Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Servants of the People Society (SoPS) that has occupied ‘The Samaja” newspaper by forging a Will of its founder, Pandit Gopabandhu Das, sniveled with a 60 point bold headlines in its edition of January 3 about the Panchasakhas – Gopabandhu and his four comrades: Pandit Nilakantha Das, Pandit Godavarish Mishra, Acharya Harihar Das and Panditi Krupasindhu Mishra, who created a new epoch of education, literature, social service and sacrifice for the motherland in Orissa, which is known as the “Satyavadi Era”.
To the people of Satyavadi, the sniveling in the Samaja is similar to crocodile crying over death of its victim. What SoPS and/or The Samaja under their control has done for the five comrades? they ask.
When the SoPS has been looting the Samaja revenue, it has pushed the Vana Vidyalaya into starvation death by not remitting any funds for its maintenance and improvement. The school has been completely destroyed.
The unique Vana Vidyalaya
Spread over 22 Acres of natural forest full of aromatic plants and shrubs such as Bakula and Chhuriana, the Satyabadi Vana Vidyalaya was established by Gopabandhu in the pattern of Gurukula Ashrams of Orissa.
The river flowing near his place of birth is Bhargavi, which is so named, because the famous sage Brugu was having his Gurukula Ashram on its bank.
Gopabandhu, to whom education was the best means of emancipation, had decided to establish a school that would ensure for the children of Orissa modern education molded in the matrix of ancient method of his soil.
Naturally, therefore, he chose the well connected site of Sakshi Gopal for his school, where his intimate friends – all highly educated – in dismissing all worldly allurements and comforts joined the faculty almost sans salaries to build up a new generation of educated patriotic Oriyas. The school, adopting Gurukul System of education,was established in 1909 in the Vakula Vana of Satyavadi and had created history in education in natural environment and had earned esteem as high as that of Shanti Niketan, which, after Nobel Prize given to its founder Rabindranath Tagore in 1913 had taken the leap.
Had SoPS not pushed this school into starvation death, it was established in such a well connected place like Satyavadi near the world famous city of Puri, that, for people all over the world, the Satyavadi Vana Vidyalaya would have stood as an enticing center of education in natural environment.
Sad, the noble institute now stands only in the form of a signboard painted on the entrance gate of the Vakula Vana without any trace of it inside.
Amusing it is to note that in a government high school built adjacent to the destroyed Vana Vidyalaya, a set of statues of Gopabandhu and his four famous comrades has been kept for reasons best known to authorities who have turned their eyes away from the necessity of taking stern penal action against the swindlers of revenue generated by Gopabandhu’s newspaper The Samaja.
Revenge taken on Radhanath Rath
But the people of Satyavadi have taken revenge on Radhanath Rath, who had bagged Padma Bhusana for journalism, for the treachery he had played against Gopabandhu.
People feel no qualms in alleging that Rath had swindled and misused the Samaja funds to such extent that the Vana Vidyalaya suffered a premature death due to want of funds to exist and improve. As his treachery was known to the public, there was acrimonious objection to his cremation on the ground of cremation of the five famous comrades. Proteges of Rath were forced to cremate him in a different place in view of the massive objection from inhabitants of Satyavadi and have erected a ‘memorial’ for him outside the area of the Panchasakha memorial.
In his eye-witness accounts, in his autobiography (Atma Jibanee) Pandit Nilakantha Das, Principal of the school and Gopabandhu’s friend philosopher and guide, who had donated him the Press, has narrated that Rath was taking down dictations of Gopabandhu’s Will from Gopabandhu. But in the Will published in the Samaja, it transpires that Lingaraj Mishra had taken the dictation. So the forgery was committed by either of the two in collaboration with the other. The Will published by Rath in the Samaja as “exact copy of the Will” is different from the probated Will. So, the uncalled for publication of the “exact copy” of the Will in the Samaja by Rath, knowing that the same was not the “exact copy” is a conundrum that in its stem has criminality, which should drag him into investigation even posthumously.
Naturally, sniveling about the Satyvadi Panchasakhas in Samaja has irritated the common people of Satyavadi.