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Gopabandhu Das Biography | Poet

Photo of Gopabandhu Das

Gopabandhu Das, "Utkalmani" or Gem of Utkal was born on October 9, 1877, in a small village called Suando near Sakhigopal in the district of Puri and died on on June 17, 1928. He was a celebrated writer, teacher and social advocate. He fought against many of the politics and social norms of his day through his writing and education of young people. He married at age 12 and after his primary education he attended the Puri Zilla school. At this institution he began to deepen his passion for education and social change. He later attended Ravenshaw College at Cuttack and later Calcutta University. He worked as a teacher, a lawyer, a writer and a journalist. He held legal offices of high esteem and had a political career as well.


He was able to see into the lives of the people and although he could have enjoyed a rich life he preferred to work with the people of his nation. He believed that his actions were the important aspect of a solid life and that too many people just talked the talk. He was a well loved man and a freedom fighter of sorts. He was able to see the pain of those living in India and knew the sufferings that they experienced on a constant basis, especially famine, flood and disease.

Educational Training

Through his educational teachings, he hoped to deliver the independent and individualistic strength of change and freedom. He wanted to inspire his students to fight for truth and knowledge as well as social freedom. He wanted to assure that there would be future students who would question the social norms of the day. He also wanted to see a type of revival or a revolution of sorts. He saw that there were many painful social structures that caused generational damage to many. He wanted to instill a deep understanding and respect for the country into his students so that they would continue to work on these social issues.

India has a system of social strata that causes people to be "stuck" in the level that they were born into. There is also an "untouchable" caste. Religion and superstitions as well created difficulties within the social fabric of India. He was ahead of his time and today he would still be ahead of his time in progressive thinking and educational philosophies.

He created a spirit of embracing hard work and taking pride in it. He wanted to show his students that this can be a freeing experience. Gopabandhu saw that there was an imbalance that was taking place in Indian society and in educational settings where Indian culture was being shunned and foreign ideals replacing the traditions of the Indian culture. He wanted to instill a feeling of humbleness and openness and not to get caught up in materialism or money. He enjoyed the ideal of teaching without major buildings and pomp and circumstance and would teach outside often to free himself of the trappings of the day.

Satyavadi Vana Vidyalaya

He created the Satyavadi Vana Vidyalaya as an institution that was utilized as the site of pilgrimage beginning in 1909. He created a social experiment here with regards to community living, education, social change and development. Gopabandhu was by nature a lover of arts and beauty. He wanted to create an atmosphere of transition at his educational site. He set his school in a rural community surrounded by natural beauty and life. He hired and then supported brilliant teachers to assure that his students would receive the best education possible as he knew that great teachers were the key to the success of the school. Although these teachers could have been famous and rich they took a path of humble poverty for the growth and education of Indian society.

The school was a residential community and the participants spent all of their time with one another attending classes and creating an atmosphere of community. Different styles of teaching were employed in the school to strengthen these ideals of nationalism and brotherhood. The school grew and attracted students from all over India. Unfortunately, as time went on, the school experienced some hard times and transformed itself into a college and then when that had failed, Gopabandhu developed the space into a retreat of sorts without the educational elements that had been his desire. He later fell ill after a fundraiser and passed in Lahore.

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