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Bhairab Chandra Mahanti- A Profile

Friday, Sep 25 - 2015 | By Professor Bhaskar Khatai

“The trials, turmoil’s and tribulation in Bhairab Babu’s political career were many. There are several incident and intricate political developments in the life of Bhairab Babu as a member of the Legislative Assembly as a minister and as a Member of Parliament, which one could narrate at length. But this article is largely confined to his contribution towards the evaluation and development of sports culture in Orissa. His political philosophy can be summed up in his words when he said. The majority party installs the political apparatus to Govern. But the Government is nonpolitical.” 

The millennium city of Katak, having a glorious past, has been the cultural nerve centre of Orissa. It is the pivot that propels the political and economic activities of the state yet, its distinction lies in its being the citadel of Orissa culture. The legacy bequeathed by the `Sadhabapua’ and the `Dhanapati’ Saudagara is perpetuated even to day with the week long celebration of the Bali Yatra to commemorate the memory of the Oriya sailors who sailed to distant Bali on an enter occeanic journey from the Mahanadi in Katak. On the banks of the Mahanadi stands the historic Barabati Fort, symbolizing the pride and might of the Oriyas tragically and ironically enough the Barabati Fort, also witnessed the capitulation of the Oriyas at the hands of the British. For more than a century and a half, Katak remained in the thick of turmoils and tribulations of intense political activities. It did emerge as the silver city, noted for its universally acclaimed silver filigree work, but by the 50s of the twentieth century, katak emerged as the nerve center of another kind of culture the Sports culture- a new lexicon that captivated the imagination of people of all walks of life during the initial years of post independence period. 

Sports culture and katak are inextricably linked with the life – time dedication and contribution of one man, Late Bhairab Chandra Mahanti. Bhairab Babu was a multi dimensional personality who combined in him a sportsman journalist, social activist and a politician. A veteran Freedom Fighter, three times member of Orissa legislative Assembly, one time Minister and Member of Parliament, his greatness or rather contributions as a politician appear dim when compared to his stupendous contributions in the field of Sport and his tireless penance for creating an awakening for the love of sport in the minds of the people of Orissa. This in no way , nowever, diminishes his greatness as a politician, but while making an objective analysis of the man, there appears a clear-cut dichotomy in his personality. He was a sportsman and a politician, and had sports not been his passion, he would have been one of the most outstanding politicians of the post – independence era. Sport for him was a mission, a religion which he strove to serve. He accomplished it with a degree of finesse that has very few peers. 

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