Odisha accords state anthem status to Bande Utkala Janani

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Almost two decades after the then speaker of the assembly ruled that the patriotic song Bande Utkala Janani should be adopted as the state anthem, the Odisha cabinet on Sunday accorded the status to it.

The state cabinet, which met on Sunday through video-conferencing, adopted Bande Utklala Janani or Glory to mother Utkala as the anthem of Odisha.

“The song has been inspiring the people of Odisha since ages. It was a long-standing demand of people of the state to accord state anthem status to Bande Utkala Janani, which has been passed by the state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik,” Bikram Keshari Arukh, the parliamentary affairs minister, said.

Arukh added the information and public relations department will prepare and release uniform lyrics, style of singing and it’s recording. The song will be sung at all government programs, assembly sessions, college and university cultural functions.

The anthem will be played or sung in schools, colleges, meetings, cultural events. Whenever the anthem is sung or played, everyone will have to stand in attention except senior citizens, patients, infants, disabled and pregnant women.

Lakhs of Odia people across the country had sung Bande Utkala Janani on May 30 to honour frontline workers or Covid-19 warriors. Several others had posted their videos singing the song on social media sites.

Bande Utkala Janani was written by poet Lakshmikanata Mohapatra. The poem envisages Utkala, one of the former names of present-day Odisha, who maintains her self-respect and dignity from a position of confidence and strength rather than insecurity and fear. The poem inspires every Odia to move ahead in life.

The song was first sung at the Utkal Sammilani’s conference at Balasore in 1912, a few months after Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana, now the national anthem, was sung.

It is sung during various conferences of the Utkal Sammilani, the organisation that spearheaded the movement of a separate province of Odisha since 1912.

In 2000, the assembly speaker Sarat Kar had ruled that the song should be adopted as the state song and advised the Odisha government to initiate action in this regard.

Biju Patnaik, who was the chief minister, had proposed in 1994 that the song should be played at the end of the assembly session.

In 2006, the then assembly speaker Maheswar Mohanty had constituted a committee for adopting the song as the state song.

As many as 11 states, including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat, have their own state anthem.

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