New Delhi: Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal MP Dr. Sasmit Patra today demanded the Centre to accord ‘National Maritime Heritage Festival’ status to Bali Jatra by considering its social-cultural significance.
“This is an issue which is extremely close to the hearts of the people of Odisha. And I rise to place my demand for according ‘National Maritime Heritage Festival’ status to the Bali Jatra, which happens in Cuttack”, Dr. Patra told the Rajya Sabha.
The BJD MP said, “Bali Jatra has got strong ties with the people of Odisha and has strong cultural ethos of people of Odisha. Therefore, by according the status we are not only looking at the cultural heritage, but actually we are remembering the rich history that Odisha and India has on sea-faring”.
In order to understand the significance of Bali Jatra, we need to go back in history. This is an ancient festival which commemorates the glorious tradition of sea-faring activities of Odia mariners who were called as Sadhavas in ancient time, he said.
“These Sadhavas used to set sail in those days when globalization was not there to distant lands of Bali, Sumatra, Java and Brunei for trade and cultural expansion. The trade and cultural expansion which connected the Kalingan era and ancient era of Odisha with the Southeast Asia is celebrated through Bali Jatra”, the Rajya Sabha MP elaborated.
He further said that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded that the National Maritime Heritage Festival status should be accorded to the Bali Jatra through a letter to the Tourism Minister on November 12.
“I would like to reiterate that Bali Jatra has got strong ties with the people of Odisha and has strong cultural ethos of people of Odisha and therefore by according the status we not only looking at the cultural heritage, but actually remembering the rich history that Odisha and India has on sea-faring”, Patra concluded.