Wardha, The Other World

Anish Malpani
9 min readDec 18, 2022

Ulhas Masaji sat down at the table across from me with two, white A4 sheets. He took out his pen that had been neatly tucked in the heart pocket of his Khadi shirt — a shirt he had spun himself, in true Gandhian fashion.

He had taken the train from Wardha to Pune that week — his beloved wife was recovering from knee surgery, and he was obviously going to be there right by her side.

“Anish Beta, when are we talking? Her physiotherapy gets done at 4 pm so I’m free after that.”

My proud uncle had told him about the work that I was trying to do here in Pune, so he might have been curious. But I was a lot more curious.

I had read the only book he had written in English, Towards Holistic Rural Health, and I was floored.

For over forty years, Dr Ulhas Jajoo and his team of student doctors had served over forty neighbouring villages. It all started with basic health check-ups but evolved into something a lot bigger — the overall well-being of the rural poor while driving accountability and long-term sustenance.

But the most compelling part was how the team evolved its thinking.

They iterated on ideas sitting right alongside village folk, collected data, analysed it, charted trends and calculated ratios, conducted experiments, and then scaled interventions that actually worked to other villages.

And this started in 1978.



Anish Malpani

Trying to incubate my own social enterprise. Also these consume me: data, spoken-word and friggin’ Arsenal. https://anishmalpani.com