Success is something that we all want to achieve in our lives. The type of success aspired to can vary greatly from person to person. While some strive for academic success and becoming as highly educated as they can, while other are much more career-focused, and their main marker of success can be different things: the power they have, the money they earn or the good they do, a combination of things or something else entirely. Because every type of success is very different, every road to success is very different too, but everyone’s route has one thing in common: Hard work. ‘With hardwork and determination, one can achieve success in life’ is what Mr. Achyuta Samanta has proving since years through his landmark changes in the field of education. An educationist, entrepreneur, free thinker, social worker, parliamentarian, founder and above all a passionate soul who turned the non-descript obscure village in Cuttack into an Education hub.
Scaling the heights
From a poverty-stricken life, to doing odd jobs to earn meagre salary and support family, Mr. Samantha reflected a positive attitude towards life. In his journey from the village to a district headquarters’ town and from there to the State capital, Mr. Achyuta learned the hard ways of life. Adversaries of life taught him to take life as it came. Being crushed in poverty he learned to survive and transform his adversaries to advantages. Henceforth, Mr. Achyuta thought something big for deprived children where each one of them could study. Thus, the inception of Kalinga Institutes took place, spinning from a small industrial training institute to one of the finest multi-disciplinary Universities of the country.
Kalinga Institutions and University
The brainchild of Achyuta Samanta, the Kalinga Institutions provide free accommodation, food, healthcare and education from class 1 to post-graduation with vocational training. Today, these institutions has become the most promising university of the country and the beauty of the world which nurtures and gives a decent life to 25,000 poor indigenous aborigine children of the country, providing free education and professional education with fully free residential and boarding facility.
Kalinga Institutions – being unlike
Born out of love, passion and dedication, Kalinga today stands testimony to Achyuta Samanta’s expression of feelings and his sincerity to empower millions of under-privileged aborigines through education. Establishment of KIIT and KISS shows just a small glimpse of Samanta’s persona. He has taken a very firm and bold step towards the creation of an equitable world. He got funding from the Odisha government, as well as from other National and International NGOs.
Volumes can be written about this persona who single-handedly dared to give the underprivileged children, their due in the society. He has ensured that no child should ever have a nightmarish shattered childhood. Whether it is to represent the nation in international sports or to secure position in various qualifying examinations, the indigenous children of Kalinga Institutes have proved beyond any doubt that given scope, they could outshine everyone. Participation of world organizations like UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and US Federal Government in various projects have proven that both KISS and KIIT has become the most accepted model to empower and create sustainable livelihood through education.
Moreover, KIIT University has constructed a campus on over 120,000 sq. ft. area exclusively for innovation and research .The entire KISS runs on digital model. The campus is fully wi-fi enabled and is completely cashless, paperless and wire-less. They also provide logistical and consultation support to the students.
Avid art enthusiast
Belonging to a land of rich and diverse artistic achievements, Achyuta Samanta loves anything and everything related to arts. He is a promoter of culture and arts through Kadambini Media Pvt. Ltd. (KMPL), an organisation which he founded that aims to encourage vibrant art forms. He has also served as the organiser of ‘Nanhi Pari’, a Little Miss India competition, since 2000. Apart from this, he has established 25 spiritual centres and shrines, and is in the process of setting up ‘Gandhi Gram’ in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, a tribal museum to showcase tribal life, art and culture, and a centre for yoga and spiritualism.
Achyuta Samantha stands as a visionary social architect who embarked on a social development mission using education as the strategic medium to eradicate poverty and alienation from the surface of the earth. With the Honorary Degree of D.Litt. and an M.Sc degree in Chemistry Samantha has a decade-long experience in the field of teaching. Prof. Samanta went on to serve KIIT as its first Chancellor and has had the distinction of being the youngest Chancellor of any Indian University. He was the first Indian to be Member of both UGC and AICTE simultaneously and the first Odia to become Member of UGC and many other statutory bodies.
Acing the role at many levels
Prof. Achyuta Samantha is a member of University Grants Commission (UGC), Executive Committee Member of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Academic Council Member of Central University of Orissa, Serving Member of National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Coir Board of India, National Executive Council Member of Indian Society for Technical Education, and Executive Committee Member of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). He is also the Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha for Odisha.
He has served as the member of various international bodies including the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), United States of America; Institute of International Education (IIE), New York City; Association of University of Asia Pacific (AUAP); University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP), Bangkok, Thailand; Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (APACPH); United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), and Asia Economic Forum (AEF), CIFEJ (Centre International Du Films Pour L’enfance Et La Jeunesse, Dubai).
Awards and Recognitions
As a well-known person who excels in is field and activities Prof. Achyuta Samanta have received numerous awards, accolades and created new records in the field of social entrepreneurship. His hardships have been reflected in his works which have garnered him much recognition. He was mentioned among the Top fifteen Social Entrepreneurs of the World by the American Edge Foundation. Prof. Samanta’s name is also etched in The Limca Book of Records as the Youngest Chancellor of any University in India. In addition, he has also been conferred with the following titles:
- The UC Distinguished Professorship in Humanities by The University of Cambodia – 2018
- “Best Worker” – Top Civilian Award of Mongolia − 2015
- Highest Civilian Award of the Kingdom of Bahrain – Isa Award for Service to Humanity – 2015
- Hall of Fame Award presented by World CSR Congress, New Delhi – 2015
- Successful Entrepreneur Award at Economic Times Entrepreneurship Summit 2015, New Delhi – 2015
- Civilian Award by Jan Mládek, Industry and Trade Minister of Czech Republic, Vladimír Bärtl, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Minister of Czech Republic and M. Stašek, Ambassador of Czech Republic to India at Czech Embassy, New Delhi – 2015
- Think India Award by Think Media at Transforming India Conclave 2014, New Delhi – 2014
- Honorary Fellowship Award by Computer Society of India (CSI), Hyderabad, India – 2014
- Visista Puraskar from 24th Annual Awards – 2014
- Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Award, Moscow, Russia – 2014
- Gusi Peace Prize International, Manila, Philippines – 2014
- ‘2013 World of Difference Awards’ by US-based International Alliance for Women (TIAW) – 2014
- Lifetime Achievement in Education Leadership 2013 Presented by Education World 2013
- Kumara Shri 2013 Samman from ‘YOUTH’, for exemplary work in the field of Education & Social Service
- The Highest Prize of Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) – A Sculpture of Honour of the Goddess of Harvest Ops – Prague, Czech Republic – 2013
- Utkalshree Award 2012
- 15th Bhagwan Mahaveer Award- 2012
- Honorary Doctorate for Dr. Samanta by National Formosa University, Taiwan – 2012
- Qimpro Platinum Standard 2011 Award for Education – 2012
- Jawaharlal Nehru Award 2012
- Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha – Central University, Tirupati, India − 2011
- Dainik Bhaskar India Pride Award 2011 for being a Change Agent in the field of Social Development and Equity – 2011
- Litt. Degree (Honoris Causa) from Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (Central University), Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh – 2011
- Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award (Social Bravery Award) in recognition of an exceptional Act of Courage – 2011
- ICON of Odisha 2011 by Times of India
- Rajdhani Gaurav Samman – 2011
- Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Samman – in recognition of Outstanding Services, Achievements and Contributions – 2011
- ‘Ruchi Odisha Gaurav Samman’ 2011
- National Young EDGE Award – Emerging Direction in Global Education (EDGE) for outstanding contribution in Education – 2010
- Asia’s Best Social Entrepreneur Award by the World HRD Congress, Singapore
- Swami Vivekananda National Award by the Department of Youth Services and Sports, Government of Karnataka – 2010
- Gandhi Seva Medal by Gandhi Global Family in recognition of Philanthropic and Charitable works for the Downtrodden – 2009
- Nominated for International WISE Awards, Qatar Foundation, Doha – 2009
- Priya Odiya Samman 2007 (Most Endeared Personality in Odisha) through a survey by a National TV Channel – 2007
- Placed within 15 best Social Entrepreneur of the world by Social Edge, an offshoot of Skoll Foundation – 2007
- Youngest Chancellor of any University in India (Limca Book of Records – 2007) – 2007
- Humanitarian Award from Mahatma Gandhi Remembrance Organization, Johannesburg, South Africa – 2004
- Received Awards from Scotland Colleges for Exemplary Work for the Indigenous People
- First Oriya to receive International Award for Outstanding Social Work by the Indian Embassy, Muscat, Oman.
- Received ‘Certificate of Excellence’ in the field of Social Work from the Minister of International Affairs, Government of Cambodia.
A keynote speaker
Prof. Samanta has delivered nearly 100 motivational speeches, including convocation addresses and foundation day lectures, in different institutions and organizations across the country and the globe. His awareness towards various topics, his uniqueness, spontaneous and memorable style adding zing to any talk, the authenticity to connect with the audiences have entitled him as a keynote speakers for various occasions including Universities for Poverty Alleviation, Madrid, Spain, 2015; Oslo Summit; The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Jaipur; Lal Baahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration; IFS Academy, Dehradun and UN Headquarters, New Delhi.
A visionary at par
Prof. Achyuta Samanta’s vision of establishing the two institutes, KIIT and KISS in a contiguous campus has been providing the much needed day to day interface between, and integration of the poorest of the poor aborigine children of KISS and the much elite and rich children of the mainstream society KIIT. The two communities seamlessly and closely interact with each other and thus a strong cultural sensitivity and bonding is developed between them.
Establishment of KISS has far reaching consequences on the development of the aborigine society which has been getting beleaguered due to devastation of their natural habitat, consequent redundancy of their traditional vocations and lack of modern knowledge and skills. Through KISS, the aborigine community has been able to see a new hope for their existence on the surface of the earth at par with the mainstream society.
An Altruistic at heart
A benevolent, Prof. Achyuta Samanta never forgets his benefactors. He has been giving financial assistance every month to several poverty stricken school friends and has given employment to many of his friends in his two institutions. He considers his mother as his inspirational force. Through his success, he has given back to his remote village by turning it into a model village having all amenities of a city. In addition, Prof. Samantha has also greatly contributed towards enriching art, culture, films, literature, spiritualism and many other fields. The same person, after creating so much for the society and people and after achieving so much, lives the simplest-of-the-simple life. His only ambition is to spread smiles to the faces of thousands of poor children irrespective of caste, creed, religion and nationality.
Prof. Samantha focuses on the enhancement of quality of education. He wants to concentrate on eradication of poverty and hunger with the help of education through his institutions. His plan is to expand KISS across the state and the country. Bringing poor children from remote areas and providing them with a decent life and education till the age is his sole contribution to the society. He aims at providing a complete transformation to the children in a decent environment through education.
Beacon of simplicity
“What good is one’s wealth, if it is not used to improve or enhance the general quality of mankind?”
Prof. Achyuta Samanta practices simplicity and helps every one, for he thinks giving others is his greatest luxury in life. His struggle, his sacrifice and his simplicity are definitely more precious than anything money could buy. He finds the greatest satisfaction by his Gandhian life style, his simple vegetarian food and inexpensive dress which speak a lot about him. He shares the pain of others and for him kindness in thinking creates profoundness and kindness creates love. It is solely due to his sheer hardwork and determination; he could create an equitable world sans hunger and ignorance despite being surrounded by wealth and power. It is the love for humanity that inspires him to stand in a class of his own amongst the Great Philanthropists. With huge contributions in the field of education, health, art, culture, literature, rural development, social service and spiritualism, his journey of life is not only awe-inspiring but soul-awakening for millions.