|Amritlal Vithaldas Thakkar|
November 29, 1869|
|Died||20 January 1951(aged 81)|
|Education||L.C.E. (Licenciate in Civil Engineering, presently equivalent to Graduate in Civil Engineering)|
Amritlal Vithaldas Thakkar, popularly known as Thakkar Bapa (29 November 1869 – 20 January 1951) was born at Bhavnagar, Gujarat. "Bapa" in Gujarati means Father in English. He was an Indian social worker who worked for upliftment of tribal people in Gujarat state in India. He became a member of the Servants of India Society founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1914. In 1922, he founded the Bhil Seva Mandal. Later, he became the general secretary of the Harijan Sevak Sangh founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1932 . The Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh was founded on the 24 October 1948 on his initiative. When Indian constitution was in process, Thakkarbapa visited remotest and most difficult parts of India and conducted probe into the situation of tribal and Harijan people. He added valuable inputs in the process of constitution. Mahatma Gandhi would call him ‘Bapa’.
Thakkarbapa visited forests in Assam, rural Bengal, drought affected areas of Orissa, Bhil belts in Gujarat and Harijan areas of Saurashtra, Mahar areas of Maharashtra, untouchables in Madras, hilly areas of Chhota Nagpur, desert of Tharparkar, foothills of Himalaya, coastal areas of Travankor with his mission of upliftment of tribal and harijans. He would always travel in third class of railway. Thakkarbapa spent 35 years of his life in service of tribal and harijans.
Thakkar Bappa was born on November 29, 1869 in a middle-class family of Bhavnagar in Saurashtra region of Gujarat State India. His father Vithal Das Thakkar 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. (Licenciate 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 some time and then was employed in Bombay municipality as an engineer. 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. He later served in Uganda (Country) railways in East Africa. In 1914, he resigned and took up social work. He became a member of Servants of India Society and advocated the rights of untouchables and tribals.Thakkar bapa is like a father of India.
The Government of India issued a stamp in his honour in 1969. A well known locality, Bappa Colony in Mumbai is named after him. The Madhya Pradesh state government has instituted an award named in his honor for dedicated services to poor, victimised and totally backward tribal community.Maharashtra government has set the scheme to improve aadivasi villages and colonies named Thakkar Bappa aadivasi vasti sudharana in the year 2007
- "Thakkar Bapa — Friend of poor". Chandigarh: The Tribune. June 3, 2006. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Ratna G. Revankar (1 January 1971). The Indian Constitutions --: A Case Study of Backward Classes. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-8386-7670-7.
- "Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh (BAJSS) - Introduction". Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh website. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Hari, Viyogi. Thakkar Bapa (in Gujarati), New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.