The culture, heritage and history of India stretches beyond the current boundary of its existence. Odisha is one such monumental state that encompasses such a historic antiquity. Odisha is known for its famous old names being Kalinga, Utkal & Odra. This rich cultural state has its presence in Singapore which many do not know of. They come together to form The Odia Society Of Singapore.The journey into Odisha which was formerly known as Orissa started when we met the amazing Mr Sambit Kumar Mishra. His support and willingness to help anyone within his capability truly humbled us. He was the founding president of the Odia Society in 1999. It officially got registered in 2012 under ROS to connect all Odias in Singapore under one umbrella. Unlike usual societies, the Odia Society exists to serve other unique purposes. Apart from creating awareness, promoting interest and activities in the understanding and promotion of the Odia arts and culture, they also aim to be a resource center for Odias in Singapore and for Odias interested in Singapore. Before we delve into the activities of the Odia Society, we wish to point out some truly amazing facts about Odisha.The Great Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty was in fact subdued and turned into a pacifist after his conquest of Kalinga (Odisha) in 261BCE.According to his own edicts, in that war, about 100,000 people were killed, 150,000 captured and several more affected. The resulting bloodshed and suffering is said to have deeply affected Ashoka who then converted to Buddhism. Odisha managed to tame even the greatest of conquerors. Due to its geo location, after Ashoka’s conquest, Bali, Java and even Sumatra originated from the Odia people. As a result, Bali and Odisha for example have many similarities in practices and culture.Odisha by itself has 30 districts. Besides agriculture, Odisha is also rich in many raw minerals such as coal, iron ore, limestone and a host of others. With its astounding nature’s wealth, the Odia Society acts as a networking arm between Singapore and Odisha. They connect people and industries for the good of both Singapore and Odisha. They remain a non-political organization acting just as a middle-men with no monetary compensation again resounding their willingness to help without expectations which was evident even by Mr Sambit Kumar Mishra’s nature.Mr Sambit Kumar Mishra came to Singapore in 1997. He worked for Mindef for 2 years and played a key role in facilitating the merger between Comfort and Citycab. From 2005 to 2015, he worked in IBM as a Delivery Programme Executive and is now currently working in DBS. When asked, how does he find time to manage the Odia Society, he mentioned that he has many fellow members who play key roles in the society. He ended that statement by saying, “When you are passionate about something, you would always find time".Some Facts About Odisha:FESTIVALS
Makar Sankranti / Makar Mela (January - This is a celebration of good harvest)
Utkala Dibasa / Odisha Day (1st April - To commemorate the day Odisha became an official state)
Mahabisuva Sankranti (April - Celebrated to mark the New Year as per the Odia calendar in the month of April. Also known as Pana Sankranti. Pana – drink made from Misri and water is hung over the Tulsi plant to represent the rain. This festival is very auspicious for farming and agricultural activities)
Rath Yatra (June /July - Grandest of all festivals in Odisha and is held at Puri. Lord Jagannath with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra in wooden chariots journey from main Jagannath temple through the streets to another shrine called `Gundhicha Char’, where the deities stay for nine days. On the last day, the return journey is made i.e. from Gundicha Char to main Jagannath temple)
Raja Parba (June/July - 4 Day long festival to bring prosperity in agriculture fields and also to celebrate womanhood. Festival dedicated to Basu-Mata, the Earth Goddess and during this festival, all agriculture activities are stopped to allow the Goddess to rest)
Durga Pooja (September / October - The huge idols of Durga Maa along with two other avatars of Maa Laxmi and Maa Saraswati are immaculate in the Pandals. The chants of Mantras and morning and evening Artis can be heard to mark the grand celebration of this festival. Durga Pooja is celebrated for 3 to 4 days in Odisha and holds an important significance for the Hindu devotees)
Odisha formerly known as Orissa is one of the 29 states in India. Located in the eastern coast, surrounded by states of West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west, Andra Pradesh to the south.
Language: Odia (formerly known as Oriya), English. Other linguistic minorities: Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Ho, Santali.
Capital: Bhubaneswar, known for the exquisite temples in its landscape
Odissi Dance is the classical form of dance in Odisha
Odissi music is more than two thousand five hundred years old and comprises a number of categories. Of these, the five broad ones are tribal music, folk music, light music, light-classical music and classical music.
The sari of Odisha is much in demand throughout the entire world. The different colours and varieties of sarees in Odisha make them very popular among the women of the state. The handloom sarees available in Odisha can be of four major types; these are Ikat, Bandha, Bomkai and Pasapalli. The tie-and-dye technique used by the weavers of Odisha to create motifs on these sarees is unique to this region and gives these sarees an identity of their own.
Odisha is mainly known for its rich culture and the enormous number of ancient temples. Odisha temples conform to the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture, with distinctive features specific to this region. The most famous temples are the Lingaraja temple in Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Konark Sun Temple.
The Odia Society is rather influential due to the nature of the bond within its members. Recently, the society collaborated with the Odisha government officials to push for a flight to Odisha. With statistics of potential consumerism for this flight and a validation of the regularity of flights, the society managed to get a flight from Air Asia to suit this purpose. The flight will be from Singapore to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha with a stopover at KL. This would be a 4-hour flight and is set to launch on the 26th of April 2017. It is rather inspiring to note the capabilities of an organization that comes together with similar intentions. They will collectively be able to achieve benefits beyond monetary compensation as long as they work together. We take our hats off for an organization that is about 400 members deep to have been able to do what they do with the passion for their current residency and that of their Birth.The Odia Society celebrated Utkal Dibasa on the 15th of April at The Grassroots Club. The Indian High Commissioner and the Narpani Mandram Charperson graced the event as the Guests Of Honour. We at Dei.com.sg, wish the Odia Society all the best in their future endeavours. We are honored to feature this article about your Society and thank you for this opportunity.