By Dr Mrinal Chatterjee
Dr Chitta Samant could have died only this way. He could never have died of prolonged illness. He could never have allowed himself to be nursed by others. He was too self reliant (some termed it arrogance) to have died in a hospital, in the care of the doctors.
He passed away on Saturday (26 March 2011) night in his sleep at his Bhubaneswar residence. Even his wife was not aware when he breathed his last. It was only in the morning when she brought the customary cup of bed tea that she discovered Dr Samant was no more.
Dr Samant (born 1952) was a multi-talented personality. He did his Masters in Psychology in 1974 and Ph.D in communication in 1984. He worked as a Social Scientist in Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1975 to 1981. He was associated with SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment ) programme.
Then he worked with Doordarshan from 1981 to 1983. He joined the Psychology department of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) as a faculty from 1983. He left his job in 1985 and and came back to Bhubaneswar and started a communication solution providing organization – DIPS.
It was futuristic in mid 80s in Bhubaneswar. But that was Dr Samant, a futuristic person, a visionary. A thinker and go-getter. He had rendered consultancy services to both government and private organizations for preparation of development projects.
He worked as Communication Advisor for the World Bank assisted ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) project in Orissa. He provided communication consultancy services to several international NGOs. In early this decade he joined a Bhubaneswar based Engineering College as the Principal.
Recently he joined Barrister Ranjit Mohanty International Institute of Management as a director. He was bit of a maverick. Look at his career trajectory: from lecturer in psychology to communication consultant to international NGOs to principal in Engineering college to director in management institute.
He had the arrogance of a maverick. He could not and did not tolerate fools and stupid persons. He was outspoken and many a times paid penalty for being so. He wrote four books- on widely different subjects. His first book on Evaluative Research was published in 1981.
His second book More than Words (published 1998) was a handbook for writers and editors. Not many know that he was also a painter and designer. He used to design the covers of Jhankar, one of the most respected Oriya literary magazines in the 1980s. He used to design his books himself. He also used to design the interiors of his home and office rooms.
I came in contact with him in Bhubaneswar in mid 80s. I worked with him in DIPS for a while, learnt the art of writing academic articles and reports from him. He was a teacher all through. A very dear teacher. I miss him.
May his soul rest in peace.