Bhubaneswar: A proposal to grant State anthem status to ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ was passed in theCabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh made this announcement at a press briefing after the meeting and termed it as a historical moment for 4.5 crore Odisha natives.
This patriotic poem was written by Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra in Sanskrit in 1912. A paean of praise for Mother Utkal, it was first sung at the Utkal Sammilani’s Conference, the movement for a separate province of Odisha, in Balasore the same year.
“This was possible because of the efforts and will of the CM. He had urged the people of Odisha and natives staying abroad to sing this song to motivate ‘Corona Warriors’ at 5.30 pm on May 30 and the response was overwhelming,” he said, adding this is the string that binds the citizens of the state and a source of inspiration since ages.
Around 10 lakh people have sent the videos featuring them singing ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ to the State Government expressing their gratitude towards CM Naveen Patnaik for this noble gesture, he said.
On November 7, 1994, the Biju Patnaik-led government had made it mandatory for members to stand up and pay respect to the song at the end of any Odisha Legislative Assembly session, he said.
The minister further said that there have been demands and discussions on granting State anthem status to the song in the State Assembly in the subsequent years.
Arukh said that the Cabinet also decided that I & PR department will prepare a module on the music and tune of this song and record it.
“It will now be played at all government programmes and State Assembly without instruments. All government schools and colleges, functions can play this song with lyre. Everyone has to show respect to the song by standing at attention when it is played during inauguration or unveiling functions,” he said.
The elderly, ill, pregnant women, physically challenged and small children, however, have been exempted from this directive. “They can quietly sit at a place and show respect to the song,” he said.
The song can also be presented by the police band, sitar and flute, he said, adding that there will no restrictions on the creative presentation for promoting the anthem.
The Mass and School Education and Higher Education Departments have been asked to include this song in the school and college curriculum, he added.