about Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab
Utkal Keshari Dr Harekrushna Mahtab is a house hold name in Odisha. The man who rises above all odds time and again to take through the transition of the state of Odisha post independence era is indisputable. His contribution to Modern Odisha from Social, Industrial, Economical, Literature and Political spheres is unparalleled. He is truly the first Odia to be widely recognized on National and International forum. His man marshaling ability pre and post Independence era in Odisha history is unmatched. In his lifetime he not only left a niche of his own among the top leaders in India, be it Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi to Simanta Gandhi or be it Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.He also left an in-depth impression of his own among the top personalities of world like Albert Einstein to Lord Mountbatten and from Queen Elizabeth to Dr J.F Kennedy. Dr Mahtab delivered two lecture session at Princeton University at USA in presence of Albert Eisenstein, the only Odia to achieve this feat. He also became the first person to be broadcasted in BBC, London when he attend the Commonwealth Supply Minister's conference in October 1951. He was the only Odia till date whose photograph was displayed at BBC, London. He was the dazzling luminary in the azure firmament of politics for a span of about 40 years. Words fail to picture out the connotations of the multi dimensional personalities who towered phoenix-like in the contemporary era. His contributions are myriad to awaken, enliven and enlighten moribund Odisha. Right from 1936 till his demise in 1987, he prevailed and pervaded the Odishian time and live as a statesman, pioneer of a new dawn, leader par excellence. He was in a line an outstanding freedom fighter, an astute politician, a prolific writer, an eloquent speaker, a social scientist, a reputed journalist, a celebrated historian, a popular leader, an architect of modern Odisha, a nation builder and above all a statesman in the true sense of the term. Pioneering in multidimensional fields he himself had become an institution. He was the mastermind behind the political career of Shri Biju Patnaik to Shri Janaki Ballabh Patnaik and including half dozens of Chief Ministers of Odisha. He encouraged youngster of the states like of Shri Biju Patnaik, Shri Janaki Ballabh Patnaik,Shri Nilamani Routray, Smt Nandini Satpathy and many more to join active politics and hence by making them to contribute to the overall progression of the state. Without his valiant effort these legendary figures of the state would not be who they are today. He was indeed the God Father of Odisha politics. His supremacy as Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Odisha will be annealed in the Golden Letters in the history of Odisha. Even if he renounced active politics in early 60s, still manged to be most prolific and powerful personality of the state, the whole state machinery revolves around him. Through various extra curricular activities like Journalism, Literature pursuit and meeting people from all walks of the life on a daily basis at his Prajatantra Parishad, he set an example for the rest of the politician not only in the State but also in the Country how to conduct himself when not in power and yet in touch with common mass. This extraordinary quality sets him apart from the rest of the politician in the state. He continuously devote himself till his last breadth in resolving the various problem faced by the people of the state by writing personal hand written post card full of encouraging words which helps them to overcome their difficult situation, on many occasion he also lend financial help to the down trodden. His daily column titled “Gaan Majilis” in the Prajatantra daily news paper creates mass hi-stria from urban to rural part of the state. Where he highlights the various problem faced by the common man and helps them to bring justice by drawing the attention of State's Government Machinery. “Gaan Majilis” column became an overnight sensation not only in the state but also in the Country for which he was awarded Kendriya Sahitya Academy Award the highest honor in the field of literature. He was first columnist in the country who successfully portrayed creative journalism through “Gaan Majilis”. Whether it is multipurpose Hirakud Dam or be it making Bhubaneswar as State Capital, were indeed were his masterstrokes.
Today when state Government is fighting it out for Mahanadi Water dispute with neighboring state Chattisgarh, one can feel the paramount importance of Hirakud Dam with out which our state wouldn't find sufficient amount water for drinking , irrigation and hydro electricity generation, thus clearly signifies the mastermind behind the Hirakud Dam, the Longest Dam in the world at that time, Utkal Keshari Dr Harekrushna Mahtab, no other Chief Minister after him were able to built another Dam like Hirakud Dam till date. After our present Chief Minister of Odisha Hon'ble Shri Naveen Patnaik, the state is yet to find an alternative suitable Chief Minister candidate and there was a time when Dr Mahtab has given around half a dozens Chief Minister to the state including legendary Shri Biju Patnaik, Shri Janki Ballabh Patnaik and the Iron Lady, Smt Nandini Satpathy the only Lady Chief Minister of Odisha. Therefore his contribution from all the spheres of life from Industrial to Political fields will remains to be surpassed for generations to come. His Prajatantra office at Biharibag, Kataka is often credit as the Chief Minister production center of Odisha. One can not pictured out Modern Odisha with out his unparalleled contribution in almost every spheres of life. Odisha has never seen a personality like him and will never see again. He is undoubtedly the Greatest Odia after Utkal Gauraba Madhusudan Das and Utkala Mani Gopandhu Das. In words of Lady Mount Batten, Dr Mahtab occupies a glorious and unforgettable place in the history of Odisha for his work for independence and progress of the nation in multifarious field. May time never come when the effulgence of his personality will be eclipsed and extinguished. Speaking highly of Dr H.K Mahtab, Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel said, “A true patriot in that he loves Odisha but loves India more. A practical and a born leader, Dr. Mahtab has carved out for himself a name which will live in Odisha's history for ever”.In the words of Legendary Nelson Mandela, “I met Dr Harekrushna Mahtab recently from India, I was overwhelmed by his behavior and his personality, I got an deep insight about Indian Freedom Movement from him”. It is really sad that there is not a single statue of Dr Mahtab in the state capital Bhubaneswar at common public places, the man who was mastermind behind Bhubaneswar being the new capital of Odisha. It is only because of his great vision and relentless effort, Bhubaneswar became the capital of Odisha. Whether it's State Secretariat or Governor House, or whether its Nandan Kanan or State Meusuem, are the living testimonies of his dynamic vision. After Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das his contribution for making Greater Modern Odisha, be his vision behind historic amalagation of princely states or be it Hirakud Dam, Steel Plant at Rourkela or be it making Bhubaneswar as new capital, there is absolutely no substitution for his achievements. On the Death Day celebration of Dr Mahtab we the people of Odisha humbly request the State Government of Odisha to pledge his name for Bharat Ratna. An institution after his name (Mahtab Academy of Excellency) should be established where everyone from masses to classes should be encouraged to engaged themselves in multifaceted activities like politics,literature,journalism and other sphere of the life which Dr Mahtab was epitome of, thus enabled to contribute our society in various capacity. This will indeed set an example of model institution not only in India but also in the world. Finally it will befitting tribute to Dr Harekrushna Mahtab if the State Government of Odisha will renamed Bhubaneswar Railway Station as Harekrushna Mahtab Railway Station and Master Canteen Square as Mahtab Square and by erecting a 50 ft tall statue of Dr Mahtab, not only the builder of Modern Odisha and Capital Bhubaneswar but also the epitome of power, personality, politics, leadership, journalism and literature for decades and inspiration to millions.