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Eminent Personalities of Odisha
Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843-1918)

A Master in the art of writing short stories, he injected a new life in Odia literature in an environment of gloom and despair. His sence of humour remains unsurpassed in Odia literature. Discarding romantic themes, he wrote about the common man and his problems. Senapati could rightly be compared with the 20th Century great novelist like Premchand and Bibhutibhusan Banerjee.  Eventhough he had no formaleducation, he proved to be an enlightened teacher, painter and a great administrator. In his writings, Odia Nationalism was the dominant theme. As a recognised literary poet, Senapati has made his place secure as a great prose writer in Odia .

Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das (1848-1934)
First Odia to get the Degree of M.A. B.L. from Calcutta University. Took a valiant stand for unification of scattered Odia tracts. Emerged on the Eastern horizon as a symbol of new hope and aspiration of all Odias . Was the founder of Utkal Sammilani, architect of Odia movement and pioneer in the field of industrial development. Acclaimed as a great Legislator and Journalist, he was the first Odia to be the member of Legislative Council and Member of Central Legislative Assembly and was the first to sail overseas. He had the distinction of being the first Indian Minister.

Pandit Gopabandhu Das ( 1876-1928)
 Aptly described as the Gandhi of Odisha, Pandit Gopabandhu Das played a pivotal role in the formation of a separate province of Odisha. Born and brought up in an atomsphere of Brahminical orthodoxy, he shattered the shackles  of narrow caste barriers. A Law Graduate from the Calcutta University. He was an active sentinal of Odia Movement, Freedom Fighter and a great social reformer. As an educationist he was responsible for establishment of Satyabadi School at Satyabadi in the Puri District. Imbued with patriotic fervour the students of Satyabadi School were known as indefatigable fighters against British Imperialism. Gopabandhu regarded politics as an instrument of service to the people. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopabandhu was one of the Noblest Sons of Odisha.  His spirit of service and sacrifice finds an apt echo in his following lines.

“Let my body mingle in the dust of my motherland and let my countrymen walk across it”.

Nilakantha Das (1884-1969)

Secured M.A. Degree in Philosophy from Calcutta University. Spurned an offer of a lucrative job by the British Govt. and preferred to serve as the Mead Master of Satyabadi High School. Endowed with a profound erudition he became a legendary figure in his life time. A powerful speaker, his speaches in Central Legislative Assembly and Odisha Legislative Assembly have left an indelible impression on Legislative history. He was a rare amalgam of a Writer, Editor, Speaker and Author. Author of an excellent commentary of Geeta. His epics are considered as Master piece of Odia Language. A distinguished freedom fighter and a revolutionary, he inspired the youth to fight against untouchability and other social evils. Led the  movement for amalgamation of outlying Odia tracts and was a symbol of Odia culture.

Biswanath Das (1889-1984)
An eminent Freedom Fighter, able Statesman, remarkable Administrator, astute politician and a Charismatic leader. He was elected as the president of the Ganjam District Board in the year 1920 and joined the Non-cooperation movement in response to the call of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 after giving up his lucrative law practice. Continued to be a member of Madras Legislative Assembly from 1921 to 1930. Gave up the membership of the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1931 and joined Salt Satyagraha. As a great Patriot led the peasant movement and fought for the creation of a separate Odisha Province. He had the distinction of being elected as Prime Minister of Odisha. Resigned from the Prime Ministership on 4th November 1939 at the bidding of Indian National congress. In 1950 got elected to Lok Sabha and became the President of Utkal Pradesh Congress Committee. He was appointed as the  Governor of Uttar Pradesh. A noble son who has left an indelible impression on a resurgent Odisha.

Gajapati Maharaja Krushna Chandra Dev ( 1892-1974)

An Architect of modern Odisha. He attended the first Round Table Conference in London on 16th November 1930 wherein he made a fervent appeal for creating a separate province of Odisha on the basis of Language and homogeneity. As an eloquent spokesman of Odias , he was felicitated by Madhusudan Das, the father of modern Odisha. As a scion of illustrious Ganga Ruler he espoused the cause of the poor and downtrodden. Later played an important role in bringing together the vivisected parts of Odisha and laid the foundation of United Odisha. He was a member of old Madras Legislative Council, a member of royal commission of Agriculture and a member of Odisha Legislative Assembly.   He was twice elected as Prime Minister of Odisha. He was an Educationist, Freedp, Fighter, Social Reformer and a champion of the poor. He  established a permanent theatre at Paralakhemundi for promoting cultural activities.

Raja Artatran Deo  ( 1900-1946)
Enthroned as Raja  of Khariar, (present day Nuapada district), in 1921. A great patron of Art, Culture and Education. Sportsman of distinction, member of many committees and Organisations. Sponsored Scholarships for deserving students for higher education. Patronised “Beer Bikram Theatre” of Khariar, the first permanent Odia Stage in the State. Nominated member of Odisha Advisory Council. Elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly in 1937 and 1946 from Khariar Assembly Constituency. Played a pivotal role in formation of Odisha as a separate province in the year 1936. It was at his instance and under his enlightened leadership that Khariar Zamindari merged with the State of Odisha leading to full Statehood

Biju Pattanaik ( 1916-1997)
Biju Pattanaik was a trained pilot of acknowledged competence. Had special interest in Science and Technology and was responsible for instituting the prestigious  International  Kalinga Prize. He was the pioneer of Industrial movement in Odisha and was the head of Air Transport command during the war  (1940-42). An indefatigable freedom fighter, he led  the underground movement for freedom of the country along with Shri Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr. Ram Mohan Lohia and others. Landed first platoon of troops in Srinagar during attack by Pakistani raiders. Suceeded in safely airlifting the Indonesia leaders during war. He was honoured by the Indonesia Govt. as “BHUMIPUTRA”. Elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly from 1952. Chief Minister of Odisha from 1961-1963 and 1990-1995. Member, Rajya Sabha 1980-1984 and 11th Lok Sabha from 1996-1997. Union Minister of Steel from July 1977 to January 1980. He had the distinction of laying the basic infrastructure for development of Odisha. Special mention could be made of Paradeep Port, MIG Factory at Sunabeda,  Ferro Silicon Complex at  Theruvali, Hydro Electric Power Project Balimela. Thermal Power Station, Talcher, Engineering College, Rourkela, Engineering College and Medical College at Burla, Express High Way linking Dairari with Paradeep, Sainik School, Regional College of Education, Bhubaneswar, Regional Research Laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology and many others.

He was a great visionary who worked relentlessly for the uplift of the people of Odisha.

Chandra Sekhar Behera ( 1873-1936)
Chandra Sekhar Behera of Sambalpur was a leading freedom fighter and an active participant in the Non-Cooperation Movement. He consolidated the National freedom movement in Sambalpur region and merged his activities with the Indian National Congress. He was a founding member of the National School of Sambalpur started on lines of Satyabadi Vana-Vidyalaya founded by Gopabandhu Das. As the chairman of Sambalpur Municipality, he received Gandhijee in Sambalpur in 1928. Organised a mass movement against illiteracy and untouchability.

Nandini Satapathy ( 1931-2006)
The first lady Chief Minister of Odisha Srimati Nandini Satapathy was born in Cuttack and did her degree from Ravenshaw College. She was the author of many poems and short stories and the editor of Odia monthly “Kalana”. She was also conferred with “Sahitya Bharati Sammana” for the Odia translation of famous novel “Lajja”. The Founder cum Secretary of Odisha Women’s Relief Committee, Srimati Nandini was elected to Rajya Sabha from Congress party twice. During her illustrious career she led Indian Film Delegations thrice, i.e. to Moscow & Tashkent and also accompanied the then Prime Minister as a member of India’s delegation to Commemorative Session of United Nations in New York. She was in the Chairmanship of Children’s Film Society of India twice. In Odisha’s political scenario she was elected as the leader of Odisha Congress Legislature Party twice & was the Chief Minister.

Kalindi Charana Panigrahi ( 1901-1991)
Kalindi Charana Panigrahi belongs to Sabuja Gosthi (Green Community of Odisha Poets) of 20th century was born at Khurda. He is regarded as a superb poet, story writer, novelist, dramatist, editor and essayist. This great man’s pen never stopped till his death. His Auto-Biography ‘Jaha Ange Nivaichi’ is an unforgettable contribution to the literary treasure of Odisha. This Padma Bhusan award winner was also honoured the fellowship from Kendra Sahitya Academy.A D.Litt Degree from Sambalpur University was awarded by IMFA CHARITABLE TRUST for his life long contribution to Odia literature. The doyen whose creation ‘Matira Manisa’ was made a film has left this eternal world but his creations are still immortal.

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