Core Team

The dedicated team members who made all this happen.

Anant JoshiShri Anant Joshi

He originally joined the core group as an organizing secretary at a time when the Jamanalal Bajaj foundation was on the lookout for individuals with inclination towards village development. As organising secretary of Jamunalal Bajaj foundation, in 1987, he expressed the desire to join hands with Professor Jajoo. Professor Jajoo accepted the offer with the underlying principle that the donor agency, Jamunalal Bajaj Foundation, shall not interfere in the core group’s approach of methodological organization at grass root level; that the donor agency shall be a part of the core group all through the process from planning to assisting in grass root activities and without expectations of credit or publicity for support provided. This was acceptable to Joshiji and he joined the core team as a working member. In this new role, he is an invaluable member responsible for co-ordinating a range of diverse village development models. He has been the driving energy and asset behind schemes such as ‘one house one latrine’; ‘lift irrigation’ and ‘dairy development’. 

atulShri Atul Sharma

With an enviable drive, he put his energies behind “Bharat Jodo Yatra” – a programme that was guided by Baba Amte, the visionary social activist and founder of Anandwan. During this work, Sharmaji became immensely interested in youth movement. Like Professor Jajoo, he has been nurtured in a family that worked with Gandhiji and Vinobaji. He took up project director responsibility for ‘Gram Vikas Tantra Niketan’ (Community wing of polytechnic college) and introduced appropriate technology inputs into the village development programme. His contribution has brought laurels’ to the evolving vision of Self Help Groups (SHG). An astute grass-root worker, he has brought with him organizational capacity that has benefited the holistic development of rural health.

mankarShri Baba Mankar

A government official, Mankarji was the Project Director of District Rural Development Agency (Wardha district).  He had been nurtured in service orientation in the school of Gurudeo (Tukadoji) Seva Mandal and is eloquence par excellence. His selfless commitment and dedication is a lesson in what a pious man can achieve whilst working within the complex maze of Indian political and bureaucratic systems. An example is how his pro-people approach has helped us in raising funds from Jawahar Rojgar Yojna (Employment guarantee) for the “One house one latrine” scheme.

chabbraProfessor Shakuntala Chabbra 

Professor Chabbra is a postgraduate specialist with decades of experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a teacher par excellence. She has devoted her life to nurturing in medical students and health care professionals a desire to reach out to Vidarbha’s rural poor. She has been one of the strong and steady pillars of MGIMS. As the spirit and inspiration behind the evolving ‘maternal care strategy’, her concern for rural wellbeing and her commitment are reflected in the hard to believe fact that we have not witnessed a single maternal death since 1987 in any of the villages covered under the ‘Jowar Health Assurance Scheme’.

taleShrimati Kausalya Bagade & Shri Vasantrao Tale 

Shri (Mr) Vasantrao Tale is a social worker and Shrimati (Mrs) Kausalya Bagade is an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM). Both worked in Kasturba Hospital, now retired. They joined Professor Ulhas Jajoo’s ‘Jowar Village Health Assurance’ programme right in the early days of the inception of programme. Having evolved with the health assurance scheme, they became conversant in skills ranging from conducting late evening village meetings, engaging local villagers in stakeholder meetings such as SHGs and running village based clinics. These clinics covered maternal and child health activities like immunization, recording and reporting malnutrition, educating mothers on affordable healthy eating and advocacy for inpatient admissions. Their roles also included follow up of all indoor hospital admissions referred from the insured villages and help address any difficulties arising from the referral and admission processes.

prakashShri Prakash Dambhare 

As a member of Gram Vikas Tantra Niketan, Shri Prakash Dambhare has been a key contributor to the conceptual evolution of SHG dynamics. He joined Kasturba Health society in 2009 as an assistant to Professor Jajoo. In these five years, using his inborn organizational skills, he has co-ordinated over 290 SHGs (200 groups for women and 90 groups for men), with single handed devotion. He has passed on his love for accounting by teaching volunteers from villages to help them self-manage their accounts. In the process, he has played a key role in identifying villagers with leadership qualities. Other examples of his co-ordinating skills include ‘Agriculture for self-reliance’, ‘Vastra swavalamban’, ‘continuing education’ programmes and raising awareness of the ‘Jowar Health Assurance Scheme. In a line, Dambhareji is a jack and master of all trades.


Professor Shri Prakash Kalantri

Professor Kalantri is a much acclaimed and highly regarded Director Professor of Internal Medicine at MGIMS. Since the time of joining MGIMS, he has been a sympathiser and facilitator for the village development work. As Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, he represents the administration and is the brain behind MGIMS moving to a paperless, technologically savvy Institute.  The Jowar Health Assurance Scheme is thus computerised allowing accountability and transparency. It can be logged in using the MGIMS IT system and the credit for this 21st century achievement in a rural medical school is a result of Professor Kalantri’s vision and dream for a technologically progressive MGIMS.

No man is an island and fortunate are those who have a true friend that accepts us unconditionally. This is true in the case of Professors Jajoo and Kalantri. Having travelled this ardous journey of holistic rural health as a sympathiser, empathiser and rock solid supporter, he knows Professor Jajoo as no other does - innately and from the heart.  In him Professor Jajoo has a respected colleague and friend who will stand with him against all odds – and willingly swim against the tide to be the much needed emotional and intellectual anchor. For alumni and students too, keeping in line with this selfless all-embracing warmth, Dr Kalantri is that friend, philosopher and guide who has effortlessly transcended the invisible but real boundary of teacher-student relationship.