Kendrapara, Jan 4 (Localwire): A 73 –year-old noted scientist and Gandhian Jnanadeva Maharana launched a state-wide ‘Padayatra’ on Sunday from the famous Buddhist site Ratnagiri , 30 kilometers from here, to popularise science, scientific approach and create awareness against superstition.
He has also other goals — unite the whole country with national integration and the message of peace .
“My aim is to popularise scientific approach in rural areas , generate awareness among the local people against superstitions like black magic , witchcraft and other age-old superstitions,” he said adding “when I tried to explain something to the masses on social issues, they did not give importance, but they got curious with my Padayatra .”
According to him, meeting different sections of people in different places would help him gain a lot of experience and get to know various issues faced by them.
He worked as a senior physicist in the Institute of Physics in Bhubaneswar . During his five-decade-longservice as a scientist , he visited several countries and did many research works.
Hot iron branding or inflicting burns on the body as a remedy for various illnesses is still prevalent in the tribal-dominated villages of Koraput, Kalahanadi , Malkanagiri and Rayagada districts.
Odisha became the fourth state in the country after Bihar, Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand to enact the Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting in 2013 but witchcraft still dominates life in the tribal villages in the 21st Century as a result each year uneducated tribals kill many suspected witches.
“I will organize awareness meetings among the tribals during my Padayatra in these areas, said Maharana.
Many old persons dream to spend their days in comfort in their abodes with their children and grand childrenbut Jnanadeva Maharana stands a class apart. For him life has been a long journey in relentless pursuit of society free from superstition and popularize science among the people.
He is the son of noted Gandhian and freedom fighter Sarat Moharana and Anapurna Moharana of Cuttack. His grand-father Gopabandhu Chaudhury and grand-mother Rama Devi fought against British rule during the freedom movement.
Ajaya Samal, former principal of Tulasi W omens’ college at Kendrapara who also joined with Maharana in his Padayatra in Kendrapara district, has hailed the scientist’s endevour .
The students and teachers of Indupur high school at Indupur in Kendrapara district on Monday felicitated him.
Addressing the students, Moharana said “It is high time for us to fight against superstition and popularize scientific ideas among the people.