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The Founder

Dr Raghunath Pani was born on 20th July 1923 in the village Gurandi near Paralakhemundi of Ganjam district of Orissa state. He belongs to an established family of purohits who served the erstwhile Maharaja of Paralakhemundi, as family priests engaged in the traditional worship of private temple deities belonging to the family. The family was also well known for their melodious traditional musical renderings in the temple and in the court of the Maharaja.
His tenacity and undaunted spirit in joyful struggle made him the first PhD in Education from Utkal University in 1968.

A pathfinder and a pacesetter with multidimensional experience in all fields and aspects of education from pre-primary to postgraduate and from teaching to research and administration he brought Physical and Art Education to the fore of the Core-Curriculum at the National level and restored education to its intrinsic dignity   (more)
Integral education has been the specialisation of his career.  His works on education, specially his magnum opus Integral Education: Thought and Practice is acclaimed as a fundamental contribution to the development of New Education in the country.

Music has been closest to Dr Pani’s heart and in his younger days he developed a rare combination of vocal renderings in the classical Hindustani and traditional Odissi style, while playing the veena in the traditional Carnatic style. Composing music and directing dance-dramas have been his hobby and passion. Dr Pani was a singer of light classical music at All India Radio, Ranchi and Kolkata stations during 1940’s and 1950’s.

Dr Pani came in contact with The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1955. With her overwhelming grace, his musical and dramatic talent blossomed and he composed music for several dance itema and dance dramas. He also became active in organising cultural events and organisations. In the late nineteen fiftees he played a pioneering role in establishing Kala Niketan at Koraput, a relatively remote area in Southern Orissa.
He considered his life as an eternal pilgrimage in the cause of integral education that addressed the total needs of the mind, body, heart and soul of his students he so dearly loved.
In the late nineteen fifties he wrote a dance drama on Jayadeva and Geetagovinda and enacted this with the help of Odissi gurus Trinath Maharana and Natabara Maharana. He later refined this with the choreography of legendary guru Pankaj Charan Das who was assisted in this by then very young Gangadhar Pradhan.This sowed the first seeds of a great revival of interest in Jayadeva and Geetagovinda and with the active involvement and contribution of his son this is today a vibrant movement.
Dr Raghu Nath Pani will be remembered as a great teacher, a dedicated institution builder and a fine cultural organiser. In his last years that he spent at Puducherry, he founded Sri Geetagovinda Pratisthana to carry on the work of rediscovering India’s cultural heritage and especially the heritage of Jayadeva and Geetagovinda.

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