KALARABANKA DIARIES: Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow
Rituparna Ghosh | PhD Scholar, KSOM
On a crisp autumn Saturday morning, the ambiance was alive with the vibrant chatter of eager students, professors, and staff, all poised for an unforgettable journey into the heart of India’s First Smart Village—the illustrious Kalarabanka. For me, it was more than a mere excursion; it was an extraordinary opportunity to witness this model village’s marvels and meet the visionary behind its transformation, our Hon’ble Founder, Dr. Achyuta Samanta. An eminent social activist, Dr. Samanta’s indomitable spirit turned Kalarabanka into a shining example of sustainable rural development for India and the world.
The journey from Odisha’s capital city to this beacon of progress, nestled under Kishannagar block in Manpur gram panchayat, Cuttack district, was a visual feast of countryside splendor. It offered a refreshing reprieve from the hustle and bustle of urban life, allowing us to soak in the lush greenery that enveloped our senses.
Our mission was clear: educating BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) students about a smart village and encouraging active participation in community development programs. The overarching theme extended to exploring research avenues like social inclusion, sustainable practices, and social entrepreneurship.
Upon arrival, the first striking feature was the pristine cleanliness, well-maintained metalled roads, and many beautiful temples adorned this picturesque village. Kalarabanka’s claim to fame as a “smart village” became apparent as we traversed its lanes. The village boasted free Wi-Fi connectivity, CCTV surveillance, and harnessed solar panels for sustainable energy. To uphold law and order, a Police Outpost stood sentinel. The facilities within the village were nothing short of astounding—a comprehensive ensemble that catered to every conceivable need for growth and development, ensuring a quality life for its residents.
From an English medium school, bank, ATM service, Post Office, and Healthcare Centre to a Drinking water project, Citizen Knowledge and Service Centre, Youth Club, Canteen, Community Hall, Mahila Samiti, Public Library, and Public Park – Kalarabanka left no stone unturned in providing myriad benefits to its inhabitants.
A memorable highlight was our interaction with the students of Kalinga English Medium School – a true epitome of educational excellence. Witnessing their exceptional communication skills and lofty aspirations underscored the transformative power of education. These students embodied the essence of the new India, poised to shape a sustainable future for themselves and the world.
Meeting Dr. Achyuta Samanta and Dr. Itirani Samanta was an honor beyond words. Dr. Itirani, an eminent editor of ‘The Kadambini’ and a torchbearer of women empowerment, demonstrated exemplary grassroots work. The photographs captured during these interactions serve as a visual testament to the enriching experiences of the day.
The journey continued with an authentic Odia lunch at the canteen, fueling our spirits for the next adventure—the Nilimarani Library. Witnessing students donate books under the guidance of the senior librarian, Ms. Sucharita Pradhan, added a touch of altruism to the day. The visit to the residence of our Hon’ble Founder, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, was a privilege that added depth to our understanding of the visionary leader behind Kalarabanka’s transformation.
This immersive rural experience, meticulously organized by BBA Chairperson Dr. Priti Ranjan Sahoo, was an eye-opener, unveiling the boundless opportunities for active participation in rural India’s progress. As the day unfolded, students not only expressed their joy at being part of this trip but also demonstrated an eagerness for more enlightening field adventures.
Kalarabanka, with its beauty, charm, and comprehensive facilities, stands as a beacon of hope, proving unequivocally that the transformation of rural landscapes in our country is not just a possibility but a call to action. It stands as a radiant reminder that the sustenance of a nation is intrinsically linked to the prosperity of its villages. This truth blooms in the fields of Kalarabanka and resonates as a fragrant promise across the expanse of our sustainable nation. It beckons us to lead the way in sustainable development, uplifting the rural population and painting a brighter, more vibrant future for rural India – a tomorrow where dreams take flight and promises are fulfilled in the embrace of Kalarabanka.