Biju Pattnaik - An Uncomparable Leader

Biju Pattnaik was one of famous national personalities of India. His role in the development of Orissa was significant.

About Biju Pattnaik

Biju Pattnaik was a national politician and leader of our country. His full name was Bijayanand Pattnaik. He was popularly known as Biju Pattnaik or Biju Babu. He was also a freedom fighter. He strongly participated in in the independence movement of India and worked with other famous persons like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Neheru and others. He was also Chief Minister of Orissa for a long period. The Biju Pattnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar and The Biju Pattnaik Technical University of Orissa are named according to his name.

Biju Pattnaik

Birth and Early Life

Biju Pattnaik was born in Cuttack district of Orissa on 5th March 1916. His father's name was Lakshminarayan Pattnaik and mother's name was Ashalata Pattnaik.

After finishing his school education, he studied science at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. During his college days he played hockey and football and was captain of the University team. After college, he joined Aeronautical Training Institute of India, to study Aeronautics Engineering.

Participation in Independence Movement

After working as a pilot in Indian National Airways for 2 years, in 1942 he participated in freedom movement and for which he had to stay in jail for 3 years. He had actively participated in 'Quit India Movement' with Mahatma Gandhi, Neheruji, Gopabandhu Dash and also worked with many other famous freedom fighters.

Biju Pattnaik had an important role in Jammu Kashmir Operation in 1947. Pakistan attacked Kashmir on 22nd October 1947, but it was very difficult for the military people of our country to reach that place because of lack of time and worst roadways. Going there by air was the only option, but that also was not an easy work. At that time Biju Pattnaik successfully flew to Shrinagar taking one platoon of military and the operation took place.

Biju Pattnaik was also involved in the Nepalese Democratic Movement during 1953-1954.

Bhoomi Putra Award from Indonesia

He was also involved in the struggle of Indonesia for freedom. In 1945, Indonesia got freedom, but the Dutch again tried to capture Indonesia again during 1947. The Indonesian Prime Minister Sultan Sjahrir wanted to come out of the country to produce an international opinion against the activities of Dutch. But he was unable to do so because of the control of Dutch Army over the borders of Indonesia. To help Indonesia, Nehru instructed Biju Pattnaik to bring Sultan Sjahrir out from Indonesia. Biju Pattnaik always had a passion for adventurous activities. As he was an experienced pilot, he flew to Java and was successful to bring Sultan Sjahrir to India and Sjahrir then became successful in his purpose.

For this bravery act of Biju Pattnaik, He got 'Bhoomi Putra' award, the highest civilian award of Indonesia, from the Government of Indonesia.

Politician Biju Pattnaik

Biju Pattnaik was a member of Orissa State Assembly and Lok Sabha several times. In the earlier days, he was a leader of Indian National Congress and Congress Party. In 1961, he became the Chief Minister of Orissa when he was 45. Though Biju Pattnaik had a good relationship with Indira Gandhi, in 1967 there was confliction in between them and Biju Pattnaik left Congress party to form 'Utkal Congress Party'. He was arrested during 1975 Emergency due to his involvement in JayPrakash Narayan's movement. In 1977, he became Union minister for steel and mines.

Biju Pattnaik then joined Janata Dal and elected to Loksabha in 1980 and 1985. In 1990, he again became the Chief Minister of Orissa until 1995.

Role in Development of Orissa

Biju Pattnaik played a significant role in the industrial development and modernisation of Orissa. The Orissa Aviation Centre, Kalinga Iron work, Kalinga Refractories were set up by him.

The famous Hirakud Dam, Paradeep Port, Mahanadi Bridge were some of his implemented projects. He took step in forming the Rourkela Steel Plant and industrial establishment in Chowdwar and Barbil. The Rourkela Regional Engineering College was also established during his Chief Ministership. The Kalinga Cup given in Football was started by him. He also put effort for the Airport in Bhubaneswar which later named according to his name, the Biju Pattnaik Airport.

Some of his famous quotes were -

'Orissa is a rich state where poor people live'.
'To be born poor is not a crime but to remain so is indeed a crime'.

Later Life

In 1996, Biju Pattnaik was elected to Loksabha. He suffered from Cardio respiratory disease and died of this on 17th April 1997.

His son Naveen Pattnaik is also a politician and is a leader of the party 'Biju Janata Dal. At present Naveen Pattnaik is the Chief Minister of Orissa.

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