Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 28:
He is the pride and the grand old man of Odisha. He was the ultimate path-breaker and trendsetter for the post-independent Odisha to follow. He was the ultimate freedom fighter in the struggle for independence for India and Utkal. The name, you ask?
Utkal Gaurab Madhusudan Das aka Madhu Babu
On the occasion of his 168th birth anniversary today, Odisha Sun Times has complied a list to refresh your memory and update the Gen Y and Z Odias as to who this super-Odia was:
1. The name
Madhusudan Das’s real name is Gobinda Ballabha.
He was the second son of Raghunath Das and Parvati Devi, with two elder sisters and a younger brother.
3. Religion change
Though he was born a Hindu, he perceived the rituals and traditions of the religion to be cumbersome and converted to Christianity, for which his father disowned him.
4. The trendsetter
He was the first Odia graduate, the first Odia to have B.L and M.A degrees, the first Odia advocate, the first Odia to become a member of the Central Legislative Assembly of India and the first Odia to travel abroad.
5. English Writer
Madhusudan Das also wrote the a grammar book in English titled Model Questions in 1875, to help students get a grasp of the Queen’s language and qualify in entrance exams.
6. His better half
His wife Soudamini died unexpectedly due to a cardiac arrest, aged 31. They had no children.
7. Trip to England
He was the first Odia to travel to England to make the English familiar with the then Utkal and to propagate Odia pride. This earned him the title of Utkal Gaurab.
8. Founder father of multiple endeavours
He founded the Utkal Sammilani (a united congreagation that aimed at putting the cause of Utkal and Odias before the entire nation), Utkal Tannery and Orissa Art Ware Works (that put silver filigree on the world map).
9. The last speech
On 13 Feb 1933, he gave his last speech in Cuttack. In spite of being sick and aged at 84, his speech lasted for more than 90 minutes.
10. The sobriquet
Former Prime Minister of England, Sir Ramsay Madonald has referred to Madhu Babu as the Uncrowned King of Odisha.
(With inputs from Dr. Bimalendu Mohanty’s book: Jaatipraana Madhusudan)