12 Things You Need To Know About The World Famous ‘Jaipur Foot’

Jaipur, a city that is celebrated all across the world for its culture and heritage, has also registered its name in the world for one of the biggest inventions in the field of medical science, Jaipur Foot. The prosthetic limb that made India a world leader in low cost foot prosthesis definitely deserves a big mention whenever one speaks about the pink city. This is the reason why Jaipur Beat decided to give BMVSS, organization for the disabled and the reason behind Jaipur Foot’s success, a visit and speak to its patrons about the invention and more. And we have listed for you a few facts which you might like to read about Jaipur Foot !

  1. InventionJaipur Foot, prosthetic limb which was invented in Jaipur in 1968, is credited with changing thousands of life all over the world. The Jaipur foot is especially known for helping people in under privileged and downtrodden countries rampaged by war, terrorism and disease. The prosthetic limb has been a game changer in the orthopedic field and is the most widely used prosthetic foot till now.
  2. The BeginningThe journey of Jaipur foot began when three doctors from SMS hospital realised that the artificial limb (foot) from America and Germany did not fit the needs of Indian population. The foot did not support the common Indian, who would walk barefoot, sit cross legged, squat and work on uneven land. 70% of India was involved in agriculture and these prosthetics would never sustain the work done by farmers who had lost their limb. Thus began the journey of Jaipur foot. Jaipur foot began as a combined effort of Dr P.K Sethi and sculptor Ram Chandra Sharma. They along with Dr. Mahesh Udawat and Dr S.C. Kasliwal worked on developing artificial limbs.
  1. Man behind the InventionSculptor Shri Ram Chandra Sharma, the man who gave hope to many people, with the creation of Jaipur foot is the real hero behind this miracle. The journey from an idea to an actual prototype had a lot of hurdles but with a skilled craftsman like Ram Chandra Sharma the three doctors achieved a favorable outcome. The alternative prosthetic, designed by him, proved to be a success as it was cost efficient, waterproof, and more flexible and contrary to other prosthetics, this one gave the appearance of actual foot.
  1. BMVSS – The organization behind the SuccessBhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata  Samiti (BMVSS) is the world’s largest organisation for the disabled with its headquarters in Jaipur. The institution was started in 1975 by D.R. Mehta, who, after meeting an accident; faced the risk of amputation. He started this organization keeping in mind the economically and socially backward classes; to not only give them freedom from disability but also from their socio-economic conditions. In the last forty years BMVSS is credited with helping more than 1.6 million disabled people.  It is the main organisation behind the development of Jaipur Foot and has been the major reason behind Jaipur Foot’s success all over the world.
  1. Hindi Movie made on Jaipur FootBased on the real life of Indian actress Sudha Chandran who is a talented classical Bharatnatyam dancer to have survived a car crash in 1981 that required her right leg to be amputated, a Hindi movie ‘Naache Mayuri’ was made casting her in the role of Mayuri who is able to pursue her passion of dancing with the help of Jaipur Foot.
  1. Free of CostBMVSS added a value system in a medical procedure through service which is all free of cost. With an open door policy an amputee could enter in the any one of the 23 centers in the country any time of the day and would get assistance with food and shelter irrespective of their gender, religion, and sect. 96% of the funds received here are used for the patients and only 4% is used for other expenditures (lowest in any NGO). Most of the employees at the centers are those who have benefited from Jaipur Foot and some work here voluntarily.
  1. Economic Help to the PatientsBMVSS not only provides a disabled person with a prosthetic they also help the person gain their status back in the society. They encourage them to get back to work, help them with getting the proper skills and also assist them with other requirements. (Providing tea stalls, other job opportunities).
  1. International FameJaipur Foot didn’t only help people across the country but helped thousands of people across the world to be able to walk.  The prosthetic limb that was created to help poor Indians found a place in many countries of the world. BMVSS has successfully organised camps in more than 25 countries like Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Nigeria to name a few and helped people to get back on their feet.
  1. Simple procedureThe process to get a prosthetic limb is very simple and comfortable for patients. The first step is to get a registration of the patient, after which a doctor is referred to him who advises the kind of prosthetic to be used. The patient is then taken to the Measurement and Mould Modification room where a cast is made through the use of plaster of Paris (POP). The cast is shaped to look like an actual limb and then shifted to the Prosthetic section where it goes through several processes until it is finally fitted. The patients are then instructed on how to walk on steep surfaces and stairs.
  1. Developments and MoreBMVSS has held many camps in other countries and has also ventured into developing new prosthetic like the Jaipur Knee and artificial hand which started developing 2 years back. They have also opened up more than 20 centers across India so that patients don’t have to travel much to receive service.In the past few years other prosthetics have also been developed like the Jaipur Knee which is a joint venture of Stanford University and Jaipur Foot. This invention which costs just $20 as compared to a knee replacement which could cost thousands of dollars was hailed as one of the 50 best inventions in 2009 by TIME magazine.
  1. AccreditationThe organization and Jaipur Foot have both been awarded for the fantastic work that they have accomplished in helping the disabled. Some of the accreditation are as follows: The BMVSS has received 2 National awards, Mahavir Award, Sat Paul Mittal National award, CNBC-TV18 Social Enterprise of the Year Award and S.R. Jindal award.
    Mr. D.R. Mehta has been conferred with Padma Bhushan, tech award for innovation by Tech Museum Innovation Organization, California and Life Time Humanitarian award among others. Shri Ram Chandra Sharma, the inventor of Jaipur Foot, has also been presented with Diwali-Ben award.
  1. D.R. Mehta – The Man behind BMVSSHere is an excerpt from the interview that we had with D.R. Mehta, the man responsible for creating Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti and making it possible for many to stand on their own feet 🙂

Rendezvous with D.R. Mehta – Founder  BMVSS

  1.     You were not related to Jaipur Foot when it started in 1968 then how did you start this organisation?I met with a serious car accident in Jaisalmer, but I survived, for me it’s a second lease on life. My leg was broken but I did not lose a limb. That’s when it occurred to me that if my driver or someone less privileged had lost his or her limb, they wouldn’t have the resources for treatment. So the idea of creating BMVSS was born there.
  2.     Who are your inspirations?

“I had five influences that time – 1. Mahatma Gandhi, 2. Dr. Albert Schweitzer – He got a Nobel prize and was one of the topmost social activists of 20th century, 3- Douglas Bader – A pilot who had lost his limbs and with both legs gone he downed the largest number of German planes in second World War, 4- My mother and wife – they encouraged me a lot, 5 – My guru.”

3.      These people inspired you to start this organisation, so what was your first step in setting up BMVSS?

“I didn’t have a lot of funds that time and I started with 4 lakh rupees, till then Jaipur Foot had already been developed. But to promote the same, a lot of work and many essential factors like technology, philosophy, management system, funding, passion and leadership were required.”

4.      So what is your main motive?

Till now we have rehabilitated over 1.6 million people either though artificial limb or crutches, wheel chair and more. Our philosophy is “Regaining mobility of disabled people who have lost
everything,” and our health care model is to help the less privileged.

5.    You have been doing this for 40 years now, how do you do it?

Well I am going through what the great philosopher Plato would call “Helpers high” – it’s an addiction. And the giver really does get more than the receiver.  I am here for 8-10 hours every day except Sundays and the joy to see a person regain his/her independence is beyond measure and simply priceless.

Happy National Doctor’s Day 🙂


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