A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of Thakkar Bapa, an Indian social worker, member of Servants of India Society, founder of Bhil Seva Mandal, general secretary of Harijan Sevak Sangh :
Issued by India
Issued on Nov 29, 1969
Issued for : The Posts and Telegraphs Department feels proud in bringing out a special stamp on the Birth Centenary of this great servant of Society which falls on 29th November, 1969.
Description of Design : The design of the stamp is vertical and depicts a portrait of Thakkar Bapa.
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Brown
Denomination : 20 Paise
Overall Size : 3.34 X 2.46 cms.
Printing Size : 2.99 X 2.10 cms.
Perforation : 13½ x 14
Watermark : Printed on unwatermarked Adhesive stamp paper
Number Printed : 30,00,000
Number per issue Sheet : 54
Printing Process : Photogravure
Designed and Printed at : India Security Press
Name : Amritlal Vithaldas Thakkar
Born on Nov 29, 1869 at Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India
Died on Jan 19, 1951
- “Thakkar Bapa is a rare worker. He is unassuming. He wants no praise. His work is his sole satisfaction and recreation. Old age has not slackened his zeal. He is himself an Institution“. “I sometimes grow envious of Thakkar Bapa when I observe his methods while travelling. We are both more or less of the same age, but he is entirely regardless of his physical comforts. His life demonstrates what is sincere service and we will do well to follow his example“. Such was the tribute paid to Shri A. V. Thakkar, affectionately known all over India as Thakkar Bapa, by Mahatma Gandhi.
- Truly Thakkar Bapa was the supreme embodiment of human sympathy considering his interest in various fields of enduring service such as in famine relief work, Bhil Seva, Harijan Seva, Kasturba work and in the Service of all sections of humanity that are neglected.
- Thakkar Bapa was born on the 29th November, 1869 in a middle-class family of Bhavnagar in Saurashtra. His father Vithal Das Thakur named the child Amrit Lal. He received his first schooling for benevolence and service to humanity from his father. He got his L.C.E. (Licentiate in Civil Engineering) from Poona in 1890. He worked as an engineer creditably in Porbander and later went out of India to serve in laying the First Railway Track in Uganda (East Africa). He served also as chief engineer in Sangli State for sometime and then was employed in Bombay municipality. It was here he saw, for the first time, the miserable conditions of those scavengers who had to dispose of the refuse of the whole town of Bombay. He was shocked to see the filthy colonies where the Sweepers had to live and made a firm resolve to devote the rest of his life to alleviate the lot of these people.
- After taking this decision he resigned from service and in 1914 joined the “Servants of India Society“. He served the famine-stricken areas in Orissa in 1920-21. He established Bhil Seva Mandal in Dohad (Gujarat) in 1922 and attracted the attention of the country towards the exploited Adivasis. He later organized a ‘country-wide movement’ for their welfare and social integration. Thakkar Bapa was the right hand of Gandhiji in serving the economically exploited and socially segregated Harijans. It was solely due to his keen devotion and selfless service in 1923 that the work of the Harijan Sevak Sangh spread and progressed throughout the country. The economic, social and the educational development of Harijans became his life mission. In spite of his indifferent health he accompanied Gandhiji to Noakhali in 1947 and reached out all possible help to the afflicted.
- Truth was his guideline for all the institutions he looked after. He was also particular about the correct accounting of public funds. On more than one occasion great leaders of the nation like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Rajindra Prasad, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel complimented him for his self-less service. He was the inspiration of many missionaries in the cause of the service of the backward classes and the tribal people and for other constructive work. For him the service of the people was a labour of love. We shall always be proud to claim him as the man of our generation and there is no doubt that the next generation will always look to his example for inspiration and guidance.
- He steadfastly struck to his mission of service of the weaker sections of society to his last breath. He never took any rest. His work was his respite. His death on 19th January, 1951 was a great loss to the country.