Odisha gave birth to many legends. Situated along the coast of Bay Bengal, it has become a multi – dimensional, multi coloured, vibrant, modern state all set on its journey in the present timeline to make its presence and voice felt in every corner of the world through its universal cult of brotherhood, its unique culture, luxurious forest & wild life, bounty full of varied coastlines, & colourful canvas of its beautiful art & culture. Odisha is quite rich in its heritage that houses many remarkable & eminent personalities who are the very foundation of putting Odisha on global map.
“What do you want to become when you grow up?”
The patent question of every parent and it is answered with pre-defined options such as “Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer, Teacher”. Some flat out refused these norms of the society while denying the suppression of their passion and went on to challenge the practice of the world. They had the fire in them. They did not care about people’s opinion or their biased criticism, because they knew they’re the ones who’ll have the last laugh.
This is the list of such people, who showed they had it in them. They went all the way, earned their name & fame and made Odisha proud!
1. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (Indian Nationalist & Founder of Forward Bloc)
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (born 23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945 in Cuttack, Orissa), was an Indian nationalist & a prominent figure of the Indian Independence Movement. He is perhaps best known for his advocacy and leadership for the Indian independence against the British Empire, as well as his early calls for ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete self-rule, for the people of India for which he founded ‘Indian National Congress’, a radical and young political wing. He was the 20th century organizational & military leader who fought for India’s freedom from British Rule. His politics came into conflict with the ideas offered by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji later allied himself with Japan to create the Indian National Army.
Netaji is a much respected name in Japan. On 18th August,1945, Netaji died a mysterious death in a plane crash, which has been the centre of many theories about him surviving the crash and having a long shelf life after. “Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga“, this fiery line echoed all over India during freedom movement, when he delivered one of the many historical speech. His contribution is no less than Mahatma Gandhi & Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who have been given much of the credit for the culmination of India’s freedom struggle. He also happened to be the founder of All India Forward Bloc, a left-wing nationalist Indian political party formed on 3rd May 1939, after moving out of Indian National Congress. None can perfectly describe Netaji’s sacrifices and his quest for the independence of India through an article or any medium. Not only the state of Odisha but the whole nation is proud of Netaji and his vision for a better India.
2. Jayee Rajguru (Freedom Fighter)
Jayakrushna Rajguru Mohapatra (29 October 1739 – 6 December 1806) was popularly known as ‘Jayee Rajguru’. He was the first martyr of India against British. Under Jayee Rajguru, every household contributed to a mass movement which led agitation against the ruling British Govt. His attacks left a scathing remarks on the face of the British Govt. A study indicated that Jayee Rajguru was not only a great visionary & strategist but he himself possessed superior warfare skills & weapons knowledge, which uprooted the level British Rule to such an extent that later he was awarded gruesome capital punishment for waging war against the state. He did not appeal for mercy or pardon. Instead, he parted way from his motherland, head held high.
Shaheed Jayee Rajguru had remained bachelor all his life for the cause of his motherland & his fight against British Rule has no significance in Indian history. However, It’s about time, we get aware of Oriya’s freedom fighter.
Fakir Mohan Senapati (13 January 1843 – 14 June 1918) played a leading role in establishing the identity of Odia, a language spoken in the state of Odisha. He is regarded as the father of Odia Nationalism and the modern Odia literature. In his native place, schools & colleges are constructed in his memory. The name Fakir Mohan Senapati shines in the history of Oriya Literature. He dedicated his life to the progress of Oriya language in the later 19th and the early 20th century. His story is indeed the tale of ‘Renaissance’ of Oriya literature. His works were the epitome of his knowledge and wisdom. His works included penning novels, short stories and poems. Besides, he was a social reformer and educator who used his pen to criticize and correct society’s norms in a satirical manner.
+Notable works of Fakir Mohan Senapati:-
*Chha Manna Atha Guntha,*Mamu,*Prayaschita,*Lachhama,*Rebati,*Daka Munshi,*Randipua Ananta,*Utkala Bhramanam
He’ll ever be the master of writing short-stories as he injected a new life in Oriya Literature. He could rightly be compared with 20th century’s great novelist like Premchand & Bibhutibhushan Banerjee. In his writings, Oriya Nationalism was the dominant theme. As a recognized literary poet, Senapati etched his name as the greatest writer to have graced in Odisha.
4. Padmashree Shri Bhagaban Sahu (Renowned Folk Dancer)
Padmashree Shri Bhagaban Sahu (21 September 1914 – 12 August 2002) was an outstanding dance teacher, actor, singer, director & choreographer. Throughout his life he danced his ways into the hearts of the audiences worldwide & became a phenomenon. Thereby, carving out a place for himself in the cultural history of Odisha. His long life is an amazing story of success, one can’t help but wonder about the secret of his well deserved success. His greatest feat included being the Guest Of Honour to the Queen Elizabeth II. His tremendous achievements can only be attributed towards two main factors. The first decision was being not to go down road taken by others, instead he undertook the herculean task of founding ‘Kala Vikash Kendra’ at Narendrapur in 1954 & ran it efficiently to power today’s generation to take up the challenge of leading a successful yet determined life. Bhagaban Sahu was the man of deep strong conviction, this was the second factor responsible for his extraordinary success. On every occasion, Bhagaban Sahu proved his artistic excellence. This evergreen dancer was honored by the Central Govt. Of India with ‘Kendra Sangita Nataka Academy Award (1975)’ and ‘Padmashree (1992)’.
Padmashree Bhagaban Sahu bought honor and credit not only to himself but also to the state of Odisha, for which it was and will always be blessed upon.
5. Sadhu Maher (Hall Of Fame Actor)
Sadhu Maher is regarded as the finest actor to have been born in the state of Odisha. He is the one responsible for bringing Odisha on the map of bollywood with superhits like ‘Ankur’, ‘Gharaonda’, ‘Safed Haati’, and many others, he was considered as a brilliant method actor during the 70s. He won National Award for Best Actor for his debut movie, ‘Ankur’. During those days getting into bollywood so elegantly was no child’s play. It still isn’t. But during 70s, when bollywood itself was in the process of evolution, joining the main stream cinema as a potragonist & winning National Award for the stellar performance, was beyond dreams for the ordinary man. But this gentleman, Sadhu Maher was extraordinary and he proved it.
6. Nandita Das (Acclaimed Actor & Director)
Nandita Das (born 7 November 1969) is a woman of substance who has taken her Odia roots and planted it deep and strong in the tinsel town of Bollywood. She has been spectacular in contemporary acting and has won international commendation for her work. This multi-talented beauty has done some fabulous work in Deepa Mehta movies ‘Fire’ (1996), ‘Earth’ (1998), and has under her belt a directorial debut, ‘Firaaq’, a critically acclaimed political thriller based on 2002 Gujarat riots. She,along with her grace and poise is here to stay. She’s all set to make Odisha, world famous!
7. Pitobash Tripathy (Acclaimed Actor)
Pitobash Tripathy’s Mandook made us laugh our hearts out in ‘Shor In The City’. He played a typical student in ‘3 Idiots’.
In ‘Shanghai’, he played the role of a common, who gets affected with corruption. In ‘I Am Kalam’, he was cunningly evil while in ‘Million Dollar Arm’, an international film he played the role of an interpreter.
Now that is versatility! He is an alumnus from the Govt. High School, Unit 1, Bhubaneshwar. Now standing where he is, that’s an achievement sir! He is the example of earning through hard work never fails. He started from theatre, struggled his way up the success ladder but through enough dedication and hard work, he’s working up big leagues in the industry now. Respect! Sir.
8. Sona Mohapatra (Singer)
Sona Mohapatra (born 17 June 1976) is an excellent versatile singer, music composer & lyricist hailing from Cuttack, Odisha. Now here is one Odia girl, who has earned herself all the fame & recognition while delivering some of the brilliant music to the world. Her turnaround from a B-Tech Engineer to one of the best, skilled and versatile singer of the country let alone Odisha has been an inspiring. She has trained in classical music, but has made a career fusing Pop, Bollywood, Folk and Rock style into her music. But the main aim of Sona Mohapatra is to inculcate the influence of Oriya in her performances, as she is of the opinion that Oriya influences in Bollywood are rare as yet, unlike the overdose of punjabi, southern music & of western music. She is the active supporter of ‘Empower Indian Women Movement’, has performed in Satyamev Jayate television show to lend a helping hand to curb women related issues in the country. She’s married to bollywood music producer Ram Sampath, who is a household name now thanks to his innovative music composition in Delhi Belly, Talaash, Fukrey & Satyamev Jayate. She’s already a role model to the upcoming generation of the country. Give her the microphone and she’s ever ready to set the stage on fire with her sweet, soothing & melodious voice that has earned her a huge fan following. The state of Odisha is definitely proud of her!
So, that’s the Indian dream with some Oriya will & determination, which will inspire many generations of the state of Odisha to step up and mark the stamp of their success onto the world, thereby cementing the nation’s proudest state to be recognized as the best.