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Parbati Giri

(1926 – 1995) – (Odisha)

Parbati Giri (Aged 69) also known as the “Mother Teresa of Western Odisha,” was a notable female freedom fighter from Odisha, India. She was born on 19 January 1926 in Samlaipadar, Bijepur, Odisha, India, to Dhananjay Giri. Along with other women freedom fighters from Odisha, she played a significant role in the Indian Freedom Struggle. Due to her anti-British government activities, she was imprisoned for two years.

When Parbati was 12 years old, senior Congress leaders at a meeting in Samlaipadar tried to convince her father to allow her to work for the Congress. She traveled to Bari Ashram as a young girl, and her uncle Ramchandra Giri, a Congress leader, held meetings with nationalists in Samlaipadar village, which influenced her to become a freedom fighter.

At 16, Parbati was in the forefront of agitation following Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” call, and she continued to serve the nation socially after independence. She opened an orphanage in Paikmal village and devoted the rest of her life to the welfare of orphans. Despite dropping out of school after class three, she traveled from village to village, campaigning for the Congress.

Starting in 1940, Parbati traveled for the Congress to Bargarh, Sambalpur, Padampur, Panimara, Ghens, and other places. She trained villagers, teaching them how to spin and weave khadi. From 1942, she campaigned for the Quit India Movement and was arrested several times, but as she was a minor, the police had to release her.

She was finally arrested when she invaded the SDO’s office at Bargar and was sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment at Sambalpur Jail. At the Bargarh Court, she staged an agitation to persuade the lawyers to boycott the court in defiance of the British. Parbati Giri passed away on 17 August 1995.