Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The last week in Gopabandhu’s life was most precarious. He was in his death bed without any money to defray even the cost of treatment. As a last hope, he had requested Radhanath Rath to give him some money from the income of the Press he had appointed him to manage. Rath had assured him to send Rs.20/- only by post. But he did not send him even that little sum of money. Gopabandhu was deteriorating every moment away from his home, in Sakshigopal. This cruel treatment of Rath to Gopabandhu transpires from a letter, which the helpless Utkalmani had written to him six days before his death, i.e. on 11.6.1928. The letter, published in ‘Correspondences of Pandit Gopabandhu Das’ at p.234, reads, “TUME 20 TANKA DAKA JOGE PATHAIBA BOLI KAHITHILA, KAHIN PATHAILA NAHIN” (“You had assured to send by post a sum of Rs.20/- to me; but you have not yet sent me the same”).
Gopabandhu died a death a helpless man dies on 17.6.1928, after dictating his last Will to Radhanath Rath, as he was till then his employee, if we accept Pt. Nilakantha’s accounts. But after his death, when the entire Oriya nation was under unbearable shock, the text of Gopabandhu’s will was changed in a forged avatar to grab his powerful and popular newspaper – The Samaja – for personal benefit under the cover of Servants of the People Society.
As friends of Gopabandhu were to be managed, hoodwinked or rendered disinterested in the Press and the paper, so that the scheme of Radhanath could be executed smoothly, enough time was taken to submit the Will while weighing the desirability of getting it probated , as the same was not offering him and Lingaraj any scope to grab the Samaja. After drawing up a clandestine plan, the Will was submitted on 15 December 1928, six months after Gopabandhu’s death. His original dictation incorporated in the Will at Para 7 being not of any help to grab the Samaja as they had planned, as already has been mentioned earlier, a parallel Will was forged and authenticated by the Seristadar of District Judge Court to make it easier for Radhanath and Lingaraj to grab the Samaja under the cover of SoPS.
Punished by the people
People of Satyabadi, aware of Rath’s foul play, have somewhat punished him by stoutly rejecting the attempt of his proteges to put his body on pyre on the ground of cremation of Gopabandhu and his four famous colleagues – Pt. Nilakantha Das, Pt. Godavarish Mishra, Acharya Harihar Das and Pt. Krupasindhu Mishra collectively known as the ‘Panchasakha’ – and have also disallowed the erection of his tomb in Panchasakha Smruti Pitha, But Lingaraja Mishra has escaped the punishment and has a tomb erected in his name in the Smruti Pitha compound. This indicates that, in the eyes of the people of Satyabadi, the original and principal seat of activities of Gopabandhu and his four friends, Radhanath was a more heinous offender than Lingaraj.
As we find through research, Rath was the main culprit who breeched the trust of Gopabandhu for which Pandit Nilakantha and Pt Godavarish were having acrimonious exchange of words with him very often. Pandit Nilakantha was always claiming that the Samaja was the newspaper of the Panchasakha and so Pt. Gopabandhu had never given it to SoPS.
As the world says: “Truth must prevail”. We want it to prevail without any further delay.