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Utkal divas 3

Utkal Divas: The Glorious Day for a United Odisha

British entered into Odisha (then Orissa) in 1803 and ruled for more than 100 years. At that time, Odisha was not a separate state but was under the control of British Provinces which included mostly Bengal Presidency, part of Bihar and Madras Presidency. It was almost impossible to address proper identity of Odia people, even a very few number of Odia people used to live in the state.

To change everything in this world, the major and the foremost weapon is revolution. Some revolutionary men tried it hard to unite Odia people and formed the Orissa Province as a separate state thus giving us a full identity as an Odia.

Bengal, Odisha and Burma in 1907 (courtesy Wikipedia)

To commemorate the formation of Odisha Province (now Odisha State), we observe Utkal Divas or Orissa Day on April 1 every year. It is in fact, the day on which Odisha province was formed based on Odia speaking people and happened in the year 1936. 

Utkal Divas is the day of glory for the united Odisha and its people. Today, as an Odia, we are feeling proud to have a own state. Let’s know what it cost to bring about these changes and the history behind it. 

About The Day 

Odisha Day or  Odisha Dibasa or Utkala Dibasa, as it is known, is celebrated on 1 April in the state of Odisha and is declared as a state holiday. 

Formation of Odisha Province

 It was not easy, not easy at all. It took a long and indefatigable struggle of around 350 years which came into effect in establishing a state of our own. 

It was the time when the Kings ruled the state of Odisha. In fact, The kings were only the show makers but the true power and authority lied in the hands of the British Government. The Kings had less power and were treated with pensions for running the state administration but had to work under the British Government.

As the history of Odisha states – the last Hindu ruler of the Odhisa was Mukunda Dev. It was okay until 1568 when Mukund Dev was defeated and demised. Objections were raised to build a separate state concerning the linguistic divisions and to form a province for the Odia speaking people.

Utkala Sammilani (courtesy Odisha.Plus)

The formation of Utkala Sammilani led to the formation of Odisha Province as a separate state. The revolutionary Utkal Sammilani which was the core of the movement consisted of Utkala Gouraba Madhusudan Das, Utkala Mani Gopabandhu Das, 

Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanj Deo, Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Pandita Nilakantha Das, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Gangadhar Meher, Basudeba Sudhaladeba, Radhanath Ray, Bhubanananda Das, A. P. Patro and many others. People of Odisha also supported the movement by heart. 

Gopabandhu Das
Gopabandhu Das, stamp of 1964
(courtesy Wikipedia)

The newly formed Odisha, situated to the North-East direction of India, consisted of six districts.

The first 6 districts were Cuttack, Puri, Baleswar, Sambalpur, Koraput and Ganjam. The former capital of Orissa was at Cuttack. 

The first Governor of Orissa Province was Sir John Austin Hubbak. The state was developed gathering Oriya (Odia)  speaking people, with three major languages considered for basic use, Odia, Hindi and English.

From ancient times, Kalinga was a great administrative power with its center at Orissa. 

King Ashoka conquered Kalinga in 250 BC,  and the state was attained under the administration of Mauryan Dynasty.

In between 1500 – 1700 AD, most parts of the state went under the control of Mughals and Marathas. 

 The East India Company merged the southern part of the state after winning the war of Carnatic. 

 Separate Orissa Province was formed on 1 April 1936 with six districts and Bihar was separated from it. 

Bengal was also formed being separated from Odisha. 

Cuttack served as the Capital City of Orissa from 1135 to 1948 and was overtook by Bhubaneswar as its new capital. 

Present Scenario of The State

 The present day Odisha primary consists of Odia speaking people and about 36.6 million speaking the language. 

The state comprises of 30 districts and has been spread over an area of 155,707 square kilometers. The coastal area has been spread over 485 km along the Bay of Bengal. Orissa forms the 11th most populous state of India and 9th most populous by tribal population. 

The capital city of Odisha is Bhubaneswar and forms the largest city of the state. The secretariat, the chief Minister’s office, the state museum and many more Governmental organizations are in Bhubaneswar.

Cuttack circa 1857-58
Cuttack circa 1857-58 (courtesy oldindianphotos.in)

Cuttack is the oldest City of Odisha and in connection with Bhubaneswar, the duo is called as Twin City. 

Cuttack holds the High Court of Orissa and the Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College. 

The present chief minister of Odisha is Shri Naveen Patnaik and the present governor is professor Ganeshi Lal. 

Celebration of Utkala Divas 

The April Fool’s day brought the people Of Odisha a glorious achievement and defined them as Swabhimaani Odia. So, to mark the day, Utkal Divas is celebrated every year on April 1. 

Utkal Divas 2
courtesy Sudarshan Patnaik, 2017 (Twitter)

Utkal Divas is declared as a public holiday by the state government. Schools and colleges arrange for different competitions like speech, drawing, quiz giving emphasis on the topic of formation of Odisha and Utkal Divas. Also some shops and Institutions are decorated. Great leaders and personalities from all over the state share their wishes and thought provoking ideas to remember the importance of the day. 

We should truly admire the hard work done by our great leaders and freedom fighters who brought up the formation of Odisha and United us to stand with dignity and own identity. 

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