Dr. Bindeshwar PathakDr. Bindeshwar Pathak is a great humanist and social reformer of contemporary India. To the weaker sections of society especially, his is the compassionate face of a paternal redeemer. He has the vision of a philosopher and the undying zeal of a missionary. He is the icon of sanitation and social reform who has made a difference in the lives of millions of people. In fact, he has turned the pages of history where with his efforts the erstwhile untouchables have been allowed by the society to intermingle with them, to live on par with them, dine with them and offer prayers in the temples. He has created a new culture which embraces the poor and extols the dignity of labour. His boundless love for the downtrodden finds expression in myriad and tangible ways. No wonder those who know him intimately swear that Dr. Pathak is born to help the helpless. He is the leader of an international crusade for restoration of human rights and dignity to millions of scavengers (cleaners and carriers of human excreta), traditionally known as untouchables; and for providing safe and hygienic human waste disposal system which can benefit 700 million Indians who go for open defecation, even along the roads and railway tracks as described graphically by Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul in his book ‘An Area of Darkness’. It is a far grimmer scenario when womenfolk have to go out for defecation in the open exposing human dignity and risking criminal assaults. He has identified himself with the problems of the untouchables. Dr. Pathak’s multi-pronged efforts in bringing scavengers, worst victims of institutionalized caste discrimination and engaged in sub-human occupation, in the mainstream of national life, have taken the shape of a movement for social justice. Moreover, he is an internationally acclaimed expert on sanitation and has developed and implemented on pan-Indian scale a low-cost and appropriate toilet technology (popularly known as the Sulabh Shauchalaya System) recommended as a Global Best Practice. To him goes the credit of sensitizing towards sanitation, Indians and those engaged in the sanitation work. Apart from lowcost sanitation, his contributions are widely known in the areas of bio-energy and biofertiliser, liquid and solid waste management, poverty alleviation and integrated rehabilitation programme for the liberated scavengers. In fact, he is a Renaissance Man and combines in himself the traits of a social scientist, an engineer, an administrator and an institution-builder. What is remarkable is that he has ingeniously utilized all these expertise to enrich and empower the depressed classes, improve community health, hygiene and environment. Thus, he is fulfilling the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar.