Noted Educationist and Padma Shri awardee Nanda Kishore Prusty passed away on December 7, 2021, at the age of 104, after fighting a prolonged battle with Covid-19. As soon as the reports of his demise came, several big names, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed their condolences.
Nanda Prusty, popularly known as Nanda Sir, was an exceptional educationist, who was honoured with the Padma Shri award this year itself.
Although Prusty had studied only up to the 7th standard, he had worked tirelessly to educate those around him, including children and adults. He was a resident of the Kantira village in the Jajpur district.
In his native Kantira village, he was popularly known as Nanda Master or Nanda Sir. Working to educate the masses, he had always upheld the tradition of Chatshali. The Chatshali tradition refers to a non-formal school for primary education common in Odisha.
Every morning, children from the village used to gather near his house. Nand Kishore used to teach them Odia alphabets and how to sign their name. He had successfully increased the literacy rate in his village through his tireless endeavours.
What set Nanda Prusty apart from others was that he imparted education to all for free. He never took any fee for teaching any child. For the last 70 years, he was teaching children for free. He always lived by the principle that if the children he taught grew up to become great human beings, that would be his only fee.
He had no greed for money. Despite many educational institutes having opened near Kantira, the villagers used to send their children to Nanda sir to learn Odia alphabets and maths.