Social activist and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi passed away at her residence in Gunupur in Rayagada district of Odisha. PM Modi has condoled his death. On Twitter, he wrote that ‘Shanti Devi Ji will be remembered as the voice of the poor and oppressed. He worked selflessly to remove miseries and create a healthy and just society. His death hurts me. My thoughts are with his family and countless fans. Shanti Devi has done many good works for humanity, which will be remembered forever.
Social Worker Shanti Devi Passes Away
Shanti Devi was a well-known social worker. On April 18, 1934, in a zamindar family of Balasore district. After two years of college, at the age of 17, she was married to Dr Ratan Das, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. After which, she moved to undivided Koraput with her husband. Shanti Devi associated herself with the land satyagraha movement in the Koraput district in 1952.
Then she fought to free the land of the tribal people who the landlords had forcibly usurped. Later she joined the Bhoodan movement in Bolangir, Kalahandi and Sambalpur districts. She trained Bhoodan workers at the Gopalanbari ashram, founded by Malati Devi (wife of former Odisha Chief Minister Naba Krishna Choudhary).
Received Padma Shri award in 2001
Shanti Devi met Gandhian follower Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1955-56. Inspired by his ideology, he started working for tribals, destitute women and orphan girls and participated in his Bhoodan movement.
She established the Sewa Samaj Ashram at Gunupur in Raigad district in 1964 to rehabilitate orphans, needy and poor children. She also established another ashram in Ganpur. Shanti Devi did a lot of work for the advancement of tribal girls.
She made her invaluable contribution to the upliftment of tribal girls through education. In 2021, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the country’s most prestigious civilian awards, for his outstanding work in social service.