Biju Patnaik is not just mine, but an all time favourite of most people from Odisha. The Book release function of “The Tall Man, Biju Patnaik”, by Sundar Ganeshan, published by the Biju Patnaik Birth Centenary Committee was at Mumbai on 3rd February, 2018. The book was released by the Chief Minister (CM) of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik at a function in Yashwantrao Chawan Pratisthan ( Auditorium).
Biju Patnaik was a much loved leader of Odisha and he has been described as “the man who knew no fear”. This book is a glimpse into his life and times. Meticulously researched, the book has lots of rare pictures and seeks to capture his vivid and extraordinary life. The detailed research was complemented by the CM who specifically used the word “curated” for the book.
The compere for the show was well known TV and film personality of Odisha, Kuna Tripathy, whose ” News Fuse” is a highly popular TV show analysing socio-political issues. Kuna regaled the audience with witty anecdotes and his mimicry journey of various dialects of Odisha was very funny indeed.
On the occasion, along with the CM on the dias were prominent Odia personalities of Mumbai, Shri Arup Patnaik ( IPS Retd), top cardiac surgeon Dr Ramakanta Panda and top private sector professional Shri Santrupta Mishra. Legend Pandit HariPrasad Chaurasia was also there along with entrepreneur and Odisha Skill Development chief Subroto Bagchi and the author Sundar Ganeshan.
Dr Panda and Shri Mishra spoke how Biju Patnaik was always a hero for everyone from Odisha and how people of other places identified Odisha with Lord Jagannath and Biju Patnaik. Pandit Chaurasia spoke how he was a stenographer earlier and it was Biju Babu who encouraged him to become a musician and as a leading industrialist had sponsored his first few musical shows.
Sundar Ganeshan informed the audience about his research and how difficult it was for him to capture the life of such a tremendous personality in one single book. He said that he had divided the book into various chapters and each chapter was worthy of a Doctoral research. Dr Bagchi also spoke about the book in detail and also informed about how Biju Patnaik was rated immensely by the Western Press including the most acclaimed newspapers and magazines such as New York Times and the Economist.
Shri Arup Patnaik regaled the audience with some of his personal interactions with Biju Babu who was a very close friend of his father. He said that once he had gone to give the marriage invite for his younger brother’s wedding to Biju Babu who was then CM and Biju Babu asked his PS what was his engagement that particular evening and he was told that he had a dinner meeting with CM of Andhra Pradesh. Immediately Biju Babu said that “Tell CM Andhra to have dinner with someone else, i am attending this wedding”, and even though he was CM, he gave 4 hours of his precious time for the function. Shri Arup said that Biju Babu was a daredevil and fearless and inspired countless others including himself to do work efficiently and fearlessly.
The CM, in his speech thanked the Odia people of Mumbai for the love they showed to Biju Babu by coming in large numbers for the book release. He spoke about what Biju Babu stood for and what he believed in and how that should be emulated. He congratulated the author for the detailed research which was carefully curated from throughout the world such as Indonesia, France, Singapore, Russia, Germany and other places. He also complemented the various speakers for their speeches and the insights they provided into Biju Babu’s magnetic personality.
Overall it was a very successful and well arranged function and one could make out that the Organising Committee had done their planning and homework well. A pleasant and sweet takeaway to guests was a gift of a Pen with “The Tall Man, Biju Patnaik” enscribed on it. A book counter with the book for sale was also there and it was announced that the proceeds of sales will go for charity.
Book review will follow.
Thanks for reading this blog on the Mumbai Launch of the book, The Tall Man. You are also invited to read my two other blogs on Biju Babu. Links are as follows