Linkan Subudhi: A Saga of Courage, Virtue and Hope to the Most Neglected and Voiceless

Author : Prasant Kumar | Posted on: 2019-03-16

Women constitute half of the world. Women have always been fighting for the rights of others and the rights of themselves. Though in the history of Western societies we find their women were also mal-treated and were subjugated to oppression and discrimination, but in the last two century we found many struggles and efforts undertaken in those countries to rectify the past wrongs. We saw in America and Europe three waves of feminist movement to close the gap between the public and the private and to empower the women not only socially but also politically. Similarly, in Indian history also women were not given as many rights as men were. They were treated unfairly because of their gender. However, unlike in the Western countries, recent years in India have not seen similar level of women empowerment.  Throughout the long-chequered history of struggle against gender-based violence, there has actually been the struggle against the unequal distribution of power both physical and economic. Although the country’s constitution says women does have equal status to men, women are still powerless and are mistreated inside and outside their homes.

Similarly, if we talk about the rights of children, India, having the largest child population in the world, faces numerous problems in this field. In recent years, India has made some significant commitments towards ensuring the basic rights of children. There has been progress in overall indicators such as infant mortality rate which is now significantly down; child survival rate has gone really up; literacy rate in the age group of 6-14 has improved and school dropout rates have fallen also. However, the issue of child rights in India is still caught between the quagmire of legal and policy commitments towards the children. And the problem of child trafficking continues to be a big problem in India.

Indian women have always been an epitome of beauty, strength, and intelligence. Today, the success of Indian women across various walks of life has proven that they have earned this reputation very deservingly. If you look deeper you will realise that one of the major contributors to the Indian society have been the active participation of some very focussed and dedicated women. The women activists have played a significant role in changing many social evils and have been a shining beacon of hope. Some of them have displayed exemplary devotion in their respective fields. Throughout Indian history there were Indian women who took a stand and fought for women and child rights and Miss Linkan Subudhi is one among them. Miss Subudhi is a well-known and notable social activist of Odisha and founder of Seva Prayas Foundation which works towards the upliftment of women and children. Being an IT engineer by profession and a former employee of Infosys Technologies, she vowed to continue her social work with renewed energy and work for the upliftment of the downtrodden and needy people. She gave up her multi-national job in Noida just to serve the society. She is one of the leading examples of bravery, courage and perseverance.

It is often said, mother, whose love is higher than the skies, can only understand her child’s pain and sorrow. Despite being a girl, Linkan, as she is fondly known by the people who follow and adore her, have all the qualities of a mother. She knew how to understand the mind-set of a child. She has completely dedicated her life towards ensuring the safety of women and the girl children. Whenever someone is in distress, her heart and mind run fast to save them all and she prepares herself to face any challenge, whatsoever the consequences may be.

On September 2013, she was brutally attacked in Noida while trying to rescue a minor girl from forcible marriage. The 15-year-old girl’s groom-to-be and her mother allegedly stabbed Linkan and hammered her with bricks, causing her serious head injuries. Nearly 30 stitches were sutured on Linkan’s head. This incident even caught the attention of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who expressed shock over the attack. Impressed by the exemplary courage of Linkan, Rajya Sabha member Renubala Pradhan, chairperson of State Commission for Women Lopamudra Buxipatra and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan met Linkan at the Delhi hospital. The attack did not deter her will to help women in distress for whom she has been fighting since long. Despite writhing in pain at a private hospital in Delhi, Linkan said she would continue to serve the society. “I am not going to panic. I will keep working for slum dwellers, especially women in need,” Linkan told a private news channel in Delhi. The incident made her stronger in every aspect.

Back in Odisha, in the month of September 2017 she got a call from someone from Angul, informing her about a minor girl being married off against her wishes. Without wasting any time, she swung into action to save the girl. She took the help of a reporter, a cameraman and the district police. Initially the local Inspector-in-Charge of the police station was reluctant to provide her the police protection. However, she did not lose any hope but decided to fight. She reached the spot and decided to talk to the girl’s parents. The police tried to convince the parents but they were in no mood to listen. Then Linkan decided to talk to the minor girl who was getting married. The minor girl looked like a typical tenth standard girl very young and slim, who was trembling with fear crying aloud with a gloomy face. The girl actually wanted to prepare for her Matriculation exam as her age was just 14. She didn’t want to get married. After much persuasion finally, the girl’s mother realised her mistake and decided to call off the marriage. Now the same, girl under the direct supervision of Linkan, successfully pursues her graduation course in the prestigious Rama Devi Women’s University, Bhubaneswar.

Linkan believes that when a girl herself starts resisting child marriage then only this age-old practice can be fully stopped. Linkan in an interview to an e-news portal said, “Struggle for women is everywhere, but to achieve success if anything is important for women and which matters the most, then it is the self-respect and the self-confidence of the women themselves. Success will be achieved in life by women only if they are brave and assertive and this will also help remove several ill social practices existing in our society against the women. So we need to build up that bravery within us to be successful in life”.

Linkan, has always fought against injustice without caring about threats or personal safety; and has worked with tremendous spirit and dedication for the upliftment of women, poor and downtrodden. However, she has also faced enough roadblocks apart from insinuation, innuendo and personal attacks. In a society which always has meted out injustice and ill-treatment to the hapless women folk, Linkan’s effort to challenge the male-created social evils had to face the wraths from the men of that category. She has to suffer personal indignity when she noticed her photo in an escort services website in May 2017. She had to file a police complaint with the Chandrasekhar Police Station and had to meet the DCP, Bhubaneswar to seek action against the website and people responsible for posting her pictures. Later, the culprit was arrested by the police.

Linkan’s work and effort has been appreciated by one and all. On 22nd March 2017 she was selected to join leadership program in USA. The program named as the ‘International Visitor Leadership Program’ was basically an exchange program sponsored by the US Government for ‘Gender Based Violence’ subjects.

Social activists play a very crucial role in safeguarding and protecting the human rights especially that of the women and children. Linkan is truly a woman of courage and a hero, all wrapped in one. She has given hope to lots of women and children especially in Odisha who have been at the receiving end of the unscrupulous members of our society. Linkan has given them a new hope and a chance to dream of a happy and normal life.

Currently, she is running the NGO Seva Prayas Foundation which looks after the issue of development of women and children. Impressed by her courage, resilience and never-say-die attitude, the Chief Minister of Odisha Mr. Naveen Patnaik presented to her the Biju Patnaik Bravery Award, the first in several years. Linkan also looks forward to enter politics in a big way (she had once contested for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation election) in 2019 State Legislative Assembly election in order to get a bigger and empowered platform to continue her service and mission with newer vigour and enthusiasm. We wish her best of luck in her endeavour to bring smile to the most neglected and voiceless citizens of our society.  


The Author of this article Prasant K. Sahoo is a former research scholar of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and  he writes on current issues of political and economic importance.

Leave A Comment

nayan mohanty
a great article indeed, kudos to her courage and commitment..such personalities really make this a beautiful world to live in .
Dinesh Garg
i have read about this great lady earlier. but came to know more thoroughly about her after going through this article. May her spirit live ever to enlighten the neglected and the voiceless people.
Linkan Subudhi
Sir, its a great pleasure to find myself in such a glorious way in golden words. Thank you for appreciating, applauding and encouraging my work n feeling for the nation and the society.
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