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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 09 April, 2021

  • 2 Min Read

PM releases Hindi Version of Odisha Itihaas by Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab

Odisha Itihaas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently released the Hindi translation of the book, ‘Odisha Itihaas’, written by former chief minister Harekrushna Mahatab.

Releasing the book, which is already available in Oriya and English, the Prime Minister said, “It is important that the diverse and comprehensive history of Odisha should reach the people of the country.”

Harekrushna Mahtab

  • Dr. Mahatab was born in 1899 to a poor family at Agarpada village in Balasore.
  • He was inspired by the ideals of Bagha Jatin and was influenced by Ramakrishna Mission.
  • At a very young age, Mahatab joined the freedom struggle and even accompanied Mahatma Gandhi to various districts during his visit to the state in 1921. He eventually left his family to devote his life for the uplift of the Congress organization.
  • He went on to become the first chief minister of the state from 1946 to 1950 and was re-elected in 1956. He also earned the sobriquet ‘Utkal Keshari’.
  • He is also credited with setting up Bhubaneswar as the capital of the state, along with the construction of the Secretariat building, Raj Bhawan, and Assembly buildings.
  • Considered a historian, during his term in jail, Mahatab translated a lot of History books. He translated Valmiki’s Ramayan from Sanskrit into Oriya and also wrote the Oriya version of the Gita.
  • In 1946, during his stay at Patna camp jail, he published poems collected from political prisoners called “Bedira Jan Jan”.
  • The idea behind ‘Odisha Itihaas’ took shape when Mahatab was imprisoned in Ahmadnagar for participating in the Quit India Movement.

Know Your State: Odisha

  • Situated on the coast along the Bay of Bengal, Odisha stands for its ancient glory and modern endeavour.
  • Odisha topography comprises fertile plains along the coast and forested highlands towards the interior.
  • The Odia people are generally of Indo-Aryan stock.
  • The state is mostly famous for the Lord Jagannath temple which is situated in puri.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

  • Odisha, with a rich heritage that is more than two thousand years old, has a glorious history of its own.
  • It was known under different names in different periods : Kalinga, Utkal or Odradesha.
  • Seaports flourished along the coast as early as the 4th and 5th centuries B.C., when the sadhabs, the Odishan seafaring merchants, went to the islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Bali with their merchandise.
  • Kalinga had made its mark in the Indian history when the Nanda dynasty ruled the kingdom of Magadha.
  • Ashoka, the Great invaded Kalinga in 261 B.C. and conquered her.
  • The inscriptions on Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) on the Udayagiri Hill in Bhubaneswar record the story of his reign.
  • In the fourth century A.D. Emperor Samudragupta invaded Odisha and overcame the resistance offered by five of her chiefs.
  • Odisha came under the rule of King Sasanka and later King Harsha Vardhana in the 7th century A.D. when the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Odisha.
  • The end of the 8th century saw the emergence of Jajpur-on-Baitarani as an epicentre of Brahminical religion.

MODERN HISTORY

  • The Hindu state of Odisha came under the Muslim rule in 1568 A.D. when King Mukunda Deva lost to the Sultan of Bengal, Suleiman Karni. Subsequently, Odisha came under the Mughals and the Marathas and finally in 1803 A.D., under the British.
  • Odisha formed a part of greater Bengal but didnt lose its own separate cultural identity. The political capital shifted to Patna when the state of Bihar-Odisha was carved out of Bengal.
  • Odisha became a separate province in 1936 A.D. with Cuttack as its capital. The new capital was built in Bhubaneswar after independence.
  • However, the state took its present shape only in 1949 with the merger of the princely states including Mayurbhanj.

COASTAL PLAINS

  • The Odisha Coastal Plains are the depositional landforms of recent origin and geologically belong to the Post-Tertiary Period.
  • The 75 metre contourline delimits their western boundary and differentiates them from the Middle Mountainous Region. This region stretches from the West Bengal border, i.e. from the River Subarnarekha in the north to the River Rushikulya in the south.
  • This region is the combination of several deltas of varied sizes and shapes formed by the major rivers of Odisha, such as the Subarnarekha, the Budhabalanga, the Baitarani, the Brahmani, the Mahanadi, and the Rushikulya. Therefore, the coastal plain of Odisha is called the “Hexadeltaic region” or the “Gift of Six Rivers”.
  • It stretches along the coast of the Bay of Bengal having the maximum width in the Middle Coastal Plain (the Mahanadi Delta), narrow in the Northern Coastal Plain (Balasore Plain) and narrowest in the Southern Coastal Plain ( Ganjam Plain).
  • The North Coastal Plain comprises the deltas of the Subarnarekha and the Budhabalanga rivers and bears evidences of marine transgressions.
  • The Middle Coastal Plain comprises the compound deltas of the Baitarani, Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers and bears evidences of past ‘back bays’ and present lakes.
  • The South Coastal Plain comprises the laccustrine plain of Chilika lake and the smaller delta of the Rushikulya River.

THE MIDDLE MOUNTAINOUS AND HIGHLANDS REGION

  • The region covers about three-fourth of the entire State. Geologically it is a part of the Indian Peninsula which as a part of the ancient landmass of the Gondwanaland.
  • This region mostly comprises the hills and mountains of the Eastern Ghats which rise abruptly and steeply in the east and slope gently to a dissected plateau in the west running from north-east (Mayurbhanj) to north-west (Malkangirig).

CENTRAL PLATEAUS

  • The plateaus are mostly eroded plateaus forming the western slopes of the Eastern Ghats.
  • There are two broad plateaus in Odisha :
      1. The Panposh – Keonjhar -Pallahara plateau comprises the Upper Baitarani catchment basin
      2. The Nabrangpur – Jeypore plateau comprises the Sabari basin.

RIVERS

  • Rivers that have a source outside the State (the Subarnarekha, the Brahmani and the Mahanadi).
  • Rivers having a source inside the State(the Budhabalanga, the Baitarini, the Salandi, and the Rushikulya).
  • Rivers having a source inside the Odisha, but flow through other states (the Bahudu, the Vansadhara, and the Nagavali).
  • Rivers having a source inside Odisha, but tributary to rivers which flow through other states (the Machkund, the Sileru, the Kolab, and the Indravati).

ART AND ARCHITECTURE

  • The early monuments date back to the third century B.C. The remnant of an Ashokan pillar, turned into a Siva Lingam and enshrined in the Bhaskaresvara temple at Bhubaneswar and the lion capital of an Ashokan pillar, presently in the State Museum, speak volumes of Odishas past glory.
  • The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri and Udaygiri and the inscriptions recording Kharavelas short but eventful reign during the first century B.C. constitute the second phase of the evolution in Odishan art.
  • The Naga and Yaksha images found in places around Bhubaneswar belong to the post-Kharavela era.
  • The Sailodbhava dynasty of Banpur is responsible for the earliest temples around Bhubaneswar.
  • The Bhaumakaras, the Somavamsis and the illustrious Gangas are particularly known for temple building. The Parsuramesvara temple at Bhubaneswar is the earliest extant temple.
  • The Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple at Puri and Sun Temple at Konark belonging to the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries respectively stand as silent witnesses to Odishas glorious past.
  • Rajarani Temple and Mukteswar Temple at Bhubaneswar, Biraja Temple at Jajpur, Kichakeswari Temple at Khiching and the temples at Ranipur-Jharial are also a few other examples of Odishan architecture.
  • Odisha is also known for her exquisite handicrafts. Silver filigree work of Cuttack, horn work of Cuttack and Parlakhemundi and the famous applique work of Pipili deserve special mention.
  • Pattachitra, a form of folk painting of Odisha, is a unique craft.
  • Brass and bell metalware, particularly vases and candle stands, are beautiful and longlasting.
  • The Blackstone bowls and plates of Nilagiri and Khiching and multi-coloured stone statues are other attractions.
  • Silk and cotton handloom products, especially saris are simply bewitching.
  • The Sambalpuri saris and Maniabandhi patas are matchless in their texture and designs.

FESTIVALS AND FAIRS

  • The people of Odisha rejoice in festivals and fairs.
  • Chandan Yatra, Snana Yatra and Ratha Yatra are observed with special gaiety and fervour at Puri.
  • Durga Puja is observed throughout the state, more particularly at Cuttack.
  • Kali Puja or Diwali is celebrated in different parts of Odisha.
  • Bali Yatra of Cuttack on the full moon day in the month of Kartika reminds the glory of Odishan traders in the long past.
  • Chaitra Parva, a festival of Chhou dance, is celebrated at Baripada.
  • Makar, Holi, Mohurram, Id and Christmas are also celebrated throughout the state.

FACTS

  • River Mahanadi originates from the Amarkantak hills of the Bastar Plateau in Raipur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Chillika Lake is blakish water lagoon located in the southern part of the Odisha coastal plane. Its salinity declines to a minimum during the monson.
  • The 33 sandstone caves on the Udaygiri and Khandagiri hills in Bhubaneshwar were probably carved under King Kharavela.
  • Orissa has 62 tribes including the Santhals, Savaras, Juangs, Gonds, Bondas etc.
  • Odia Language got the Classical language status in 2014.
  • Wheeler Island has been renamed as Abdul Kalam Island.

Source: PIB


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