Noted social activist Shanti Devi dies at 88 in Odisha; President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Modi extend condolences

Shanti Devi began social work at an early age and founded the Seva Samaj ashram at Gunupur in Odisha. She worked towards the education of tribal girls

FP Staff January 17, 2022 16:48:29 IST
Noted social activist Shanti Devi dies at 88 in Odisha; President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Modi extend condolences

File image of Shanti Devi. ANI

Eminent social activist and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi passed away in Odisha's Rayagada on Monday, family members said. She was 88.

The octogenarian complained of chest pain and became unconscious at her Gunupur Ashram on Sunday night, following which she was taken to the district headquarters hospital at Rayagada. The doctors declared her dead upon arrival, they said.

Who is Shanti Devi?

Born in Balasore district in 1934, Shanti Devi began social work at an early age. According to a report by Orissa Post, she married Ratan Das at the age of 17 and shifted to Koraput.

Initially, Shanti Devi started her social work by founding an ashram at Gobarapalli locality in Rayagada. She worked for the development and education of tribal girls. Subsequently, she shifted to Gunupur and founded her now-famous ashram in 1964 to provide education to tribal girls.

Shanti Devi had set up another ashram for leprosy patients at Jabarguda under Padmapur block in Rayagada district.

For the most part of her life, Shanti Devi worked for the all-round development of tribal girl children, including
education, rehabilitation and vocational training of orphans and destitute children in the society. Shanti Devi was also associated with the Bhoodan Movement.

Apart from the Padma Shri in 2021, Shanti Devi was felicitated with the Jamunalal Bazaz Award and Radhanath Rath Peace Award. She is survived by a son.

Reactions

From President Ram Nath Kovind to Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled her demise and prayed for her departed soul. Here's what they had to say:

The President took to Twitter and wrote in Hindi, "Saddened by the demise of Shrimati Shanti Devi ji, who made the upliftment of tribal society and women and the service of patients the goal of her life. I had the opportunity of conferring Padma Shri on him recently. My condolences are with her family and fans."

Modi tweeted in Odia. He wrote, "The goddess of peace will be remembered as the voice of the poor and deprived. She worked selflessly to build a healthy and just society, relieving suffering and suffering. My condolences are with her bereaved family and countless fans. Om Shanti"

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu too tweeted his condolences.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too tweeted in Odia.

He wrote, "Saddened to learn of the passing away of Padma Shri Award-winning social worker Shanti Devi. Her lifelong efforts to help the helpless and tribal have always been inspiring. Her contribution to social work is invaluable. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and wish them well."

With input from agencies

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