People in a remote village of Odisha's Kendrapara district observed the 71st death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday by paying tribute to the Father of the Nation and Raghunath Nayak.
Nayak, who hailed from Jaguleipada village, used to work as a gardener at Birla House in New Delhi and moments after Gandhi was shot dead, he had grappled with the Mahatma's assassin on this day in 1948.
Residents of Jaguleipada congregated at the village school, where the students and locals paid homage to both of them.
"Every year, we remember Bapu along with Raghunath Nayak on this day," said Raj Kishore Mahapatra, a local resident.
Enthusiastic children thronged the school campus and recited the Ramdhun. Children as well as teachers and locals garlanded the portrait of both Mahatma and Nayak, another villager, Subhransu Sutar, said.
Raghus act of heroism finds mention in 'Mahatma Gandhi-The Last Phase, a biography of Mahatma Gandhi written by his private secretary Pyarelal, Mahapatra said.
"The portraits of Bapu and Nayak find a pride of place in the premises of Jaya Malavya Nodal Primary School. The day is observed in the school premises," Sutar said.
An automobile giant had installed busts of the Mahatma and Raghunath Nayak in the village school.
"Had Raghu succeeded in saving Gandhi, modern Indian history would have taken a different turn," he observed.
Raghunath Nayak died on August 13, 1983.
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