Manasi Pradhan: Odisha’s daughter

| Tagged in: Real & Uncommon Heroes

Hailing from an extremely remote village named Ayatapur, in Khurdha district of Odisha, the journey of Manasi Pradhan is a tale of immense struggle and undaunted spirit in the face of mountain-like odds.

Resolute to porve herself, she walked over 15kms daily by foot, amidst hilly terrain and swamps, to the only school in those times in the entire region, to emerge as the first women matriculate of her school.

But a mountain-like obstacle lay ahead with no college in the entire region and the poverty-stricken family with no resources to fund their daughter to a far off college.

Nevertheless, undeterred both by poverty and immense social ostracisation that women education carried with in it in those time, she landed in the Odishan town of Puri, over 200km away from her remote village, with loads of dream and an empty pocket.

Resolute not to let down her dreams at any cost, it was a relentless struggle for a 16-year old girl, both to fund her own higher education as well as sustain her family that was fast drowning into abject poverty.

But undaunted, it was her never-say-die spirit that was finally to emerge victorious. Against all odds, she was not just able to fund her education and family, working tirelessly throughout the day, but also emerged as one of the tallest student leader of her time, leading the famous 1980 Student Movement in Odisha as its convenor.


Manasi Pradhan

While still a post-graduate student in Utkal University, she founded the now famous Josodhara magazine, with one of the father of modern Odisha and its first Chief Minister Utkal Keshari Harekrushna Mahatab launching the publication.

The publication was soon to grow into a large media entity with its own printing units and a publishing unit and was finally re-shaped in the year 2005 into a transnational media group by the name of Josodhara Global Media.

An international claimed poet and author, Manasi Pradhan has nearly a dozen title to her credit and several books ie. Urmi-O-Uchchwas, Swagatika, Akashdeep has been translated into several languages of the world.

But her story was not to end with her own triumph against the mountain-like obstacles. Her passion was not just to empower herself but to inspire and empower thousands of women, who rarely find the courage to pursue her own dream.

With this passion, while pursuing law studies under Utkal University she founded one of Odisha’s leading social organization Odisa Yuva Sanskrutik Sansad, popularly known as OYSS, in the year 1987.

Popular as an orator and student leader, she was soon able to rope in hundreds of youth into the organization that took in the task of educating women in nearby villages and organizing leadership camps for women students.

The organization so far has been able to educate thousands of women in the district of Khurdha, Puri and Cuttak; empower them through vocational trainings and legal awareness camps; and inspire them through unique leadership camps.

Credited with pioneering works in the field of women empowerment for last 25 years, the organization has also been in the forefront of spearheading movements against women atrocities and anti-liquor agitations.

A relentless fighter for equality and justice for women, Manasi Pradhan has also emerged as a well-known against women atrocities.

In 2012, she founded the “Honor for Women National Campaign ”, a nationwide movement to end violence against women, that has been in the forefront of the country’s fight for making India a safe place for all women.

The movement has recently constituted the “Nirbhaya Vahini” with over 10,000 volunteers across the country to take on the fight for women’s rights and oversee the implementation of its Four-Point Charter of Demand to tackle violence against women.

The nominees is also credited for founding the extremely popular OYSS Women Model UN (the first Model UN exclusively for women students), Nirbhaya Samaroh ( a cultural tribute to women power), Odisha Women Leadership Conclave, Odisha Women Leadership Award, Nirbhaya Fortnight, OYSS Women Women’s Rights Stall.

She is credited for organizing the fist ever National Meet on Rural Women Empowerment and OYSS Women National Meet on Tribal Women Empowerment in the year 2013 with participation of over 7000 women delegates.


Image Credit:,

Source- Life Sketch-Manasi Pradhan

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