5th November,2011 is being celebrated all over the state as ODISHA DIWAS just because it is on this day that officially Orissa is now Odisha.There is joy all around because it marked the correct naming of our region after the incorrect naming (Orissa) done by the then colonials. It’s definitely a very proud moment for any Oriya (oops Odia!!). But then the question that arises is what will be its impact in this 21st century. How significant is this nomenclature?? Will it make any change in an Odia’s ‘Odiatwa’ ?? Will this generate respect amongst the present odia’s about their language? Their culture? Their ritual?…..The answer to all these questions will probably come after we understand the various nomenclatural changes. To understand that let’s divide Odishan History into 4 distinct phases-
Kalinga…it marks that period of this land that saw a transition between the time of B.C and A.D. . This is probably the name that was in use for the longest time. Facts suggest that Kalinga was a very powerful region of the east since the time of Mahabharata. The then King Indradyumna is believed to have taken part in the epic battle. For residents like us we don’t know much about the actual history of Kalinga but one thing we know for sure is that this was the land where the Great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka was transformed from ‘chanda ashok‘ to‘dhamma ashok’. But Kalinga is not just about that Great Kalinga War at the Bay of the river Daya(present even today on the way to Puri) that changed a great emperor. Kalinga has many feathers of glory. Kalinga was then a pilgrimage land of Buddhist and Jain religions apart from the usual Hindus. The silent spectators of this great cultural and religional confluence are the preserved hills of Ratna Giri , Udaya Giri, Khanda Giri,Lalit Giri and Dhauli Giri (The Five sisters). Jagannath then was not Jagannath but was Nila Madhab(yet to be universalized).Still then the land was mother to people from all religion, all caste and all society.
Utkal…stands for the Land of Fine Art. Now what was the need to call it Utkal then?? The kings who were by that time acclaimed as Gajapatis had extended the boundary of the state from the Banks of Ganga of Magadh to the Banks of Godavari of Vijayanagar. Utkal was then one of the most powerful states of the country. The only connection between North India and Deccan India. In spite of the regular attacks by the Lodis,Khiljis,Tughlaqs and the Mughals Utkal remained an independent state resisting foreign attack for the longest time under stewardship of great Kings like Kharavela, Jajati Keshari, and Purushottom Dev etc…It can be said the golden period of the region as it was during this time the land prospered the most-literally,culturally,financially,architecturally and spiritually. This was the time when great sculptural beauties like the Konark Temple(epitome of our art),the Lingaraj Temple,the Jagannath Temple,the RajaRani Temple etc..Architectural wonders were created. Poets like Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja(epitome of our literature),Sarala Das, Jaidev,Jagannath Das, Balaram Das, Achyutananda Das, Abhimanyu Samantsinghar and many other great poets took birth and enriched our language so much that when undermined by the foreigners it helped us to prove the world that we are a language with a difference. Above all was now Jagannath-the Lord of the Universe(epitome of everything) who was transformed from Nilamadhab to a figure accepted worldwide.
Orissa…the first state of undivided India carved out on the basis of its language. From 2nd April,1936(Utkal Diwas) to 5th November,2011(Odhisa Diwas) is the period of Orissa. This is the period when most of us were born. Then why is it important for us to know the importance of this period?. The statehood that we got was not like coconut falling from the top. It came after a hard fought battle. The land under Surendra Sai, Buxi Jagabandhu, Gajapati Mukunda Dev, Parala Maharaja Krushna Chandra, Madhusudan Das, Gopabandhu Das, Radhanath Ray, Ramadevi, Sarala Devi etc.. Fought for the independence under the unhealthiest climates. Once the independence was achieved the flame somewhat seemed to have lost its heat as the people became lethargic. The moral values and cultural epitomes that had kept our head held high was somewhat endangered by the influence of traitors. The people became negligent about their own heritage, jealousy made such an attack that our unity was disturbed and we failed to claim that Jaidev and Subhas Bose were the sons of this land. But then came the fiery reformers like Prof.Gouri Kumar Brahma, Prof. Aartaballav Mohanty and Bichchanda Charan Pattnaik who inspired many young odias to fight for the revival of orissan heritage. Their disciples like Rajat Kumar Kar, Hrudananda Ray, Kabi Prasad Misra etc.. Carried forward this movement to the world stage and that is probably one of the cause for which the spark of odiatwa is still alive. Great writers like Fakir Mohan Senapati, Manoj Das, Shantanu Achraya,Padmashri Sachidananda Routray have all but fueled the movement with their pen and that why we are still in the race. Guru Kelu Charna Das, Padmashri Raghunath Panigrahy, Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and many others made Odissi Dance & Song the brand ambassador of our state universallyNow what made Orissa not lose its status in the political arena was for the great Biju Pattanaik(epitome of our politics),Harekrushna Mahatab,Viswanath Das, Janaki Pattnaik, Sarat Kar and others that in the political field also we are having our flag held to a certain height.
Odisha…it may be just a change in the spelling in the national gazette but now it is the right time to bring some modernisation.Its time that we understand the call of the hour and enter into a new era. It is sad that the Chief Minister still can’t speak in odia fluently but now it’s time not to find the loops within ourselves but to hide them and progress towards a brighter destiny. Odisha the Queen of Indian Mines has to establish its importance more strongly in the world’s stage. The time demands an all-round development and not just the development of culture and literature. There is challenge before us to overcome our poverty and illiteracy. We need to be united as Odias. All the 2crore+ population of the state must be stitched in one necklace to meet the international standards. Under the leadership of a charismatic leader and bright talents like Mr.Achyuta Samant, Dilip Tirkey, Prince Dance Group,Harihar Das,Shradhanjali,Sudarshan Pattnaik etc. we can conquer our drawbacks and win the heart of millions.
On this special day it is our duty to take this pledge to make our state the best. Going above all sort of personal hatred, jealousy and back-stabbing and marching ahead with a common dream to highlight ODISHA ODIA and ODIATWA. If we keep this goal in mind the KALINGA_UTKAL_ORISSA_ODISHA all will be same and there will nothing be in the name. But if we fail to work in this direction then probably “What is there in name?” will be question to be answered.