(Last Updated on : 10-04-2014)
Biju Patnaik, an Indian politician, played a significant role in the country's freedom struggle. He was lovingly called the "Hero of Kalinga
" by the people. Bijayananda Patnaik was born on 5th March 1916 in Cuttack
to Lakshminarayan and Ashalata Patnaik. His father belonged to a village called Nuagan situated near Bhanjanagar and was Munsif in Cuttack.
Biju Pattnaik had completed his education from Cuttack Mission School and Ravenshaw College. He went for pilot training while he was doing his graduation in science. He was employed as an airplane pilot in the Indian National Air Force after completion of his pilot training. He was involved with the war effort from 1940 to 1942. Besides being a good student he was also interested in sports and games.
Biju Patnaik was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi
's struggle for freedom movement. The police offended him when he had been to see Gandhi during his visit to Cuttack. He used to take Jayaprakash and many more such freedom fighters to secret places in his plane. He was thereafter imprisoned by the British government until 1945 due to his participation in Quit India Movement. He was freed in 1945. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Gopabandhu Das and Madhusudhan Das, Patnaik dedicated himself to the Indian Freedom Movement.
Political career of Biju Patnaik:
1952 - M.L.A. Bhanjanagar
1957 - M.L.A. Jagannath Prasad
1961 - Chief Minister, Orissa
1968 - M.P. in Rajya Sabha
1974 - Opposition leader
1977 - Minister of Steel & Mines, Government of India
1980 - Member of Indian Parliament
1985 - Opposition Leader in Orissa
1990 to 1995 - Chief Minister, Orissa
Biju Patnaik was also a prominent member of both the Lok Sabha
and the Rajya Sabha. In 1971 he created a record contesting from 4 different constituencies for the Vidhan Sabha
. He won from one Lok Sabha constituency and was defeated from all the other constituencies. He won continuously for 4 times from Bhubaneswar constituency since 1980. Patnaik's political ideals were centred in socialism and federalism. He strongly advocated for equal resources to all Indian states.
Biju Patnaik, a champion of science and technology, believed in the modernization of society on a scientific basis. In 1952 he founded the Kalinga Foundation Trust in the international level on behalf of UNESCO to inspire and give scope to the scientists of all over the world. The idea to establish this foundation was that every one should have at least a basic understanding of science. Every year this trust gives the award "Kalinga Puraskar" which is considered a prestigious award by the international scientific community.
Biju Patnaik's son, Navin Patnaik, is the current Chief Minister of Orissa. His daughter, Gita Mehta, is a well known writer. He died in New Dehli on April 17, 1997 of cardio-respiratory failure.