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Gopabandhu Choudhuri

(1895 – 1958) – (Odisha)

Gopabandhu Choudhuri (Aged 63) was an Indian activist, social worker, and freedom fighter who was born on 8 May 1895 in Cuttack, Orissa, India. He participated in the Non-cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. Gopabandhu Choudhuri was born to Gokulananda Choudhuri in the village of Kherasa, Jagatsinghpur District, Odisha. His father belonged to a landlord family and was an eminent advocate.

In 1917, he received his preliminary law degree from Calcutta University. After completing his education, he joined the British Government as a Deputy Magistrate. In 1921, after four years of working for the British Government, he resigned from his job as a Deputy Magistrate. He decided to spend the rest of his life in the service of the people. This unprecedented action surprised the people of Odisha. In 1921, he represented Orissa in AICC. It was the first time Orissa was represented in AICC.

In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi undertook a padyatra in Orissa. Gandhi suggested Gopabandhu choose a place and stay there to work with the people. Gopabandhu selected Bari and set up a base there with his family and a few followers on 13 August 1934. At Bari, he undertook many social reconstruction programs, including village cleaning, teaching Dalits, and empowering them to fight exploitation by landowners.

He also set up small-scale industries like leather tanning and manufacturing units, units to produce molasses, khadi, soap, and paper, among others. Gopabandhu Choudhuri passed away on 29 April 1958.