through helping him out in finding out the true objective of his life. From then onwards Sadashiva from an ordinary Leprosy patient became an extraordinary crusader against the devilish disease.

With two patients, in a small cottage, located in Ghogra Nala Kusht Basti near Saunthi, Katre Ji started his first rehabilitation center. Having paining wounds in legs, walking was so tortures for him, so at the age of 60, he learned riding a bicycle. Every day he used to paddle the bicycle to cover Sah, Afriand Lakhurry Birra villages, spread in 20km of surroundings near Chapa, to collect food and other stuff for his patients. He nursed and feed the patients himself. Most of the time when he went out to collect the food for patients, he received only insult and rejection, but this only made him more determine. As the number of patients increased, Sadashiva got a few helping hands and also a piece of land in donation, on which, spending his all savings, Sadashiva got four rooms constructed. Within short span of time a Gau-shala was established in the premises. Today, at Bhartiya Kushth Nivaran Sangh Chapa, spread in 85 acres of land, where more than 300 patients are giving their lives a new meaning.

Currently, Bhartiya Kushth Nivaran Sangh Chapa houses 150 Bio-Gas Plants. Through centralized cultivation, all essential commodities including such as pulses, wheat, rice and other ones cultivated by the patients only. Offering Respect to the idol of Katre Ji, situated in the premises, Damodar Bapat, who serves as manager here, emotionally tells that once whose daughter faced the severe humiliation by her in-laws, and he felt so helpless that time, the same person later in life saved the honor of countless patients and their families.

Courtesy: Sewagatha

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