Understanding Odia Movement

The Nation named Odisha, whose territory extended from Ganga to Godavari was disintegrated in course of time. The disintegration was started from the death of Mukundadeva up to the period of 1936. Due to dismemberment, the Odia-speaking territories virtually became attached to four provinces – Bengal, Madras, Central Provinces and Bihar, and being reduced to the status of linguistic minorities in all these provinces. The Odias felt neglected and dominated by the linguistic majorities, and particularly felt distressed at the deliberate efforts to abolish Odia language. The new elite that emerged in Odisha in the latter half of the nineteenth century raised its voice for the unification of Odia-speaking areas so as to safeguard the legitimate interests of Odias and preserve and develop the Odia language and culture. It may be noted here that some British officials realized the injustice of keeping the Odias divided in different provinces. As early as 1855, Henry Ricketts, the Commissioner of Odisha Division proposed the merger of Sambalpur with the Odisha Division. In 1868, Sir Stafford Northcote, the Secretary of State for India, held the view that for the purpose of better administration, the Odia speaking areas should be grouped into a single administrative unit.

1. Growth of socio-political Associations and Growth of Public Associations in 19th Century Odisha
2. Role of Utkala Sammilani in Odia Movement

Thus, the Odia movement led to the growth of socio-political associations and growth of public associations in 19th century Odisha. The political consciousness of the new Odia elite manifested itself in two ways.

First, it took up the cause of safeguarding the interests of Odias who were scattered in different provinces, and finally agitated for the merger of Odia speaking areas.

Secondly, it partook of national political consciousness over such matters as controversy regarding Vernacular Press Act, introduction of local self-government by Lord Ripon Government and the formation of the Indian National Congress, etc.