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Rashmi Ranjan

Bhubaneswar: Odisha on Saturday paid rich tributes to visionary leader and great pioneer in the freedom movement of India, Biju Patnaik on his 24th death anniversary and remembered his legacy which paved the way for his iconic status.

May it be the daring  rescue of Indonesian Premier Sultan Sjahrir and Vice President Mohammad Hatta in a civilian aircraft during the peak of Indonesia’s struggle for freedom, or the Quit India Movement, Biju Patnaik’s daredevilry as an aviator earned him a reputation that a few can match.

Among his numerous exploits, a very least discussed yet very interesting fact on Biju Babu rescuing India’s tele-serial pioneer and director of popular mythological show Ramayan, Ramanand Sagar, is an inspiring tale that runs like this.

In his book- An Epic Life: Ramanand Sagar: From Barsaat to Ramayan-  Prem Sagar, son of Ramanand Sagar, mentioned the visionary leader’s commendable display of courage in rescuing his father and other family members from Srinagar.

It was on October 27, 1947, when Ramanand along with his 13 family members and relatives fled Srinagar airport to escape the attacks of jihadis provoked by Pakistan army.

Biju Babu flew in a Dakota DC-3 to the rescue of the refugees. When he reached the place, Biju Babu asked Ramanand to board the plane with his family while leaving everything else including all belongings but the latter denied and it led to an argument between the duo.

An infuriated Biju asked Ramanand what is there inside the trunk to hold on to than the dear life, to which, the latter candidly replied – pages of my unpublished novel “Aur Insaan Mar Gaya”.

A bit later, the ace pilot recognised the celebrity writer and touched his feet as mark of respect before flying him and his family members to Delhi.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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