Dasia Aja : The father of library movement in Odisha

As I told previously in these 21 days of lockdown I'll share 21 blogs about some great personalities of Odisha.
So here is the thirteenth day of lockdown and I'm sharing my thirteenth writeup Dasia Aja : The father of library movement in Odisha. 
Dasharathi Pattanaik fondly known as Dasia Aja was born on 12 July 1907 in Udaypur,Nayagarh to Banchhanidhi Pattanaik and Parvati Devi. He didn’t have much formal education. He dropped out of school in class six, but he developed an addiction for reading and learnt whatever came his way.

He worked as labour, chef, clerk, survey supritendent, police, education department worker and many but he quitted the job and ploughed a hilly land to run family. For this he is also called as "Khuntatada Raja". 

Dasharathi Pattanaik a tall, frail barebodied Khadi clad oldman having  an Odia turban (Theka) of red napkin on the head, a Khadi bag on the shoulder and a long 
lathi with his right hand. Though from outward appearance he seems like a common man in reality he was a great and uncommon personality of 
Odisha. As his life's only ambition and mission was to create awareness among the people of our state regarding the necessity of libraries he can be rightly designated as the father of library movement in Odisha.

The seeds for a library were sown in his mind by his school teacher and Dasia Aja set off with five books in a trunk.
When he was fifty years old then he gave his farmland to his wife and mother and travelled across Odisha looking for books, magazines, antiques and other collectibles. 

"Dasia Aja" established
"Banchhanidhi Pathagar" in 1959 and "Sri Aurobindo
Sangrahalaya" (a nice museum) in 1973. 

The library holds more than 50,000 books, most of them old, rare publications from across the world in different languages. It has more than 65,000 magazines, periodicals and journals and 2,500 backfiles of newspapers. There are also 5,000 palm leaf manuscripts 
which are in fact more than 100 years old.

The museum housed rare collections of old records and valuable letters of distinguished personalities. There are over 42 sections in this museum. The foremost and exceptional collections preserved in the 
museum are  
  • Radiating soil of Hiroshima city of Japan after 2nd World War
  •  Fragmented pieces of Berlin wall of Germany  
  • Soil Collected from surface of moon 
  • Fossils of Dinosaur. 
The Art and craft gallery adores old art and craft pieces like Patta paintings, contemporary paintings and also rare sculptures. The armoury section contains cannons, swords etc. from medieval to modern times. 

He has established "Jadumani Sahitya Sansad" named after the great Oriya poet Jadumani which holds cultural and literary conferences, seminars, exhibitions and honours distinguished persons of the State in the fields of art, culture, literature and social service etc. 

The museum has been declared a tourism spot by the state government.

Dasia Aja single-handedly put together the institutions and transformed them into marvels. But he left behind a legacy which would educate and enrich later generations.

References :
  • The New Indian Express
  • Orissa Review