There cannot be any earmarked time for nationalism. Because nationalism entails loyalty to a nation, a group of people who share a particular origin and characteristics, language, customs, geography, history, and government. Nationalism dovetails into patriotism and hence needs regular rejuvenation to keep the country’s interest foremost by all.
This is perhaps the best of times to re-invigorate nationalism as the central life force for young India and young Odisha. Love for Odisha is the moot point for development of Odisha. For every 270 people in a square kilometre in Odisha, over 165 are below 35 in age and this number doesn’t even include the diaspora. The unparallel spirit of Odia nationalism must keep flowing through them and beyond, ever unimpeded.
Madhusudan Das, Madhu babu, the father of Odia nationalism and the architect of modern Odisha has more pertinence now than ever before. The future of Odisha is here, and they are fortunate to have Madhu babu, the patriarch of ‘Odisha family’ to lead them through a life lived with unimaginable selflessness, sacrifice, indomitable valour and blessed strength of character.
Madhu babu, the icon of Odia honour was born on April 28 and the day is commemorated as Odia Swabhiman Divas (Odia Honour Day). February 4 is his death anniversary. Utkal Gaurav (Pride of Odisha) Madhu babu’s high educational qualifications, legendary acuity and dizzying professional brilliance earned him plaudits, position and personal affluence. But what is more significant and rousing is his moral courage to submit his distinctions in the service of the motherland.
Brilliance is myopic and turns into a disservice if not pressed into the service of the nation. With burgeoning technology, access to unprecedented communication channels and the youngest population ever, we need to constantly remind ourselves of our glorious nationalist fervour and mass participation.
Utkal Gaurav Madhu babu gave us the first entrepreneurial lessons and this should drive us towards more self-employment, value generation and increasing contribution to national GDP, happiness index and quality of life. He was a leader of national standing who could muster courage and gumption even in the most adverse of situations. I am sure, in the next birth anniversary of Madhu babu, we would be even better placed to reflect on our learnings from his life and times.
Madhu Barrister, one of his many popular sobriquets, exemplified unity of thought, action and character during days of strenuous struggle with foreign forces. Etching out a state based on linguistic commonality, binding together a team with disparate representation, exhorting nationalism amidst poverty and low literacy, infusing youth with innovative socio-economic models, goes much beyond the ambit of nation building.
Our Kulabrudha (Patriarch of Odisha) has been inspiring generations of Odias through his multi-faceted persona.
His remembrance can help present and future generations reminisce the courage and sacrifice of the makers of Odisha and their unwavering resolve to uphold the Odia Honour. “Are we being good ancestors?” – the onus is on us.
Goethe had aptly said, “A nation that doesn’t honour its past, has no future”.
Every year the commemoration of Odia Swabhiman Diwas on the birth anniversary of Madhu babu should make all Odias more aware of their illustrious past and more committed to creating a better future.
Madhu babu is here, with us. We can respond to his exhortation by each becoming a Madhu babu, a selfless nation builder