ITANAGAR- Utkal Diwas was celebrated by Arunachal Utkal Sanskrutika Parishad (AUSP) with great enthusiasm and gaiety at North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST), few kms away from here, on Sunday as April 1 was a working day.
Utkal or Kalinga (present Odisha) was formed on 1st April, 1936 as a state much before India gained freedom for which this day is celebrated as Utkal Diwas.
First Utkal Diwas was celebrated at state Raj Bhawan in 1991 at the initiative of then Governor Surendra Nath Diwvedi. However, he had invited many Odias working in the state, on 14th April 1991 that gave birth to AUSP.
Utkal Diwas was celebrated by AUSP at Raj Bhawan in 1992 when famous Odia classical singer and music director Prafulla Kar had joined the celebration along with Odias from across the state. This day’s celebration was organised at Siddhartha Hall, Itanagar, in 1993 and 1994 when Udayan cultural team came from Odisha at the initiative of the governor to present cultural programme. The day was celebrated in NERIST in 1995.
Though this day has also been celebrated during successive years at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), Naharlagun’s Youth Hostel and Itanagar’s DNGC, but the celebration was suspended during 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. This year it was organized at NERIST here on Sunday.
AUSP general secretary-cum-RGU Prof Sanjeev Kumar Jena, in his address, called upon all present to join the celebration with enthusiasm. He later presented the annual report, hinted about registration of AUSP and proposed annual/monthly membership fee.
Terming the day a great occasion, AUSP vice president Kalpalata Behera lauded those who took steps for this year’s celebration. WhatsAap messages have been received about such celebration in Chennai and Guwahati, but celebration in Arunachal is perhaps the oldest, she said. “Despite my retirement, I feel too attached to this state and all Arunachalees are my relatives. Let us rise above all petty matters to strengthen our ties through AUSP with this state which has given all of us so much, she added”.
AUSP founder-member Pradeep Kumar recalled the rich history of Odias whose brevity had turned King Ashok after historic Kalinga War that ended in 261 BC from Chandasoka to Dharmasoka to embrace Buddhism and send his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to spread Buddhism across South East Asia nations, which had ended in Arunachal as its proofs have been found. This justifies the greatness of Odias, who have carved their niche across the world, he added.
Prof Panigrahi and Sahu recalled how the AUSP was formed by former governor and its activities also included Pana Sankranti and Ganesh Puja. NERIST associate Prof Saroj Sahu and RGU Prof Nishamnai Kar underscored the relevance of Utkal Diwas celebration and its positive impacts since its celebration.
Recalling the rich history of Odisha, AUSP president Prof B D Nayak said it would not be wise to celebrate April 1 as April Fool Day. However, Odisha was formed this day as 11th state with its distinct language. Those who formed the state deserve salutation today, he said, adding the AUSP aimed at continuing the spirit with greater vigour.
Anchor-cum-RGU associate Prof Sushant Kumar Nayak with lively punctuation of Odia songs and proverbs made the event lively.