A brief introduction to the historical foundation of Odisha
Odisha proclaims a glorious historical and cultural lineage spanning 2000 years. The history and culture of Odisha is in many ways distinct from those of the northern Indian states and many generalizations that are made about Indian history do not hold good for the Odia region. The word Odia is in fact an anglicized version of Odia which in turn is a modern name for the Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central region of modern Odisha .
In ancient times Odisha was the regal seat of political power being known then, by the name of Kalinga. It was a major seafaring nation that had strong trade links with most of the sea ports of the Bay of Bengal. For many centuries, a major part of South and South East Asia was under its socio -cultural. The temple of Angkor Vat is a classic architectural specimen of Odia influence on Cambodian temple architecture. Some regions of Sri Lanka, Java, Bali, Sumatra, Vietnam and Thailand were colonized by the people from Odisha . In fact even today in Malaysia, Indians are referred to as 'Klings' due to the very reason. In fact some Sri Lankan kings trace their origin and roots back to Kalinga.
A major turning point in World History took place in Odisha . The famous Kalinga war that made Emperor Asoka give up war and embrace Buddhism, was fought in Odisha in 261 B.C. After the war he championed the cause of budhisim and played a major role in taking the religion to distant shores such as Thailand and Cambodia.
Odisha has the largest variety of tribal communities in India. These have contributed a great deal in making rich the history and heritage of Odisha . At one extreme are the tribes who lead a relatively secluded and archaic mode of life, keeping their core culture intact, while at the other extreme there are communities which are indistinguishable from the general agricultural communities. They express their cultural identity and distinctiveness in social organization not only through their language, rituals and festivals, but also through their dress, ornamentation, art and craft. Every facets of their life is intimately connected with religious belief, ritual practices and belief in the supernatural powers. It is these aspects of their culture that give meaning and depth to their lives, and solidarity to their social structure. With the advent of time, traces of borrowing from Hindu Pantheon and religious ceremonies are noticed among the tribes of Odisha . The artistic skills of the tribal people are not only manifest in their dance and music but also in their dress and ornaments, wall-paintings, handicrafts, wood carvings and decorations.
Several Kingdoms, namely, Kalinga, Utkal, Udra/Odra, Kosala, Tosali and Kangoda had flourished in the region currently known as "Odisha ". Odisha pronounced "ODISA", comes from the Sanskrit "ODRA DESHA" or "ODRA VISHAY". After changing hands from the Marathas, the Mughals and the British, up to 1912 it was a part of Bengal and till 1936 a part of Bihar. The state was officially born on 1st April, 1936. In 1950 it became an independent state incorporated into the union republic of India and continues to remain so.
Chronological Profile of Odisha 's History
Odisha 's hazy past focuses with the war of Kalinga in which the people of Kalinga come into head on conflict with Ashoka, the powerful Mauryan emperor from Magadha. A hundred thousand are killed, another hundred and fifty thousand are taken captives while an equal number die as an aftermath of the war. The bloody carnage leaves Ashoka with such a bitter taste in his mouth that he turns his back on violence forever and embraces Buddhism - the faith of peace and compassion. Buddhism spreads to South East Asia (especially Thailand) under his royal patronage and becomes the state religion.
Ashoka dies. The Mauryan Empire lasts up to 185 BC.
1st Century BC
Kalinga drifts out of the Mauryan rules under the first Chedi King Mahameghavahan in the early part of the 1st Century BC.
The third Chedi king Kharavela comes to power, and conducts extensive military campaigns. The greatness of his power is felt from the eastern coast to western coast of India and from Mathura in the North to the Pandya kingdom in the south. Jainism flourishes under him.
2nd Century AD
Early in the 2nd Century AD Kalinga is occupied by the Satabahana King Goutamiputra Satakarni from the west (Nasik), and continues to remain under the Satabahanas probably up to the rule of Yajansri Satakami, (AD 174-202).
3rd Century AD
After the death of Yajansri Satakami (202 AD), the history of Kalinga sinks into obscurity. Some minor dynasties like the Kusanas of North India, the foreign Indo- Scythian Murundas, and thereafter the Nagas are believed to have ruled in the land until the time of SamudraGupta's south India campaign.
Samudragupta of Magadha sets out on his campaign of the south and conquers parts of Kalinga. The claims of Samudragupta regarding his South Indian conquests are subject to doubt. Brahminism starts reasserting itself.
350 - 498 AD
Soon after the invasion of Samudragupta, a new ruling power called Mathara raises its hand (from modern Parlakhemundi) and continues to rule over Kalinga till 498 AD. Kalinga under the Marathas enjoys a prosperous economic life because of her flourishing trade and commerce. Brahminism consolidates.
The reign of first group of the eastern Gangas begins. A new dynasty called Sailodbhava raises its head in the coastal region of Odisha extending from Mahanadi in the North to the Mahedragiri in the South. It is during the region of the Sailodhavas that Kalinga's overseas trade flourishes largely with the rulers bunching their colonial adventure in the Suvarnadweepa i.e., modern Myanmar.
Harshavardhana of Thaneswar (Modern Haryana) invades Utkal and occupies till Chilika Lake. Buddhism gets a renewal.
Chinese cultural Ambassador, Hieun T'sang, visits Odisha
The last Hindu emperor of India, Harshavardhana dies. Bhuama era begins with the reign of Unmattasimha alias Sivakardeva who occupies the Sailodhava kingdom. The Bhuamas give patronage to Buddhism. The dynasty is marked by a few illustrious women rulers like Tribhubana Mahadevi and Dandi Mahadevi, along with the ruler Bhaumakaras some semi independent principalities known as the Mandalas develop in between the kingdoms of the Bhauma rulers.
The reign of Somavamsis begins. Somavamsis continue to rule till 1110 AD. Temple building activities reach a considerable degree of perfection during the reign of the Somavamsis with Bhubaneswar as the chief center. Somavamsi king Mahasivagupta Yajati II comes to the throne, and with him begins the most brilliant epoch in the history of Odisha . Yajati II unites Kalinga, Kangoda, Utkal and Koshala in the imperial tradition of Kharavela. He is known to have laid the foundations of the famous Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar.
The eastern Ganga lying low since the end of 5th century AD comes into prominence again with the rise of Vajrahasta V who defeated Soma Vamsi ruler Kama Deva and establishes the Ganga Supremacy over Kalinga.
The construction of Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar is finished by Lalatendu Keshari of The Soma dynasty.
Chodaganga Dev of Ganga dynasty comes to the throne.
Chodaganga Dev invades Utkal and brings it under his rule. A great champion of Vaishnavism, he is believed to have built the monument of Jagannath Temple at Puri. It is during the reign of Chodaganga Dev that the famous medieval saint Ramanujacharya is known to have visited Odisha .
Chodoganga Dev dies. About 15 kings rule the Ganga Empire after him.
Anangabhima Dev III ascends to the throne. He is believed to have finished the construction work of Jagannath Temple at Puri. Anangabhima Dev establishes a new city called Avinaba Baranasi Katak (Modern Cuttack) at the bifurcation of the river Kathajodi and Mahanadi.
Anangabhima Dev dies in 1238 AD. His son Narshimha Dev comes to throne. He is reputed to have built the Temple of the Sun God at Konark.
Narsimha Dev invades Bengal
Sultan Firoz Shah Tugluq invades the Ganga Kingdom and occupies Varanasi Katak
British army under Colonel Harcourt begins its march from Ganjam in the South, and occupies the Mugalbandi districts of Cuttack, Puri, Balasore. The first book to be printed in Odia "New Testament" published by the Shreerampur Baptist Mission Press.
Under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu Biddyadhar, the Paikas of Khurda rise against the British in what is known as the famous Pikas Revolt of 1817. It is primarily an agrarian revolt against the wrong policies of land settlement and revenue administration adopted by the British.
Missionaries arrive in Odisha .
Odia is adopted as the language of the court replacing Persian.
Fakir Mohan Senapati is born.
Kulabrudha Madhusudan Das is born.
Missionaries bring out the first Odia Magazine -"JNANARUNA"
Bhaktakabi Madhusudan Rao is born.
Appearance of saint poet Bhima Bhoi.
Surendrasai of Sambalpur, Chakhi Khuntia of Puri, and Arjun Singh of Podahat join hands with sepoys which is known as the country-wide `Sepoy Mutiny of 1857' (First War of Indian Independence).
Poet Gangadhar Mehar is born.
A failure of reign in 1865 resulted in the loss of usual crops and brought about a catastrophic famine in 1966-67 which laid to the death of about one million people in Odisha . Gross negligence, indifferent administration, lack of communication and in adequate attention caused at least one man every three in Odisha die in famine. Cuttack printing press, the second in the state is established by the initiative of the people of the province. The first news paper Utkal Dipika is brought out by the Cuttack printing company.
1866 - 1900
It was during this late 19th century that a new consciousness began to take shape. The growth of modern education, rise of a middle class intelligentsia, advent of the printing press publication of the journals and periodicals along with the nationalistic literary activities of writers like Fakir Mohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray, rise of numerous socio religious and cultural societies formation of the Indian National Congress all these assumed the shape of a political movement uniting all the Odia-speaking areas under a single administration.
An Anthology of the History of Odisha
Its territory formed a part of the ancient Kalinga of Mahabharata fame. Ashok the Mauryan King of Magadh, invaded Kalinga in 261 BC and this event has gone down in history as the Great Kalinga war. Then the people of Kalinga offered a relentless and dauntless resistance, but they lost at last. How desperate was the battle, how bitterly it was fought, and how terrible were the results, are known from Ashok's own descriptions. This is what he wrote about the Kalinga war in his thirteenth Rock Edict. The country of Kalinga was conquered when King Priyadarshan, beloved of the Gods had been anointed eight years. One hundred and fifty thousand were there from captured, one hundred thousand were there slain, and many times as many died.
But what was the result? The conquered Kalinga conquered her conqueror. This was the last war fought by him after which he became the great champion of Buddhism and upheld the values of peace and non-violence.
The ancient state rose to prominence as a Kingdom under Kharavela, a great conqueror and patron of Jainism, in the second half of the I st century B.C. Other great rulers belonged to the Bhaumakara, the Somavansi and the Keshari and the Eastern Ganga dynasty who were also great builders.
At one time the vast kingdom spanned from Ganga to Godavari. The flourishing maritime trade with South-East Asian countries i.e. Java, Borneo had brought in a golden era of affluence and opulence.
The Kalinga School of architecture flourished from the 7th to 13th century A.D. The most important monuments of this period can be seen in and around Bhubaneswar and Puri. The Mukteswar Temple is the finest piece of architecture of Kalinga. The Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar, the Jagannath Temple of Puri above all the world renowned world heritage Sun Temple at Konark are the epitome of temple architecture and sculpture. The construction of Konark Temple utilized 12 years of state revenue which can be compared to the mighty Mogul Empire, which also utilized its resources of 12 years for building world famous Taj Mahal.
It has also shown its military strength and prowess during Buxi Jagabandhu period of the warrior of Khurda Paikas. The glories of Odisha ended in later half of 16th century. Two centuries later the British administered the final blows by dividing the original territory in to several administrative units.
In 1936, ultimately an independent state `Odisha' was constituted as a separate province by carving out certain portions from the provinces of Bihar, Odisha and Madras (present Chennai). As centuries rolled by, Odisha continued to invite heroes, Scholars and prophets alike. Famous Kings like Samudra Gupta and Harsha Siladitya came to Odisha on political missions while scholars like Prajna and Hieuen-Tsang came to learn at centers of learning. Hieuen-Tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim of the 7th century who visited Odisha was surprised to see the University of Puspagiri imparting knowledge to innumerable scholars now lying buried under Buddhist complex at Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Udayagiri.
History of the State as an Administrative unit and changes in its component parts
At the height of their power in the 15 th century AD, the Gajapati Kings of Odisha ruled over a kingdom, extending from the Ganges in the north to the Kaveri in the far south. But already in the early 16 th century, the Gajapatis lost great portions of their southern dominion to Vijayanagar and Golkonda. The dismemberment of the Odia-speaking central region began immediately after the downfall of the kingdom in 1568, when the present Ganjam district was conquered by Golkonda and when, in the early 17 th century, the districts north to the river Subarnarekha were annexed to the Bengal Sub Area of the Mughal Empire. The fate of Odisha was further determined in 1751 when the Marathas conquered central and western Odisha whereas southern and northern Odisha remained under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Bengal respectively. And when, in the year 1803, Odisha was finally conquered by the East India Company, the districts of Ganjam and Midnapore, already several decades ago, had become part of its fast expanding territory.
The East India Company had no intention of unifying the Odia-speaking territories which it had conquered piece by piece during a period of more than half a century. On the contrary, after further reorganization of those Odia-speaking areas which lay outside the Odisha Division, the Odias were administered by five separate political authorities, i.e. Bengal and its Odisha Division, Chota Nagpur, the Central Provinces, Madras and the Garhjat Mahals or feudatory states of Odisha .
The formation of the linguistic province of Odisha in 1936 may be regarded as one of the landmarks in the history of the evolution of the Indian Union. The demand for linguistic states, which became so conspicuous in India after independence had its genesis in the movement of the Odia-speaking people for a separate province on the basis of language during the later half of the British rule. This movement had a long and chequered history ranging from the last quarter of the nineteenth century till the new province was created on the 1 st April, 1936.
The British conquest of India was carried on according to prevailing political situations as well as military conveniences of the conquering power. In the process of territorial conquests the traditional compositions of the socio-cultural affinities of the various Indian people were very much neglected. As one of the major linguistic communities of the Indian subcontinent, but placed under several administrative jurisdictions, the Odia people suffered the injustice of dismemberment for nearly a century since the British conquest of Odisha in 1803. Ganjam and other Odia-speaking areas south of the Chilika lake remained tagged to Madras; Midnapore to Bengal; Singhbhum, Seraikela and Kharsawan to Chota Nagpur Division; Sambalpur and Chhatisgarh feudatory states to the Central Provinces. Thus, when the British occupied Odisha in 1803 it was confined to the three coastal districts of Puri, Cuttack and Balasore.
Prophets and Poets
Various prophets visited Odisha ; the significant among those visits is the visit of Adi Sankaracharya in 9th century to Puri to make it a center of his mission and a towering citadel of his spiritual ideology & message. He established four monasteries in four corners of Indian Peninsula out of which "The Gobardhan Pitha" of Puri was one of the most significant. Another Great Saint Ramanujacharya, the proponent of Visistadwaita philosophy also visited Puri and established the Emar Matha. Poet Jayadev composed his world famous lilting treatise "Gita Govinda" in 12th C.A.D. Subsequently in 16th century Sri Chaitanya, the exponent of the Bhakti Cult came to Odisha and made Puri his abode for last 18 years of his life. His contemporary Pancha Sakha i.e. Sri Jagannath Das, Sri Achyutananda Das, Sri Balaram Das, Ananta and Yasobanta were spiritual stalwarts and literary luminaries of the time.
Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, Kabi Surya Baladev Ratha, Radhanath Ray, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Pandit Gopabandhu Dash, Pandit Nilakantha Das,Gangadhar Meher, Godabaris Mishra, Kalandi Charan Panigrahi, Sachidananda Routray & many others have contributed substantially to the language & literature of Odisha .
Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das was the architect of Modern Odisha and subsequently Sri Nabakrushna Chowdhury, Dr. Hare Krishna Mahatab, Sri Bijayananda Patnaik and others engineered their best efforts for catapulting Odisha to Himalayan heights of fame.
In fact, Odisha has become a multi dimensional, multi colored, vibrant and boisterous modern state all set on its journey in the present millennium to make its presence and voice felt in the nooks and crannies of the world through the Universal Cult of brotherhood, its unique cultural heritage, luxuriant forests & wild life, sprawling Chilika Lake, bountiful coastline, wide range of tribes & colorful canvass of art & culture.
Odisha has been resurgent again rejuvenating and resuscitating its ancient glory, glamour and greatness.
The Division of Bihar and Odisha
But no step was taken for the transfer of Odia-speaking areas from Bengal and Bihar. By this recommendation, the total area was raised from 55,799 to 84,677 sq. km. (21,545 to 32,695 sq. miles). In the lines of the recommendations of the Committee, the Government of India Bill 1935 was passed by the Parliament and the new province of Odisha as an administrative unit came into being on the 1st April, 1936 with the following areas as per the Government of India (Constitution of Odisha ) Order,1936.
The Ganjam agency tracts - Non-agency portion of Ganjam district such as the Taluks of Ghumusur,
Chatrapur, Asika, Sorada, Kodala and a portion of the Taluks of Ichhapur and Brahmapur as laid to the north and west of the line described in Part-II of the Schedule.
So much of the Paralakhemundi estate as laid to the north and east of the said line.
From Vizagapatnam district-the Jaypur (Jeypore) estate and so much of Patangi Taluk as was not included in that estate.
Areas from Central Provinces
the Kharial Zamindari in Raipur district
the Padmapur tract consisting of the 54 villages of the Chandrapur-Padmapur estate,
Seven villages, namely-Kuakunda, Badima, Soda, Brahmapur, Palosoda, Jagni and Thakurpali.
Since then throughout the pre-independence days Odisha has suffered a lot as it was not possible to put together all the Odia-speaking areas under a single administration. There were only six districts, viz., Cuttack, Puri, Baleshwar, Sambalpur, Ganjam and Koraput. The old district of Anugul was split up into two statutory districts, viz. Anugul and the Khondmals under the Angul Laws Regulations, 1936 and the Khondamals Laws Regulations, 1936 respectively. But for administrative purposes Angul was tagged to Cuttack district and Khondamals to Ganjam district. The Collectors of Cuttack and Ganjam became respectively the ex-officio Deputy Commissioners of those two areas. The rest of the province constituted 26 princely states, governed by the Rajas and Maharajas who had the last word of law within the jurisdiction of their respective princely states. They were loosely knit and administered under Political Agent of the British Government who was mostly satisfied after the collection of a predetermined part of the total revenue collection known as tribute or Nazarana from the rulers of those states. The process continued till 1947 when the country got independence.
The Simon Commission Report
The report of the Simon Commission led to the summoning of the Round Table Conference. Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Dev, the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi represented Odisha in the Conference. The Maharaja circulated the pamphlet, "the Odias, their needs, and reasons for a separate province." His efforts bore fruit: before the Third Round Table Conference ended, the Odisha Boundary Commission was appointed to review the boundary lines of the proposed Odisha province.
According to the suggestion of the Simon Commission the Odisha Boundary Commission was appointed with O'Donnell as the Chairman. The Committee examined the claims of the Odias and finally recommended for inclusion in Odisha of the plains and the agency areas, excluding Paralakhemundi, in the Ganjam district; and Kharial and Padmapur, excluding Phuljhar in the Central Provinces. But the Commission opposed the inclusion in Odisha of the Odia-speaking areas in Bihar and Bengal. The report of the Committee was vehemently opposed by the Odias.
The "white paper" was published on the 17 th March, 1933, containing the draft proposals for the reform of the Indian Constitution. It proposed to create two new provinces, viz., Sind and Odisha . But the proposal regarding the boundary of Odisha was far from satisfactory. It excluded the Vizagpatam Agency and Paralakhemundi estate and the Jalantar Maliah in the Ganjam agency from the proposed Odisha province. When the "white paper" was under review of the Joint Parliamentary Committee, an Odia delegation consisting of seven members met the Secretary of State under the leadership of the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi on the 3 rd July, 1933 and submitted a representation.
In the meantime, the Utkal Union Conference Committee met and authorized the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi to represent before the British Parliament for the inclusion of the Odia-speaking areas of the Ganjam district. The Maharaja by his powerful arguments convinced the Parliamentary Committee for the transfer of Jaypur (Jeypore) agency and a portion of Paralakhemundi to Odisha . The Commission after careful consideration made the following recommendations.
A separate province of Odisha would, however, be perhaps, the most homogenous province in the whole of British India both racially and linguistically. They recommended that a new province of Odisha be constituted. They also recommended that there should be added to the Odisha Province, a portion of the Jaypur (Jeypore) estate which the O'Donnell Committee proposed to transfer to Odisha , the Paralakhemundi and Jalantar Maliahs and a small portion of the Paralakhemundi estate including Parlakhemundi town.
Administrative Re-alignment of the Districts
In creating consciousness for the amalgamation of the Odia-speaking areas, the district of Ganjam played a leading role. The people of Ganjam for the first-time organized meetings and passed resolutions for the unity of all the Odia-speaking areas. In September 1870, in the village of Russelkonda (present Bhanjanagar) under Ghumusar Taluk in the Ganjam district, a mass meeting was held. In the meting it was resolved to request the Odias of Cuttack to make united efforts for amalgamation. The Ganjam Odias formed an association called the `Ganjam Utkal Hitabadini Sabha with the Raja of Kalinga, Venkates Beu, as its Secretary and carried on the agitation more vigorously. In the Odisha Division, on the 28 th November, 1874, there was a vast congregation of all the Rajas, Zamindars, and aristocrats in the garden of Bichitrananda Das to discuss the common problems of Odisha . In July 1877 an association called `Utkal Sabha' was formed under the leadership of Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das. On the 16 th August, 1882 the Odisha Association was also formed by Mr.Das. In 1888 the Odisha Association made a representation to Sir Stewart Colvin Bailey, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, to unite all the Odia-speaking areas. On 15 th December, 1902 Raja Baikunthanath Dey submitted a memorandum to Lord Curzon to the same effect. In 1903 the Ganjam Odias sent a memorandum to Lord Curzon for the amalgamation. They also sent a copy of their memorandum to the people of Odisha Division. In the same year a meeting was held at Rambha in the Ganjam district under the leadership of the Raja of Khallikot and the 'Ganjam Jatiya Samiti' was formed. Its first meeting was held at Brahmapur and Shyamasunder Rajguru of Paralakhemundi was its President. Delegates to attend this meeting from Odisha Division included such eminent persons as Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das, Biswanath Kar, Nanda Kishore Bal and Gopal Chandra Praharaj. This meeting was regarded as the fist national conference of the Odia people. This was followed by the formation of the Utkal Union Conference at Cuttack on the 30 th December, 1903 under the leadership of Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das. This conference played the most significant role for the amalgamation of the Odia-speaking areas.
In 1901 Andrew Fraser, the then Chief Commissioner of the Central Province proposed to transfer Sambalpur to the Odisha Division. On 3 rd December, 1903 Lord Curzon in a scheme proposed to unite under a single administration the scattered sections of the Odia-speaking population while considering a proposal for the partition of Bengal. But the proposed scheme was partially carried into effect by the transfer of the Sambalpur district to Odisha Division on the 1 st September, 1905 minus the Chandrapur and the Padmapur estates and the Phuljhar Zamindari. In the same year the two feudatory states of Gangpur and Banei (Bonai) from the Chota Nagpur Division and the other five Odia feudatory states of Patna, Kalahandi, Sonapur (Sonepur), Bamra and Redhakhol (Rairakhol) were transferred to Odisha Division from the Central Provinces.
The next great agitation for the amalgamation took place in 1911 when Lord Hardinge, the Governor General, created a new province consisting of Bihar and Odisha excluding the Odia-speaking areas of Midnapore, Ganjam and Vizagapatnam agencies; the states of Sarangagarh, Rayagarh, Bastar, Phulijher, Chandrapur, Padmapur, etc. and the states of Saraikela, Kharsawan and Sundergarh. The Odisha being dissatisfied at this continued their agitation with double vigor. The claims of the Odias were discussed at the Utkal Union Conference which met from year to year. Besides the Utkal Union Conference, the Odia Peoples Association, the Balasore National Conference, the Udit Club of Singhbhum, the Utkal Milan Samaja and the Utkal Hitaisini Samaja of Ganjam also played leading roles for the union of the Odia-speaking areas. A counter movement called the Ganjam Defence League was organized by the Telugus in Ganjam to oppose the Odia movement.
In 1917 the Montagu-Chelmsford Commission visited India on the subject of self-Government. As regards Odisha , the Commission in its report recognized the need for an administrative union of the Odia-speaking people and recommended for a sub-province for the Odias. But in the Act of 1919, there was no provision for a separate sub-province and the merger of the Odia-speaking areas.
The question of amalgamation of the Odia-speaking people was discussed from time to time in the Central and the Provincial legislations. On the 20th February, 1920 Satchidananda Sinha moved a resolution in the imperial Council for the amalgamation of the Odia-speaking tracts. A similar resolution of A.B. Latthe supported by Brajasundar Das was moved in the Indian Legislative Assembly on the 2nd September, 1921. In reply Sir William Vincent, the Home Member, expressed his inability to take any step to change the provincial boundaries. On the 25th November, 1921, Viswanath Kar, an Odia member in the Bihar and Odisha Legislative Council moved a resolution for the union of the Odia-speaking tracts. In the same year Sasibhusan Rath moved a similar resolution in the Madras Legislative Council. All these resolutions were disallowed by the Government.
At last India Government appointed C.L. Philip and A.C. Duff to make an enquiry regarding the attitude of the Odia inhabitants of the Madras Presidency towards this merger with Odisha . The Commission in their report made the following concluding remarks "Our enquiry has shown that there is a genuine long-standing and deep seated desire on the part of the educated Odia classes of the Odia-speaking tracts of Madras for amalgamation of these tracts with Odisha under the administration". Before any step was taken on the recommendations of the Commission, the Government appointment a statutory commission in 1928 under the Chairmanship of the Sir John Simon to report on the working on the reforms in India. The Commission in its report stated, "Bihar and Odisha is a glaring example of the artificial connections of areas which are not naturally related." The Commission, therefore, appointed a sub-committee for Odisha with Major Attlee as Chairman. The sub-committee recommended the creation of a separate Odisha province.
The Language Agitation era
A new awakening was marked in Odisha after the 'Na Anka' famine of 1866 and during the time of the 'language agitation'. Growth of education, development of communication, increase in the volume of trade and commerce, establishment of printing press and publication of journals and periodicals paved the way for the growth of political consciousness in Odisha . This consciousness made the people aware of administrative disadvantages.
The tales of the woes of the scattered Odias under other neighbouring people and their strong desire for union with Odisha crowded the columns of the newspapers and journals. When Lord North Brook, the Governor-General, suggested to break up the Central Province and to merge its areas with other provinces, the pioneers of the Odia movement advocated strongly merging Sambalpur with Odisha .
The question of amalgamating outlying Odia-speaking tracts with Odisha was so far confined to newspapers and journals but later steps were taken to submit representations to the Government to that effect. When John Beams was the Commissioner of Odisha , the Odias appealed to him for the merger of the Odia-speaking areas into a distinct linguistic unit. The people of Balasore made a similar representation to Richard Temple, the Lieutenant-Governor, who did not pay any heed to that appeal. In 1876, Raja Baikunthanath Dey of Balasore and Bichitrananda Das, the Sirastadar of the Commissioner of Odisha , made a representation to the Government for the union of all the Odia-speaking areas under a single administration.
FAKIR MOHAN SENAPATI (1843 - 1918)
Master in the art of writing short stories, he injected a new life in Odia literature in an environment of gloom and despair. His sense of humor remains unsurpassed in Odia literature. Discarding romantic themes, he wrote about the common man and his problems. Senapati could rightly be compared with the 20th Century great novelist like Premchand and Bibhutibhusan Banerjee. Even though he had no formal education, he proved to be an enlightened teacher, painter and a great administrator. In his writings, Odia Nationalism was the dominant theme. As a recognized literary poet, Senapati has made his place secure as a great prose writer in Odia.
UTKAL GAURAV MADHUSUDAN DAS (1848-1934)
First ever Odia to get the Degree of M.A. B.L. from Calcutta University. Took a valiant stand for unification of scattered Odia tracts. Emerged on the Eastern horizon as a symbol of new hope and aspiration of all Odias. Was the founder of Utkal Sammilani, architect of Odia movement and pioneer in the field of industrial development. Acclaimed as a great Legislator and Journalist, he was the first Odia to be the member of Legislative Council and Member of Central Legislative Assembly and was the first to sail overseas. He had the distinction of being the first Indian Minister.
CHANDRASEKHAR BEHERA (1873-1936)
Chandra Sekhar Behera of Sambalpur was a leading freedom fighter and an active participant in the Non-Cooperation Movement. He consolidated the National freedom movement in Sambalpur region and merged his activities with the Indian National Congress. He was a founding member of the National School of Sambalpur started on lines of Satyabadi Vana-Vidyalaya founded by Gopabandhu Das. As the chairman of Sambalpur Municipality, he received Gandhi in Sambalpur in 1928. Organized a mass movement against illiteracy and untouchability.
PANDIT GOPABANDHU DAS (1876 -1928)
Aptly described as the Gandhi of Odisha , Pandit Gopabandhu Das played a pivotal role in the formation of a separate province of Odisha . Born and brought up in an atomsphere of Brahminical orthodoxy, he shattered the shackles of narrow caste barriers. A Law Graduate from the Calcutta University. He was an active sentinel of Odia Movement, Freedom Fighter and a great social reformer. As an educationist he was responsible for establishment of Satyabadi School at Satyabadi in the Puri District. Imbued with patriotic fervor the students of Satyabadi School were known as indefatigable fighters against British Imperialism. Gopabandhu regarded politics as an instrument of service to the people. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopabandhu was one of the Noblest Sons of Odisha . His spirit of service and sacrifice finds an apt echo in his following lines. "Let my body mingle in the dust of my motherland and let my countrymen walk across it".
NILAKANTHA DAS (1884 -1969)
Secured M.A. Degree in Philosophy from Calcutta University. Spurned an offer of a lucrative job by the British Govt. and preferred to serve as the Mead Master of Satyabadi High School. Endowed with a profound erudition he became a legendary figure in his life time. A powerful speaker, his speeches in Central Legislative Assembly and Odisha Legislative Assembly have left an indelible impression on Legislative history. He was a rare amalgam of a Writer, Editor, Speaker and Author. Author of an excellent commentary of The Bhagwad Geeta. His epics are considered as Master Piece of Odia Language. A distinguished freedom fighter and a revolutionary, he inspired the youth to fight against untouchability and other social evils. Led the movement for amalgamation of outlying Odia tracts and was a symbol of Odia culture.
BISWANATH DAS (1889-1984)
An eminent Freedom Fighter, able Statesman, remarkable Administrator, astute politician and a Charismatic leader. He was elected as the president of the Ganjam District Board in the year 1920 and joined the Non-cooperation movement in response to the call of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 after giving up his lucrative law practice. Continued to be a member of Madras Legislative Assembly from 1921 to 1930. Gave up the membership of the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1931 and joined Salt Satyagraha. As a great Patriot led the peasant movement and fought for the creation of a separate Odisha Province. He had the distinction of being elected as Prime Minister of Odisha . Resigned from Prime Minister ship on 4th November 1939 at the bidding of Indian National congress. In 1950 got elected to Lok Sabha and became the President of Utkal Pradesh Congress Committee. He was appointed as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. A noble son who has left an indelible impression on a resurgent Odisha .
GAJAPATI MAHARAJ KRUSHNA CHANDRA DEV (1892-1974)
An Architect of modern Odisha . He attended the first Round Table Conference in London on 16th November 1930 wherein he made a fervent appeal for creating a separate province of Odisha on the basis of Language and homogeneity. As an eloquent spokesman of Odias, he was felicitated by Madhusudan Das, the father of modern Odisha . As a scion of illustrious Ganga Ruler he espoused the cause of the poor and downtrodden. Later played an important role in bringing together the vivisected parts of Odisha and laid the foundation of United Odisha . He was a member of old Madras Legislative Council, a member of royal commission of Agriculture and a member of Odisha Legislative Assembly. He was twice elected as Prime Minister of Odisha . He was an Educationist, Freedom, Fighter, Social Reformer and a champion of the poor. He established a permanent theatre at Paralakhemundi for promoting cultural activities.
RAJA ARTATRAN DEO (1900-1946)
Enthroned as Raja of Khariar, (present day Nuapada district), in 1921. A great patron of Art, Culture and Education. Sportsman of distinction, member of many committees and Organizations. Sponsored Scholarships for deserving students for higher education. Patronized "Beer Bikram Theatre" of Khariar, the first permanent Odia Stage in the State. Nominated member of Odisha Advisory Council. Elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly in 1937 and 1946 from Khariar Assembly Constituency. Played a pivotal role in formation of Odisha as a separate province in the year 1936. It was at his instance and under his enlightened leadership that Khariar Zamindari merged with the State of Odisha leading to full Statehood.
BIJU PATTANAIK (1916-1997)
Biju Pattanaik was a trained pilot of acknowledged competence. Had special interest in Science and Technology and was responsible for instituting the prestigious International Kalinga Prize. He was the pioneer of Industrial movement in Odisha and was the head of Air Transport command during the war (1940-42). An indefatigable freedom fighter, he led the underground movement for freedom of the country along with Shri Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and others. Landed first platoon of troops in Srinagar during attack by Pakistani raiders. Succeeded in safely airlifting the Indonesia leaders during war. He was honored by the Indonesia Government as "BHUMIPUTRA". Elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly from 1952. Chief Minister of Odisha from 1961-1963 and 1990-1995. Member, Rajya Sabha 1980-1984 and 11th Lok Sabha from 1996-1997. Union Minister of Steel from July 1977 to January 1980. He had the distinction of laying the basic infrastructure for development of Odisha . Special mention could be made of Paradeep Port, MIG Factory at Sunabeda, Ferro Silicon Complex at Theruvali, Hydro Electric Power Project Balimela. Thermal Power Station, Talcher, Engineering College, Rourkela, Engineering College and Medical College at Burla, Express High Way linking Dairari with Paradeep, Sainik School, Regional College of Education, Bhubaneswar, Regional Research Laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology and many others.
He was a great visionary who worked relentlessly for the uplift of the people of Orissa.
The etymology of the name
The name Odisha is derived from the Sanskrit Odra Vishaya or Odra Desha. Both Pali and Sanskrit Literatures mention the Odra people as Oddaka and Odrah, respectively. Greek writers like Pliny and Ptolemy described the Odra people as Oretes. In the Mahabharata the Odras are mentioned along with the Paundras, Utkals, Mekalas, Kalingas and Andhras, while according to Manu the Odras are associated with the Paundrakas, Dravidas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas, Paradas, Pallhavas, Chinas, Kiratas and Khasas. The location of the Odra territory has been given in the Natural History of Pliny in which it is mentioned that the Oretes inhabited the country where stood the Mount Maleus. The Greek Oretes is probably the Sanskrit Odra and the Mount Maleus has been identified with Malayagiri near Pala Lahara. Pliny associates the Mount Maleus with the people called Monedes and Sharis who were probably the same as the Mundas and the Savaras respectively inhabiting the upland regions of Odisha.
The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang who visited Odisha in about 636 A.D. gives an account of the territory named Wu-Cha which is very likely the same as Odra. The pilgrim states that the Wu-Cha (Wu-tu) country was above 7,000 li in circuit and its capital was above 20 li in circuit. The area of the territory, which was 7,000 li or (2,253 km) in circuit, was very extensive. General Cunningham who calls this territory as Odra or Odra Desha writes as follows:
The ancient province of Odra desa was limited to the valley of the Mahanadi and to the lower course of the Subarnarekha River. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapore. It was bounded on the West by Gondwana, on the North by Singhbhum, on the East by the sea and on the South by Ganjam.
The Muslim geographer lbn Khurdadhbin who wrote his geography in 846 AD refers to a territory called Ursfin which is identified by the Russian scholar V. Minorsky with Odra Desa. In another Persian geography called Hudad-al Alam written towards the close of the 10 th century A.D. mention has been made of a territory called Urshin (Odra Desa) which has been associated with the territories called Northern Myas, Harkand, Samunder and Andhras which were more or less contiguous. The territory called N.Myas may be Mahismati and Harkand is suggested to be Akarakhand (eastern Malwa). Urshin may be the same as Odra Desa and Samunder may be the territory bordering the sea. Andhras is without doubt the same as Andhra Desa. Alberuni has referred to a territory called Udra Vishau located 50 forsakhs towards the sea in the south from the Tree of Prayaga. Fifty forsakhs is equal to about 200 miles or 321.86 km. So Udra Vishau may be the same as Odra Desa.
In the mediaeval Muslim chronicles like Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, Tabaquat-I-Akbari, Riyadus Salatin, Tarkh-I-Firuzsahi, etc., the Odra territory has been referred to as Jajnagar probably after the capital Yayatinagar or Jajatinagar. The territory of Jajnagar very probably denotes to the Ganga Empire during the period from Chodagangadeva to Anangabhimdeva III when Jajatinagar (modern Jagati on the Mahanadi) was the capital of that empire. It was Anangabhimadeva III who transferred the capital from Jajatinagar to Baranasi Kataka. And even after the change of capital some Muslim chroniclers continued to call this territory as Jajnagar. Shams-I-Seraj-Afif called this territory as Jajnagar-Udisa with its capital city Banaras on the right bank of the Mahanadi. The word 'Udisa' added to Jajnagar appears very significant. It is a developed form of the word Ursfin or Urshin used by earlier Muslim writers of the 9th and 10 th centuries A.D. In Buddhist literature this word is expressed as Odivisa or Udivisa as found in the works of Lama Taranath and the author of Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang. In the Tantric literature of the mediaeval period the word Udisa has been frequently used and in Tantrasara, Jagannath has been referred to as Udisanatha. Poet Sarala Das mentions both the words Odra Rastra and Odisa in his famous treatise Mahabharata while Gajapati Kapileswaradeva (1435 - 1467 AD) in his proclamation inscribed on the temple walls of Jagannath calls his territory as Odisa Rajya. Thus from the 15th century AD onward the land of the Odia people was called Udisa or Odisa.
Suleiman Karani, the Sultan of Bengal invades Odisha.
Ram Chandra Bhanja, the feudatory of Saranga Garh rises in rebellion and proclaims himself as the king, Mukunda Dev dies in a battle with Ram Chandra Bhanj, and soon thereafter Ram Chandra Bhanja also meets his defeat and death in the hands of Bayazid, the son of Suleiman Karani. He succeeds in conquering Odisha there by beginning Afghan rule in Odisha.
1590 - 1595
Odisha becomes an arena for the battles between the Mughals and the Afghans when the Afghans refuse to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Mughals ruling over Delhi. The operation continues from 1590 to 1595 resulting in the complete defeat of Afghans.
Mughal rule in Odisha begins with the arrival of Raja Manasingh, Akbar's Raajput General who destroys the Afghan resistance. On the instruction of Akbar, Odisha is divided into five sarkars: Jaleswar (including Midinapur), Bhadrak, Cuttack, Chika Khol, and Raja Mahendry Dandpat. Odisha is thus acquired for Mughal Empire and is governed as a part of the Bengal Sub Area for sometime. It is during the Mughal rule that the merchants carry on their brisk overseas trade & commerce and attract the attention of Europe traders. The Portuguese, the Dutch, The English and The French discover Odisha's economic potential for markets outside.
During the rule of Akbar's son & successor, Jahangir, Odisha is constituted into a separate province, with Cuttak as capital and is placed under a subahdar.
Kavi Samrat Upendranath Bhanj is believed to have been born around 1670.
The Nizam of Hyderabad occupies the whole of Ganjam & Chikakol (Srikakulam) & declares them as the North sarkar.
1751 - 1803
Maratha Administration of Odisha begins with Raghuji Bhonsla-I as the new chief of the territory - Marathas continue to rule till 1803 the year in which Odisha is transferred to hands of the British. Maratha administration is said to have proven fatal to the welfare and prosperity of the land and presents a picture of misrule, anarchy and weakness, rapacity and violence. Maratha rulers however patronize religion and religious institutions, thus making Odisha center of attraction, Odia literature also makes rapid progress.
East India Company sets up trade at Hariharpur and Balasore.
After the battle of Plassey in 1757 & Buxar in 1764 the British Empire looks for acquiring more Indian territories. Odisha being the neighboring state of Bengal naturally comes to be included in their design.