Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, who was killed by unknown assailants at Jaleshpata Kanya Ashram on Saturday night, was a man of strong determination and ideology. His message was loud and clear – “Believe in your religion, don’t disband it”. He never used double standards. He preached what he believed and always stuck to that.
Swami Laxmanananda (80) was a native of Gurujanga village in Talcher. Over four decades ago, he denounced marital life and became a saint. He left his wife and son (who was just one year old) and moved to Kandhamal, which became his “Karma Bhumi”. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati set up an Ashram at Chakapada in 1960s. He had chosen Kandhamal, as the tribal-dominated district was under attack from Christian missionaries, who were allegedly indulged in mass conversion of tribals and scheduled caste people by luring them with money and other facilities.
The situation was so bad in Kandhamal (then Phulbani) district that Orissa government had to enact the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act to prevent rampant religious conversions. Laxamanananda worked hard for the upliftment of tribals and scheduled caste people in that area. He established several Ashrams and promoted education among the poor. He also set up orphanages and educational institutions.
Since he successfully stopped the conversion among tribals and poor and vehemently opposed cow-slaughter, the Christian extremists always targeted him. He had survived at least nine attempts on his life including a murderous attempt in December 2007. The district administration failed to provide adequate security to Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, even though there was always a threat to his life.
While we pay tearful homage to Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, we hope that his work and belief will continue to show right path to people in Kandhamal and other parts of the state. Long live Swami Laxmananada Saraswati!