One of the most towering personalities of Odisha, freedom fighter and social reformer Annapurna Maharana passed away here on Monday. She was 95 and is survived by two sons.
Born in 1917 to eminent freedom fighters Gopabandhu Choudhury and Rama Devi, Annapurna Maharana had dedicated her life to the freedom struggle from a very early age. She was also the niece of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das. She was imprisoned by the British at the age of 14 for taking part in the freedom struggle and the Quit India Movement.
Annapurna Maharana was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and had accompanied him in the Harijan Padayatra from Puri to Bhadrak in 1934. She was also a trustee of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust. She also joined the Bhoodan Movement led by Acharya Vinoba Bhave and was very active in the efforts to mainstream the dreaded dacoits of the Chambal valley. She had worked intensively for social uplift of the downtrodden and the deprived tribal population of the State. She had set up a tribal school for children of these sections in Rayagada district.
Maharana had been awarded with top honours like the President of India Award, Sarala Puraskar, Utkal Ratna and Radhanath Rath Foundation Award. The Central University, Koraput, had also honoured her this year.