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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 9:

Rich tributes were paid to legendary freedom fighter Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das on his 139th birth anniversary today across Odisha. The day is commemorated as Gopabandhu Jayanti in the state.

gopabandhu-das

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik— who is on a five-day visit to New Delhi— took to mirco-blogging site Twitter to pay his tribute to the social reformer.

Eminent personalities garlanded the statue of the Utkalmani at the Gopabandhu Square here early in the morning. Besides, a slew of programmes were organised all over the state to pay tributes to the veteran political leader who was also a philosopher, poet, journalist and social reformer.

OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other prominent leaders paid their tribute to the legendary leader.

“Humble tributes to Founder President, @pccodisha #UtkalaMani Pt Gopabandhu Das on his Birth Anniversary #ଉତ୍କଳମଣି,” Prasad Harichandan tweeted.

Gopabandhu was born on October 9, 1877, to Swarnamayee Devi and Daitari Das in Suando village near Puri. He is one of the trinity who helped Odisha to come into being as the first official linguistic state in India in 1936. Though he played a pivotal role in creating the separate province ‘Orissa’, he had already died by the time the goal was achieved.

Gopabandhu married Apti at the age of 12 as per tradition then. Post completion of primary education, he joined Puri Zilla School in 1893 where he met his teacher Mukhtiar Ramchandra Das. He was greatly inspired by the nationalistic values of his teacher.

The laxity of the authorities towards the victims of cholera prompted him to start a voluntary organization – Puri Seva Samiti. The movement later translated into setting up of a separate hospital for cholera patients in the district. Besides, he was also instrumental in establishment of Satyabadi School at Satyabadi in Puri district.

Described as the ‘Gandhi of Odisha’, his immense contributions to the cause of Odisha and Odia society have earned him the title ‘Utkalmani’ or ‘Gem of Odisha’. Notably, Odisha was known as Utkal in the medieval period.