Pratik Patnaik, a 12-year-old boy from Koraput, is an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath. His love for the Lord began from early childhood and was groomed well by his family members, says Deepak Patnaik, a lecturer in VD College at Jeypore. Day begins for Pratik, who reads in Standard VII in DPS at Damanjodi with chanting names of the deity, painting some aspect of his observations out of earlier readings, searching some more facts by surfing internet.
With such a great amount of concentration, the parents had never felt to ask him to look into the needs of the school curriculum. He had the capacity to choose his subjects and managed time so well that nothing got disturbed. He has been the topper in the class. However, it was not by the struggle to be on the top but the love for understanding the topics well so as to see the presence of the deity perfectly in each and everything that was read and written in the class too was the key to his success, Pratik said. His research on the history, rituals, ornaments, offerings, stories in relation to several devotees, Jagannath temples at Koraput and Puri, the works, fairs and festivals that he had been observing since his childhood resulted in making several presentations on all these aspects of Jagannath cult.Learning Sanskrit, Hindi, Odia, and English has become a necessity for the child to understand about the deity and he had started learning languages just to read articles written in these languages so as to get a wider scope of knowing his deity through the writings of various scholars and saints across the globe, says P.C. Mahapatra, his grandfather and director of COATS. Pratik read his references well so that he could realise its spirit to the best of his understanding and rewrite them in Odia for the better understanding of other children and adults as well. His writings were so simple and expressions so accurate that the management of Sabara Srikhetra, Koraput came forward to add more beauty to his glorious work. Krushna Chandra Panigrahy, secretary of the temple, appreciated and expressed his desire to place his concepts in the temple, Umakant Das, retired teacher and a researcher in tribal museum, offered his expertise in making the creation more appreciable before presenting in the open air for the masses, Pratik added. The temple has now prepared 220 presentations, printed in equal number of sheets of laminated papers and displayed them on the temple premises for the benefit of the public .