|Mahatma Gandhi with Gokul Babu- December 1928|
Mahatma Gandhi visited Sambalpur in 1928 and 1934
Mahatma Gandhi visited Sambalpur for the first time in December 1928. During first visit, he was hosted by Chandra Sekhar Behera. While parting, Chandra Sekhar said, “ Hope you will come again to this place ”. Chandra Sekhar Behera’s wish was fulfilled in 1934.
Mahatma Gandhi started his tour from Sambalpur during his Harijan Movement in 1934. Mahatma took part in Swaraj Conference at Ranchi on 2nd & 3rd May. From Ranchi, he reached Jamshedpur via Chakradharpur on 4th May 1934. A Reception Committee had already been formed at Sambalpur to welcome Mahatma. Benimadhab Supkar, President of the reception committee went to Jamshedpur to receive Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatmaji came by Bombay Mail to Jharsuguda with Benimadhab Supkar and reached Jharsuguda at 3 am early morning , on 5th May. Many dignitaries from Sambalpur and Jharsuguda received him at Jharsuguda Rilway Station . Mahatm Gandhi went to the house of Sibji Nathu Bhai for taking rest, after arrival.
A general meeting was organized at Jharsuguda in the morning. Gandhiji addressed the public and explained how untouchability was causing harm to the society . Public of Jharsuguda collected Rupees 435 ten annas and 7 paise and handed over to Mahatma Gandhi . He came by car to Sambalpur in the morning and stayed in the house of Dr Ramchandra Mishra at Budharaja. Thakkar Bapa, Balaji Govindji Deshai, journalist Mr Bhutto, and Miraben had come along with Mahatma Gandhi to Sambalpur.
Mahatmaji visited Harijan Bastis with Benimadhab Supkar, Nrusingh Guru, Nityananda Bohidar in a car. Harijans handed over an amount of Rs 60/ to Mahatmaji. Janardan Supkar gifted a house near Fatak Railway Station for Harijan Hostel , during Mahatma’s visit. Mahatmaji visited a clinic meant for leprosy patients at Mudipara. The clinic does not exist there, a water tank of PHD exist now.
In the afternoon, Gandhi addressed a general meeting in sand bed at river Mahanadi. A temporary bridge was constructed to cross water at Balunkeswar ghat. Benimadhab Supkar read the welcome address. Gandhiji auctioned the gifts he received at the meeting place. Total collection at the meeting was Rs 535 only.
Mahatma Gandhi left for Cuttack by car in the evening.