Weeks After Receiving Padma Shri, Odisha’s Nanda Master Gets Threat, Son Beaten Up; Check Details
Bhubaneswar: On November 9, he was conferred with the Padma Shri by President Ram Nath Kovind.
A picture of a barefoot Nanda Prusty — the 102-year-old teacher from Kantira village in Jajpur, popularly known as Nanda Master — blessing the President during the investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan went viral.
Not a month has passed since he received the honour, and Nanda Master has been allegedly threatened and his son beaten up over a land dispute. The incident took place on Sunday.
According to reports, his son, Ganeshwar, had stepped out to buy medicines for his father when he was stopped by two men, who allegedly thrashed him and threatened to beat up his father also if he did not mend his ways. Police identified the accused as Laxman Mullick and Susanta Mullick.
Nanda Master’s son was rushed to a nearby hospital.
The teacher’s grandson, Khageswar, told a local newspaper, “The case over a disputed land was dismissed by the court, so I constructed a house on it. But the other party is still staking claim on the land. They attacked my father and threatened my grandfather yesterday.”
“I have registered an FIR,” he added.
The accused are yet to be arrested. Sukinda police station Inspector In Charge Shiva Charan Behera said that the accused have fled after the incident and were not in their houses.
“Two mobile phones have been recovered from their houses. A manhunt has been launched to nab them,” he said.
Nanda Master was honoured with the Padma Shri for his long contribution in the field of education and social service.
The man, who had to discontinue studies after Class VII, has been on a mission to eradicate illiteracy. He continues to teach 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 dawn. He also teaches elders, who could not attend school, to sign their names at 6 pm.