Image Of Nanda Master Of Odisha Blessing The President Goes Viral; Other Padma Awardees Who Were Barefoot
Bhubaneswar: A picture of 102-year-old barefoot Nanda Prusty of Odisha blessing President Ram Nath Kovid during the 2021 Civil Investiture Ceremony-I at Rashtrapati Bhavan, has gone viral.
He was conferred with the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of education, along with five others – Shanti Devi (social work), Purnamasi Jani (art), Rajat Kumar Kar (literature and education), and Dr Krishna Mohan Pathi (medicine), from Odisha on Tuesday
Sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo received Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to the field of art.
Popularly known as Nanda Master, Prusty belongs to Kantira village in Jajpur district. The man, who had to discontinue studies after Class VII due to the financial condition of his family, has been on a mission to eradicate illiteracy. He continues teaching both children and adults of Kantira and nearby villages in a makeshift shed free of cost.
He is perhaps the last man to keep the tradition of ‘chatashali’ (a non-formal school for primary education in Odisha) alive.
Children gather around the modest home to learn Odia alphabets and a bit of mathematics at the break of the dawn. He also teaches elders, who could not attend school, to sign their names at 6 pm.
He was not the only one to have walked barefoot while receiving India’s highest civilian awards from the President. Environmentalist Tulsi Gowda, orange seller Harekala Hajabba, agriculturist Rahibai Soma Popere and artist Dalavayi Chalapathi Rao too were shoeless.