Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 4:
The year was 1866 and the Odisha famine was upon the partitioned land of Bengal-Orissa-Assam. One Gourishankar Ray pioneered the beginning of Odia journalism and became the first editor of a weekly newspaper Utkala Deepika on 4 August 1866, thus heralding renaissance in the then Orissa.The objective of this newspaper was to act as a medium between the people and the administration; letting the government know of the plight of the famine-suffering citizens of the affected region.
It was instrumental in revolutionizing Odia language and making it distinct and differentiated from Bengali and Assamese. It also became the unifying factor in campaigning to consolidate Odia- speaking people and regions dispersed over a wide area.
It is noteworthy that, Odia journalism also completes 150 years today. The first Odia magazine Bodha Dayini was published from Balasore in 1861, prior to Utkala Deepika and Dainik Asha was the first Odia daily published in 1928 from Berhampur.