Dr Mandakini and Prakash Amte, Chief Keynote speakers of SABERA 2021 had the entire audience enthralled with their inspiring journey of dedication to healing the forgotten section of society. Carrying forth Baba Amte’s legacy who dedicated his life to healing people infected with leprosy. Baba Amte left an affluent lifestyle and Dr Prakash & Dr Manakini consciously chose to live in a jungle after acquiring their MBBS degree. The following is a transcription of the interaction broadcast live on December 9th as part of the Fourth Edition of the Social and Business Enterprise Responsible Awards. The interaction is moderated by Aekta Kapoor, Founder eShe and South Asia Union, Transcription credits, Rucha Upadhyay, Coordinator SABERA.
Aekta – Today I am really happy to moderate today’s session with Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte. Let me start with my first question to Dr Prakash.
Dr Prakash, please tell us something about your life journey, you had decided to become a doctor at a very young age, please tell us more about it
Dr Prakash Amte – Everybody knows the name of Baba Amte. The work he started to serve the patients of Leprosy against the wishes of his parents and friends, as people thought it’s a contagious disease, causes deformity and maggot-infested wounds, hence the leprosy patients were cast away from society. Baba Amte started his work in 1949, named it “Maharogi Seva Samiti, Warora” it was a small village in the Chandrapur district. Baba Amte was very courageous, his father was a Landlord who owned 400 -500 acres of land, and wanted that Baba should practise as he was a lawyer and take care of the agricultural land, but as Baba was inspired by Gandhi ji, he slowly left behind his luxurious life, he had a sports car, was a wrestler, was penpal with celebrity actress like Norma Shearer. So when he decided to start Anandvan, my mother Sadhana Tai, my elder brother Vikas, who is a year or two older than me started living in the jungle, we had all the leprosy patients staying with us. We started with 6 leprosy patients, but as the word spread we started getting more patients, we were surrounded by leprosy patients but baba was very courageous. We have not seen a very civilised life as the family was boycotted by relatives. As we grew up we had no ambition, the school we went to was Marathi medium and similar to a municipality school, very simple, the teacher was also just 7th pass. We were in a vernacular medium and did not know what to do ahead in life, then slowly baba work started getting recognised by people, as we grew up, baba’s work also kept on growing. Vinobaji had inaugurated the work, so I and my brother started to understand the importance of the work baba was doing. These are sacraments that come slowly through observation and cannot be inculcated with speeches and lectures. Slowly when we reached grade 8th, 9th, we were so inspired by baba’s work that we decided that we will take his work ahead and we thought this work can be done more scientifically if we got MBBS degree, baba was not a doctor, though he had done a training from Kolkata school of medicine, a 6-month short course. Fortunately without even having any tuition, coaching we both got walk-in admission in Nagpur Medical College, baba was very happy, the tuition fees was very less, but baba had left all his property, he used to get honorary 200 rs per month from a charitable trust in Kolhapur, even my mother used to get 200 rs.They supported our entire medical education with this, as the tuition fees were 175 rs. Both I and my brother stayed in the same room, studied from the same books, hence the expense was shared. We never enjoyed life in Nagpur, as we were more or less outcasted, the khadi clothes we wore were taboo for people and they questioned us, either there were rich kids or reservation quota kids and we did not belong to either of them. Even though we were average students we passed all the years of the exam, so a final year when results were awaited, baba said that your results are awaited, let’s go for a picnic in a jungle, everybody enjoys going to jungle for 2 days, but we had no idea where this jungle was, barraged name was unheard of. We all started on a bus, had food etc with us. Bhamragad is 250 km from Hemalkasa where we stay now. It has a confluence of 3 rivers, it took us 3 days to reach that place, as it was very remote, had no approach road, too many rivers, and canals in between. When we reached we were really happy to see the confluence of rivers, surrounded by dense forest. The night was full of stars when we slept near the bonfire. We were really happy that baba had brought us to such a beautiful palace. We were going to stay for 2 days, the next day baba said let’s go and visit neighbouring villages as we are here. Baba might have visited this place earlier during his hunting trips during his earlier affluent days, and might be knowing the people who stay in nearby villages. When we went to the village, the villagers belonged to a primitive tribe called Madia, when they came out of hearing the noise of our vehicle, we could see all of them had fear on their faces. We had full clothes on, sweaters, shawls and these people had only loincloths, that too in the month of December with a temperature less than 10 degrees. We were surprised to see them so scarcely dressed, and thought what problems these people would be facing. When we tried to approach them to talk to them, all of them ran away into the Jungle. We were surprised to see why they are so suspicious of us, even though we didn’t do anything to harm them. We visited 2-3 villages which are separated by dense forest, but we couldn’t communicate with any villagers. If any old villager was unable to run away, they just sat with their necks down, we even had language problems, as we did not understand the Madia dialect. When we came back to our place near the confluence, sitting next to the crystal clear water, and bonfire, nobody spoke anything, as the impression from the day stayed with us, it was difficult to think that humans like us live so differently and we had no idea they exist until baba brought is here. It was difficult to believe that our fellow humans stayed in this acute poverty with no food to eat, malnutrition was rampant and could be seen from the undernourished kids. Baba could see that we were lost in our thoughts, and so he spoke on his own, that our MBBS degree was soon going to be complete, and we have decided to take the work of Anandvan forward, but I feel that we should do something for these tribal people. These are people of our country, our brothers, yet they don’t have clothes, food or even the opportunity to grow. When baba was speaking it suddenly struck me, that this was the aim of this picnic, so I asked baba, that you are close to the retirement age of 60 years, and you are thinking of working for these people, and I am 22 yr old(in 1970), just going to finish my MBBS degree, if you start this work, I will make sure to take it ahead. Baba had a sparkle in his eyes, that one of his sons was ready to take up this work without asking or requesting, he was very happy. We started back the next day, reached Anandvan, this was the turning point in my life. We passed our MBBS final exam, started an internship when baba asked us to write to the government of Maharashtra for land, as to start work we needed land in the dense forest. As everybody knows, the government process takes a lot of time due to bureaucracy, they took 3 years to approve land for our work. I had joined postgraduate meanwhile instead of sitting ideal at home, and this benefitted me as I met Mandakini there, look at the coincidence, she was in my college only, but was a year senior, we used to stay away from seniors as they did ragging, so we didn’t even know each other in the 5.5 years of college. She was working in Anesthesia and I was working in Surgery, while treating the same patient on the same table, we fell in love. She was from Nagpur, had no idea about Jungle or Social service, but nobody thinks in love, I told her that I have promised Baba that I will work in Jungle, so she said yes I am ready, this news reached baba through my elder brother. Baba called Mandakini, she had not visited Anandvan before. Anandvan was quite developed by then, we had proper roads, facilities, had a lot of visitors coming in, baba told her that don’t make up your mind seeing this, as Prakash is going to a place which has nothing, she told baba that Prakash has told me he will work for Adivasis in the jungle, and I have said yes to him. Baba was very practical and forward-thinking, my mother was a little sceptical as my elder brother was yet to be married. Baba asked us to get married immediately, we were still studying, had no employment, still, bab got us married in 1972, there was one more reason that if we waited for Vikas marriage she might change her decision(chuckles). After marriage, I took her for a honeymoon to the same place to show her where would be spending her future life. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we took a four-wheeler, got her here in the forest, she also realised then what it means to stay in a jungle, this is our history. Finally, we got land in 1973, baba took the possession, when I came to know, I left MS and came back, she was a lecturer in Anesthesia, she also resigned and joined me. This was the beginning of Hemalkasa.
Aekta: I would like to ask the same question to Dr Mandakini, please tell us more about your life before you met Dr Prakash, when you decided to join his mission of working for Adivasis, it must have a change in your lifestyle also, please tell us more about this how did you reach here
Dr Mandakini Amte: I am a city girl, I was born in Nagpur and completed all my education in Nagpur. Both my parents were teachers and had focused on our education in spite of being girls. They were not keen that I did MBBS as they felt it took a lot of years to complete, was very costly too, but my elder sister was already studying medicine, so I also urged them that I want to be a doctor. My mother supported me, but my father was not keen as it was difficult to manage the education cost for 2 girls, and he felt we should get married soon as he was getting old, it was a custom during that time that girls were married early. But due to my wish, my mother supported me, as she felt we had secured admission due to our hard work and merit without any support. I even offered to take a loan from Eastman bank to support my education and planned to pay it after my education, but my father refused and said he will manage to support my education. After going to medical studies, as is the general thought process that you either do practise or do a career in academics, even I had planned to do the academic career. After completing MBBS, I decided to do post-graduation in Anesthesia. During that time it was compulsory to take 2 house jobs, I took a house job in Anesthesia, where I met and got to know him. Till that time the only thing I had heard about Baba Amte was that he does social service and he has done a lot of work for the leprosy patients in Warora. At that time girls were not allowed to travel, so we had not seen anything, and we knew nothing about leprosy as who goes to a leprosy colony, nobody visited it, it was not a picnic spot or anything.I didn’t know Baba Amte very well, so no question of knowing anything about his Son’s. Even in our college, girl’s and boy’s never mingled. But when we started working together, initially we used to speak only about the patient, but slowly we started to get to know each other, and also came to know about the work they do, their lifestyle. Our friendship soon turned into Love. That time he told me he wanted to do something different. He wanted to open a hospital in the jungle for the Adivasi people and work for them, I felt that he had a different spark. He is not like others, who think of general practice after studying medicine. I loved the idea that I will get to do something different, he told me that he will stay in the Jungle post-marriage, and if I agree to stay in the jungle then we can go ahead or stop now. I honestly didn’t think too much and thought it’s ok anyway I have to work, let me work in the Jungle. I was in love with him, so I said yes. Later I realised what a true Jungle is. I had a different idea of the jungle, in which there were resorts in the Jungle. We had visited our cousins in Amravati who had shown us the Melghat jungle, Chilkhadhara tiger project, all of which had a lot of facilities. So I had this idea of Jungle that ok it will have all the facilities. But when I actually visited Hemalkasa, I realised that it had nothing but only Trees, trees and more trees. It didn’t even have a water facility, for water we had to go to the river which was 2kms away. When we got to the Land for our work, I was working as a lecturer of Anesthesia, so I resigned to come and stay with him. When I came here, there was no place for us to stay, so we built our own hut, a small 8X6 hut, and baba had made a shed for us, in which we did our cooking. A few leprosy patients and a few volunteers had come along with baba. The volunteer was not very educated, so we trained him in cooking, as there were no shops to get groceries, only 2 small shops which sold salt, potato, onion and rice, as rice was the staple food, we got nothing else.
So we used to get everything and store, we made a tin shed to store, so we had a small kitchen and storeroom, we taught the boy to cook, so he used to cook rice, dal and vegetable if we had any. We were able to survive with this, we had another hut, to start operating our hospital, we equipped it with primary equipment like a stethoscope and some medicines and started our clinic, also put a canopy in front of it, so the patients can come and sit. Initially, hardly any patients came, we used to keep on sitting for hours together, the people used to come and observe from a distance and think why these people have come here, staying in huts similar to us, what is the purpose behind this. We did not know their language, if we tried to speak, they just ran away. Slowly we started to visit the nearby villages, when we visited the village Hemalkasa which was ½ km from here and tried to speak to the people, there was a forest guard amongst them, he was posted in Hemalkasa and was not a resident of the village, he knew Marathi and because he has stayed with the Madia people for a long time, he knew the Madia dialect too, so he became a mediator for us and even we started to learn the language from him. We started to learn who these people are, why they eat only rice along with the words in the local language. He taught us how to ask Name, work in the local language, also how to ask about the disease or health issue they might have, we made a dictionary of Marathi to Madia to communicate with the patients, slowly we were able to communicate with the local people in broken Madia language. Only when we started communicating with them in their language, they gained confidence in us and stop running away from us. The government class 4, class 3 officers working in the region knew about Medicine, so if they had any issues like cold, cough, they came to us to get treatment, and even they started to ask the local tribal people to approach us for any medical problems with the kids, so the tribal people started coming to us, and slowly we started to build a repo with them. First two years we hardly got any work done, we just roamed around villages tending to patients but after that, we build a good trust and started our hospital.
Aekta – So you had a western medicine approach and the local people had a traditional medicine approach, they still trusted you?
Dr Prakash Amte – The traditional healers are very common in villages for generations, they believed in occult practices, magic and sacrifice, they did use the herbal medicines from the forest, but believed more in magic. When we started studying their culture, we understood they even practised Human sacrifice, which was very shocking for us, sacrificing kids were never heard of, it was scary to see the belief they had in superstition. We also felt they believed in superstition because if somebody fell sick with even a small disease, it usually gets cured on its own because of the immunity each person has, just like if you see now in corona many people didn’t even have any symptoms because of immunity, so if someone got any symptoms they used to take them to the occult practitioner, he did some magic and the patient got cured and so the faith built up. But the serious patients who did not recover from the occult practitioner, he used to put it in the hands of god, so we thought of convincing relatives of people who had been left to die to get them to us for treatment. I will tell you about 2 such cases, as I told you the winters are very harsh here, people literally slept near the bonfire, so there was a child in Hemalkasa who was suffering from epilepsy, got frequent bouts of fits, unfortunately, he got fit in sleep one day and fell in the bonfire and suffered 40% burns, as usually, the family took him to the occult practitioner called as Pujari, the pujari applied for some medicine, did some magic and sadly the wounds got infected, the wound was filled with puss and the green bottle flies which lay eggs on dead bodies, laid eggs in the wounds and developed larvae, the maggots started to eat the puss and muscle and growing big, they kept eating from inside and the boy was in too much pain. On our round to the village, we saw this boy sleeping outside his hut as his body was smelling, he was kept out, he was really helpless and crying in pain, just a small 10 yr old kid. We requested his parents that you have stopped treatment for him, and leave him to die, so get him to us for treatment, they also agreed. Our OPD was below a tree and in front of everyone, we did dressing for his wounds, removed maggots with forceps, put some eucalyptus oil which acts as a repellent and the maggots started coming out. We gave him antibiotics like penicillin which was very cheap and effective, we gave him Gardenal tablet for epilepsy, which people used to joke earlier that people commit suicide with sleeping pills, it was actually medicine for epilepsy in the olden times’ Sodium Gardenal. When the medicine was administered to the boy, as he had never consumed any medicine, the medicine had a tremendous effect on him, he recovered quickly, his fits also stopped, because of this the people who observed from a distance, started to come near us, we also adopted the boy, he started to stay with us, eat with us and also roam in the villages with us. More people started to realise that they had an alternate form of medicine for treatment. The Pujari did not like us as they considered us as competition, but we did not let it affect us, also we did not meddle in their belief, we told the villagers to go to the Pujari’s if he is not able to treat, then get the patient to us. The other case was a person who had fallen unconscious in a village which was around 30km far, everything was tried on him but he did not gain consciousness. Our work had reached them through the mouth to mouth publicity, so the village community decided to get him to our clinic, as they did not have any transport, 8-10 young boys carried him on the shoulders on a stretcher made with bamboo and rope. It was a proper entourage with 10-12 people who carried him in rotation, they got him here and kept him in front of our hut. We felt really happy that people travelled for 30 km just due to faith on us, bit next moment we were worried about how to diagnose it, we had no electricity, no investigative machines, don’t even know the language well to ask questions, so we started to read the books to diagnose based on the symptoms what could be the reason, and we both felt that this could be due to cerebral malaria and it is very serious. So as per our provisional diagnosis, we started treatment with Chloroquine and glucose, our volunteers used to sit around him to monitor him as one of his relatives used to sit and watch us. We put in a lot of effort as we thought if anything happened to him here, it will send a very wrong message that they got him from so far away and still no use and the pujari were better. One fine day the patient opened his eyes and started a movement, one of the volunteers came into me running and said Bhau come and see the patient is getting conscious, we went to see him and he was looking much better, on the fifth day when he gained a little strength without even telling anyone, he and his wife left even carrying the stretcher on his shoulders. When he came to us, he was lying on the stretcher horizontal, but when he left he went vertical carrying his own stretcher, this had a huge impact, more than a speech or lecturing could ever achieve. The news spread like fire that the clinic gives good medicine, even critical patients get better. It’s a long story but just telling you in short, this area is so huge, at least 1000 forest villages around, we have Bastar area, the Andhra Pradesh area, so patients started coming from the 150 km radius, they came walking to us, it took them 3 days to reach if the patient was serious the villagers carried them on shoulders. We hardly got time, as patients came on coming from all directions and were available 24 hrs. We even did deliveries, did tooth extractions, developed a method of hearing friction sound to guess if the patient had a fracture as we did not have XRay machines, then made plaster using plaster of paris, and even treated ENT patients. We both had decided that if a patient comes to us with so much faith, we will not send him back as we are not specialised in that field, as the specialist sat in Nagpur which was 350km, we had no roads, in June during monsoon, the river overflowed for 6 months in a year, with no bridges, no one could travel. So we thought if we refused a patient his chances of death are certain, so why not at least try to save them, even if we couldn’t cure them completely, at least we helped reduce the pain. Every year we got around 40 to 50 thousand OPD patients, even our indoor admitted patients slept below the tree near the bonfire.
Dr Mandakini Amte – We even tied the saline bottles to the trees
Dr Prakash Amte – This was our indoor hospital. After the villagers started trusting us, they opened up about other things. They used the forest completely for generations, hunted animals to feed, ate everything like monkeys, red ants, rats, deer, whatever it is, anything that moved they hunted and shared it. So the forest officers who worked here used to call the tribals to work by threatening that they are using forest property which belonged to the forest department if you make huts and use wood, it belongs to the forest department so work against that. The tribals used to work the entire day, in the evening giving a thumb impression and returning without even a single penny. These people started trusting us and came to me and said Bhau see we work for 8 hours and don’t get anything, I fail to understand why we call ourselves civilized, a person who has no food or clothes we still force them to work for 8 hours and still not pay them the 7 rs which they are entitled to through the employment guarantee scheme of the government. We complained about this to authorities, fortunately, as the complaint went from us it was heard, the officer was suspended, that’s when we and our volunteers decided that we will make these people aware of their rights and so after 2.5 yrs we decided to start school, as formal education will help them understand their rights, also we planned to teach them about agriculture as their life depended on the forest. We started to request the villagers to send kids to school, which they again started doubting, that why we want the kids to come to our house, as it was unheard of
Dr Mandakini Amte – There was no transport so it was difficult for kids to come for day school travelling 20 km
Dr Prakash Amte – They had doubts that if the kids went through the jungle, wild animals might attack them if they suffered snakebite who would take the responsibility. So our volunteers tried to convince them that you took so much time to trust the hospital and now you are coming in 1000’s, then why don’t you give us a chance to teach your kids, they will learn about agriculture which will help them
Aekta – So you offered them a residential school
Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte – Yes they stayed very far away, it was impossible to travel daily. So out of obligation, they sent 25 kids, 2-3 kids from each village. Out of which 10 ran away as they did not like the discipline, we asked them to send girls too, so 2 girls joined the school.
Aekta– How many kids study in school now?
Dr Mandakini Amte – 650 students study in the residential school, in which half are girls and half are boys. The first three kids from the first batch studied till the 12th, we had classes only till the 10th, so we sent those kids to Anandvan which is baba’s project. It has a college, our college only. One of them decided that he wants to return to the village and do something here only, so he returned applied in the forest department and became a guard there, the second one decided that he wanted to be a teacher, so he took the training for the same and joined as a teacher, the Adivasi seat used to remain empty earlier, so he got a good government job on the Adivasi seat. The third kid was very hardworking and said he wants to be a doctor, we felt really happy, he did a lot of hard work, he passed with first-class and got admission in the reservation quota in the government college, he passed MBBS, we felt very happy that a kid whose parents were uneducated and still sent him to us with trust has achieved such success. So we asked him to return and apply for a government job which was never filled due to lack of candidates, but he said he wants to do post-graduation, we were happy and supported him. He got admission in gynaecology, he wanted to be a surgeon, but did not get admission, he completed his MD in Gynecology and the good thing is he decided to serve the same area he had come from. He got a government job here, and is practising nearby for the last 20 years, he has become an idol for the rest of the people as they look up to him, that he is in such good condition, owns a house, has Class 1 post, is in charge of the rural hospital, all parents look at him and feel that their kids should be educated too.
Dr Prakash Amte – Basically everybody started seeing the results, he was the first doctor, but now we have many others who are doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors and many have returned back and are doing farming in the village. We taught them to do a variety of farming
Dr Mandakini Amte – Even a girl became a doctor, few studied nursing, some became teachers, Anganwadi teachers, many girls are working in government jobs.
Dr Prakash Amte – So these are 2 major activities Health, let me tell you one thing we both were doctors, so decided to open a hospital, but understood only hospital won’t lead to progress of these people, like a doctor gives you medicine to have after food, but these people didn’t have food to eat only, so we came up with the idea to teach them farming. The tribals got exploited as they did not have an education, so we gave them the education to understand their rights. Only education would have made them Babu’s, so we gave them vocational training, like using the traditional craft of bamboo craft, metal craft to make a commercial craft. This was all done by our volunteers, I also say we were only the reason, but it was the teamwork which helped us achieve all this. All the volunteers worked tirelessly for a common goal and that too without complaining about the living condition, there was no electricity for 22 years, nobody complained, even in 45 degrees they never felt hot, it’s all habit, we knew there is no electricity, so nobody felt hot, there was no telephone for 25 years, so we believed No news is the good news. Until no one came on cycle with some news we believed the world is working fine. There was no television, no source of entertainment, but our volunteers never complained that there were no theatres or anything. So the environment was always very pleasing, and everybody thought that we should complete the work we are here for, all the rest of the things are minor. The other reason we didn’t complain was that the people for whom we came here, did not even have food to eat, ate rats and ants, but at least we had food to eat, and hence nobody complained and we had a good environment. This was a short history of my life, but the other major work I did was how to keep animals as a member of your family.
Aekta – Yes please tell us more about this
Dr Prakash Amte – Yes I missed talking about it. It was a tragedy that they had to kill the animals to survive and we are only responsible for this because we could not provide them with food. After independence, they lived in isolation so they had no other alternative. Once when we went into the jungle the villagers had hunted the monkey. Even they were scared and we were surprised we had never heard anybody killing monkeys, but these people ate them. We saw a live baby was drinking milk from a dead mother, a Rhesus monkey, the one with red mouths, we asked the villagers to give us babu monkey, but they refused to say the kids in the village are hungry, we understood the acute hunger they faced, so we bargained and gave them rice and dal for the kids and got the baby monkey home. We had a country dog back in our hut. Dog’s and monkeys are usually enemies but they developed a friendship in a couple of days. The baby monkey used to ride on their dogs’ backs and accompany us. The patients who came were amused by their friendship. We offered the villagers to bring us orphan animals they found in the jungle instead of eating them and we would give them food in exchange. So we got our next animals: a deer fawn, a leopard cub, all of them used to roam freely at our home. We used to give them bottle feed and they grew up. We used to go for a walk in the morning/evening to the river confluence, whenever we started the dog used to follow, followed by the leopard, bear, wild buffalo, it was a big entourage, as there were no roads or civilization, there was no risk. As the animals were well fed they never got aggressive or attacked any strangers. These animals were like part of our family. As the hospital grew and we had more children in the school for everybody’s safety, we started keeping the animals in cages. But we do give them limited freedom, we take them in crates to places where there is no one for walks. Leopards, bears, and hyenas, which are usually considered very dangerous, are our family members. I have never trained them, just gave them a mother’s love. I, my son and my grandson are not afraid of snakes, we wear them around our necks. The people around here are scared of snakes because many deaths are caused by snake bites
Aekta -Through the platform of SABERA, the voices such as yours are reaching corporate leaders, what would you advise the corporate leaders, urban citizens or politicians, what should we do for the mainstream integration of tribals, please advise us.
Dr Prakash Amte – I would like to give an example of my own life, if baba had not shown us this path, we would have stayed in Anadvan, would have served the leprosy patients, exposure is most important. We don’t realise that staying in cities, we only look at affluence, we think earning more is a success. When you are young go to a jungle and watch their life, just a little by opening your eyes, this has an effect on your subconscious mind, that exposure is important, only after that people will realise that the life they are living is good and there is no point being greedy. I always tell youngsters that look at these areas and you will not feel bad that I don’t get things in my life.
Aekta – Thank you for sharing your perspective with us, and I am very privileged that I got a chance to meet you
Dr Prakash Amte – Thank you, I have heard about Parvati, she has a special story, at the age of 15 yrs she is now conducting this show, the confidence she has developed, she is an example that you have, that if given an opportunity what can be achieved. A lot of people can get inspired by Parvati’s story, the confidence she has at such a young age.
Aekta – And it owing to corona we have been able to connect virtually, she is in Uttarakhand, and we are in different places. Like you said, if we have a mission, we will do whatever it takes, irrespective of our physical distance.
This is a transcription of the interview broadcast live on December 9th as part of the 4th edition of SABERA 2021.