A performance by a dance group at Mecon Community Hall in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Freedom tastes sweet, one’s mother tongue tastes sweeter.
Sagarika, an organisation of the Odia-speaking people in Ranchi, observed Utkal Dibas, the statehood day of Odisha, at Mecon Community Hall on Tuesday evening.
Colonial records point out a significant thing that went overlooked. A single state comprising Bihar and what was then called Orissa, was carved out of the Bengal Presidency in April 1912.
Even more interesting, the then state government started functioning temporarily out of Ranchi until the infrastructure at Patna was ready.
A separate state comprising the Orissa division and Odia speaking areas of Madras Presidency and Central Province was formed way later, on April 1, 1936.
Tuesday’s function in Ranchi seemed to have overlooked the fact that it was actually a celebration of the centenary of the formation of a joint state of Bihar and Orissa in April 1912, that too in Ranchi, its first-ever capital.
“I am actually not much aware about all these facts and remember to celebrate Utkal Dibas only,” said Binay Kumar Samal, a member of Sagarika, when reminded of the importance of the day this year.
“Normally, on April 1, we observe the statehood day of Odisha. This year, it was held on April 3. We organise cultural programmes every year. This way, we try and uphold the cultural heritage of the state,” said Siddhartha Shekhar Das, the treasurer of the organisation.
To mark the evening’s festivities, singing contests in four age groups, as well as drawing competitions were organised.
But the high point of the evening was a graceful Odissi dance performance. A dance troupe from Raipur, Chattisgarh, led by Purnashree Raut and Lucky Prajna Pratistha Mohanty presented the dance.
Seven children were declared winners of various drawing competitions while 12 won prizes for singing.