Dr Hanumantha Rao Pasupuleti paved the way for disabled persons across the country

Updated - January 27, 2023 07:34 am IST

Published - January 26, 2023 09:21 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Dr. Hanumantha Rao Pasupuleti

Dr. Hanumantha Rao Pasupuleti

Dr Hanumantha Rao Pasupuleti during his more-than-four-decade journey has paved the way for disabled persons across the country. He is one of the three persons from Telangana to be awarded with India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. He was selected for the award from the field of medicine. ‘My dream is to establish a university of rehabilitation sciences for the welfare of disabled people, which will be a one-of-its-kind institution in the world, he said while speaking to The Hindu.

Dr. P Hanumantha Rao is a paediatrician based in Hyderabad and has been practising medicine for the last 46 years. In 1977, he started the ‘Sweekaar Rehabilitation Centre’ which was later renamed ‘Sweekaar Academy of Rehabilitation Sciences’ to serve children with special needs. In those days, people would hide mentally challenged children and society would not accept them. ‘Then I coined the word ‘Sweekar’ which meant to accept special children. Today the academy caters to mentally handicapped, physically disabled, drug addicts, widows and destitute persons. said Dr Rao.

His contribution to the field of Rehabilitation and of disabled persons is exceptional, in the course of more than four decades, the services provided by him have benefitted more than 86 lakh disabled persons. Later, with the urge to not just serve for rehabilitation but also to create professionals in the same field, he started more than 30 programmes at the academy to generate professionals. Realising that Sweekar alone could not serve society at large, he established Institutes of Special Education, Speech and Audiology and Mental Health under Sweekar Academy. About 6,800 professionals who have studied in these institutes over the course of time, are today rendering their services across the country and world in the field of rehabilitation sciences.

Narrating a story from 2004, Dr Rao said that former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Rajashekar Reddy had visited the Sweekaar centre at Secunderabad. He was very much impressed with the model and he insisted that a centre be established in Kadapa as well. Taking a step ahead, Sweekaar centres were also opened in Tandur and Guntur. 

Speaking on getting awarded with rhe Padma Shri, Dr Hanumantha Rao said “I am happy and satisfied that the government has recognized me and this message will reach society as well. Though the award is delayed, it is not denied. If I was given the award a few decades ago, then I would have had the same zeal and enthusiasm to further take the services forward and reach a large mass but now, I am looking for a social partner who can join me in taking Sweekar to the next level.”

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