Published: 15th March 2018
How Odisha's education man Achyuta Samanta plans to navigate his way to the Rajya Sabha
From education to social service and now politics, there is no stopping KIIT founder Dr Achyuta Samanta
Until Odisha's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that Dr Achyuta Samanta was joining the Biju Janata Dal and will contest for a seat in the Rajya Sabha, the founder of KIIT and KISS hadn't decided his course of action. But the moment his name was announced, he knew. He knew that his time had come. After 26 years of unprecedented and relentless service, which the two institutions KIIT and KISS are a testament to, at the age of 53, Dr Samanta is still ready to take on this new challenge. So he wondered to himself, "If in 26 years, without any formal power and recognition, I can bring about a change in the life of people, I should be able to do much more for them when I have this powerful opportunity," and thus, he decided to humbly accept the opportunity presented by the CM and do more for the society he loves so dearly.
In 1987, Dr Samanta obtained a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Utkal University, a doctorate degree in Social Sciences and then, started teaching
Endeavour to educate
Working in the areas of education, social service, tribal empowerment and development has given Dr Samanta, who is also the General President of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), vast and practical experience of working at the grassroots level, which is where his heart lies. "I am a grassroots worker," he says with humility which he believes will be a value-addition to the party and the people. "I will definitely try to give my best to the areas of education and tribal development," he says passionately. He wants, wishes and is willing to work for quality education for one and all in the country.
All smiles: Dr Samanta with the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at KISS, when the latter had visited the campus
Of new directions
To be accepted, that too with open arms and a big smile, into the arms of a party named after the iconic Bijayananda Patnaik, fondly known as Biju Patnaik in itself is an achievement of sorts — an achievement that Dr Samanta is extremely grateful for. After all, "Biju Patnaik is a man know by everybody and worshipped by all in Odisha, and now his work is being carried out by his son Naveen Patnaik," says Dr Samanta who is the recipient of 35 Honoris Causa Doctorate awards presented to him by several universities from around the world. So he doesn't just want to emulate the third Chief Minister of Odisha, he wants to fulfill a lot of goals set by the great man. And education for all is one such goal which he is very serious about and if he succeeds in his goal, he intends to ensure all institutions will benefit from the fruit.
He was also honoured with the National Award for Child Welfare in 2017 by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind
Quiz him about politics and it's murky corrupt nature and we can almost hear the smile in his voice when he talks about his strongest assets, his four qualities - simplicity, humility, transparency and honesty, all of which have always held him in good stead since childhood and will help him navigate these new waters. "I will maintain them and my principles as my biggest assets." But what about the youngsters who don't necessarily see politics as something that can be navigated? "It's all a mindset. For 26 years, my mindset has been tested, verified and experimented with but thanks to my assets, it has remained strong. And this will continue...."