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Pradeep Pattanayak

Odisha is celebrating its 87th statehood anniversary today. On this day in 1936 the state came into existence, a little over decade before the country achieved Independence.
There is no denying of the fact that each and every Odia takes a great deal of pride in the State’s rich cultural heritage, deep rooted in Jagannath culture, stunning temple architecture, captivating folk art forms and Odissi Dance, one of the eight classical dance forms of India.

It is also a fact that Odias still feel sad about the denial of Classical Status to Odissi Music till now.
In 1964, the Centre had accorded ‘Classical Status' to Odissi Dance.

 In 2014, Odia Language was recognised as the 6th classical language of the country by the Government of India.
By then, the demand for ‘Classical Status' for Odishi Music had been intensified with stalwarts as well as the government relentlessly working to achieve the goal.
Giving impetus to the movement, the Odisha Heritage Cabinet had passed a resolution on September 2, 2020, requesting the Centre to give ‘Classical Status' to Odissi Music.

In the same month, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took the fight one step further by writing a letter to the Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahalad Singh Patel. Patnaik urged Patel to accord ‘Classical Status' to the 200-year old tradition.

 “It (Odissi Music) has a distinctive rendition style based on codified grammar, the characteristic giti system of classical texts and having its own tala, different from Hindustani and Carnatic Music,” the CM had said in the letter.
Like snubbing the demand for ‘Paika Vidroh’ to be regarded as the First War of Independence, the Centre on December 6, 2021 refused to grant ’Classical Status’ to Odissi Music, saying the government did not confer classical status to any music form.

 “With the Centre’s clarification putting an end to the fight for Classical Status to Odissi Music, we have only one option left- to perform extensively throughout the globe,” said eminent Odissi singer Guru Ramahari Das.

Echoing Das’ suggestion, Padma Shri awardee and president of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, Guru Aruna Mohanty, said, “It is now up to us to earn the status. For this, we will have to take Odissi Music to every corner of the world. The more we perform, the sooner Odissi Music will be regarded a classical music form.”

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