All You Need to Know About Architect of Modern Odisha


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the Hindi translation of the book ‘Odisha Itihaas’ written by ‘Utkal Keshari’ Dr Harekrushna Mahtab on Friday, April 9, at 12 noon from Ambedkar International Center, Janpath, New Delhi. The book available in Odia and English so far has been translated into Hindi by Shankarlal Purohit.

Here’s all you need to know about a notable figure from India’s Independence movement:

1. Dr Harekrushna Mahtab was born on November 21, 1899, in Agarpara village of Odisha’s Balasore district.

2. After passing his matriculation examination from Bhadrak High School, he joined Ravenshaw College, Cuttack but left his studies in 1921 to join the Independence movement.

3. During the Quit India Movement, Dr Mahatab was arrested along with top leaders of the Congress like Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad.

4. He remained imprisoned at Ahmednagar Fort Jail for two-and-a-half years and was released in May 1945.

5. During his stay in prison, he wrote the book Odisha Itihaas. The book gives an elaborate description of formation of Odisha. It also highlights the amalgamation of princely estates into one state.

6. He served as Chief Minister of Odisha from 1946 to 1950 and from 1956 to 1961 and is known as the architect of modern Odisha.

7. Dr Mahatab wanted the merger of 26 Oriya speaking princely states with the Odisha province. After taking over as chief minister on 23 April, 1946, he issued two circulars to all rulers of Odisha states and sought their cooperation for a merger. However, the rulers of Orissa states rejected the idea.

8. He joined Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru-led government as minister for industry and supply in May 1950. During his tenure he was instrumental in the setup of various industries, including private ones such as Biju Patnaik’s Kalinga Tubes factory.

9. Later he served as the Governor of Bombay in 1955-56, chief minister of Odisha from 1956 to 1960, and was also elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962.

10. He received the Sahitya Academy award in 1983 for the third volume of his well-known work, Gaon Majlis.

11. He was the President of Orissa Sahitya Academy and Sangit Natak Academy for a couple of terms.

12. He retired from active politics in 1977 and passed away at the age of 87 on January 2, 1987.

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