The vision of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) was set up in 1975 in Jaipur to commemorate the 2500th year of nirvana of Bhagwan Mahaveer, the great Lord of Jainism who preached non-violence & equality of all beings and compassion to all. He was a contemporary of Lord Buddha.
BMVSS is a secular, non-religious, non-governmental, non-political, non-sectarian, non-regional and not for profit charitable organisation set up to help the physically challenged, particularly the financially weak and underprivileged.
The society was born out of a traumatic incident in the life of Mr. DR Mehta, the Founder and Chief Patron of BMVSS. He met with a life-threatening road accident that crushed one of his legs. Doctors felt that it might have to be amputated. Both his life and limb were saved. This made Mehta realise the problems that disabled have to face, particularly the underprivileged, to get artificial limbs. The idea of creating BMVSS, the Jaipur Foot organisation, was thus born out of a trauma on the hospital bed which Mehta occupied for five months. He finally set up BMVSS to provide artificial limbs, in 1975, with a focus on the rehabilitation poor.
From its birth in Jaipur, BMVSS has grown to become a pan-India and international organisation. It has 23 branches across India. The organisation has two associate centres in Pakistan and three in Philippines, and a joint venture in Colombia. It has conducted more than 50 fitment camps in 26 countries and helped set up independent prosthetic fitment centres in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
BMVSS has been given Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Organisation for its services.
Prof CK Prahalad in his classic book “The Fortune at the Bottom at the Pyramid” has this to say about the organisation: “BMVSS was established in March 1975 by Mr. DR Mehta. In the first seven years after the development of the Jaipur Foot in 1968, hardly 50 limbs were fitted. In the first year after the formation of the society, 59 limbs were fitted. Now, the number of limbs fitted every year approaches 16,000*. While in the hospital, he read the biography of the legendary bilateral amputee pilot on the second world war, a saga of courage and rehabilitation. He also read the books of the great humanitarian, social worker and Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer whose following words left a permanent imprint on him, “Let us join the fraternity of those who bear the mark of pain.” Mahatama Gandhi found him, “Vaishnav Jan To, Tene Kahiye..” which means “A Good man is one who senses the pain of others” also impacted Mehta besides the teaching & blessing of his Guru, and support of his mother & wife, led to the setting up of BMVSS. Standing mother, wife and doctors also made him think of this. If not for the value system and patient-centric management practices followed by BMVSS, Jaipur Foot might have remained on the shelf and in limbo.
NOTE: * These figures are of year 2002. Now the numbers have increased.