Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Every human-being belongs to mankind. But mankind does not comprise a single type of human-beings; because they are basically of two types. They may be either male or female, either rich or poor, either indigenous or alien, either industrialists or workers, either politicians or gentlemen, either exploiters or exploited et cetera, et cetera; but all of them belong to only two types: patriots and traitors.
He was the only son of legendary freedom fighter Gourang Charan Das. In my public life there was a time when I was blessed with an opportunity to work with Gourang Babu. And that had given me the fortune of friendship with Shashi Bhusan Das, Shashi Bhai.
He was deeply affectionate but immensely magnanimous. Incomparably simple but simply majestic. Arriving instantly at the bright side of a seemingly notorious person was his forte wherefrom with utmost ease he was emitting positive thinking that was transforming a foe into a friend for ever.
He was an epitome of humanitarian feelings. Of universal brotherhood.
Some one may not have kept contact with Shashi Bhai for years; but it can be certainly said that in the heart of his heart he must have remained very close to him. On his sad demise, he must have cried inconsolably in the secret chamber of his soul.
I am not going to elaborate on how nice a man was he. I will only say how incomparable was he in contemporary society.
As said supra, he was the only son of the legendary freedom fighter Gourang Charan Das. But he was his comrade in sacrifice for the cause of the Country.
In 1938, when a student of Minor School, he joined his father in freedom movement and within two years he made a mark as a dependable fighter. Came 1942. Quit India movement commenced. Whosoever leader the British could cast eyes on was arrested. Bagalpur, Gourang babu’s village in the then district of Cuttack, emerged as a center of freedom movement under his leadership. The School where Shashi Bhai was a student was used as a production point of revolutionary leaflets containing messages of freedom struggle. Daring the British intelligence, Shashi Bhai, the youngest amongst the fighters, was carrying the cyclostyled leaflets to freedom fighters of various villages in the region spread from Biridi to Ersama. He was the link between the great revolutionary Gobind Chandra Mohanty and others and a regular reporter of events of revolution at Mallipur center of freedom struggle that the famous Binod Kanungo was running. He had been frequenting in the night the dreaded cremation ground – Sati Chaura of Cuttack, which a boy of his age would never have dared to visit even in the day time, to collect freedom leaflets from Banka Behari Das that Surendranath Dwivedy was issuing from the secret center run in the residence of Mathuri Sahu of Alisha Bazar. He had become a challenge for the British despite his tender age. As he was active in planning for paralyzing the British administration in his area of operation, on 1 February 1943 the British police zeroed in on him and he was punished with 18 months of imprisonment. He had refused to appeal against this order as that would have made him accept the legitimacy of the alien court.
When the country achieved independence Shashi Bhai devoted himself to Gandhian programs than hankering, like many others, after power-positions.
If Mother India stays for ever proud of any numbers of her children, Shashi Bhai must stay one of them.
He shall stay for ever a synonym of the romance of sacrifice for the motherland and generations to come will look at this epitome of patriotism for inspiration.
When fellows having no history of sacrifice for the country, have usurped power and have already subjugated India to imperialistic hegemony of foreigners and our republic is rushing into the traps of plutocracy, a man like Shashi Bhai shall appear to every loyal child of the motherland more relevant than when he was alive.
I shall, Shashi Bhai, never say, you are no more. Never.
To me, and I am sure to all who know you and enjoy the romance of sacrifice, you are immortal.