Khandapara: The man sticking out amidst the crowd gathered here to witness ‘Bahuda Yatra’ was none other than Antaryami Sahu, popularly known as ‘Gachha Sir’.
Despite being in simple clothes, Antaryami could easily be seen in the crowd for hanging a poster from his neck urging people to protect the environment.
He was also seen distributing ‘Mahaprasad’(food offered to Lord Jagannath) from a ‘kudua’(earthen pot), encouraging people to pledge to plant a tree.
A retired teacher, Antaryami Sahu is a resident of Krushneswar Patna village of Kantilo panchayat under Khandapara block in Nayagarh district. He has been going above and beyond his call of duty since long to create awareness among the people to save the environment.
It is when some people of his age are seen spending time with their grandchildren, Antaryami’s day starts with planting saplings somewhere. He habitually goes out in the morning with saplings, crowbar and a basket. Whenever he finds an open space worthy of plantation, he takes a mental note of it and the other day he arrives there to plant a sapling.
At a time when deforestation is rampant, and various species of trees, birds and animals are fast disappearing under its impact; he has been working tirelessly to protect forest and animals, and to increase the population of sparrows and weaver birds.
On occasion of Bahuda Yatra, while some extolled him for his job, some others chided him for his get up. Oblivious to what people were thinking of him, he kept on telling people to remember Lord Jagannath at every moment, plant trees and save old banyan and peepal trees for as long as the cars were being pulled there.