By Bhaskar Parichha

When it comes to Biju Patnaik any number of books can be written given his colorful personality,rare patriotism, his adventures ,the political voyage and  of course his flamboyance.Sadly,not many books have been written, much less good books. Part of the reason is Biju Patnaik never encouraged writers to put pen to paper. Another reason could be that he had little time to do such trivial things – sit down and answer the biographer’s queries, for instance.

Since this year Odisha celebrates the legendary leader’s birth centenary (Biju was born in 1916), there are a few attempts to breathe life into his forgotten personality. A few publications have been lined up accordingly .The Biju Janta Dal and the Odisha government are bringing out a book each. Rupa is publishing a book on Biju.There are other publications and souvenirs too, mostly in Odia by those who adore and love Biju Patnaik.

The present book published by Academy for Media Learning Private Ltd and Odisha Live comes as a sparklingly fresh attempt. Edited by    veteran broadcast journalist Nilambar Rath,this bilingual publication is a  brilliant tribute to ‘’Biju babu’’ as Biju Patnaik is known in Odisha.

‘’A Visionary Leader of the Century’’ (Satabdira Doordrasta in Odia) was released by Vice-President Hamid Ansary in Delhi a few weeks ago. What stand out prominently in this book is articles by some national leaders (the late Samar Guha)   who either worked with Biju Patnaik or were his close associates. The list of contributors is diverse: politicians (the late Banka Bihari Das and Sarat Kar), administrators (Dr SK Tamotia), journalists (Swapan Dasgupta),researchers (Charudatta Panigrahi) and political analysts. To that extent, this compendium makes for out of the ordinary and offers some food for thought. Some of the articles have of course been published earlier. Nevertheless, a few writers were commissioned to write exclusively for the book.

The book opens with an article by Biju himself entitled “Odisha of my dreams’’. The volume has some of Biju Patnaik’s uncommon and scarce photographs in colour together with a detailed Timeline. For those who want to go back to their old memories and wish to reminisce about the mass leader and even for the uninitiated, the collection will be of immense value.

Biju Patnaik’s life is synonymous with Odisha’s post-independence political and industrial history. To be acquainted with Biju’s life and times is undoubtedly to accounting Odisha’s half-a-century’s tryst with destiny after independence.

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