Odisha Day 2020

The Odisha Society of The Americas Celebrated Utkal Dibasa (Odisha Day) across North America

April 1, 2020

Report by: Anjan Kumar Panda, Dr. Bigyani Das

Odia Report by Gagan Panigrahi can be viewed here: ଅପ୍ରିଲ ୧_ଓଡିଶା ଦିବସ ପାଳନ




In an absolute first of its kind, members of The Odisha Society of the Americas (OSA) organized a virtual event on Utkala Dibasa that brought the community across North America, together to celebrate Odisha Day.

Encouragingly it was a very well attended and well organized virtual event. Next day being a working day or the Corona scare and quarantine could not reduce the enthusiasm of the community in a late-evening celebration. Multiple generations of Odia all over the North America, came together, brought their experiences, shared concerns and suggestions, ruminated over nostalgia, created hope, through poetry and music , through call to actions and lyrics, through humor and trivia.

OSA officials organized a e-celebration of this Day with mini speeches, poems, songs and presentations on Odisha. It started at 9:PM EST and continued until 11:30 PM. About 70 participants participated in this video conference from across different time zones of North America.

OSA president Mrs. Kuku Das anchored the event and started the evening by welcoming everyone. Her speech reminded everyone of the glorious history of Odisha and set the tone for the evening to celebrate the belongingness to Odia fraternity. Soon, the grim of being forced to cancel many chapter level events for Utkal Dibasa (Odisha Day) due to the virus Pandemic threat, was replaced with an entertaining and engaging celebration that went on well past the scheduled duration of the event.  The program started with the state anthem “Bande Utkala Janani” .

The first poem “Ama Punya Odisha Bhuin” was read by Dr. Bigyani Das. When President Mrs. Das had asked about a few lines for Dr. Das’s introduction, she had said, “at this critical juncture, my only introduction is an empathetic Odia soul who feels for others and prays for some miracle to happen.” Truly, nothing else matters during this time when we see pictures of people piling up in hospitals with Covid-19 (Corona Pandemic), everybody is locked down, the health care professionals beg for gloves, protective gowns and some mercy from the general public to think about them, their family and their ordeal.

Dr. Das’s poem included her emotions being brought up in a land where she had learned to survive in the most uninhabitable environment. The poem also included lines of prayer for Lord Jagannath, Odia God that is considered the Lord of the universe. Following Dr. Das, Mr. Gagan Panigrahi presented a poem on Fakir Mohan Senapati’s life, his struggle to preserve and prosper Odia language. 

Many other known writers of the community presented their poems that showcased their prowess on Odia literature, history, culture, as well as creativity to bring humor. Following Mr. Panigrahi – Mr. Manoj Joshi, Mrs. Swapnalata Mishra Rath, Mr. Utkal Nayak, Dr. Annapurna Pandey, Mr. Satya Patnaik, Mrs. Sunanda Mishra Panda, Mrs. Kalpana Dash, Mr. Anjan Kumar Panda, Mr. Sandeep Das Burma, Mr. Deba Prasad Mahapatra, Mr. Sasadhar Sahoo, Mrs. Subhashree Das, Mr. Dhirendra Kar, Mr. Prashant Bhuyan, Ms. Sanghamitra Moharana, presented poems.

Swapnalata’s poem on “Ghara”, (the house) was about our everyday busy life in the USA that barely gives a quality family time together. But the virus pandemic brought us the opportunity to stay at home, stay with your family, which is the most sought and most desirable gift for working people and socially involved people. Yet, the feeling is so different, even if we have got the most desirable gift, the time to stay home. The terror, the panic and the pain and sufferings of thousands of the people in the world keep our minds full, emotions occupied and in that troubled situation our precious gift of staying home becomes valueless.

Mrs. Subhashree Das gave a mini speech about why it is important to let the history of Odisha be taught to the next generation of Odias being born and brought up in other countries. The bhajans by Mr. Suraj Patnaik and Dr. Juli Das touched everybody’s heart. 

Dr. Annapurna Pandey gave a mini speech about how Odisha has come a long way and is doing great as regards managing its resources, its people and its culture.

Many of the participants exchanged text messages of thanks, encouragement and appreciation for the organizers of the event.

Mr. Prashanta Bhunya read a poem on the celestial entities such as “Surjya”, “Pabana”, “Jala”, “Akasha”, “Dharani” asking their blessings to save Odisha and Odias.

It was late in the night. Yet, there was joy, there was hope, there was this rejuvenation of friendship and fellowship that all the participants received through this e-congregation. It was a spectrum of experience to remember for the participants, starting with a scientist’s vision through poetry and ending in a prayer from a child’s prayer. This journey passed through many milestones, Bhajans , literary creations, reflections or remembrance of the past legendary creations, empowering all in it’s way. The dimmer spirit from corona disappeared, leading everyone to hope, camaraderie and resolve. 

The members of OSA expressed their feeling of warmth and staying connected and expressed their joy to be able to celebrate the absolute event that gives them the identity of who they are and what they are proud of in the time of need .The event in all parameters surpassed the initial expectations and filled new enthusiasm and energy. At the end Mrs. Kuku Das with OSA executive team Anil Patnaik, Vivek Das and Treasurer Utkal Nayak thanked everyone for their participation to make this event successful.


The Video of the meeting can be viewed via YouTube

Share This