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  Home > Legends of Orissa

Legends of Orissa
Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843-1918)

A Master in the art of writing short stories, he injected a new life in Oriya literature in an environment of gloom and despair. His sence of humour remains unsurpassed in Oriya 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. Eventhough he had no formaleducation, he proved to be an enlightened teacher, painter and a great administrator. In his writings,

Fakir Mohan Senapati
Oriya Nationalism was the dominant theme. As a recognised literary poet, Senapati has made his place secure as a great prose writer in Oriya.
Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das (1848-1934)

First Oriya to get the Degree of M.A. B.L. from Calcutta University. Took a valiant stand for unification of scattered Oriya tracts. Emerged on the Eastern horizon as a symbol of new hope and aspiration of all Oriyas. Was the founder of Utkal Sammilani, architect of Oriya movement and pioneer in the field of industrial development. Acclaimed as a great Legislator and Journalist, he was the first Oriya 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.

Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das
Pandit Gopabandhu Das ( 1876-1928)

Aptly described as the Gandhi of Orissa, Pandit Gopabandhu Das played a pivotal role in the formation of a separate province of Orissa. 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 sentinal of Oriya 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.

Pandit Gopabandhu Das

Imbued with patriotic fervour 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 Orissa. 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 speaches in Central Legislative Assembly and Orissa 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 Geeta. His epics are considered as Master piece of Oriya 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 Oriya tracts and was a symbol of Oriya culture.

Biswanath Das (1989-1984)

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 Orissa Province. He had the distinction of being elected as Prime Minister of Orissa. Resigned from the Prime Ministership 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 Orissa.

Gajapati Maharaja Krushna Chandra Dev ( 1892-1974)

An Architect of modern Orissa. 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 Orissa on the basis of Language and homogeneity. As an eloquent spokesman of Oriyas, he was felicitated by Madhusudan Das, the father of modern Orissa. 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 Orissa and laid the foundation of United Orissa. He was a member of old Madras Legislative Council, a member of royal commission of Agriculture and a member of Orissa Legislative Assembly.

Gajapati Maharaja Krushna Chandra Dev
He was twice elected as Prime Minister of Orissa. He was an Educationist, Freedp, 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 Organisations. Sponsored Scholarships for deserving students for higher education. Patronised “Beer Bikram Theatre” of Khariar, the first permanent Oriya Stage in the State. Nominated member of Orissa Advisory Council. Elected to Orissa Legislative Assembly in 1937 and 1946 from Khariar Assembly Constituency. Played a pivotal role in formation of Orissa 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 Orissa 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 Orissa 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 Mohan Lohia and others. Landed first platoon of troops in Srinagar during attack by Pakistani raiders.

Biju Pattanaik

Suceeded in safely airlifting the Indonesia leaders during war. He was honoured by the Indonesia Govt. as “BHUMIPUTRA”. Elected to Orissa Legislative Assembly from 1952. Chief Minister of Orissa 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 Orissa. 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, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology and many others.

He was a great visionary who worked relentlessly for the uplift of the people of Orissa.

Chandra Sekhar 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 Gandhijee in Sambalpur in 1928. Organised a mass movement against illiteracy and untouchability.

Pathani Samanta Chandrasekhar (1835-1904)

Mahamahopadhyaya Chandra Sekhar Simha Samanta Harichandan Mohapatra, popularly in Orissa as Pathani Samanta, is an astronomer of the rank of Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya. He was born in 1835 A.D. in the princely state of Khandapara in Orissa. Away from the English education, he taught himself Sanskrit and attained scholarship in traditional Indian Astronomy. He fabricated ingenious instruments out of wooden sticks and bamboo chips and attained great accuracy in measurement. His scientific investigations are recorded in his astronomical treatise. “The Siddhanta Darpana” composed in Sanskrit Verse. This work was highly acclaimed even by the Western Press in 1899. The title of Mahamahoadhyaya was convered upon him by the British Govt. in 1893 in recognition of his contribution to astronomy. Samata Chandra Sekhar passed away in 1904. Even today most of the Oriya almanaces attribute their calculations to Samanta’s prescriptions.

Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab (1899-1987)

Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab was born with a silver spoon. He was deeply imbued with patriotic fervour from his school days. Left college education half way in response to the call of Mahatma Gandhi and played a pivotal role in freedom movement. Accompanied the entourage of Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Orissa in the year 1921. Joined the Indian National Congress and organised satyagraha in Balasore district. Founded the popular Oriya daily “Prajatantra” under the aegis of “Prajatantra Prachara Samiti”.

Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab
Joined the salt satyagraha movement of Mahatma Gandhi and courted imprisonment. Elected as the President of State Congress Committee 1937-1938. Nominated by Subhash Chandra Bose as the member of National Congress Working Committee in 1939. He was imprisoned in Ahamad Nagar jail along with other national leader. He was released in 1945. Took over the reins of administration as Chief Minister in 1946, and continued as such till 1950. Joined the Central Cabinet as Cabinet Minister and became the secretary general of Central Congress Parliamentary Party from 1952 to 1954. Later became the Governor of Maharastra State 1955-56. Became Chief Minister of Orissa in 1956 to 1960 and member, Lok Sabha 1961 to 1967. Later elected to Orissa Legislative Assembly. Protested against the emergency in 1976 and was imprisonment. Dr. Mahatab was a great literature, writer, historian and statesman of repute. He initiated a system of honouring distinguished writers in a special literary function annually held on Visubha Sankranti Day. He was honoured by a Doctorate from Andhra University, Dr. Mahatab was the prime mover for the integration of Indian states.
Dr. Radhanath Rath 1896-1998)

Dr. Radhanath Rath started his distinguished carrer in Journalism as Manager and Assistant Editor of the largest circulated Oriya daily “The Samaj” in 1919 and became its Editor in 1961. A powerful writer and speaker, journalism was closed to his heart. Responding to the call of Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das, he gave up a lucrative offer of employment by the British Govt. Member of Orissa Legislative Assembly from 1946-1977, but for a brief period from 1961 to 1967. Appointed cabinet Minister in charge of Finance, Education, Forestry and Agriculture from 1952 to 1961. Endowed with a phenomenal memory he was a great social reformer and fought for the upliftment of the down trodden. President Servants of the people Society ( Lok Sevak Mandal) and Chairman of its Orissa Branch. Gave new direction to the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology as its Pro-Chancellor. Chief Commissioner Orissa State Bharat Scouts and Guides and Ex-President of Bharat Sevak Samaj. He was associated with a large number of public bodies like Redcross, Panchayats, Divine Life Society, Indo-china Cultural Association, Indo Soviet Friendship Society and President of Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.

A distinguished writer, he was awarded Orissa Sahitya Academy Award in 1967 and awarded Padmabhusan 1968. Received critic Circle of India award in 1987. All India Anubrata award in 1988. Utkal Ratna Samman in 1993. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by the Berhampur University in 1976.

Gangadhar Meher ( 1862-1924)

Born on Sravan Purnima day of 1862 at Barapalli made monumental contribution to Oriya language and literature. A great poet he attempted to act as a path finder through his literary writings. An epiton of integrity, his literary creations emphasizes on the moral value. A great poet, social reformer, teacher and above all a person brimming with milk of humanity. Gangadhar Meher immortalised himself with his numorous literary creations particularly the epic “Tapaswini”. He will be ever remembered as a great poet with few parallels.

Gangadhar Meher
Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo (1912-1975)

Born on 31st March 1912. Educated at Mayo College Ajmeer and student Columbus College, Hazaribag. As an enlightened ruler, Patna State from 1933 to 1947 he was responsible for alround development of the state and won people’s love. He was associated with Chamber of Princess. He was the first ruler to sign the merger agreement with Indian Union, member of several institutions cultural, literary and research bodies. As the ruler of Patna State he banned forced labour. Later became the President of Utkal Sammilani in 1953. President of Ganatantra Parishad and Swatantra Party Orissa Unit. Member Lok Sabha 1951 to 1956. Elected to Orissa Legislative Assembly in 1957. Became Chief Minister Orissa 1967 to 1971. An unique combination of an erudite scholar, enlightened statesman and an able administrator who worked with a single minded devotion for development of Orissa.

Shri Ramachandra Bhanja Dev ( 1870-1912)

Shri Ramachandra Bhanja Dev created a name for himself as an enlightened ruler of princely state of Mayurbhanj. Accended the throne on 15th August 1892. He worked for allround development of Mayurbhanj state and implemented various welfare schemes designed to help the people. He was revered as a Philosopher king. Impressed with the nobel qualities of Utkal Mani Gopabandhu Das he made him his advocate. Gopabandhu turned out to be friend philosopher guide for the ruler. Constituted the state council for administration in the state. Brought about reforms in the sphere of language, health and administration. During his rein scientific operation of Iron mines were started for first time. Commissioned narrow gauge railway life from Rupsa to Baripada. Presided over the first meeting of Utkal Samilani on 3rd December 1933. a patriot and great patron of Oriya language. He helped in a big way in setting up of educational and medical institution for the larget benefit of the people

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