Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Though there is a confusion and conflicting write-ups regarding the exact day of birth of Laxman Nayak, the tribal hero of erstwhile Koraput, who sacrificed his life during the independent struggle of India, 22nd August 1899 is considered as his birthday according to the jail document available in Koraput and Brahmapur. As of now, it is very difficult for an old tribal person to spell out his exact age, assessment of Laxman’s age before 120 years was certainly a daunted task, said octogenarian Gandhian Sri Jayaram Jena during celebration of 120th birth anniversary of Veer Sahid Laxman Nayak.
“He was born in a non-descript village named Tentuligumma in Baipariguda block of Koraput district. Though the village is just nine km away from the block headquarters, the inhabitants of the village need to cover around 70 kms to reach Baipariguda because there is no fare weather road connecting to the block. The woe gets doubled in the absence of a bridge over river Kolab. Assurances and promises are made to be broken. The walls of the schools in the district do not adore with a photograph of this hero, who sacrificed his life with a single call of Gandhiji. Here and there a few statues are put without much fervour by the govt to spread the heroic did among the students, especially tribals. While the govt instils a craze among students to go for exposures to tourist spots like Bhubaneswar, Puri, similar enthusiasm is absent in case of visit to Laxman’s land”, lamented Sri Badal Kumar Tah, a senior journalist, who was on the dais during this occasion. He proposed a collaborative effort between Zilla Sarvodaya Mandal and District administration to take some students for exposure to Laxman’s village Tentuligumma and distribute photos in those forty schools & colleges to which the Ba-Bapu-Baba yatra traversed on the eve of Gandhi-150. He also suggested the school students of Sashtri Nagar primary school to write to CM Naveen Pattanaik to develop Tentuligumma a sacred and important place.
Sri Pramod Kumar Behera, Collector, Rayagada, who presided over the meeting, lauded the efforts of Rayagada citizens for their interest in keeping the memory of Laxman Naik alive. “In earlier days, we were told that Koraput is the land of Laxman Nayak. Given an opportunity, the school children, who are today’s most attracted entities and tomorrow’s future, will upkeep the memories of Laxman Nayak. The teachers can indoctrinate values of Nayak into the minds and souls of children. My administration will do whatever it can for the spread of Laxman Nayak’s story of valour and courage fighting for the independence of India”, said Behera and sought the cooperation of denizens of Rayagada to fulfil this assurance.
Sri Pratap Chandra Pradhan, Sub-Collector, Rayagada, Sri Basudev Patra, Sr Journalist reminisced the memories of Laxman Nayak in a lucid manner to be comprehended by the students. Eminent senior citizens namely Dr.Niranjan Buxipatro, Ex-Vice-Chairman, Rayagada Municipality, Advocate Kedar Panda, Sri Satyabadi Pati, Sri N N Padhi and others were present. Smt Bidulata Huika, Ex-Ombudsman, Rayagada, Smt Ashalata Devi, Headmistress, Sugar Factory High School, Sri Balaram Huika, ABEO, Rayagada Smt Manju Mukherjee, Ex-Councillor, Sri L N Sahu, Sri Ajay Rath, Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, Sri Rajesh Pattanaik, Sri Siba Gouda, Sri Gopinath Gouda, Sri Susanta Pradhan and many scribes participated and offered floral tributes to Laxman Nayak. Sri Basanta Pradhan, DIPRO, Rayagada moderated the entire event. Block Education Officer gave vote of thanks.