Making Moves for Cultural Resurgence

‘Leaving no one behind’ has been a Powerful and Challenging Governance Model that the Naveen Patnaik Government has taken up for the last 23 years. Odisha has discovered pathways to move closer to this ideal. What a vast and diverse population of 4.5 core People! The progress made in the last couple of decades to reach out and give social protection to every Odishian has been impressive and worth emulating.

But the world around us in this age of Globalization and social media presents a dim Picture. Yuval Noah Harari, the eminent historian and public intellectual, has noted that we are living in a new and frightening era where internal cultural wars pose dominant and perpetual threat. The biggest problems internationally are not economic and social or educational but cultural wars. There is anger, bitterness and hatred of the fellow citizens. Some people hate and fear the fellow citizens more than anybody else in the planet. There seems no light at the end of the tunnel.

Odisha under Naveen Patnaik is an exception. Jagannath Culture binds the people and has been a catalyst for the inclusive growth and peaceful coexistence. To take this legacy forward ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha (AONO) has been initiated as a cultural resurgence. It aims at rallying round the people of Odisha around Jagannath Culture which is all encompassing, pluralistic, multicultural, tolerant and forward looking in its intent and purpose. Under this umbrella culture people of all faiths and religions live harmoniously and peacefully. Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha provides the requisite platform to germinate the seed of humanity better than ever before. Hopefully, it can fight the frightening era of “Post-truth” and lies around us and foster universal brotherhood and sisterhood.

Keeping pace with the times, it would also strengthen the digital infrastructure of Odisha which would lay the basic foundation for building an enriched Odisha. World peace, non-violence, harmony, equality and service are the basic tenants of Jagannath Culture. Irrespective of caste, class, religion, and community, it has made everyone its own. The programme will preserve Jagannath culture in every village. Every place of worship will be developed. Heritage sites will be preserved. The preservation and protection of these cultural and heritage sites is essential for the future generations.

The true benefits of ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ scheme depend on the effective execution of the intended policies and programs. In order to ensure that, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appointed V.K. Pandian as the Chairman of 5T (Transformation initiatives) and Nabin Odisha. He is an extraordinary leader and change maker. He has made lasting impact on every aspect of administration through his dedication, commitment, honesty, innovation and team work. For him, there is no peak- his performance simply escalated, ascending a mountain of precision with no ending. In his dedicated service career of 23 years, he has constantly reinvented himself and thereby Odisha. He is a celebration of excellence. He expanded possibility and ever higher bar, more achievable and foundation-shifting.
Emphasis on development of digital infrastructure in rural areas will be a game changer in the coming days.

Government of Odisha intends to bring seamless internet connectivity in the villages through Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. This will bridge the rural urban digital divide and help bring in the social safetynet services to the doorsteps. Science parks would be developed in the rural areas to inculcate scientific temper among the youth and children. The skill development centers and work-hubs will curate young trained industry ready manpower that will contribute to the economic growth of their families and the state. Banking facilities will be made available. While the 5T High School Transformation program is transforming the High Schools, Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha will bring development of the primary schools of the villages. Nabin Odisha will bring immense opportunities for the young, women, farmers, and students and promote the identity of Odisha as a modern, strong and progressive state.

Through Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, the amenities near the places of worship will be improved. These places play an important role in fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for the devotees. They not only enrich the overall experience of worshipers but also make the place more attractive and comfortable to develop commadrie. The banking infrastructure development in rural areas significantly helps in improving lives of the people by giving them an easy access to a wide range of financial services. It empowers the individuals to save, invest, borrow, and secure their financial future. Marketization would bring in confidence in developing entrepreneurship among women.

Under the 5T initiatives, Odisha has been undertaking transformation of all the major places of worship and cultural landscape and it has also resulted in increased footfalls. The age-old heritage treasures educate people to appropriate oneness of humanity and cross learning. Under Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, the heritage sites will be developed to preserve cultural, historical, and architectural monuments and artifacts. These sites not only serve as windows to the past but also attract tourists, generating revenue and creating jobs for the people.

One of the major aspects of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha is grassroots women empowerment through Mission Shakti. Empowered women contribute significantly to the well-being and progress of their families and communities. Mission Shakti infrastructure development is not just about bricks and mortar; it’s about breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and creating an environment where women can lead, and transform themselves and society. It is an enabling programme of development where women constitute its core.

Like many other initiatives of the Government of Odisha that have been emulated by other States and the Center, Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha program has the potential to bring in a greater social change across the country. The immense benefits will be visible both in the short run and long run as it would create an ecosystem of inclusive growth.

It hardly needs reiteration that under the able leadership of V.K. Pandian, AONO would prove to be an instrument of social change. His stylistic fingerprints seen throughout the generation of demands from people to overseeing their implementation with mathematical precision are awe inspiring. Be it Jagannath temple Parikrama or transformation of Swargadwar, or SCS medical college transformation or a church or mosque renovation or Suando’s facelift; he devoted his time and energy to arrest aesthetic and ethical degeneration of neglect and amnesia. Preservation and promotion of Jagannath culture needs courage, which he has repeatedly demonstrated. Its aesthetics need a solid philosophical background and a strong sense of ethics-this too, he has shown. It is through such struggles that he aims to transcend the condition of banality and mediocracy. A thought leader of transformation, he has devoted his life to breaking free of limits and constraints. And he takes people along with him. He is an augmentor of human possibilities. With his relentlessly optimistic, space-half-full attitude, he has offered a model for how we can solve a big, existential challenge before us.

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