Udupi; Oct 08: Even after knowing the fact that leprosy can be cured, still the people are under the wrong impression that this leprosy cannot be cured and will ruin the entire life.
As a good Samaritan to leprosy patients, Kaup Vishwanatha Shetty, who was born to Padur Kollabettuguttu Vasu Shetty and Uliyaragoli Bhavani Shetty on October 18, 1934, as a second son to the couple.
In 1940, though he started getting the symptoms of leprosy in his fingers in the hand, Shetty, without losing the heart and as per the instructions of one doctor, he got freed from leprosy within one year.
But the superstitions due to illiteracy, which was rampant in those days about the cruel attitudes of the people towards leprosy, put shetty under tremendous problems one after the other.
Shetty, after completing his SSLC in Shirva Hindu high school in 1952, got an admission in Udupi MGM College. But because of mean mentality and approach of the people about the disease, he had to leave the college within three months of his admission.Thereafter, he did his training course in teaching and a job in Ekopadhyaya school as headmaster, as a lecturer in one of the night schools in Mumbai, as medical representative in one of the medical companies, hotel business in Raichur and Hubli, weekly publication on employment etc he had to leave because of wrong notion about the disease.
Because of mistrust about leprosy, contemptible attitudes of the people, Shetty had to undergo lots of ordeals. But without losing heart and bravely he joined as a worker in one of the leprosy centres as per the instruction of Baba Amte.By visiting leprosy rehabilitation centres, camps and hospitals, he gathered enough knowledge about the leprosy. Not only was that he even planning to start one hospital of his own for the diagnosis of leprosy disease.
In 1980, he started one Bright India leprosy rehabilitation centre at Madhyadka in Belthangadi taluk.This has become a boon for many of the leprosy patients and still now it is functioning.
Besides, his two books about leprosy, written in English ‘’Untold truth about Leprosy” and “Provoking thoughts on Leprosy” has become international fame and earned him a name.
The man, who has been continuously working for Maharashtra’s ‘Kusta Roga Adhyayan Samiti’,Indian government’s’Kusta Roga Upa Samiti’,in Vardha Kusta Roga institution, Hind Kusta Roga Nivarana Sangha,has delivered more than 1500 lectures on leprosy and given more informations about leprosy to more than 5 lac students.
Because of his social service, relentless efforts and dedication, he was able to bag many awards in districts and state level. ” Wellesley bailey” an international level award, which is being given away by “England Leprosy mission international” for the year 2009 was given to Mr.shetty.
In his efforts and attempts, his wife Sulochana has been extended her major co-operation and support. One of his two children is dead and another son was a graduate.
Shetty says, a superstition about the disease in the society is more painful to heart and mind than the injuries on the body of leprosy patients.
Uninterrupted efforts,challenges,though he has experienced many bitterness and upheavals in his own life, the credit of resolving the pains of many leprosy patients goes to Kaup Vishwanatha Shetty.