Deba Ray

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Deba Ray
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EducationMBBS (Utkal), MRCPs (UK), DPM (London), DTM&H (England), DHA (Canada), DPM (Ireland), FRSTM (Hon)(UK), MCPS (Sask.)
Known forDeba Ray College, Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar, and Deba Ray Samarsingh College, Kendrapara

Dr Deba Ray is an Indian doctor from Odisha, India, who worked in the NHS in United Kingdom and other parts of North America, and is known for his social work as well as Founder of Deba Ray College, Bhubaneswar and Deba Ray Samarsingh College, Kendrapara and several other educational institutions in remote areas of Odisha.


Born in 1941 to father late Dolagobinda Samarsingh, known freedom-fighter, and mother Subhadra Devi in remote village Mohanpur, Kendrapara, Odisha, within the delta of River Mahanadi, affected by floods and cyclones. As his father passed away when he was a small child, he was raised by his mother dependent on limited agricultural income. As there were no educational facilities in the area, young Ray sought education in distant places from the age of 7 while staying in hostels, where a number of times his meals were stopped for non-payment. He completed primary, middle and high school education with outstanding results and was champion in athletics, NCC, captaining football teams.

Education and Career

In spite of extreme financial constraints, he got a placement in the prestigious Ravenshaw University, Cuttack. After successful completion with help of scholarships, he was ready to fulfil his dream to become a doctor to help save lives. He was selected through state-level competition for admission into Srirama Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital and successfully obtained MBBS. Ray was particularly concerned with providing medical attention to rural areas affected by floods, which caused an increase in cholera epidemics, and his assistance is still remembered by the people in those concerned areas in Odisha.

He received blessings from veteran Odia leader Biju Patnaik at Anand Bhawan before flying to London in 1968 for higher education, with only £3 (British sterling pounds) allowed by Reserve Bank of India. He spent 24 hours in London airport only drinking water in order to save limited funds, until a good samaritan appeared and helped by taking to his accommodation in London.

With no earnings and no pre-arranged university placement, Ray applied to various hospitals and luckily within a week he was selected out of many as a Junior Doctor, being helped by a colleague to pay his registration fees. His earnings helped attend different universities’ postgraduate courses and securing higher qualifications. Ray became known as an internationally renowned specialist and appointed Honorary Member of British Medical Association in 1971, Director of Canadian Human Rights and Head of various units in NHS hospitals, England. He was also an Honorary Member of State Doctors International in Odisha, India.

Responding to a global advertisement Ray took an opportunity where he was the first Odia person to be selected by an international interview panel and flown by the Government to work in North American renowned hospitals in senior positions. In spite of high-paid positions Ray decided to return to India to fulfil pre-determined objectives for offering services to disadvantaged people. As per the policy of the Indian Government at that time, Ray was offered professorial positions in medical college hospitals to which he did not accept and preferred to contribute his expertise to the people as a social worker.

Social Work

He worked as a full-time active social worker in Odisha mostly in rural neglected areas and voluntary organisations, helping people exercise their rights to receive the basic requirements as a human being, such as food, clothes, accommodation and education. During his socio-political activities, he realised democracy is not achievable without proper public education while above 70% of the population were less educated, mainly due to lack of village facilities for which he started a campaign with the slogan 'Education, Education and Education'.

Establishing Educational Institutions

While remembering his own childhood sufferings due to lack of such facilities, he established Primary, Middle and High Schools (with the Government of Odisha giving him recognition as Founder) and public library in his village, Mohanpur, and neighbouring areas and encouraged conservative parents who were not sending their daughters to co-education schools by also establishing a girls’ high school in Rajaatotaa, Bari, Jajpur, later renamed after spouse 'Usha Ray Girls’ High School'.

After observing his success, he founded a college in 1982 in Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar. While recognising Ray’s contributions to the community and as per the genuine demands of the local population, this college was named after him as Deba Ray College. As part of the campaign for promotion of education he helped local people starting a college in Derabish, Kendrapara, as a Founding Member. Only a few such educational institutions in Odisha have been posthumously named after a few most distinguished figures namely Pathaani Samant, Gopabandhu, Fakir Mohan, Gangadhar Meher, Baxi Jagabandhu,Rama Devi, Sriramchandra Bhanj, Upendra Bhanj, Madhusudan, Mahatab and Biju Patnaik, but are rarely named after a living person.

Ray also established a +2 college in 1994 in his village being underdeveloped area, upgrading later to Degree college (+3) providing opportunity to students in the rural area with low socio-economic backgrounds for higher education, which was recognised by the State Government of Odisha as Deba Ray Samarsingh College.

Establishing several educational institutions in different deprived areas of Odisha, from primary to post-graduation, gave opportunities to thousands of students in remote regions of the State with low socio-economic backgrounds to become successful doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers etc, improving standards of living for their families. Such institutions have also been the source of employment to thousands of people and family members.

Founder and Member of:

  1. Primary and Middle English school, Mohanpur
  2. M.G. High school, Mohanpur
  3. M.E. school in Patanaa, Jajpur
  4. Deba Ray Higher Secondary School (+2 College), Ganasar Mohanpur Kendrapara
  5. Deba Ray +2 and Degree College, Deba Ray College Road, Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar, Dist. Khorda
  6. Deba Ray Samarsingh Degree College, Ganasar Mohanpur Kendrapara
  7. Founder, Usha Ray Girls High School, Rajaatotaa, Jajpur
  8. Kalinga Medical Centre, Bhubaneswar
  9. Founding Member, Derabish College, Kendrapara
  10. Service to Humanity Foundation Trust, Kendrapara, Odisha
  11. President, Human Rights and Peace Foundation (Registered Odisha)
  12. Health Centre Mohanpur
  13. Veterinary Centre Mohanpur
  14. Village Post and Telephone Office
  15. UK Indian Welfare Society, London
  16. 20 Point Development Committee, Jajpur
  17. Director, Co-operative Bank, Kendrapara
  18. President, Odisha Flood Areas Development Committee
  19. Odisha Emergency Relief Committee
  20. Director, Lift Irrigation Corporation, Odisha (Established and expanded lift irrigation points and creation of river embankments for protection of agriculture from floods,in Cuttack, Kendrapara and Jajpur districts)


Ray follows principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash, Sardar Patel, Gopabhandu, and Mother Teresa, believing in self-satisfaction “through deeds not words” based on service to humanity. He believes in the work of Utkalamani Gopabandhu “misu mora deha e desha maatire, desa baashi chali jaantu pithire” (let my body blend with the dust of my Motherland, let all citizens walk on my back).


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