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Sagar Jatri ('Seafarer') and Sagar Pathe ('On Marine Ways') describe his And he did just that, running progressive educational institutions after Independence. But Das was more than that - he was also one of the foremost writers of Odia prose in the 20th century. By the time he died in 2011, at the age of 88, he was an important public intellectual in Odisha. In a career spanning six decades, he produced more than 200 books - both originals and translations. Quite a significant number of the latter were classics translated into Odia from Danish, Finnish, French, Bengali, and other languages.Despite having excellent command over more than a dozen languages, including German, Danish Finnish, as well as Sanskrit, Pali, Urdu and Bengali, he wrote mostly in his mother tongue, Odia. He is perhaps the most prolific writer of Odia non-fiction, with numerous diaries, essays, reviews, autobiographies, memoirs, columns, textbooks, and monographs. But his travelogues are the most significant body of his work. Of these, five are on his travels in Asia. Sagar Jatri ('Seafarer') and Sagar Pathe ('On Marine Ways') describe his journeys by ship to Europe via the Arabian and the Red Sea, in the years 1950 and 1962 respectively. Eretz Israel ('The Land of Israel') is about his experiences in Israel in 1991-92, when he was visiting faculty at a university there - these are juxtaposed with memories from his first visit to Israel in 1953. Israel and its socio-political experiments left an lasting impression on his mind, as did China. Bharata ru Chin ('From India to China') is an account of Das's travels as part of an Indian delegation to China in the mid-1980s. But the earliest of the Asian travelogues is Nepal Pathe ('Onwards to Nepal'): the text was accompanied by woodcuts by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha, who had accompanied Das on the trip. Sinha went on to become a celebrated artist, illustrating the original manuscript of the Constitution of India. In 1947 Das went to Nepal as a 24-year-old postgraduate student of Shantiniketan, part of a group of five. In this book, he observes the first stirrings of the nationalist movement in Nepal as the discontent against the oppressive Rana regime boils over. He says in the introduction, "A reawakening has started in Nepal. Till now the Nepali Gurkha used to obey his masters' orders as a loyal soldier. Now a new consciousness has taken birth there, where all the various communities call themselves 'Nepali', as one nation."His first impression of Nepal was of the poverty of the coolies; he saw all of toiling Asia united in this picture of destitution. The extensive Buddhist built heritage of the country alerted Das to the key role religious traditions had played in forging relationships between Nepal and India in pre-colonial times. On his China travels, he experienced the same profound influence of Buddhist traditions that had originated in India.But what intrigued him the most was that this cultural relationship was one-sided. Despite claims of openness and liberalism, India did not seem to have actively sought out knowledge from other lands. Who is India's Xuanzang, Das seemed to ask. What struck Das about post-communist revolution China were the transformations in living conditions and in the political consciousness of the ordinary Chinese. Although Das had briefly flirted with communism in his teens, in his approach to life and politics, he tended to be a Gandhian. He had participated in the Quit India movement when he was in college and had been jailed for one-and-a-half years. In the latter half of the 50s, he was instrumental in setting up and running what was, arguably, the most important educational experiment in post-Independent Odisha - a high school called Jibana Bidyalaya ('The School of Life') in Champatimunda run mostly for students who had been in basic-education schools run on Gandhian principles and whose parents had been part of the freedom movement. It combined ideas drawn from the philoso