Makers of Modern Odisha: Utkala Gourav Madhusudan Das

On 28 April 1848, in Satyabhamapur, Cuttack District, he was born. Choudhuri Raghunath Das, Father; Parvati Devi, Mother. Madhusudan Das was the first Oriya to receive the Calcutta University’s M.A.B.L. degree. He was commonly referred to as Madhu Barrister and was respectfully referred to and addressed as “Utkal Gourav.” He was moved and shocked to witness the administrative authority’s discrimination against the Oriyas. He was convinced that the Oriyas’ plight was solely the result of authorities’ apathy and indifference to the Oriya people’s interests. The Oriyas were unable to remain united solely as a result of their vivisection and annexation by three distinct provinces. As a result, he made a strong case for the unification of the scattered Oriyas by organising and mobilising strong public opinion among the Oriyas and pressuring the British rulers to unify the scattered Oriya-speaking tracts for the socioeconomic and cultural development of the Oriyas in general.

Madhusudan organised the Utkal Union Conference to establish a channel for discussion and negotiation with the authorities in order to resolve issues and pave the way for a new era of unification and integration. He also played a pioneering role in developing plans and programmes, pioneering the movement’s goals and objectives, and championing the cause of the Oriya movement. When the “Utkal Sabha” ceased to exist in 1903, “Utkal Sammilani” spearheaded the movement for the unification of Oriya-speaking units under one administration with due diligence, disciplined plans, and programmes.

Due to Mr. Das’s ability and inspiration, people from all categories and sections united under a single political banner. It instilled in people a surging sense of cultural, traditional, and linguistic unity, as well as a rare sense of nationality. This impact thrashed the Orissa sky. It progressed to the point where the “freedom movement” and the Oriya movement became inextricably linked under the steadfast leadership of Mr. Das and Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das. At times, the two movements clashed over issues of priority. This situation compelled people to band together with Mr. Das in the Oriya movement’s forum, and then in the Congress. The Utkal Sammilani, or Utkal Union Conference, retained its independence from the Congress.

Madhusudan Das attained an admirable level of widespread acclaim and position during his tenure as a legislator. It was largely due to his razor-sharp wit and powerful speeches. He was appointed Bihar-Minister Orissa’s of Local Self-Government.

He was a versatile leader who commanded the respect and love of the people and the government throughout his ministry. Despite his popularity, he resigned in 1923 on a principled basis. It demonstrates his character.

His journalistic approach was reflected in the weekly newspaper he founded in 1917, titled ‘The Oriya.’ It was his burning desire to highlight Oriyas’ interests by criticising the Government’s policies through this weekly newspaper. He spoke and acted with great sincerity and conviction.

He was a national visionary and an ardent supporter of Orissa’s development. He died on 4 February 1934. He was a genuine benefactor and a true nationalist, having obtained the first Master’s and first B.L. degrees as the first Oriya. He was the first Oriya to serve on the Legislative Council, the first Oriya to sail abroad, the first Oriya to visit England twice, and the first Oriya and Indian to serve as a member of the Central Legislative Assembly as the first Oriya and Indian Minister.

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