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Window Seat: Odisha@86, Bihar@110 and Rajasthan@73

4/04/2021 at 8:18 AM

In March and early April, three states observed their statehood day and look at the providence I have close relationship with all three.

Odisha celebrated its statehood day on 1 April. It was on this day in 1936 that a separate state for Odia speaking population was formed taking areas from Bihar with addition of Koraput and Ganjam from the Madras Presidency. It was the first state in India to be formed on linguistic basis. I have been living in Odisha for over five decades now.

Bihar Day was observed on 22 March, marking the formation of the state of Bihar. It was on this day when the British carved out the state from Bengal in 1912. I spent some years of my early childhood days in Bihar at my maternal grandfather’s home in Jamalpur in Munger district.

Rajasthan celebrated its statehood day on 30 March as the state was formed on that day in 1949 when Rajputana was merged into the Dominion of India. Jaipur being the largest city was declared as the capital of the state. I have been to Rajasthan so many times and have so many friends there, people think I have settled there. Not a bad idea though!

West Bengal, where I was born became a separate state on 1 Nov. 1956, as the states were reorganized, as per Recommendations of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. I hardly lived there. But nobody can really disassociate from one’s birth place. I was born at Katwa, a small historical sub-divisional head quarter town on the bank of the river Ganges in the district of Burdawan. Whenever I visit Katwa I make sure to go to the hospital where I was born some sixty years ago to soak in that queer feeling of oneness.  

Did you notice..

Did you notice that this year 29 March had special significance for many major religions and people of different regions?

Hindus observed Holi, the festival of colour. In Manipur the Meitei people observed  Yaosang- a five day spring festival starting on the full moon day of the month of Lamda. Tamil Hindus observed Panguni Uthirum Kavady.

Muslims observed Shab e Barat, the night of forgiveness or atonement. It commemorated the day Prophet Muhammad entered the city of Makkah.

Christians observed Palm Sunday that commemorated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Jews observed Passover, commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt.

We all prayed differently, followed different rituals but we prayed to one divine power.

Padayatra as a form of protest

Somebody asked me a very interesting question about Gandhi’s Dandi March also known as the Salt Satyagraha. It was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi. The 24 days march spanned 240 miles (390 km), from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi began on 12 March 1930 and ended on 5 April 1930. Gandhi started this march with 78 of his trusted volunteers. Growing numbers of Indians joined them along the way. When Gandhi broke the British Raj salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the salt laws by millions of Indians

The question was: did Gandhi consciously use padayatra (walking accompanied by others) as a form of protest? Was it a calculated move?

I really do not know. So I requested my friends to reflect on this question. PK Jagdev, a very well read sociologist wrote back: “Padayatra as we know as a political instrument was perhaps pioneered by Gandhi. Padabraja (walking at a leisurely pace) was indeed used as a means of pilgrimage and proselytization by wandering monks. For Gandhi it was perhaps the best way to influence maximum folks (including women, the old and very young) in reasonable time- considering his popularity, option to camp along the way and lack of memorable roads.”

My friend and senior journalist Tapan Mishra wrote that Gandhiji was fond of walking. He had written about the health benefits of it in his autobiography ‘My experiments with truth’.

Harihara Satpathy wrote, It could have been for two reasons: one- to motivate maximum number of people to join him; and two- to know people more intimately.

It is indeed an interesting area for further research by Gandhi scholars.

AnandaBazar Patrika@100

What is Malayala Manorama to a Malayali, Samaja to an Odia, Anandabazar Patrika is to a Bengali: not just a newspaper, but a part of his linguistic identity. Like the other two newspaper, Anandabazar Patrika too started with a nationalistic mission and with time has become an institution.

Anandabazar Patrika began its momentous journey on the day of Dolyatra (Holi), the festival of colour (on 13 March 1922). And probably to go with the festive fervour, the first issue was printed in red letter. But the British administration took the red colour as a mark of danger, which to a large extent proved true in future. Priced at two paise it had a first-day circulation of a thousand copies.

Founded by Suresh Chandra Majumdar (the proprietor) and Prafulla Chandra Sarkar (the first editor), Anandabazar Patrika started as a four page evening daily. But soon it increases its pages to six.

Next year, it became a morning daily.

From the beginning Anandabazar Patrika tried to be professional so far news dissemination was concerned. It soon tied up with Reuters, Associated Press and the Free Press of India.

Photo: The first issue of Ananda Bazar Patrika

Globalisation is not dead yet!

On 23 March 2021 a vessel, Ever Given,  which weighed 200,000 metric tons and stretched 1,300 feet long got stuck in and blocked the Suez Canal, located in Egypt.

Ever Given conveyed goods from Asia to Europe (Specifically Dutch Port).

Registered in Panama, Ever Given was owned by a Japanese company, operated by a Taiwanese container shipping firm and managed by a German company.

Ever Given had 25 Indian crew members.

After six days stuck in the Suez Canal, which disrupted almost 10 per cent of the global trade, Ever Given was rescued by a multinational coalition including Japanese and Dutch salvage teams and local Egyptian tugboat operators.

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Odia translation of an anthology of essays titled Mahatma Gandhi: Journalist and Editor.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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