Mrs Soubhagini Dash (Budhi) (16 May 1936 – 16 Dec 2013)
On the occasion of first (monthly) tarpan ceremony held on Sankranti 14 Jan 14
Mrs Soubhagini Dash, the doting, dynamic, daring mother with divine qualities from Mother India passed away peacefully before sunrise on 16th Dec 2013 at 6 am in the lap of paradise island of Mauritius and world renowned national hospitality, health service and care. She was cremated as per Hindu (puranik) rites and rituals, on the same day at 1400 hrs at Phoenix Cemetery. (Coincidentally, the day Nelson Mandela was cremated). Both 15th and 16th Dec 2013 were very auspicious days for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Mrs Soubhagini Dash lived up to 77 yrs and 7 months.
During her last 6 years of life, as widow of late N.C. Dash, she strictly followed prescribed and rigorous Hindu customs and traditions. Mrs Soubhagini Dash was also known as Budhi (wisdom) to family and friends. She was born on identical date 16th of May 1936 from Mrs Kumudini Nanda, a pious lady and fountain of virtues and Sri Sripati Nanda in Jagatsingpur town of ODISHA and lived her childhood days in “Pravu Krupa” as the immediate neighbour of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose residence at Oriya Bazaar, Cuttack, Orissa, India.
‘Budhi’ as a child, was availing horse driven coach to attend Sailabala School near Teen Konia Bagicha in Cuttack. She successfully completed her matriculation with flying colours and topped in geography subject in the entire state. Soubhagini Dash married on 11th March 1953 at the age of 16, soon after her matriculation exams. Otherwise, by sheer determination and God’s blessings, she fulfilled her academic desire by successfully completing Hindi, Utama exams. Simultaneously, she attended singing, sewing and cooking classes. She was also driving car. She learnt to read and write in Bengali. She was a voracious reader of English, Hindi, Oriya and Bengali novels.
Throughout her life, she actively provided health care assistance to her children, husband, in laws, parents, brothers, sisters, grand children, helping hands, friends, families and neighbours. She assisted birth of grand children and selflessly served elderly on sick bed. In her early teens, she saved two human lives from drowning. She was writing articles, poems and essay in ODISHA Women’s Journal. Unknown to her, the inspiring articles on Mauritius and on her most favourite (‘Bahu’) Romi’s hospitality encouraged tourism sector of Mauritius. This brought many eminent Oriya personalities to visit her at her son’s home in Glen Park, Mauritius, Chief Justice of India, Mr. R. N. Mishra, United Nations Permanent Ambassador, Mr L. Mansing, Attorney General, Mr. Jayanta Dash, Chief Secretary, Mrs Sarita Dash, CBI Chief, Mr P. Padhi, High Commissioner, Mr M. Tripathy, Secretary of Industries, Mr Mahapatra, Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr S. Dash, Chief Manager, LIC, Mr D. Das, Oriya Cinema Hero, Mr L. Mohanty, Director of Indian Airlines, Mr Acharya, Professors, D. B. N. Acharya, D. Dash have fond memories of Mauritius. This is but only a few names coming to mind, now.
Her father, late Sripati Nanda, IPS, (Retd Commissioner of Police, was the first Oriya to rise to such echelon in police hierarchy under British colonial regime. He was also recipient of Queen’s Medal and ‘Rai Saheb’ in recognition of his dedicated, loyal, long and meritorious service in the Indian Police service. On major issues, her father like her husband and father in law always sought Budhi’s opinion. Mr Sripati Nanda founded the largest private college of ODISHA Swami Vevaka Nanda College in Jagatsingpur, which ran on a purely voluntary basis and as charitable institution to help the poor and needy.
All her siblings are living hale and hearty, as dignified and successful individuals, All of them have fond memories of Mrs Dash courage, help and selflessly delivering natural justice on any complicated issue. She was born to give. She enjoyed social work, prayers, charity, gardening, classical music, travelling, cooking, knitting sweaters (for all in the family and friend circle), rearing pets, giving food to cows, deers, dogs, monkeys, birds and fish. Every wonder in the nature like river, sea, mountain, greenery, forest, holy places, hot springs, snowfall interested her and made her happy. She despised greed, selfishness, hypocrisy and deceit. Though very soft and sweet spoken, she was not diplomatic, at all.
Soubhagini’s father married her to the iconic and eminent late Nursingha Chandra Dash (BEE, FIE) who eventually become the most reckoned Chief Engineer – Electricals of Government of Orissa and Manipur and served as Consultant after retirement. He not only accomplished 100% rural electrification in ODISHA but also was among the five best result oriented exemplary technocrat leaders, Initiative, zeal and drive of Mr N.C. Dash to serve the nation in the dawn of Independent India made him an exemplary Principal of Cuttack Engineering School at the beginning of his career.
Therefore, responsibility to manage family single handedly as a teenage, mother of three children was entirely shouldered by Mrs Dash. Her father-in-law, Mr Purna Chandra Dash,was founder of first Oriya newspaper ‘The Shakti’. Consequently, not having enough time for personal care and rest, she suffered from diabetes and hypertension from the tender age of 30 and continued with basket full of medicines four times daily. She had strong human bonding with one and all throughout her life. Her bonding with nature is also exemplary.
She was a versatile singer and prolific writer. She taught Oriya to her grandson and grand daughter in Mauritius who are proudly fluent in an additional Indian language. She was very actively engaged in several Women’s Associations, militating for women’s rights and freedom from the clutches of male dominated and discriminatory Indian society. Her social contacts surpassed all borders and time horizon.
After the demise of her husband in 2008, Mrs Dash relinquished lap of luxury in Dash Mansion surrounded by several helping hands and modern amenities. She preferred to spend a peaceful life in Mauritius with her eldest son, Pradeep Kumar Dash in Glen Park, Vacoas.
She is survived and fondly remembered by:
Sons – Pradeep Kumar and Pratap Kumar Dash, Daughters-in-law – Ramilla, Rina and Shefali Dash, Daughter – Dr. Durgesh Nandini and son-in-law, Raj Kishore Mishra (IAS), Grand children – Dr Rajdeep Kumar Dash (Laureate), Dr Deepam Jyoti, Sandeep, Pratik, Prerana, Vaishali and Vivek, Grand daughters in law, Nishta and Sonali, Grand son in law, Nishit, Brothers in law and their wives (brothers of late husband), Dr. & Mrs Gobinda Chandra Dash, ER Laxmidhara Chandra Dash, Dr. Bidyut Lata Dash, Mrs Surama Dash (wife of late Advocate Bhagaban Chandra Dash).
Most favorite persons – Babula Bhaina, Jhunu Nani, Rony, Chenga, Rahul, Butu, Sweta, Bubli, Lulu, Raj, Rosy, Pinky, Rishiraj, Chintu, Tutu, Lutu, Chabi, Purna Bhaina and Runu Nani, Manu Nani, Babu Bhaina and tenants Sunil Babu, Kapil Babu. Neighbours, Dr. Sujata and Prof. Radha Mohanty, Budhan Bhain, Family of late Patitapahana Mishra and Padmanava Mohapatra, of helping hands Abhimanyu, Gita, Mama, Soma, Rima, Anapurna of ODISHA.
On behalf of all well wishers, families and friends in Mauritius, India, London, Dubai, USA and Canada.
Pradeep Kumar Dash (Jhulu)
BA (Hons), M.A Pol.Sc. MBA (USA) MCIT, (UK) FCILT (Mtius)
Deputy General Manager
National Transport Corporation
* Published in print edition on 24 January 2018