Determination can overcome all adversities
Leprosy is a disease that sends shudders down the spine of any person. To be diagnosed with leprosy, therefore, must have brought Anjan Dey's life crashing down.
But not for long! Dey picked up the threads of life, knowing fully well that it was no use to wallow in self pity. It was tough since Dey even faced ostracism from the people who now shunned him.
That was more than 20 years ago! And, today, Dey is not only fully cured of his disease but is a trained physiotherapist who has dedicated his life to helping other leprosy-cured people to get back on their own feet - a cause which has earned him the Wellesley Bailey award.
Dey was born to a middle-class family in Cuttack, Orissa. He was an excellent student throughout his schooling and obtained admission to an engineering college.
A routine visit to the family doctor for a minor ailment changed his entire life. He was diagnosed as having leprosy. Upon learning about his ailment, Dey's neighbours ostracised him. He was just 20 years old then.
Dey came to Pune for treatment to a lepers' home run by Scottish missionaries which later came to be known as the Dr Bandorwalla Leprosy Hospital. During his stay at the hospital, he was moved by the plight of the leprosy-afflicted patients.
After getting cured of his ailment, Dey decided to dedicate himself to the cause of leprosy elimination. He joined a medical college in Tamil Nadu and qualified as a physiotherapist. Since then he has been providing succour to the leprosy-cured people by helping them to be rehabilitated through physiotherapy.
Among his other achievements, Dey has participated in three research projects conducted by national and international institutions. He has four publications to his credit on post-leprosy care and rehabilitation of leprosy-cured persons.
Recently he was selected for the Wellesley Bailey Award for 2010-2011 by the Leprosy Mission International for his selfless devotion to serve handicapped persons. The Award includes a prize of 1,000 pounds and a presentation plaque. The Leprosy Mission claims that there is no other international award which acknowledges the accomplishments of those who have been affected by leprosy.
While informing Dey about his selection for the award, the Leprosy Mission International has told him in a communication, "You have been selected to receive a 2011 Wellesley Bailey Award for Courage, Achievement and Outstanding Contribution for the Cause of Leprosy. Those of us who have read about your life and work have been deeply impressed and we are delighted with this opportunity to recognize your contribution to the fight against leprosy."