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Legends who played key roles in building modern Odisha


As the pristine statehood of Odisha celebrates the 81st occasion, commemorating its day of formation on 1st April, it brings alive the memories of the departed heroes, who once fought valiantly and relentlessly to save the existence of the state as a separate province.

Although the state existed as a tribal state with plethoric flora and fauna and natural treasure, the sacrifices shown by its kings, noblemen, and sons of soil hardly find parallel as rare examples of courage, grit, and determination to save the sovereignty of motherland. Be it the exemplary sacrifice of the little child Dharama in the construction of the great Sun temple of Konark or the unparalleled heroism shown by Jai Rajguru and Veer Surendra Sai, the statehood has passed though relentless struggle to save itself from complete disintegration and merger with other state.  From the dark ages, when the state was victim to Maratha and Mogul attackers, generations have fought hard to save their mother-tongue and safety of the borders.

As various parts of the state lay scattered without formal recognition as a separate statehood, the brave sons of soil fought a persistent struggle for three decades in the pre-Independence era to save their motherland from complete disintegration. On the day of 1st April, 1936, the final shaping of the scattered parts of the province took place as a separate state.  Although, eighty-one years have passed in the meantime, it brings alive the history of its struggle as a separate entity and the heroes and visionaries, who transformed the dream into reality and brought back the lost glory of its golden past. The great scions of their motherland like Fakir Mohan Senapati, Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das, Gangadhar Meher, Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo, Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das , and Pandit Nilakantha Das played remarkable roles  in shaping the destiny of people and making Odisha vibrant and prosperous.

In the post-independence time, the indomitable will and dynamic leadership of politicians like Nabakrushna Choudhary, Nandini Satpathy , Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab, Biju Patnaik, and Janaki Ballav Pattanaik added decisive leadership and important dimensions to the growth of the state.

Let’s know about the great sons of this state, who played key roles in the long transitional phase to give the state its unique identity, rich culture, and prosperity.

Fakir Mohan Senapati

When Odia, as a language, was on the verge of extinction, his birth signaled arrival of the era of renaissance. Fakir Mohan Senapati, widely appreciated as the father of modern Odia literature, educator, and social reformer remained a staunch supporter of creation of Odisha as a separate province. His invaluable contribution in literature and politics remain simply incomparable.



Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das

Famous in every home as”Madhu Barrister”, Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das lives in the hearts of millions of people of his state till today. Being exceptionally qualified as an erudite scholar and lawyer, Madhu Babu was the first among the few to raise his voice against the wide discrimination meted out to Odias. It was his strong leadership and wisdom that finally gave shape to Odisha as a separate state.


Shri Ramchandra Bhanja Deo

Though he remained the king of Mayurbhanja, Shri Ramachandra Bhanja Deo  had unmatched love for his state. After his ascension to the throne in the year 1892, he worked dedicatedly to the overall growth of his place. It was his valuable efforts along with Utkala Mani Gopabandhu Das under the competent leadership of Madhusudan Das that finally made Odisha a separate state.


Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das

Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das is widely held as one of the makers of modern Odishal by one and all. His brilliance and unmatched flair in bringing social reforms make him unique character in the history of freedom struggle and fight for the creation of Odisha as a separate state. The rare virtues in his character hold generations spell-bound as he made enormous sacrifices for his motherland. As the founder of Odia daily “The Samaja”, he would go down the memory of the future generations as the most adorable leader among all the veteran Odia leaders.


Pandit Nilakantha Das

As a renowned scholar and freedom fighter Pandit Nilakantha Das lives in the hearts of everyone in his state. As a paragon of virtues, he displayed remarkable qualities of a social reformer, freedom fighter, and leader in the struggle for creation of Odisha as a separate homeland of Odias.



Maharaja Shri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deo

As the ruler of Paralakhemundi, Maharaja Shri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Rao stayed the esteemed leader in the political scenario of the state when he advocated strongly for the formation of Odisha as a separate state.



Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab

Recognized as the architect of modern Odisha, Dr Harekrushna Mahatab would be remembered as the maker of modern Odisha. Among his most significant works, the foundation of Bhubaneswar as the capital city and inauguration of Hirakud Dam project have remained invaluable for the growth of the state.



Raja Bahadur Ramachandra Mardaraj Deo

As the worthy son of soil of Khalikote, Raja Bahadur Ramachandra Mardaraj Deo was highly popular for his notable contribution towards the formation of Odisha as a separate province. His dedicated efforts for the welfare of people of Odisha have given him a special place in the hearts of millions of his admirers.



Biju Patnaik

Fondly remembered as ‘Biju Babu”, Biju Patnaik remains till today one of the most admired leaders of the past. He combined in him the rare qualities of an ace pilot, adventurer, industrialist, and statesmanship, which made him the most popular leader of the state. On the industrial front, he transformed Odisha by initiating important projects and giving the state an important place on the industrial map of India.



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