Leprosy: Nobody touches them, but ‘he’ takes care of them

An auto rickshaw driver from Gulbarga, Hanmanth Devnoor and his family have dedicated their lives by helping people suffering from leprosy live a life of dignity

Hanmanth dressing the wound of the patient
Hanmanth dressing the wound of the patient

Unfortunately, in the year 1996, she left for the heavenly abode. “I remember my mother encouraged other people, who used to cry on their plight. She would say, don’t worry; my son will help you sail through it. She would always tell me that, unlike us, I don’t want others to suffer. So, I decided that I will do whatever I can,” said Hanmanth.

From the year 1998, I am taking care of leprosy patients. Considering I am a rickshaw driver, I earn Rs 500 per day, of which 200 goes for the people suffering with leprosy. “There is no one to treat them. I provide help to the leprosy patients by dressing their wounds, giving them first aid and also taking them to the government offices to help them in getting benefits of schemes for leprosy patients. In 2002, I opened the Mahatma Gandhi Leprosy Dispensary Centre in the colony, to provide regular dressing to the leprosy patients. He even took basic training from a doctor at the Leprosy Treatment Centre. Here, the people from district leprosy office come, once in six months and give them chappals and kit which is insufficient,” said Hanmanth.

My wife Bassama, who is my backbone, also helps the women with leprosy for their delivery and my kids too. “I take them to the clinic and since no one want to touch them, I do their deliveries. We seek everyone’s support for this. People should come forward and help these people,” said Bassama.

Hanmanth with his wife
Hanmanth with his wife

Yankuba, a leprosy patient who was helped by Hanmanth thanked him. “He is helping me since a month. I am feeling better than before but I am in a lot of pain. I am happy that Hanmanth is doing his bit for us,” said Yankuba.

Hanmanth says that he gets immense satisfaction to help people as even they have a right to live their life. “I never felt disgusted. Instead, I feel peaceful. I would like to urge the government to take some concrete measures and help these people, so that they can survive. While, I would I like to tell society that don’t neglect them, they are like you and me and they equally deserve a happy and a healthy life. Though, I will keep on doing what I do as if not me? Then who?” said Hanmanth with teary eyes.