Jagatsinghpur, July 27: 102-year-old freedom fighter Biswanath Das hailing from Bhagaban Sindhola under Arilo Panchayat has been selected for the President’s Award for his contribution to India’s Independence Movement.
Sources said that the President’s Award will be conferred on 10 freedom fighters of Odisha on August 9 for their contribution to the independence movement of India.
Every year, the President of India felicitates freedom fighters in New Delhi on the Quit India Day, August 9.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, this ceremony will not be organized in New Delhi, for which, collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra will felicitate and honour the freedom fighter Das in his house 9th August.
Das, who recently turned 102, has never suffered from any disease. Born in 1918, he travelled everywhere on his bicycle, a habit which has apparently kept him fit and active.
“I don’t have any bad habits but I do eat sweets like Chenna Poda and Rasagola every day. I am happy with everything I’ve done and being fit enough to do it.
I am very thankful for my good health which is the greatest gift of all. Take care of your health, because if you lose your health it never comes back,” he added.
Das is a little deaf due to his old age, however, he still holds the position of village chief. Villagers flock to him for dispute resolution, instead of the local police station.
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he joined the freedom struggle. Local freedom fighters Sarala Devi, Nitayananda Kanungo, Maguni Charan Kanungo, Bhagirathi Mohapatra and others united to spread ideas like boycott of foreign cloth, court of law and government institutions.
During the Quit India movement, he was imprisoned in 1942 and once again in 1943.
Das said, “The young generation does not understand the value of Gram Swaraj. Social justice is still a distant dream for Dalits, and everyone should fight against corruption, which still has a hold on our society.”
Sarpanch of Arilo panchayat Jostana Rani Barik said, “Freedom fighter Das is the pride of our village. We are inspired by his ideology and follow his directions.
Villagers have not seen the police station till date because our issues and disputes are being solved by his leadership.
We have decided to felicitate him on 9th August in a big way in the presence of Collector Mohapatra,” she added.