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About Orissa

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The word Oriya is an anglicised version of Odia which itself is a modern name for the Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central belt of modern Orissa. Orissa has also been the home of the Kalinga and Utkal tribes that played a particularly prominent role in the region's history, and one of the earliest references to the ancient Kalingas appears in the writings of Vedic chroniclers. In the 6th C. BC, Vedic Sutrakara Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as being beyond the Vedic fold, indicating that Brahminical influences had not yet touched the land. Unlike some other parts of India, tribal customs and traditions played a significant role in shaping political structures and cultural practices right up to the 15th C. when Brahminical influences triumphed over competing traditions and caste differentiation began to inhibit social mobility and erode what had survived of the ancient republican tradition.

KALINGA

Very early in Kalingan history, the Kalingas acquired a reputation for being a fiercely independant people. Ashoka's military campaign against Kalinga was one of the bloodiest in Mauryan history on account of the fearless and heroic resistance offered by the Kalingas to the mighty armies of the expanding Mauryan empire. Perhaps on account of their unexpected bravery, emperor Ashoka was compelled to issue two edicts specifically calling for a just and benign administration in Kalinga.

Unsurprisingly, Mauryan rule over Kalinga did not last long. By the 1st C. BC, Kalinga's Jain identified ruler Kharavela had become the pre-eminent monarch of much of the sub-continent and Mauryan Magadha had become a province of the Kalingan empire. The earliest surviving monuments of Orissa (in Udaigiri near Bhubaneshwar) date from his reign, and surviving inscriptions mention that Prince Kharavela was trained not only in the military arts, but also in literature, mathematics, and the social sciences. He was also reputed to be a great patron of the arts and was credited with encouraging dance

AND THEATER IN HIS CAPITAL.

Although the bravery of the Kalingas became legendary, and finds mention in the Sahitya Darpan, it is important to note that a hereditary warrior caste like the Kshatriyas did not take hold in the region. Soldiers were drawn from the peasantry as needed and rank in the military depended as much on fighting skills and bravery as on hereditary factors. In this (and other) respects, Oriya history resembles more the history of the nations of South East Asia, and may have been one of the features of Oriya society that allowed it to successfully fend off 300 years of raids initiated by numerous Islamic rulers untill the 16th century.

 

 

 

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Newsflash

Bill to rename Orissa to Odisha passed in LS

 

The Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 and Constitution (113th Amendment) Bill, 2010 for change of language were moved by Home Minister P Chidambaram on the basis of resolutions passed by the Orissa Assembly.

The Bills provide for change of name of state to Odisha and language to Odia. Bills were passed by division of votes with all 294 members present in the House voting in favour and none against..

 

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