By; Nilachakra Team
Year 1568, our beloved mother land Odisha lost her independence. The last independent Hindu king of Odisha, Mukunda Deva was killed by his feudatory Chiefs while engaged in a prolonged struggle with the Afghan rulers of Bengal. It was the last Hindu kingdoms of India to fall to foreign invaders. During times of Akbar, the territories of Odisha were apportioned into five Sarkars such as Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Kalinga Dandapat and Raj Mahendri. During 1765-66, the East India Company attacked from both ends of Odisha, southern part guarded by Madras Presidency and northern part guarded by Bengal Presidency. Only three districts Balaswar, Cuttack and Puri in coastal region and 18 Garjats in the hill tract fell to Bengal Presidency.
The incident that triggered Battle for Odisha :
The problem that agitated the minds of enlightened Odias for a long time was the union of Odia-speaking tracts into one administrative unit and then the formation of a separate province. It led to an organized movement - a sustained struggle for many years in a constitutional way to achieve the said objective. All protests were in vain, and by the end of 1895, Odia was abolished in the courts of Sambalpur. Such a decision naturally wounded the sentiments of the Odia-speaking people very much and efforts were made in all directions to reverse the step taken by the government.
Birth of a state named "Odisha”:
Responding to the fighters campaign, Sir. H.G.Cooke a british colonial suggested to form princely state of Odisha by combining four different pieces of landmarks
(a) Sambalpur district of the then Chatisgarh Division of the British ruled Central Provinces,
(b) Tributary States of Patna, Sonepur, Rairakol, Bamra and Kalahandi and
(c) The whole or part of the Ganjam district with the States of Kimidi and Ghumsur
(d) Odia-speaking portions of the districts of Ganjam, Vizagpatnam, Sambalpur, Chhota Nagpur and Midnapur
Utkala mani Sri. Madhusudan Das, who was a member of the Bengal Legislative Council by that time, informed Lord Curzon, the Governor General that the people of Odisha fully supported the Memorial submitted to Sir Andrew Fraser, and it was their desire that the Odia-speaking territories should be placed under a Chief Commissioner.
The crunching tigers of "Utkal Sammilani”:
Finally, the representatives of the Odia-speaking tracts of Madras, the Central Provinces and Bengal met in a conference at Cuttack on 30th & 31st December 1903. It was the historic gathering of 'Utkal Sammilani' which met amidst unprecedented enthusiasm and spearheaded the Odia Movement till the formation of a separate Province on 1st April, 1936.
Utkala Dibasa Special Win of Will power over the Super Power
A weapon called "State Anthem" : Influenced by the movement named Utkal Sammilani (a federation of Odias), great poet Sri. Laksmikanta Mohapatra, who was then young and energetic composed Vande Utkal Janani (Glory to the Mother Utkal) and some other fiery songs with a patriotic motive. Well known national poet of Odisha Banchhanidhi Mohanty was also a good singer started singing Laksmikanta's patriotic songs throughout Odisha and thus inspired everyone.
This song was used as a powerful weapon by the Utkal Sammilani to emancipate Odisha. It is learnt from history that when this song 'Vande Utkal Janani' was first sung at Utkal Sammilani Conference at Balasore in 1912, the song had its spell-bound effect on the audience and surprised many dignitaries in the dias, including Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, who was presiding over the Session. Later Sri. Biju Patnaik and Sri Judhistir Dash, made it compulsory to sing this national song at the end of any Assembly Session.
Team Nilachakra wishes you all a patriotic breath full of pride and respect for these eminent freedom fighters of the first independent state of India - our own mother land Odisha. Long live we Odias and ever shine our motherland Odisha, Long live our culture and tradition. VANDE UTKALA JANANI. Jaya Jagannath.