Prof. Usha Deka (16th October 1931- 17th June 2014) is no more. She lived a long and meaningful life of almost eighty-three years. With her demise the Anthropology fraternity in India has become poorer. She was among very few distinguished Indian Anthropologists who strengthened the study and research in Physical Anthropology and Human Genetics in India. As an Alexandar von Humbolt Fellow, she earned her Doctorate in Science in 1960 from the Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany for her work on hand prints of criminals from Germany. Twenty-seven years of her career, from 1967 to 1991, were spent in Utkal University, a premier University of Odisha, a state, with substantial tribal population, in the eastern coast of India. It was during this period that under her guidance the teaching and research in Physical Anthropology became firmly established in Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. In recognition to her devotion to the subject and leadership in furthering its spread she was elected President of the Anthropology and Archaeology Section of Indian Science Congress in its 67th session at Jadavpur in 1980. She has left behind many students and colleagues, who are beholden to her. They remember her ‘for her erudition, her discipline, dedication to work, punctuality, moral character and loving nature’ They remember her as ‘a woman of grace and dignity’ and as one who ‘made every body feel like some body’. They remember her as a ‘bold woman who suffered the fatal pains and miseries of life silently but proved her mettle without succumbing to it’. They remember her saying ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do’.
The Tribal Tribune pays its tribute to this tough, efficient and yet affectionate lady. We pray may her soul rest in peace.
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