Biju Patnaik Birthday:Panchayati Raj Diwas in Odisha

March 5 which day in odisha|panchayati raj diwas odisha:Odisha is celebrating the 108th birth anniversary of the legendary leader Biju Patnaik or Bijayananda Patnaik today. His birthday is observed as ‘Panchayati Raj Diwas’ in Odisha. Born to Laxminarayan and Ashalata Patnaik on March 5, 1916, in Cuttack, his contribution in woman empowerment and freedom struggle has been written in golden letters in history. He was fondly known as Kalinga Sandha’ (Bull of Kalinga) and the Big Daddy of Indian Politics.

On the 108th birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, it’s time to reflect on the remarkable legacy of this visionary leader.  He was a multifaceted personality who left an indelible mark on Indian politics and society.A pioneering aviator, Biju Patnaik played a crucial role in India’s struggle for independence. His courage and determination in flying over the Himalayas to support the forces of the Indian National Army during World War II earned him immense respect and admiration.

biju patnaik birthday

After independence, Biju Patnaik continued to serve the nation in various capacities. As Chief Minister of Odisha, he worked tirelessly for the development of the state, focusing on infrastructure, education, and industrialization. His vision and leadership laid the foundation for Odisha’s progress and prosperity.

Biju Patnaik was not just a political leader but also a champion of social justice and equality. He fought against discrimination and worked for the upliftment of marginalized communities.His legacy continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the power of courage, integrity, and dedication in shaping a better future for our nation.

march 5 which day in odisha

This public holiday recognizes the Panchayati Raj System of local governance originating from the Indian subcontinent, which means ‘rule by an assembly of five’, as disputes were traditionally settled by five elders who were considered the wisest in the community. The Panchayati Raj System, India’s current system of local self-government, was established in 1992.   

Biju Patnaik served as the Chief Minister of Odisha during the adoption of the constitutional amendment establishing local self-government. In recognition of his significant contribution to the implementation of the Panchayati Raj system in Odisha, the State Government of Odisha declared Panchayati Raj Day in honour of his birthday.   

Patnaik initially worked with private airlines but joined the Royal Indian Air Force at the start of World War 2. He rose to head the air transport command. During his service, he became involved in nationalist politics and used air force transport to distribute literature deemed subversive to Indian troops. Patnaik was a champion of socialism and federalism. His tireless advocacy for equitable distribution of resources to all Indian states, especially Odisha, endeared him to his constituencies.  

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panchayati raj diwas in odisha

The people of Odisha and outside paid rich tributes to legendary leader and former Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik or Bijayananda Patnaik on his 108th birth anniversary today. His birthday is observed as ‘Panchayati Raj Diwas’ in Odisha.

Here are a few lesser known facts about the legendary leader.

  • He was born to an Odia father Lakshminarayan Patnaik and a Bengali mother Ashalata Devi in Cuttack on March 5, 1916, but his parental home is in Bellaguntha, Ganjam.
  • He was a sports and adventure lover. He was the key player in the football team of Ravenshaw Collegiate School that won the inter-school championship for three years.
  • He is known to have cycled all the way from Cuttack to Peshawar in the year 1932 on the ‘Visit India Mission’ to spread the message of humanity. He accomplished this feat by covering a distance of roughly 4500 miles.
  • He dropped out of Ravenshaw College and had joined as a trainee pilot in the Royal Air Force of British Empire at the beginning of the Second World War. During World War II, he rescued several British families that were imprisoned by the Japanese.
  • Though he had been honoured by British rulers for his act of releasing the British families from the Japanese, he was sent to jail for two years in 1943 by the British for taking freedom fighters to secret places in his plane.
  • Determined to fight against the Axis forces, he also helped the Soviet Army fight Hitler during World War II and was honoured by the Russians for his service.
  • During the struggle for the Independence of India, his house at Delhi served as a safe house for several freedom fighters. So much so that his house came to be popularly known as Absconder’s paradise.
  • On the direction of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Biju Patnaik and his wife Gyan, a Punjabi from Lahore who was also a pilot, flew to Java and rescued Sultan Sjahrir, the former Prime Minister of Indonesia, from the Dutch. He brought Sultan Sjahrir out on a Dakota and reached India via Singapore on July 24, 1947. He was awarded the ‘Bhoomi Putra’ as well as the Bintang Jasa Utama awards, the highest honorary awards of Indonesia for his act of bravery.
  • Biju and Gyan had named the Indonesian President Sukarna’s daughter ‘Megawati’, which means goddess of clouds. She later became Indonesia’s first female president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

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