Saturday 14 May 2022

Time To Blow The Odisha Conch Shell

Consider this case-

There is a school excursion. The headmaster had invited most of the students for the outing. 

All the invited students had a great time together and were a part of the group video. That was shared via social media by the star student and generated great excitement. 

However, the few students, who had not been invited for the excursion, saw the video and felt hurt as they had been left out. Why did the headmaster or the teachers not include them? 

They were not sure whether this had been done intentionally or unintentionally by the headmaster. Why did the headmaster or staff treat them differently than the rest of the class? 

The ignored students and their supporters publicly confronted and complained to the headmaster, the staff and the star student involved. The aggrieved students threatened that they would adopt non-cooperation and boycott classes.

Seeing the quick condemnation, social media outrage, and the deluge of posts regarding this issue, the school-staff including the headmaster feared the loss of face and revenue i.e. school-fees. What if the ignored students really decided to quit school? 

The headmaster recorded his own videos and shared those with the names of the uninvited students. He added his videos to the original video and the star student uploaded it online.

There was no explanation or apology. There was simply an updated video- the headmaster's videos with the names of the initially forgotten students had been added to the previous video.

When the uninvited and upset students saw their names in the updated video, they were appeased. They were happy and took pride that their protests had worked and the understanding and nice headmaster had heeded to their request. They thanked the headmaster for representing them and for including their names in the updated video.

The above is a fictional story.

Your reaction please-

I have the following questions for you. 

Had you been one of the uninvited students, how would you have reacted?

A) Would you have thanked the headmaster for heeding to requests and for such inclusion and representation?


B) Would you rather have stayed silent and not said a word to the headmaster? Why speak up and "fight" unnecessarily? After all, it is their decision who they wish to invite and it is fine if they exclude you? 

Which of the above two options would you choose?

"Anek" Movie Video-

Recently, on 9th May, 2022, I saw a video that has "Anek" official languages of India, but has conveniently forgotten & intentionally or unintentionally missed Odia language. The video that has personalities from "every corner of India", does not have an Odia voice or words.

On May 7, 2022, actor Ayushmann Khurrana had shared that promotional video on Twitter for his movie ANEK that has "Anek" (many) languages of India. But, the rich, ancient, and important official language- ODIA- was missing. 

Personalities from different corners of India have shared in their respective languages- "Jeetega Kaun? Hindustan".

In English, this means- "Who will win? India".

Odia representation-

There are many famous Odia personalities and anyone could have represented Odisha in the Anek video.

However, their team did not care enough to unite and include the state of Odisha too.

A country will win when all the states and people are included together.

Why and how was Odia language and Odisha representative missing?

(Apart from Odia, Santhali is another official language of India that too was missing in that initial promo.)

Many Odias saw the initial video and reacted. There were requests and movie-boycott threats.

Many asked "Where is Odia?"
After Odias shared their views on social media, Anek movie's team has now included Odia & Santali too - that are represented by the movie’s director Anubhav Sinha in the new video uploaded by them on 10th May 2022.

In the students and headmaster fictional story shared in the beginning, Odia language is one of the ignored students, while the Director of Anek movie, Anubhav Sinha, is the headmaster and Ayushmann Khurana is the star student. 

While I am happy to see Odia's inclusion in the said video, but not having an Odia voice and not being accorded the same respect as other languages - first totally missing and then having a non-Odia represent Odisha, still bothers me. 

You may say- "So what? Be positive! At least they heeded to our requests and corrected their mistake! It is rare for production-houses to accept their wrong and take such step. Their Director himself added and represented us! That is such an honour! Be grateful! Rejoice! Now forget everything and surely watch and enjoy the movie!" 

Ask yourself-

A) Had some Odias not voiced their views and threatened to boycott the movie, would they have considered and ensured the inclusion later? If the inclusion did happen after the feedback, why wasn't a local personality taken on board to represent Odisha? Why did the Director have to represent Odia? 

B) Is this incident the first of its kind in which Odisha has been ignored and omitted? Haven't we been neglected by mainstream media for long?

C) If Odias do not raise their voice and assert themselves now (and whenever there is such unfairness); and rather choose to show that they are unbothered, forgiving and accepting as has been their nature in the past, then won't such Odisha and Odia omission cases continue in the future too? 

D) Is it not terrible that we have to request others to also include Odisha and ensure Odisha representation? Shouldn't it happen automatically like for the other states? Isn't Odisha a part of India too? Then, why such discrimination? Why in most cases is Odia and Odisha missing or misrepresented? Why do we have to force them to rethink and redo?

What are your answers to the above questions? 

Incredible India has invaluable treasures. There is unity in diversity. I agree that it is very difficult to represent the whole of India. There is no doubt that when all are together, India 🇮🇳 will win 👍 

As the sixth classical language of India with crores of speakers, and the language with the second highest number of manuscripts in the world (only after Sanskrit), Odia language certainly deserves a higher pedestal; at least a mention!

Odia has huge cultural significance with the association of centuries-old literature, Odissi songs and dances, handlooms, art and architecture etc.

Is it bad to demand at least a similar status for Odia just like for the rest of the languages? 


It is ironical that the first state in the nation to be formed on linguistic basis way back in the year 1936 is being omitted. 

In fact, Odisha's name is not even mentioned in the "Multiple Choice Question"- "Which was the first state to be formed on linguistic basis?"

The neighbouring state- Andhra Pradesh is given as answer in many books, reference guides, websites and news-reports.

Despite Odisha having taken rapid strides, why is it that we continue to be excluded or misrepresented?

Why is Odisha proud to be- "India's best kept secret"?

Odisha is just like a secret is kept hidden and not publicly discussed or mentioned.

Even Odisha's name is not even included.

And if mentioned, Odisha's name is pushed towards the end and/or with the wrong spelling.

Even today, after a decade of change of spelling of Orissa and Oriya to Odisha and Odia, people are not aware, and still continue to use the old or different spellings. Many do not bother to make corrections even after they are politely informed.

In some Odisha GI applications filed recently e.g. “Koraput Kalajeera Rice”, “Nabarangpur Lac Craft”, “Kendrapara Rasabali” etc., they have not even given due respect to our state by not even spelling the names of our state and products correctly! On 4th January 2022, this paper (Sakala) had carried a news-report with this writer’s points about the wrong names and information in the GI applications.

We Odias are very simple and humble and do not boast or "blow our trumpet."

We are taught to be submissive and to be tolerant and accommodate everyone and to value the whole world as we belong to Shree Jagannatha sanskruti. 

We do not think it important to express the truth as it might hurt others and spoil our relations.  Or we are not bothered to share. Thus, it took so many years to assert that Rasagola belongs to Odisha. Because of such efforts, more people recognize that Rasagola belongs to Odisha.

Tolerance and niceness should not be taken advantage of and must not be at the cost of truth.

"Blowing own trumpet" is considered bad. But, being "vocal for local" is being advocated by our Prime Minister and Central Govt. now.

Now more Odias are vocal for local and there is inclusion. 

My message to all Odias and Odisha, please note-

We really need to blow our conch shell. It is high time the world hears the sounds of Odisha.

If you do not know how to blow the conch, it is high time you must learn how to. But, despite knowing, if you do not want to take the trouble to blow the conch, at least do not interfere or stop those who know and are actually blowing the conch or making efforts to blow. Kindly strive, and also support and encourage all, to protect and promote our Odisha’s treasures and ensure correct representation of Odisha.

Should we simply complain about the misrepresentation or act on it now?

In Hindi, it is said- “Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai”- What is seen, sells.

Who is responsible to ensure the correct representation and promotion for Odisha?  

We, the local people.

For that, we need to be aware and care. When one cares, one shares. And when one shares, one cares. Caring is sharing and sharing is caring.


Always remember that we are “Adamya Odisha”. We are unputdownable & unstoppable. We will keep journeying like Shree Jagannatha’s Ratha’s wheels. 

We have to fuel Odisha's power and continue making our mark long-lasting like Odisha's culture and tradition. Let us make ourselves so powerful that we cannot be ignored.

We need enthusiastic, inspiring, encouraging, caring and conscientious parents and teachers to raise smart & responsible children.

May Mahaprabhu give everyone the strength & intelligence & of course all the support & encouragement to be brand ambassadors and stand up & showcase our Odisha. 

Bande Utkala Janani 🙏
Vande Mataram🙏
Jaya Shree Jagannatha  🙏

To sensitise everyone and get our point across of including an Odia voice, we have shared a video of a six-years-old talented Odia girl, Divyashree D Behera. She had represented India and had won the international beauty pageant title- "International Top Model" competition in the year 2020 in the USA. She is a phenomenal dancer, and has acted in many commercials and has been featured in print and electronic media.

In the video, Divyashree says the words in Odia- "Jitiba Kiye? Bharata".

Divyashree is dressed as an Odissi dancer- wearing an Odisha handloom silk Saree with the borders having Konark Chakra (Chakra means- wheel. Sun Temple of Konark is a UNESCO world heritage monument located in Odisha). She is also wearing Cuttack Tarakasi (filigree) jewellery.

#IncludeOdia #IncludeOdisha 

Jaya Shree Jagannatha #JaiJagannath 

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