Annapurna Maharana was born in Odisha on 3 November 1917, the second child of Rama Devi and Gopabandhu Choudhury. Both of her parents were active in the Indian independence movement from the United Kingdom.
Annapurna was an India pro-independence activist active in the Indian independence movement. She was also a prominent social and women’s rights activist. Maharana was a close ally of Mohandas Gandhi.
Maharana began actively campaigning for independence when she was fourteen years old, becoming a supporter of Mohandas Gandhi. In 1934, she joined Gandhi on his “Harijan Pada Yatra” march through Odisha from Puri to Bhadrak. Maharana was arrested several times by British and British Raj, including August 1942 during the Quit India Movement civil disobedience campaign.
Following independence, Maharana advocated on behalf of women and children in India. She opened a school in Odisha’s Rayagada district for the children of the area’s tribal population. Maharana also became involved with the Bhoodan movement, or Land Gift Movement, started by Vinoba Bhave. She further campaigned to integrate the Dacoits active of the Chambal Valley.
During the emergency she protested by helping Ramadevi Choudhury with their newspaper published by the Gram Sevak Press. The newspaper was banned by the government and was arrested along with Ramadevi Choudhury and other leaders from Orissa like Nabakrushna Choudhuri, Harekrushna Mahatab, Manmohan Chowdhury, Jaykrushana Mohanty and others.
The Central University of Odisha awarded Maharana a Honoris Causa (honorary degree) in a ceremony held at her Cuttack home on 19 August 2012.
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Maharana died of lengthy illnesses related to old age at her home in Bakharabad, Cuttack, Odisha, at 10:30 p.m. on 31 December 2012, at the age of 96. She was survived by two of her sons. Her late husband, Sarat Maharana, died in 2009. She was cremated with honors at the Khannagar crematorium in Cuttack on 2 January 2012