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|February 12, 1998||
Doyen of Orissa journalism passes away
Dr Radhanath Rath, freedom fighter, Oriya litterateur and the country's oldest working editor, died in Cuttack early on Thursday morning. He was 101.
Dr Rath, who was bed-ridden for the last month, breathed his last at around 0100 hours at Gopabandhu Bhawan, his home. He is survived by a son and two daughters.
Affectionately called Babuji, he was the editor of the popular and oldest Oriya daily Samaj since 1946. He was a social worker and has held several important portfolios in the Orissa government between 1952 and 1961.
A recipient of the country's third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 1968, Dr Rath was born on December 7, 1896 in a poor brahmin family in the then princely state of Athgarh. He took an active part in the freedom movement, and was a disciple of the famous Gopabandhu Das. In 1946, he was elected to the state assembly from Athgarh. Except for between 1961 and 1967, he remained a member of the house from 1946 to 1977.
Dr Rath was president of the Servants of the People Society of India for over a decade from May 1981. He was associated with a number of organisations spread over the country.
He was a recipient of the Utkal Ratna (1993), the Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award (1967), the Critic Circle of India award (1987) and the All India Anubrata Award (1988).
Manorama and Shanti, Dr Rath's daughters, were at his bedside when the end came. Manorama said he did not respond to calls after midnight. Medical help was immediately summoned, but the doctors could not revive him.
On hearing the news, people from all walks of life -- freedom fighters, journalists, social workers, ministers and leaders of different political parties -- visited the Gopabandhu Bhawan to pay their last respects.
Chief Minister J B Patnaik, Deputy Chief Minister Basanta Kumar Biswal and a number of their cabinet colleagues visited the Bhawan and placed wreaths on the body.
The Orissa high court suspended work for the day and organised a condolence meeting.
Last year, the Orissa government had celebrated Dr Rath's birth centenary all over the state. His body was laid to rest with full state honours at Satyabadi near Puri on Thursday evening.
The body, which was kept at Gopabandhu Bhawan since the morning, was taken to Puri via Bhubaneswar in the afternoon in a flower-bedecked gun-carriage. After a round of the Lord Jagannath temple, the mortal remains would be brought back to Satyabadi for the cremation.
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