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Selfless service of Surasinh Patnaik remembered

Sib Kumar Das

Today is the 163rd birth anniversary of his idol Madhusudan Das

Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Schoolchildren gather at the statue of Madhusudan Das on his birth anniversary in Berhampur on Thursday.

BERHAMPUR: On the 163rd birth anniversary of Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das, there came to memory a man, Surasinh Patnaik, who had silently dedicated his entire life towards the upkeep of the memory of this great leader.

Surasinh passed away on April 4 this year, but due to his relentless efforts the birth anniversary of ‘Madhu Babu' is observed as ‘Swabhiman Divas' all though the State. He was also a major catalyst in getting the legal professionals of the State to observe the birth anniversary of this great leader as ‘Lawyers' day'. “Greatness of this man is that he never took credit for it his efforts due to which very few in Orissa realise the value of what he has done,” said his past associate and former MLA Biswanath Sahu. Till his death he was busy documenting the life and time of ‘Madhu Babu'. He had retired as a deputy registrar under the Revenue Department of Orissa government. He spent his retirement benefits to keep alive the memory of the great Oriya leader he adored. With his own funds he installed two bronze statues of Madhu Babu in Berhampur and Puri. He got these statues made by noted Oriya sculptor Biipra Charan Mohanty. The statue in Berhampur cost him around three lakh rupees. Similar was the cost of the statue in Puri. But he never took credit for these acts. Surasinh throughout his life used to say selfless work was something he had learnt from ‘Madhu Babu' and through similar efforts he wanted to pay homage to his idol. Senior social activist Chittranjan Dash remembers the day when Madhu Babu's statue donated by Surasinh was inaugurated in Berhampur by Chief Minster Naveen Patnaik. Surasinh was not on the dais but quite unnoticed among the crowd of general public. “On that day I had requested the CM to return back the amount the man had spent to upkeep the memory of this builder of modern Orissa or form a trust with the amount in memory of Madhu Babu as every one knew Surasinh would not accept the amount,” Mr Dash said. Surasinh used to live alone at Gopalpur but would visit Bhubaneswar often to spend time at the state archives to conduct research into the life and times of Madhu Babu, said cultural activist Bighneswar Sahu. He has also written several well documented historical books related to the life and times of Madhu Babu and formation of modern Orissa State. They include ‘Ama Madhusudan', “Madhusudan Das: Pride of the nation'.

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