Gopabandhu Das was a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement and a visionary social reformer from the state of Odisha. He played a crucial role in uplifting the marginalized sections of society and advocating for their rights and welfare. Gopabandhu Das’s life and work were driven by a deep sense of compassion, integrity, and a relentless commitment to the ideals of justice and equality.
Gopabandhu Das was born on October 9, 1877, in Suando village in the Puri district of Odisha. His parents, Daitari Dash and Swarnamayee Devi, instilled in him a strong sense of morality and values from an early age. Gopabandhu was deeply influenced by his father, who was a teacher and social reformer himself. His father’s teachings inspired young Gopabandhu to pursue education as a means to effect social change.
After completing his schooling at Cuttack’s Municipal High School, Gopabandhu Das joined Presidency College in Kolkata (then Calcutta) for his higher education. He was an exceptional student and highly regarded for his brilliance and commitment to academic excellence.
Following his education, Gopabandhu Das initially joined the legal profession and began practising law in Cuttack. However, he soon realized that his true calling lay in social service and journalism. In 1909, he co-founded the weekly newspaper “Satyabadi” with fellow social reformer Madhusudan Das. Through “Satyabadi,” Gopabandhu Das disseminated information, raised awareness about social issues, and advocated for the rights of the downtrodden.
Gopabandhu Das was a relentless crusader for the rights and welfare of the marginalized sections of society. He vehemently fought against untouchability, caste discrimination, and other social evils that plagued Odisha. He firmly believed in the principle of equality and worked tirelessly to eradicate social inequalities.
He played a pivotal role in the formation of the Utkal Sammilani, a social organization aimed at uniting the people of Odisha and fostering a sense of solidarity. Gopabandhu Das actively campaigned for the preservation and promotion of Odia language, literature, and culture. He fought for the establishment of educational institutions and advocated for the upliftment of the educationally backward communities in the region.
Gopabandhu Das’s most significant contribution came through his efforts to alleviate the suffering of the impoverished and destitute. He established the Satyabadi School in Puri, which provided free education to underprivileged children. Recognizing the importance of education in empowering the masses, Gopabandhu Das advocated for universal education and worked towards ensuring access to education for all.
Gopabandhu Das actively participated in the Indian independence movement and was deeply influenced by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. He became an ardent nationalist and dedicated himself to the cause of freedom. Gopabandhu Das firmly believed that political freedom must be accompanied by social and economic liberation.
During the Non-Cooperation Movement, Gopabandhu Das played a pivotal role in mobilizing the masses in Odisha. He inspired the people to join the movement and boycott British institutions, thereby challenging colonial authority. Gopabandhu Das’s efforts contributed significantly to the awakening of national consciousness among the people of Odisha.
Gopabandhu Das’s contributions to Indian society and his unwavering commitment to social reforms have left an indelible mark on the nation’s history. His tireless advocacy for the rights of the marginalized, his efforts in the field of education, and his role in the freedom struggle have made him an icon of social reform and nationalism.
Gopabandhu Das’s legacy continues to inspire generations of Indians, particularly in the state of Odisha. His principles of justice, equality, and compassion serve as guiding lights in the pursuit of a just and inclusive society. The institutions he founded, such as the Satyabadi School and the Utkal Sammilani, continue to thrive and carry forward his vision.
Gopabandhu Das was a visionary social reformer, an ardent nationalist, and a compassionate human being. His relentless efforts in the fields of education, journalism, and social reforms have had a lasting impact on Indian society. As we reflect on his remarkable contributions, we are reminded of the power of individual actions in effecting social change and the importance of fighting for justice and equality. Gopabandhu Das’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to come, guiding them on the path of social transformation and national progress.