‘Bande Utkala Janani’ Made Odisha’s State Anthem

The state cabinet has accorded ‘Bande Utkala Janani’, an Odia patriotic poem and song, the status of Odisha Rajya Sangeeta – effectively making it the state anthem.

“It is a momentous occasion for every Odia as #BandeUtkalaJanani has been chosen as #OdishaRajyaSangeeta. Every word of the inspiring song written by literary doyen Laxmikanta Mohapatra speaks about Odisha’s glory, rich heritage, splendour, evoking patriotism among crores of Odias,” tweeted chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

The demand for according this status to the song was long-standing, even from quarters within the legislative assembly. The state’s information and public relations department has been tasked with the job to determine an appropriate tune and duration for the song so that it can be sung and recorded for the archives.

The approved song will now take centre stage in government events, schools, colleges, public meetings, and other cultural events within the state. The audience at any such gathering will have to stand from start to finish as a mark of respect, except elderly/physically challenged or pregnant women.

However, unlike the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act, 1971, which envisages penalties for any insult of the national anthem, the state cabinet did not impose any such penalty for violation of the sanctity of the newly appointed anthem.