Eminent Personalities Of Odisha

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.

3. Fakir Mohan Senapati (Father Of Modern Oriya Literature)


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 Performs at IIM Bangalore

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.

From Delhi’s belly to Mumbai’s stinking rear-end

When a Delhi girl took the Mumbai Local

You get used to it after sometime, traveling through the rotting muck of this city – the excreta laden tracks surrounded by the feculent slums. There is a very pre-independence type of a feel in traveling by the Mumbai local – step off the trembling shambles of the Dadar local into the posh brick streets of Colaba – it almost appears as if you have time traveled.

Not that I don’t own a car, but hello have you seen the insane traffic in this city or in any other city for that matter – Delhi, Bangalore, Pune? It seems like a grand waste of time and money playing the traffic game every morning and evening in our metros.

Ergo I choose public commute.

Now, I had been having the time of my life in Delhi for the past six years. The metro though maddeningly crowded during peak hours, had made the ordeal of meeting far-cast-away friends a joy ride. During those one hour plus journeys in well maintained air conditioned public spaces I could read a book, talk to a stranger, doze off with my Dior glasses on or just let my stream of consciousness take over while gazing at the wonderful panorama of Delhi.


Then I shifted to Bombay.


Don’t let my drama mislead you. It wasn’t that bad. I have lived in six different cities and eleven towns and never have I taken to a city as easily as I did to Bombay. The air was clean, the people polite, there were the tall, the really tall buildings, there were my friends and then of course the sea. Love the sea.

But then on a weekend when my friends called me to chill in Colaba, I took the fastest public transit route I could – the local.

< Right moment for a dramatic release >

Deep sigh.

What is with the decaying state of the railway stations? Why are they so dirty? I bought the tickets, but no one checked them, you see where I am going with the larger implications of this, don’t you?


With the smartcard swipe entry memory quite raw in my being I proceeded to the platforms. Now, I was traveling from the newer part of Bombay and it was around six in the morning so the platforms were largely empty. There was a very 80’s Bollywood feel to the early morning railway station platform.

Then my local arrived and I stepped in the ladies compartment.

The horror.


I realized then how much I had taken for granted the urban life of Delhi. I shall not dwell on the well turned out Delhi metro crowd, no. But it hurts to move through the so called life-line of Bombay aware that I am prodding through a city’s soiled intestines.


I am also not going to talk about the people who live in the slums by the tracks or about the pervert creatures lurking in the forgotten pockets of these overcrowded terminals. No. Neither am I going to talk about the people who take the local every day. No.

Bombay is a city of survivors. It has survived the riots, the innumerable blasts and also that fateful week of November. It has chosen to move on, to live, to breathe, to thrive.

And I see it now, how you do this survival thing – you become numb to the gut-churning foul grub around you.

What choice do you have any way?

The images used in the article are from Delhi view – The HinduMumbai Local from here and Slum Local Bombay from Railnews. The PeopleandCafes and the ladies compartment pictures are my own.

Dear people-who-are-new-to-Bombay,

If like me you choose to use public transport, I would advise you to download this app. It gives you all the information from platform numbers to departure timings and fares of the local trains and also tells you about the bus routes, timings, auto fares.
And it does something even better, it tells you the fastest and also the cheapest way to commute between any two places in your city. It is interactive; you can just pick your destination on the map and click to know about nearby railway, bus, metro, mono stops. 

Do let me know how you liked this article. Be nice and drop a comment below. 

This Women’s Day thank your “MEAN” Mother

Some day when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, i will tell them as my ‘mean’ mom told me…


I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom and what time you would be home. I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should’ve taken me just fifteen minutes. I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes.

Children: parents are not perfect, you know.

I loved you enough to let you assume responsibility for your actions when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart. But most of all I loved you enough…to say “NO” when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all.I’m glad i won them, because in the end you won them too.

And some day when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your mom mean?

I know mine was.

We had the meanest mom in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal,eggs and toast. When others had a pepsi and a twinkie for lunch we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we were gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it , but she had the nerve to break the Child Labour Laws, by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook,vacuum the floor,do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.

I think she would lie awake in the night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head.Then life was really tough!

Mother would not let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have been caught shoplifting, vandalizing others’ property or ever arrested for any other crime. It was all her fault. Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what’s wrong with the world today. IT JUST DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH MEAN MOMS!!!!

A Happy Women’s Day
One day is not enough to thank all the women in our lives but because custom commands thank all the wonderful women in your life today. Hold them close, hear them out, just be nice. Take them out, treat them right, buy them something nice.

A Happy Women’s Day to all the wonderful ladies out there.
Thank you for making evolution work right.

Credits and Sources
I read this article when I was 10 in a newspaper, Times of India to be precise. I had cut it out and pasted it in my scrap book. In my youth I had put it online sans the source. If you know who has authored this wonderful article do let me know in the comments below.
The image which lends more beauty to this post has been taken from Stocksy.

Read on the move
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