Great men are great as they have great power over their own minds. They have conquered their own selves. They are free from the bondage of selfishness. They are free from greed, pride, anger and envy. They have malice to none and fear to none. Great men are great as they are great in service and sacrifice. They sacrifice their all and even their lives for the moral benefit of mankind.
Odisha is a land where so many great persons were took birth. It has given birth to number of legendary persons like Gopabandhu Das, Radhamohan Garnaik, Bir Surendra Sai and so on. Among these great persons Honorable Ranganath Mahapatra was one of them who had faced so many obstacles only for the improvement and popularization of our Odia literature. To make Oriya language popular, not only in India but also all over the world he had taken much pains to invent Odia typewriter “Key board” and inspite of his bankruptcy, he had been able to import Odia typewriter from Germany.
In the year 1888, on December 15, the day named as Bakula Amabasya, Ranganath Mahapatra had taken birth in a Brahmin Family at village Sorada, under district Ganjam,where the sacred river Rushikulya flows to bless the new born child. His father’s name was Late Lambodhar Mahapatra and mother was Late Haramani Devi. He was the 3 rd son of his parents. He had six brothers and one sister. His 1st elder brother was Late Kishore Chandra Mahapatra who had appointed as “Dewan” in different “e-state” (at that time district) of Orissa. His 2 nd elder brother was Late Sashibhushan Ratha had made the first Odia news paper of Odisha “Dainika Aasha” and worked for the development and welfare of our society through this print-media. His 4th brother was Late Lingaraj Mahapatra who was a very renowned writer and the famous Maa Kaali Devotee. His 5th son was Late Pachana Mahapatra who had been worked as a teacher under the Ganjam district board and gave his thought to thousands of poor illiterate childrens. His very younger brother was Late Sarat Chandra Mahapatra who was a very renowned writer and a journalist also.
After taking birth from a famous family like this Ranganath Mahapatra appointed as typist of Mr. Dodsworth (British personale) of Khalikot in only 17 years old. After that in Bengal- Nagpur Railway Company, Chakradharpur and finally in Khandapada Gadajat, he got opportunity to work as lifetime type-steno. From his working experience he felt that all administrative works of Odisha should be done in Odia language. He felt the necessity of Odia literature for Odisha administration. Only for this and for the development of Odia language in the year 1930 he was able to invent the “Keyboard” in Odia language. This work was not a great deal for him as he got this quality from hereditary because his father Late Lambodhar Mahapatra was the 1st compositor of Odia letters, because Late Lambodhar Mahapatra was deputed a training for the same by the British gout for printing some Odia in district Gazzet.
Mr. Ranganath Mahapatra tried his level best for the awareness of “Keyboard”. He had been launched Odia typewriter for the public with mutual understanding or mutual agreement with ” M/S SIDEL & NAUMAN” Company of Germany in 1930-1931. For this he was spent lots of money .
In 1941 during the British rule his “Keyboard” was approved by “ invention promotion board” and at that time 1000/- was rewarded to Late Mahapatra. Though he was rewarded 2000/- in 1962 by “invention promotion board “ of Govt. of India and 5000/- by state govt. till date state govt. has not taken prior step for the development of his “typewriter”.
In 1953 the typewriter of Late Mr. Mahapatra was approved by the Odisha State Assembly. It is recorded in the Gazzeted of Odisha assembly. He was not able to success to improve his invention from 1936 when Odisha was declared as a state that is because he was not kind of person who can make oil masses to the politicians and he was belongs to the group of “Satyabadi”.
“We salute to the great soul of Odisha.”
(Source: Information and extracts provided by Mr. Shakti Mahapatra, grandson of Ranganath Mahapatra and a successful software entrepreneur)