TDN World Desk: Centenarian freedom fighter Mohammed Bazi from the remote town of Nabarangpur in Odisha died on Thursday. He was 103, reports Orissa Post.

Bazi who had celebrated his birth centenary in the year 2017 was suffering from old age related ailments for past few years.

“Bazi died at his Sunari Sahi home,” said a family member.

Born on January 20, 1917, Bazi was a bachelor and a close associate of civil rights activist Laxman Nayak. At the peak of the 1942 Quit India movement, Bazi suffered bullet wounds when 29 tribals were killed as they protested in front of a police station at Mathili, now in Malkangiri district of south Odisha.

He was the 20th of 21 children of his parents. Bazi joined the freedom struggle after being inspired by acclaimed freedom fighters like Radhakrushna Biswasray.

Bazi was a student of freedom fighter and the then Chief Minister Sadashiva Tripathy at Jeypore High School. Later, he joined the Congress after he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s work.

He was instrumental in organising freedom fighters by visiting village to village. He had taken part in Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement at Sabarmati Ashram in 1940. He was lodged in Nabarangpur jail after he started a similar movement in the town following his return from Sabarmati.

Baji led padayatras at Nabarangpur for the restoration of peace after the demolition of the Babri Masjid and again after the communal riot in Kandhamal in 2008.

“Saddened at the demise of Centenarian Freedom Fighter Mohammed Bazi Saheb from Nabarangpur District. An era comes to an end with this death. People of Odisha, especially in the Southern part of the State, will continue to be proud of his efforts in the freedom struggle”, tweeted Bhrugu Baxipatra, state general secretary, BJP Odisha.

His nephews N Ahmad and Aktari Beg and other family members were with Bazi when breathed his last. He was laid to rest with state honours in Nabarangpur.

Being inspired by Mahatma Gandhi he joined the then Indian National Congress and spread the message of India’s Freedom Movement during the country’s freedom struggle. He had been imprisoned twice during the Quit India Movement.

The veteran had attended President’s tea party organised at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi during Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure.

Odhisa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to Twitter to pay his condolences after the news of his demise came to fore. 

Bazi believed in secularism and had great respect for all religions.  He always wore khadi – spinning threads from cotton using a charkha himself.