Utkal Divas or Utakala Dibasha is celebrated on April 1 every year to remember the formation of the Odisha state after a struggle to be recognised as an independent state. Under British rule, Odisha was part of the Bengal presidency, which consisted of the present-day Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The state was originally called Orissa but the Lok Sabha passed the Orissa Bill, and Constitution Bill (113rd amendment), in March 2011 to rename it Odisha.
Why is Odisha Day important for the people of Odisha
The region became part of Kalinga after it was conquered by Magadha King Ashoka in 261 BC to expand his Mauryan rule. After Mauryan rule, King Kharavela’s rule began in Odisha. Kharavela managed to avenge the Mauryan invasion by defeating Magadh. Historians credit Kharavela for laying the foundation for Odisha’s fame as a land of art, architecture and sculpture. He also managed to establish a powerful political state.
Gajapati Mukunda Deva was the last Hindu king of Odisha. He was defeated by the Mughals in 1576. A few hundred years later, the British took over and divided the state into different parts. The northern and western districts of the state became part of what was then called the Bengal presidency.
State’s struggle for independence
The new province of Odisha was formed after people’s continued struggle, which finally paid off on April 1, 1936. Sir John Hubbak was the first governor of the state. Notable leaders from that movement are Utkala Gouraba, Madhusudan Das, Utkala Mani, Gopabandhu Das, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Pandita Nilakantha Das, and many others.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- Chief Minister of Odisha: Naveen Patnaik.
- Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar.
- Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal.