Report by Ananta Prasad; Bhubaneswar: The Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Orissa, Koraput Prof. (Dr.) Surabhi Banerjee has awarded with Honoris Causa to nonagenarian freedom fighter and social activist Smt. Annapurna Maharana today in Cuttack at her residence.
Smt. Maharana is a well known personality in Odisha who was a followers of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi during her teen age. Later she was associated with Acharya Vinoba Bhave . Smt. Maharana born in 1917 is not only a freedom fighter but also a strong social activist, literary figure and has spent her entire life for the betterment and upliftment of women, children and downtrodden section of the society. She accompanied with Mahatma Gandhi during the historic Harijan Padayatra started from Puri to Bhadrak in 1934. She carried out the reforms and constructive works in the villages of Odisha and other parts of the country according to the model of Mahatma Gandhi. She worked in a Sevaghar Ashram in Bari of Cuttack district, was involved as a trusty in Kasturaba Gandhi National Memorial Trust. She joined with Acharya Vinoba Bhave during Bhoodan Movement and visited extensively in the Chambal Valley area to change the hearts of the group of people who were involved in crimes and succeeded to bring them back to national mainstream.
She understood that the education is the back-bone of the society and to prove it, she setup a school at Gopal Badi in Rayagada district which is a remote place with thick tribal population. Later this school became a vital institution for social educational upliftment in tribal dominated undivided Koraput district. When she was a girl of fourteen years old she joined in freedom struggle and put in jail along with other well known freedom fighter of Odisha. This inspired her to join in quit India movement with the call of Mahatma Gandhi and again jailed for some months. After independence she was associated with Bhoodan Andolon, eradication of untouchability, girls education, education for tribal, social and economical upliftment of tribal, total prohibition and many other social activities to built up the young generation as patriot citizen of the country.
She was awarded with prestigious Sarala Puraskar, Utkal Ratna, Radhanath Rath Foundation Award and many other prestigious awards as acknowledgement for her services. She has been honoured by the President of India and felicitated for her participation in Independence Movement.
During the Second Convocation of the Central university of Orissa held on 29th July 2012 at Sunabeda, Koraput she has been conferred with Honoris Causa. But she could not join with the function due to unfavourably health condition and this prestigious honour of the University has awarded to her today at her residence by the Vice Chancellor Prof. (Dr.) Surabhi Benerjee. This is a historic event of the Universities of the state to coffered Honoris Causa at the residence other than the convocation pavilion. During this memorable movement the Registrar of the University Prof. Ajit Kumar Mishra, Finance officer Sh. Sabyasachi Palit and eminent followers of Smt. Maharana have also witnessed the occasion.