Gopabandhu Das, commonly referred to as Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das (the Gem of Utkal or Odisha), was a multifaceted figure of his era. His roles as a social worker, reformer, political activist, journalist, poet, and essayist showcased his dedication to restoring Orissa’s lost grandeur. His thinking and actions were profoundly influenced by the prevailing environment of his time, which witnessed the resurgence of nationalist sentiments in Orissa, the introduction of Western education, and the dawn of the Indian Renaissance. Gopabandhu Das, a true advocate for the plight of the suffering Oriyas, stands as a beacon of hope and support for his people.
Gopabandhu Das Biography Age, Wife, Family, Career and More
Gopabandhu Das came into this world on the 9th of October in the year 1877, in the serene village of Suando, situated in close proximity to Puri, within the picturesque state of Odisha. He was born into a Brahmin family, a heritage that would significantly influence his life’s journey. Tragically, his entry into the world was marred by the untimely loss of his mother, creating an emotional void that would persist throughout his life. His mother, Swarnamayee Devi, held the position of being Daitari Dash’s third wife.
Gopabandhu Das embarked on his educational journey in the serene setting of a village Pathashala, where the foundations of his learning were laid. His thirst for knowledge led him to continue his studies at Rupadeipur Middle School, followed by Puri District School in Rupadeipur, where he completed the village chahali (village child school) curriculum. During this formative period, he was fortunate to receive the mentorship and guidance of Ramchandra Das, a dedicated patriot hailing from Puri. Under Ramchandra Das’s influence, Gopabandhu Das imbibed the spirit of patriotism, an ethos that would shape his future endeavors.
Political career and imprisonment
Madhusudan Das, a prominent figure of his time, played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Gopabandhu Das’s life and career. It was Madhusudan Das who, recognizing Gopabandhu’s potential and dedication, encouraged him to take a leap into the realm of politics by standing for election to the Legislative Council. This council, established in 1909 as part of the Morley-Minto Reforms, marked a significant milestone in India’s political landscape. Gopabandhu Das’s unwavering commitment to his ideals was evident when he found himself arrested by the police in 1921. Subsequently, he endured another period of imprisonment, lasting two years, in 1922. His resolute determination and contribution to the national movement in Orissa were so profound that even Subhash Bose, a prominent freedom fighter, aptly bestowed upon him the title of “the father of the national movement in Orissa.”
Gopabandhu Das made a significant and enduring impact on the historical landscape of India when he played a pivotal role in the realization of Odisha as the first official linguistic state in the country, an achievement that came to fruition in 1936. His instrumental efforts in advocating for Odisha’s linguistic and cultural identity cemented his legacy as a driving force behind this monumental achievement.
In Education & Journalism
Gopabandhu Das, a visionary educationist, held a profound conviction that education was not just a means of intellectual growth but also a vital catalyst for fostering awareness of freedom and one’s duties toward the nation. He understood that true financial liberation and empowerment could be achieved through the gateway of education. In line with this vision, he spearheaded the establishment of a school in the serene locale of Satyabadi within the Puri district.
Gopabandhu Das firmly believed that education was the key to awakening innate freedom and nurturing a sense of duty to one’s country. To realize this dream, he assumed the role of Secretary for the school, and with unwavering determination, he set out to provide a holistic education that encompassed mental, physical, and spiritual growth.
The school garnered the support and expertise of renowned intellectuals of that era, including luminaries such as Pandit Nilakantha Das, Pandit Godavarish Misra, Acharya Harihar Das, Pandit Krupasindhu Mishra, Pandit Basudev Mohapatra, and Shri Ramachandra Rath. Together, they created an environment that transcended caste and background differences, allowing children from diverse backgrounds to dine, study, and learn together.
This egalitarian approach to education was revolutionary for its time. Teaching occurred in the lap of nature, beneath the soothing shade of trees, fostering a deep connection with the natural world. The school embodied several progressive features, including a residential schooling setup and a close bond between teachers and students. In this nurturing environment, students imbibed the values of secularism, nationalism, and idealism, embracing the concept of service to humanity.
As a Poet Gopabandhu Das
Another facet of Gopabandhu’s remarkable life was his poetic soul, which reflected his deep compassion and profound insights. He ardently believed that linguistic unity was integral to fostering unity of thought, an idea that resonates in his literary creations. His poetic compositions, such as “Prisoner’s Autobiography,” “Kara Kavita,” “Abakasha Chinta,” “Go Mahatmya,” and “Dharmapada,” are often celebrated as poignant depictions of the realities of life. In his verses, he skillfully captures the essence of life, portraying it in a vivid and realistic manner. Through his poetry, Gopabandhu conveyed the idea that despite the diversities in civilization, a fundamental homogeneity binds humanity together, a reflection of his own profound understanding of the human condition.
Published literary works
- Bandira Atmakatha Translated as The prisoner’s autobiography
- Das, Gopabandhu (1946). “Dhramapada” (in Odia). OCLC 1126286052. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- Das, Gopabandhu (1986). Abakasa-cinta (in Odia). Satyabadi Presa. OCLC 499633975.
- Das, Gopabandhu (2013). Correspondence of Pandit Gopabandhu = Dāse āpaṇeṅka ciṭhipatra (in Latin). Pune Bhubaneswar: Nilakantha Rath, Distributor, Shikshasandhan. ISBN 978-81-87982-77-7. OCLC 904902700.
- Das, G. (1976). Gopabandhu racanābaḷī: Śikshā, śikshaka, o chātra. Gopabandhu racanābaḷī (in Quechua). Gopabandhu Janma Śatabārshikī Samiti. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
Gopabandhu Das, a true patriot and a beacon of selfless service, ascended to the esteemed position of All India Vice-president of the Lok Sevak Mandal in April 1928. His unwavering dedication to the betterment of society was evident in his tireless efforts to bring about positive change and uplift the marginalized. Tragically, while attending a society meeting in Lahore, Gopabandhu’s health began to falter, and it was in the midst of his relentless pursuits that he passed away on the 17th of June 1928. His untimely departure left a void, but his legacy endured, inspiring countless individuals to follow in his footsteps.
Gopabandhu Das stands as an enduring symbol of immortality for the people of Odisha. He is akin to a precious jewel adorning the heart of Utkal, a shining luminary whose likeness is rarely encountered. This great soul embarked on his eternal journey, a pilgrim in pursuit of the immortal, on the 14th of June, 1928, a date that coincided with the auspicious Raja festival. Gopabandhu Das, in his life and work, epitomized sacrifice, service, and unwavering patriotism. His legacy has captivated hearts and minds across generations, and he remains an emblem of pride and honor for the people of Odisha. His ideals continue to shine as a beacon in a world where such qualities have become increasingly scarce.
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