Odisha Day (Utkala Dibasa)

News Excerpt: 

The state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) came into existence on April 1, 1936 with the bifurcation of the erstwhile Bihar and Orissa Province, and inclusion of a couple of districts from the Madras Presidency.

More About The News: 

  • April 1 is celebrated as Odisha Day, or Utkala Dibasa, in the state of Odisha, commemorating the day in 1936 when a separate Odisha state (then Orissa) was established, separating from the Bihar and Orissa Province and the addition of Koraput and Ganjam districts of the Madras Presidency. 
  • This significant event, detailed in V S Srinivasan’s book "The Origin Story of India’s States" (2021), marks Odisha as one of the two Indian states with a formation date predating Independence, the other being Bihar. 
    • Notably, Odisha was the first state in India to be consciously formed on linguistic grounds

Concise history:

  • Prior to the creation of Bihar and Orissa Province, Odisha had developed a distinctive political identity over 3,000 years, characterized by various local dynasties and a rich cultural heritage. 
  • However, in 1568, it lost its independence to the Bengal Sultanate, It was later ruled by the Marathas, and finally came under British control in 1803 as part of the Bengal Presidency. 
    • Despite a movement for an Odia-speaking state emerging in the late 19th century, Odisha remained part of the Bengal Presidency for 109 years.
  • The demand for a separate Odia-speaking state gained momentum after the formation of the Bihar and Orissa Province in 1912, which did little to address the concerns of Odia-speaking districts. 
  • The movement, initially focusing on cultural revival, gained traction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with organizations like the Utkal Sabha (formed in 1882) and the Utkal Sammilani (formed in 1903) playing key roles
    • Led by influential figures like Madhusudan Das, who spearheaded the statehood movement, the demand for a separate Odisha gained further support when the Indian National Congress adopted the reorganization of provinces on linguistic grounds in 1920.
  • After extensive deliberation by three committees, the Orissa Province was eventually established in 1936, carved out from the existing Bihar and Orissa Province, Madras Province, and Central Provinces. 
  • This move was prompted by growing subnationalism and the recognition of the administrative and political benefits of a separate state.
    • Despite this, 26 princely states within the Eastern States Agency remained within Odisha's borders until Independence.