Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das

Puri, Odisha

August 14, 2021


Gopabandhu Das, also Utkalamani or the Jewel of Utkal or Odisha, was an activist, journalist, essayist, poet, reformer, and social worker who actively participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Giving up on his rewarding practice at bar, Gopabandhu Das dedicated himself to the cause of freedom, besides working for social reform. During the course of his stay at Calcutta, he met the VandeMataram group and was infused with the Swadeshi spirit.

Gopabandhu Das was the first president of the Congress party in Odisha. It was due to his efforts that Gandhiji came to Odisha in the year 1921. Thereafter, people joined the Non-Cooperation Movement. Subhash Chandra Bose referred to him as the father of the National movement in Odisha. He began Puri Seva Samiti, a voluntary organization that helped cholera victims. Later, this led to the setting up of a separate hospital in the district for the victims. He was a dedicated social worker who ignoring his ailing son, rushed to the flood-affected areas without making delay to provide relief. He said, “There are so many to look after my son. But, there are so many people affected in devastated floods. It is my duty to go there rather than attending my son here. Lord Jagannath will take care of my son.”