Bhubaneswar,12/11/18:The Odisha Chief Minister’s letter to the Culture Minister for a probe into the neglect of the Konark Temple by the Archaeological Survey of India is a knee jerk reaction and just a formality. The State officials are aggrieved that the replacements of the damaged stone blocks is being done with plain stones. Little do they know that these are UNESCO guidelines, which the ASI is compelled to adhere. If they dither, then we may lose the World Heritage Site status that has been accorded by UNESCO.
The problems are not just the manner in which the conservation is being done. The criminal neglect of the ASI towards the preservation of the Sun temple and the other heritage structures of the State is a tragic matter. The State’s own Archaeology wing is s defunct department which too is responsible for the dismal state of the State’s heritage.
The Archaeological Survey of India insists that Konark has one of the longest conservation histories in India. The history of conservation of the Sun Temple spans more than one century. There were more than 11 reports prepared by different authorities in different times. Except for three reports, all the other reports were just ignored. Absolutely no action has been taken on the last seven reports.
The first report was prepared by Bishan Swarup, an engineer who worked at the site from 1901-04. It was he who realised that the edifice faced an imminent collapse and had it filled up with sand. The initial masonry work done under his supervision saved the temple from being completely destroyed. Swarup had given detailed suggestions for the further upkeep of the temple, but these were just forgotten.
The next committee was formed in 1950, during a meeting held at the Circuit house in Bhubaneswar. It was chaired by Biswanath Dash and had on its panel C.M.Master, an eminent architect from Bombay. None of the recommendations were put in place.
The third committee was formed in 1953, this too under the Chairmanship of Biswanath Das and the recommendation for erection of scaffolding was implemented.
In 1978, the ASI constituted the Konark Expert Committee which held its first meeting on the 7th November at Konark. For the first time, a serious view of the problem was taken and the committee was chaired by M.N.Deshpande, the then DG of the ASI. The horticultural development of the precincts was mooted and implemented.
After the collapse of five stone blocks from the main temple, structural conservation was undertaken between 1985-90. Based on this, scaffolding to some vulnerable sections was done. Another report of the Scientific Branch of the ASI made recommendation on Chemical Preservation, but nothing was done.
In 1979, the Unesco Experts Recommendation on Conservation of Konark was given to the Government of India. After declaring it a World Heritage Site, Unesco once again appointed a committee headed by two experts of international repute, Sir B M Fielden and P Beckman in 1987. They described the state of the temple as alarming and advised immediate preventive measures. After the hue and cry died down, this report too was confined to the dark rooms of the ASI.
The Italian expert Prof Ing. Giorgio Croci made a Structural Analysis of the Jagamohan in 1997. In 2010, the ASI called world experts and erected temporary scaffolding so that they could inspect the top of the temple. The committee made several recommendations, including that of removing the sand. One of the suggestions was to drill a hole and send endoscopic video graphic cameras to assess the state of the interior of the temple.
According to A.B.Tripathy, Convener, INTACH Odisha, the temple is in a precarious condition due to the sheer neglect by the ASI. He along with other INTACH members was a part of the team which examined the structure in 2010. The recommendations for immediate removal of the sand by the experts were ignored. Experts from the IITs too had given their opinions for removal of the sand. The Central Building Research Institute at Roorkee had analysed the stone blocks and given their reports. The ASI has done nothing.
Anil Dhir, another INTACH member, who is also the Secretary of the Konark Suraksha Samiti, says that the ASI is apathetic to the Sun Temple. This year too, like previous years, the structure was flooded nearly half a dozen times, causing alarm and panic among the locals. Repeated agitations by local stakeholders, whose livelihood is intricately linked with the temple, has fallen on deaf years.
A nexus of the ASI and local mafia have made the place into a crime den. There is rampant corruption in the granting of contracts by the ASI to political henchmen of the ruling party. The High Court of Odisha had appointed a amicus curiae for looking into the neglect. Even though he submitted his report three years back, no steps have been taken.
According to Dhir, at one early stage of restoration in 1910, a British Commissioner is said to have remarked that not one rupee should be spent on the monument the sooner it falls, the better. The way the ASI is working, this may well happen and very soon.
Bhubaneswar,20/10/18:Every year on the 21st October, the Govt. of India organises celebrations of Netaji's formal declaration. But little else is done. These are the 10 recommendations of Captain John Jacob, founder president of the INA Committee to the Government of India. Unfortunately none of the recommendations were implemented by any governments in the last 75 years. His recommendations were;
Declare Netaji as the first President of India because he, on October 21, 1943, he had proclaimed the Provisional Government of Free India from exile, which drew instant recognition from nine European and Asian countries.
Declare Netaji's birthday, January 23, as a National Day.
Declare "Jai Hind" as the national greeting.
Include the INA National Anthem in all school and college prayers.
Erect a life-size statue of Netaji in the precincts of the Red Fort.
Issue permanent currency notes, coins and postage stamps of various denominations bearing the portrait of Netaji.
Name at least one women's wing in the Indian Defence Forces as Rani Jhansi Regiment as it was in the INA.
Name one defence academy after Netaji.
Introduce an authentic account of the INA as an integral part of modern Indian history in all educational curricula.
Establish an International Netaji Research Foundation under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resources for undertaking wide-ranging research in areas like in international relations, defence and welfare economics.
Bhubaneswar,17/10/ 2018 : Earlier, in April 2016, the Government of India had told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken nor stolen” by the British, but had instead been gifted to the East India Company by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Archeological Survey of India has now made matters murkier by contradicting the government’s stand by stating in a recent RTI reply that the diamond was in fact “surrendered” by Dalip Singh to Queen Victoria of England. Jawaharlal Nehru had once said, "Diamonds are for the Emperors and India does not need Emperors."
According to Anil Dhir, who has researched the Sikh connection with the Jagannath Temple, there is ample documentary proof that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had bequeathed the diamond to the Jagganath temple before his death in 1839. A letter written by the British government's political agent from a camp near the Khyber Pass on July 2, 1829 is preserved in the National Archives of India at New Delhi. The letter, addressed to T.A. Maddock, the officiating secretary to the Government of India says: "Although the right Hon'ble Governor General of India will have received the melancholy intelligence of the demise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh before my report on that event can arrive, I deem it my duty to announce that his highness expired at Lahore on the 27th ultimo." Maddock also wrote: "During the last days of his illness, his highness declared to have bestowed in charity money, jewels and other property to the supposed value of 50 lakhs of rupees. Among the jewels, he directed the well-known Coh-I-Nur (Kohinoor) diamond to be sent to the temple of Jagannath at Puri.
Dhir says that is an established fact that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had donated more gold and silver to the Jagannath Temple in Puri than even to Golden Temple. He had a lifelong yearning to visit Puri, but his impairments restricted him from taking such a long journey. Just ten years later, the British took away the diamond from Ranjit Singh's son, Dalip Singh, in 1849, even though they were fully aware of it being bequeathed to Lard Jagganath at Puri.
A.B.Tripathy, Convener of INTACH Odisha is of the opinion that the Kohinoor’s rightful place is at the Jagannath Temple. He said that a INTACH team had met the Director of the National Archives of India in May this year with a request that the original letter mentioning Ranjit Singh’s wishes should be displayed at the Bhubaneswar Centre of the Archives.
Dhir says that the claim for the return of the Kohinoor was first done soon after Independence 1947 by the Government of India. Another request followed in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. But the really fight erupted in 1976 when the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in a letter to the British Prime Minister, James Callaghan, submitted a formal request for the return of the diamond to Pakistan. Pakistan’s claim was refused, but Callaghan gave a written assurance to Bhutto that there was no question that Britain would have handed it over to any other country. Shortly after, a major newspaper in Tehran stated that the gem ought to be returned to Iran. In November 2000 the Taliban regime demanded the return of the diamond to Afghanistan.
For the record, the Kohinoor had been in the possession of Mughal rulers in Delhi for 213 years, with rulers in Kandahar and Kabul for 66 years and with the British for nearly 170 years.
Dhir said that the RTI reply by the ASI is highly irresponsible and a distortion of historical facts. It seems that the ASI too is parroting what the British has been all along saying, that the Kohinoor was surrendered in the Treaty of Lahore, little knowing that Dalip Sigh just did not have much choice in the matter.
USA:A Hindu temple is opening on October 14 in the Tea suburb of South Dakota’s largest city Sioux Falls, which is claimed to be the “first Hindu temple in the Dakotas”.
North Dakota and South Dakota, states in the Great Plains region of USA, are spread out in about 147,814 square miles area. There is a considerable growth of Hindu populations in the Dakotas.
Grand opening of Hindu Temple of Siouxland (HTOS), earlier scheduled to open on August 26, was delayed due to waterlogging caused by unexpected rain. Cost estimates for the two phases of the temple are listed as $585,000. Bhoomi Pooja of the temple site was held in 2016.
Ancient Hindu rituals to be performed at this Hindu Temple Opening Ceremony (Prana Pratishtha) and murti sthapana include sacred pitcher worship, consecration of deities, ceremony of fire and lights, flowers offering, liturgical dance, bhajans, etc. These rituals are believed to “endow the temple deities with divine power and bless the community in which they reside”. All are invited to the opening celebrations which will be followed by community lunch.
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of temple leaders and area community towards realizing this much needed Hindu temple.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this temple would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.
“Mission and Objectives” of HTOS in southwest of Sioux Falls include: “Practice ideals of Hinduism through worship, education, and community involvement”. It is seeking donations and plans to celebrate “Festival of Lights” on November three. Archana Chatterjee and Muthukumarappan are Trustees Chair and Vice Chair, while Ramesh Singh and Kalyan Boinapalli are President and Vice President respectively.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world has about 1.1 billion adherents. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Tea, incorporated in 1906 and whose tagline is “a growing tradition”, celebrates “Teapot Days” every June, which included “Crowning of Ma & Pa Teapot”. John Lawler is the Mayor.
Bhhubaneswar,10/08/18:Very few people, both in Odisha and Tamil Nadu are aware of the deep connection that Biju Patnaik had with Karunanidhi. In the third volume of his autobiographical book ‘Nenjukku Needhi’, Karunanidhi mentioned in detail about Biju Patnaik and it was he who referred to him as a “UyarnthaManidan” (the tall man).
The politics of Tamil Nadu may have been vastly different if Biju Patnaik's master plan of September 1979 had succeeded. He had attempted, and nearly succeeded, in what wouldappear to be an impossible dream today- the merger of the DMK and the AIADMK.
India got its first non-Congress government at the Centre in 1977, after Indira Gandhi’s Congress was routed because of the Emergency excesses. The Janata Party government was suffering from congenital maladies; it was never in good health since its formation. The period between 1977 and 1979 was one of political uncertainties. Public perception about the government in New Delhi was marred by the naked power struggle among its top leaders. Clashing prime ministerial ambitions of Jagjivan Ram and Charan Singh resulted ina veritable deluge of bad publicity for the ruling party.
In July 1979, Raj Narain and Charan Singh pulled out of the Janata Party on the flimsy reason that many of the Jan Sangh members continued to be members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The left leaning bloc in the Janata Party included leaders like Madhu Limaye, Krishnan Kant and George Fernandes. Morarji Desai was forced to resign and Charan Singh was sworn in as the caretaker Prime Minister, with tacit support of Indira’s Congress Party. Indira demanded her pound of flesh in the form of withdrawal of the cases filed against her for the Emergency excesses. However Indira’s blackmail did not work, Charan Singh refused to withdraw the Emergency related court cases, and she withdrew support. His government could noteven face the Lok Sabha during its brief tenure of just 24 days.
Biju Patnaik wasthen the Union Minister of Steel both under Morarji Desai, and thereafter Charan Singh. He was a known strongman in the Party and had a good rapport with all the leaders of different parties. He could read the writing on the wall: India was heading towards fresh elections.
MG Ramachandran was the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The thespian actor-politician had a cult following. His party AIADMK, floated in 1972 after the split with the DMK over differences with M Karunanidhi, had come to power after just five years of its formation. MGR was two years into his first term as Chief Minister, and had supported the Charan Singh government at the Centre, but the wily south Indian politician knew that electionswere looming on the horizon. He was aware that the Janata party’s repeated debacles in its short stint were propelling Indira Gandhi back into the popularity charts. He sent feelers to her, but the wary Indira adopted a cautious stand. A meeting was fixed between the two at Delhi forthe 6th September, but was called off in the last moment. Biju got wind of the scheduled meeting, and on his advice, Charan Singh arm-twisted MGR, threatening to drop two of MGR’s cabinet ministers from the government. The confused MGR cancelledhis Delhi trip and did not meet Indira.
At this juncture, Biju Patnaik entered the scene. He made an impossible plan of merging the two Dravidian parties- the DMK and the AIADMK. Biju had a very good rapport with DMK Chief M. Karunanidhi, especially following DMK's nation-wide movement for state autonomy vis-a-vis Centre-State relations in the early 1970s.
On the 11th Sept, Biju Patnaikasked for an appointment with Karunanidhi to discuss an important issue. The next day he landed at Madras and met him at his residence. Karunanidhi recalled that when he asked Patnaik whose idea it was of merging the DMK and AIADMK, Patnaik replied that it was MGR’s. It was only years later that Karunanidhi came to know that Biju Patnaik played the same game with MGR.He had told him that it was Karunanidhi’s idea(!).
Karunanidhi writes, "Biju came on September 12, 1979 and discussed the merger issue with me in detail. After the discussion, I had put a few conditions for the merger. We had accepted MGR to continue as Chief Minister. MGR had okayed the merger formula wherein the unified party would be named DMK and the ADMK flag retained."
In what seemed a win-win situation for both the parties, Karunanidhi agreed to MGR continuing as Chief Minister. In lieu, Karunanidhi would be Party President for life. The contentious issue of retaining the DMK name was resolved, with the concession that the AIADMK flag would be the party ensign. Besides, the DMK had properties and buildings in various places all over Tamil Nadu, and it was also the party founded by Anna.Hence the name DMK would continue.
Biju Patnaik was elated since he had expected much tougher terms for what seemed impossible. In fact, Karunanidhi writes that a very happy Biju hugged him after he gave his consent. Biju arranged for a meeting between the Chiefs of the two parties at the Chepauk Guest House the next day.Both MGR and Karunanidhi had a one-on-one meeting in aseparate room, while Biju and the top brass of both the parties comprising DMK General Secretary Prof. K Anbazhagan and AIADMK's Nedunchezhian and Panruti Ramachandran met in the sidelines. Following the meeting, the two sides agreed to the conditions, and the leaders decided to convene emergency Executive Council meetings of their respective parties to pass resolutions on the merger. It was decided that MGR would convene a meeting of the Executive Council of his party near Vellore the next day and that Karunanidhiwould conduct a similar exercise in Chennai.
Media reports of Biju Patnaik’s involvement in the merger spread like wildfire. He quietly flew back to Delhi, with hopes of having succeeded in scuttling the Congress’s plans. When reporters asked Kalaignar he said `‘What is wrong in the merger of DMK and ADMK?” However the next day, at a public meeting in Vellore, MGR surprisingly did not speak about the merger and instead his ministers lashed out at the DMK. The DMK leaders too started airing their dissent. Speaking to the media,Kalaignar blamed the AIADMK. He said, “No follow up actions on other side. I think the poll alliances of the two parties will be different.” After Vellore, it was the end of the road for the merger and talks did not continue. For Biju Patnaik, it was a failed attempt to put a check on the Congress rising. He just shrugged off the incident as another unsuccessful venture.
Indira Gandhi came to know of the developments and Biju’s role. She sent her close confidante C.M.Stephen to Tamil Nadu, who contacted Murasoli Maran and repeatedly urged him of forget the past and conveyed Indira’s desire for alliance with the DMK again. Indira Gandhi desperately needed some props in Tamil Nadu. The DMK had supported Indira Gandhi’s actions for nationalisation of banks and abolition of privy purses. Its support to the candidature of V.V.Giri in the Presidential elections had ensured his victory. However the DMK had not forgotten the dismissal of its government in 1976 and opposed the Emergency. Many DMK cadres had been imprisoned under the draconian MISA, including Karunanidhi’s son M.K.Stalin, and were subjected to inhuman torture in prison. In fact earlier that year in June, during a black flag demonstration, Indira Gandhi was attacked by DMK men at Madurai. They were protesting against her for the dismissal of their government.
However Indira held out an olive branch. Stephen held a juicy carrot dangling on a short stick. Karunanidhi too, like MGR, had sensed the imminent disintegration of the Janata rule. Under the excuse of national stability, he aligned with Indira Gandhi. He had famously said: “Nehruvinmagalevaruga. NilayanaAatchi tharuga”.(Welcome to the daughter of Nehru.Please provide a stable rule). His strategy proved right. In the 1980 Parliamentary elections the DMKwon 16 seats while the AIADMK could get only 2 seats. In fact, the Congress-led coalition secured 37 out of the 39 seats.
More than 38years after Biju Patnaik’s failed mission, Karunanidhi still recollected the events during each election run up. He blamed one of MGR’s ministers for the debacle and lauded the effort of Biju Patnaik. In May 2012, during the Odisha Day celebrations at the Madras University, where Chief Minister Jayalalitha shared the dais with Naveen Patnaik, she showered praises on Biju Patnaik and described him as a “father figure”."There was a natural synergy between myself and Biju Patnaik. He left behind a legacy of respect, cooperation and mutual affection. This legacy is reflected in the bond that I continue to share with Naveen Patnaik, she had said.
The very next day, Karunanidhi, in a letter addressed to the party cadres, recalled Biju Patnaik’s efforts for the merger of the two Dravidian parties in 1979 and said the attempt failed due to the AIADMK. Even in Tamil Nadu elections of 2016, Biju Babu’s name had cropped up in various election rallies of this Southern state, both from the DMK and the AIADMK.
Sealed Underground Bunker Should be Opened
Rasgovindpur, (Mayurbhanj) Odisha, 26th July 2018: A memorial service was held at the Amarda Road Airstrip today for the fourteen airmen who had died in a crash here on the 26th of July 1945. War historian Anil Dhir, Gandhian Aditya Patnaik, Social Activist Dr. Biswajit Mohanty and the Staff of the Gandhi Eye Hospital at Rangamatia, locals including school children paid homage to the dead airmen who have been forgotten in history. Wreaths were laid for each of the dead airmen.
Very few people know that the skies of Odisha had seen the crash of two aircraft which has collided against each other and resulted in the deaths of 14 airmen. On the 26th of July 1945 two British Royal Air Force B-24 Liberator four-engine bombers collided at low altitude. The aircrafts were based at the Amarda Road airfield and were part of a six-plane contingent from the Air Fighting Training Unit engaged in a formation flying exercise. Fourteen airmen – the crews of the two aircraft died in the crash. They were of nationalities- six British, three American, one each Canadian, Dutch, New Zea-lander, Australian and one Indian.
The Rasgovindpur Airstrip had a short but secret illustrious history which has never been made public. It had the longest runway in Asia, more than 3.5 km long. The total runways, taxiways, aprons, etc. were more than 60 km. Today all is forgotten, no details of the activities that happened here between 1943 and 1945 exist, not even in government and military records. The station came into existence during the war as a forward airfield against the Japanese conquest of Burma. The large strip served its purpose well as a landing ground for planes and also as a training space for special bombing missions. The Amarda Road airstrip, as it was called in war terminology, spreads across an area of nearly 900 acres. Built in the 1940’s at a cost of Rs 3 Crores, it was eventually abandoned after the war. It was named as the Amarda Road Airfield due to the nearby Amarda Road railway station.
Even today, seven decades after the base was made, one can still see the remains of the airfield, their 11000 feet concrete runway still intact, though the buildings that once cluttered the edges are gone. The offices, hangars, mechanic sheds and plaster walled barracks with thatched roofs have been ripped down. Instead, local women dry laundry and farmers their grain on the warm tarmac. The cows and goats crop weeds along the runway edges. The story of this crash and the victim had been lost in history.
Anil Dhir has requested the government of Odisha and West Bengal to erect small memorials for these airmen at Amarda Road and the crash site. He has also requested to open up the sealed underground bunker which may hold relics of the period. Aditya Patnaik has proposed that he would give ample space in the Gandhi Gurukul at the airbase for setting up a small museum which will highlight the importance of the airbase during World War II. The setting up of a Peace Museum was mooted last year and Dhir has contacted the British, Australian, Dutch and USA authorities for material to be displayed at the Museum. The response has been very positive. Anil Dhir also said that a book on the history of the base the and crash would be released on the next commemoration day.
Dr. Biswajit Mohanty said that the Odisha government should understand the importance of this historical airfield and promote it as a destination. There is a big tourism potential of the base. Many groups from Japan, Britain, America and other countries come to visit the war memorials in the North East every year. He said that all efforts should be taken up for the Museum. The airstrip is an important piece of history connected to the World War II and has a lot of significance as it was a secret base.
Ankit Kotecha from Balasore, who is a Pilot with Spicejet, too attended the memorial service.
Bhubaneswar 12th June: One of the last remaining vestiges of the Old Jagannath Sadak, just on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, is crumbling for want of proper conservation. The Anu Patro Kothi, as it has been popularly called since the last 140 years, is in need or urgent repairs. Located in the Gadasrirampur village under the Balianta P.S., this small but grand two storied house was constructed by one Anadi Patro between the years 1880-82. During its heydays, it was one of the most majestic buildings on the Old Road between Bhingarpur and Sakhigopal. It is just two kms away from the Sai Temple on the Puri Bypass road.
The Anu Patro Kothi has an interesting history behind it. Anadi Patro was a farmer who had migrated to Kolkata after the Na Anka Durbhikshya of 1866. He had set up a small business and had become successfuland prospered. He frequently came home to his village, travelling on the Old Jagannath Sadak. He was aware of the travails and difficulties faced by the pilgrims, and being a devout and religious man, he had made the house as a resting place for the Jagannath pilgrims.
Built in a neo-colonial style, the two storied house was built by the side of the old road. The workmen, carpenters and masons had come from Kolkata. There are carved doors and windows, an arched entranceway and a huge stone paved courtyard.Anu Patro also dug a big stone lined pond and two wells for the pilgrims. A temple too was constructed. For many years it was a favourite stop for the pilgrims, and most of them would camp here at night.The original work was in lime plaster and wooden beams.
The house was listed as a heritagestructure of the Old Sadak by INTACH during their survey of the Monuments of the Old Jagannath Sadak. In fact, it was a part of the report submitted to the government fornotifying it as a protected monument. In fact many visitors have come to see the house after it was listed by INTACH. According to Anil Dhir, who headed the INTACH team in the survey, the old house is one of the last surviving examples of the architecture of the period. Dhir said that no other structure has endured the vagaries of time like this building. The palaces and old houses in Bhingarpur are in ruins and beyond restoration. Another old house at Dandamukundpur was completely destroyed last year. A copy of this building can be found in Sakhigopal, which now houses the Temple Administrator’s office. This rambling house, is today still beautiful, but unkempt and sadly disintegrating in places.Dhir laments that many of the structures that had been listed by him have been destroyed. Just last year, the historic 180 year old Maratha era bridge at Jaleswar was demolished despite all protests.
The Old house is in urgent needs of repair. The walls and roof are leaking, and the wooden beams are now in a precarious state. The owners had made some repairs a few years ago, but looking at the heritage value of the building, it needs proper conservation and repair to restore it to its old glory. The present owners are aware of the religious significance of the building and want to convert it as a museum. The rooms are filled with antique furniture. Once it is restored; the family will maintain it and throw it open for the public. A team from INTACH comprising of State Convener A.B.Tripathy, Sanjib Hota, Kulamoni Deo and Anil Dhir have visited the village and inspected the building.
According to A.B.Tripathy, the house is a neglected piece of history which is in urgent need of proper conservation. He said that INTACH will take it up with the authorities to see that funds are made available for the proper restoration and conservation of the building. In fact the MP and MLA should make allocations from their LAD funds for the upkeep of the house. INTACH will extend all expertise for the proper repair and restorationof this structure.
Sanjib Hota has opined that the government should take steps to notify the Monuments of the Old Jagannath Sadak. The report submitted by INTACH two years ago should be published and released. The vestiges of the Old Jagannath Sadak are very important to the culture and history of the State, and are a part and parcel of the Jagannath Cult. Ignoring the proper maintenance is sacrilegious and will be a big loss to our religious traditions.
Bhubaneswar 16th May : A delegation of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) today met Pritam Singh, the Director General of the National Archives of India at the Bhubaneswar Centre and handed over a memorandum with the request for transferring many Odisha related documents and records from New Delhi. The National Archives of India, which just completed its 125th anniversary, is under the Ministry of Culture and has a Regional Office at Bhopal and three Records Centres at Jaipur, Puducherry and Bhubaneswar.
The three member delegation led by INTACH State Convenor Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, Bhubaneswar Chapter Convenor Baikuntha Panigrahi and Projects Co-ordinator Anil Dhir met the Director General and appraised him of the difficulties faced by scholars and researchers who have to go to Delhi to access the records. The New Delhi office is holding many important and valuable records pertaining to Odisha, many of them have not even been listed. In the memorandum, they specifically mentioned that the entire records of the Orissa State Agency (1917-1947) in 18 Volumes, the Balasore Factory Records and The Bengal Public Consultations in 22 Vols are of great importance, and the only copies are in Delhi.
According to A.B.Tripathy, the lack of proper access to records and documents, both from the National and the State Archives is a big hindrance for proper research and writing correct history. He said that if the originals could not be brought, the digitized version and microfilm copies could be easily made available. He stressed that a proper catalogue and listing of the Odisha papers should be made and published as a book.
Anil Dhir stressed that important documents like the original Will of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in which he had bequeathed the Koh-I-Noor to the Jagannath Temple should be displayed at the Bhubaneswar centre. He said that the dearth of proper records was an impediment when the history of the Na’Anka Durbhikshya was being written by him. He said that many important documents relating to the Paika Revolt too are there. Dhir said that the India Office Library at London has the biggest collection of Orissa related papers, especially of the Colonial period including a vast collection of Palm Leaf Manuscripts which have all been either microfilmed or digitized. They have been classified under the Private Paper Series and are available to scholars on-line in the Continent and America. The National Archives of India too should make arrangements for on-line access to these records.
According to Dhir, he has seen a huge collection of Odisha related material at the William Carey Library at Serampore, many of which are missionary accounts, Jagannath Temple records, maritime and military records and botanical, geological and zoological studies. Even the Asiatic Society at Kolkata has a huge collection of maps, papers and photographs relating to Odisha. Besides this, important Odisha related papers were lying boxed in the Tamil Nadu Archives at Chennai and the West Bengal State Archives; no one knows what they contain.
Baikuntha Panigrahi said that the only copies of the ‘Daridra Nian’ by Gangadhar Mishra, a proscribed literature are there at the Delhi Office of the National Archives. He said that the National Archives should make its publications available at the Bhubaneswar Centre and also take up the printing of many rare and out of print Odia books. He also stressed that the Orissa State Archives too should catalogue and list the huge number of stored documents and take steps for the easy dissemination of these information.
The Director General said that the National Archives was in the process of digitizing nearly 3 crore documents and assured that he would prioritize the important Odisha papers. Dr. M.A. Haque, the Deputy Director of Archives and Dr. Lalatendu Das Mohapatro, Assistant Director too were present at the meeting.