THE STORY OF ACHYUTA SAMANTA
Proving everybody wrong once again that one needs to be opulent in order to be able to help others, the prolific social architect Achyuta Samanta’s life affirms that one needs a good heart only to help others. If one is sincere, dedicated, makes sacrifices and stays committed one would overcome any obstacle in life to achieve impossible goals. Achyuta Samanta, who has neither any self-interest nor any personal agenda, has made his mark in leveraging of social alienation, rural development The story of Achyuta Samanta is also tale of overcoming heart-rending struggles in rising from the abyss of poverty to becoming a social architect and a messiah for millions of people. He chose the path of self-sacrifice and social service early in life and embarked way back in 1992 on a social development strategy that has been vindicated today, two and half decades later,
Achyuta Samanta was born in an economically struggling family and soon lost his father at the age of four which plunged the whole family into poverty and starvation. Enduring profound grief of seven young siblings and a widowed mother as together they struggled for survival, the child Achyuta helped his widow mother while she worked as a menial worker, collected garden liter, pounded parboiled rice and other menial jobs, did errands for the fellow villagers, tilled lands and grew vegetables, His story is nothing less than log-cabin-to-the-white house saga of Abraham Lincoln.
Achyuta Samanta committed to live a life of self-sacrifice and to act as the medium to eradicate the ills faced by the deprived children using education as the vehicle of social transformation. Achyuta Samanta, after a brief stint as an academic following completion of his Masters in Chemistry (1987), started in a very modest scale the two institutions: KIIT and KISS with a paltry sum of 100USD which he had saved penny by penny for the purpose.
KIIT, starting initially in a rented building, now stands over 400 acres with 13 million sq. ft. of aesthetically built up area. It has become the most promising university in India with “A” category status granted by Ministry of Human Resources, Government of India. With visibility that has spread across the globe, the university today enjoys the trust of over 27000 aspirant scholars from around the world. KIIT today has also created indirect and subsidiary employment opportunities for a lakh of people besides direct employment to ten thousand people besides supporting the philanthropic initiative, KISS.
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) was started as a protégé of KIIT in 1992–93. KISS with over 25000 students today has become the world’s largest residential institute for the indigenous (Scheduled Tribe) children providing free education from Kindergarten to post-graduation along with livelihood sustaining vocational and life skills, with free lodging, boarding, comprehensive healthcare, and all other amenities that has been facilitating wholesome growth and complete transformation from social liabilities to social assets, thereby fulfilling SDGs in letter and spirit. KISS has been kindling peace and progressive spirit in the tribal hinterland of Odisha beleaguered by Naxalite insurgence.
KISS, which has been recently granted “Special Consultative Status” by the United Nations, is being replicated elsewhere in collaboration with various governments and Corporate. A clone of KISS, KISS-Delhi, Achyuta samanta’s “New Mind New Dream” aims at establishing one KISS Clone each in all the districts of the Odisha and other state capitals of India.
Achyuta Samanta’s vision encompasses rural development. With single hand initiative he transformed his native village Kalarabanka became a Model Village in 2005. The village has all city amenities: Schools , Post-office, Banking facilities, hospital, internet facility, community spiritual centres, Self-help Groups, police outpost, all weather road connectivity, street-lighting, etc. Development of this village has also triggered developments of the entire cluster of neighboring villages and this cluster of villages- Manapur Panchayat is well on its way to be a Smart Panchayat.
Achyuta Samanta has also been promoting and fostering growth of arts, culture, literature, films and media and spiritualism in his bid to bring about a holistic change in the human society. A good heart indeed touches every sphere of human living.
Undaunted by 45 years of struggle-full life, Achyuta Samanta, who has been widely decorated world-wide with coveted awards and Honorary Degrees, remains a classic saga of “Domestic help boy next door to a Gusi Laureate”, continues, blessed with indomitable effort, incessant hard work, unlimited patience and endowed with abundant divine blessings, his legendary messianic march for a world sans hunger and deprivation.