Voices demanding state song status to ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ grow louder

Bhubaneswar: Days after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik played the ‘hockey card’, protestors under the banner of ‘Ame Odia’ organisation took to streets today demanding state song status to ‘Bande Utkala Janani.’

It is unfortunate that the song which had stirred the souls of Odias during the fight for a separate province is yet to get the state song status, lamented protestors.

“We demand the State government to initiate immediate process to give state song status to Bande Utkala Janani,” said a member of Ame Odia, Nirakar Sahu.

The demand of state song status to the Kantakabi Lakshmikant Mohapatra-composed Bande Utkala Janani has been a long-standing one.

After organisations like Utkal Sammilani pressed their demand for the status, on December 21, 1994, the song was first sung in the State Assembly. Then efforts were made to give state song status in 2002 and a meeting for the same was held under the leadership of the then State Assembly speaker, Sarat Kar.

Again in 2006, a similar meeting was held under the chairmanship of the then speaker Maheshwar Mohanty, but it yielded no results and the matter sank into oblivion.

“When people of Odisha have accepted it as the State song, one cannot understand why the government is feeling so much pain in publishing a gazette notification for the same,” said Dilip Dasburma, president of Utkal Sammilani’s Mancheswar Branch.

Former speaker Sarat Kar said that the government still has time and it must do the needful to give the song its due respect by granting it state song status.

“Lack of interest and dedication on government’s part seem to be the reasons behind the song not getting official recognition,” alleged Prabhu Kalyan Mohapatra.

On the other hand, opposition parties lashed out at the ruling-BJD government over the issue.

“The State government is not even able to publish a gazette notification for the song. This shows CM’s love and respect for the people of Odisha,” said BJP spokesperson, Golaka Mohapatra.

Similarly, senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati targeted CM Naveen stating that it is futile to expect respect for Odia culture and tradition from a person who himself doesn’t know the language.

BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo responded saying “We should give due respect to Bande Utkala Janani. The state government will take appropriate steps to grant it state song status.”

Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda, on the other hand expressed surprise that the song is yet to get the recognition and said that it should immediately be recognized as the state song by the State government.