Bhadrak: While many a times, the actions of politicians give an impression to the general public that it’s more about pomp and show than public service; the story of an octogenarian Gangadhar Das, a former Odisha MLA, comes as a pleasant surprise for all. Staying in a small cottage in Kanpada village under Tihidi block of the district, Gangadhar’s eyes gleam narrating the days when he used to go around his bicycle for poll campaigns.
Believe it or not, it’s been 68 years that he has been riding the same bicycle.
Das contested on Congress seat from Chandbali Assembly Constituency for the first time in 1961 and subsequently in 1966, winning on both the occasions.
“I used to get Rs 300 during my first term and Rs 600 in the next term and I used to run my family with that meagre amount, unlike politicians nowadays who get lakhs of rupees,” said the two-time MLA.
His son Jagannatha, on the other hand, has expressed anguish over the irregularity of pension payment. “The pensions are irregular and it is difficult to make ends meet. He (Gangadhar) has spent half of his life on the cycle working for the people.”
“He used to get a small amount of money, so affording a house is a big ask.” says Jemamani Das, wife of Gangadhar.
Humblest to the core, the ex-MLA lived a simple life in spite of being in power for quite a long time. “The villagers are a witness to his exemplary life. We have seen him pedalling for years and it is very inspiring. Cycles are environment-friendly and should be used by everyone,” Kulamani Das, a fellow villager said.
The current generation has a lot to learn from him, for, his life is full of lessons. “I would like to tell youths to work hard and live a simple life, and not to be reckless running after things,” says Gangadhar.
(Edited By: Devbrat Patnaik)