Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, let us tread through the seven places of Odisha visited by the Father of the Nation. Mahatma Gandhi was moved by extreme poverty during his visit to the state between 1921 and 1946.
“The picture of Odisha, which is dancing before my eyes, has convinced me that it will be Swaraj for them, if we can provide food to them. The best way to do this is to propagate khadi. If this programme is carried out sincerely, khadi production in Utkal will increase and one day, this province may become the khadi store of India,” he had said.
Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba visited Odisha in 1921. They went to Cuttack on March 23, 1921, where Gandhji spoke on Hindu-Muslim unity. He also addressed a meeting of women at Binod Bihari in the city and a public meeting at the Kathajodi riverbed.
The women who had gathered to listen to Gandhiji donated huge amounts of gold ornaments for the freedom struggle.
On his second visit to Odisha in 1925, Gandhi went to Cuttack again and visited the Utkal tannery.
On the same visit in 1921, Gandhiji went to Bhadrak to address a public meeting. He spent a day propagating Congress views there. He also held a public meeting at Gandhi Padia, situated on the banks of the Salandi River.
In 1927, he visited the flood ravaged area of Basudevpur tehsil of Bhadrak district to see for himself the plight of the people there.
Gandhiji visited Puri in 1921.
In 1934, he unveiled a statue of the late Pandit Gopabandhu Das in Puri before undertaking a Padayatra to spread the message that “human vanity lies at the root of untouchability.”
The march began from Puri and touched Harekrushnapur, Chandanpur, Sakshigopal, Kadua Ashram, Danda Mukundapur, Pipili, Balakati, Satyabhamapur, Balianta, Telengapenth, Kajipatna on way to Cuttack.
In 1938, he attended the fourth annual conference of Gandhi Seva Sangha and went to see the Utkal Khadi and Village Industry exhibition at Berboi near Delang in Puri district.
On March 29, 1921, accompanied by Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das, Gandhiji reached Berhampur and addressed a huge gathering at the Barracks Ground, which is now Berhampur Stadium.
On his third visit to Odisha in 1927, Gandhiji visited Balasore to meet flood victims at Basudevpur tehsil in Bhadrak district.
On December 22, 1928, Gandhiji reached Jharsuguda to address a public meeting. He had halted here on his way to attend the AICC session at Calcutta.
On the same visit in 1928, he also visited Sambalpur. A public meeting was held on the bank of river Mahanadi where he listened to stories and reports about Sambalpur’s woes.