OdishaLIVE Bureau

The legendary Biju Patnaik had a multi-faceted personality: a brave flyer, freedom- fighter, Chief Minister,Union Minister, King Maker in Indian politics and above all the modern architect of Odisha.Anand Bhavan in the millennial city of Cuttack is a standing witness to this great son of Odisha.

Biju’s ancestral property has now been turned into a museum and a study center. To the generation next and the youth of Odisha, Ananad Bhavan is going to be a befitting   tribute.

Anand Bhavan (The House of Joy) is located in Tulasipur – at the heart of Cuttack. It was built by Biju’s father Laxminarayan Patnaik in 1931.Biju’s family used to live here for many years. Turning this historical residence into the Biju Museum and Memorial is a momentous step in remembering the man who had no parallels.

Odisha’s Department of Culture and Odia Language has been instrumental in turning Anand Bhavan into a national-level museum and a sparkling place for those who loved Biju Patnaik from core of their hearts.Once President His Excellency Ramnath Kovind dedicates this memorial on March 17th, 2018 the Museum will be thrown open to public.

Memories of Biju’s Early Life

Biju Patnaik was born here on March 5th, 1916 to Laxminarayan and Ashalata Devi.It was this environment of free thinking and self-determination that made Biju  whatever he was in later years of his life.Bijayanand became Biju – a fairy tale by himself. Biju’s student life was spent in Cuttack and it was Anand Bhavan that shaped him into a prodigy.

The Museum showcases   all the personal effects of Biju and his family. A visitor can have a glimpse of the belongings and can acquaint himself with the attributes of a man who was loved by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru no end. Through the books and other reading material one can know more about Biju Patnaik.

Anand Bhavan was also the bystander to the birth of Biju Patnaik’s three children – Prem,Gita and Naveen.In 2006 the Departmenet of Culture mooted the idea of turning this House into a National  Museum and  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik  readily agreed to the idea. The ancestral property was handed over to the Department and the work began in the right earnest. In 2015, the Record of Rights was transferred to the Government. The Works Department began renovating and converting the place into a commemorative place. In less than a year, the Museum has is going to see the light of the day.

Memorial: what and how

The four rooms on the entrance are being thrown open to the public from Saturday. Here one can see the possessions of Biju Patnaik – the air-gun, a stamp holder and the hat he used during the 1992-Kalinga Bali Yatra.Visitorts can also glance through Biju’s hand writings and his autograph in Odia and English. Other possessions like the almirah,the hat stand  and the long arm- chair are up for view.

The second room presents the dining set that was used by Biju and the cutlery. There is yet another old almirah.The third room exhibits Biju’s bed-room and the effects.Biju was a fast reader and used to savor books of various kinds. Two book trays can be seen alongside the bed from where he used to pick up books of his choice.

One can also see the inhaler, oxygen cylinder used by him.Biju’s old wardrobe along with details have been shown elsewhere in the section. The drawing room has some important memorabilia – the pen stand, the leather brief-case and the sofa set.

Glimpses of ‘The Kalinga’

Biju Patnaik had started a newspaper titled ‘Kalinga.’ Launched on Gandhi Jayanti 1960, it continued publication till 1971.Anand Bhavan used to be the editorial office of The Kalinga.The celebrated freedom-fighter Manmohan Mishra was its first editor. He was succeeded by Surendra Mohanty.

The right side of the Anand Bhavan entrance will showcase ‘Pages from the Tall Man’. Leaves from this recently released book chronicling all the big events of Biju’s life will be made known. The left side of the memorial’s entrance is earmarked for the Kalinga Foundation Trust which was instituted by Biju for popularization of science. This section will display the pages of the UNESCO-administered prize: past awardees, their work, photographs, books published by the Trust and the registration certificate. An important addition to the memorial will be the portrait of Biju Patnaik drawn by the noted artiste Rabi Narayan Rath. The collage has been drawn coalescing different moods of the Leader.

Study Center

The other pull of Anand Bhavan is going to be the Study Center. Two rooms on the upstairs have been earmarked for the reading public. Besides books and references on Biju, this Center will have other books too. Biju Patnaik read books across subjects and keeping that in view, the Study Center has been designed. There will also be an e-library.

Anand Bhavan will be open from Tuesdays to Sundays with Mondays being off days. The memorial will have a separate calendar by the Culture Department.

Rare photos

Anand Bhavan’s main hold will be the rare photographs of Biju Patnaik.The photo-gallery has been appropriately designed into Biju’s early days, the entrepreneur phase of his life ,his  political life and a few pictures from his   socio-cultural life. These  photographs chronicle the history of the man and his mission. Visitors can see these  rare pictures from the entire gamut of Biju’s life.

Video on Biju

The Culture Department’s video encompassing the life of Biju is another attraction. His spoken words will be of great interest for the visiting public.

A great Memorial

Anand Bhavan was not only the dream house of Biju Patnaik, it was an  eyewitness to his aspirations, promises and life’s major achievements.Biju’s life in the British Air force, his apprehension ,his daring  actions to carry freedom fighters to different places incognito, his confinement in Delhi’s Lal Qilla jail and later Naini jail all are rare happenings. Even when Biju was released on parole by the British authorities, he used to be kept under constant surveillance in Anand Bhavan.

Biju  dreamt of a modern and  vibrant Odisha from his cuttack residence.Anand Bhavan was the preparatory setting  of his industrial empire and it was here that the blue-print of an industrially-rich Odisha was laid down. The serene environs of Anand Bhavan propelled the restless Biju to take the next big jump.

Biju Patnaik had his House ‘Naveen Niwas’ constructed in Bhubaneswar much later ; yet he hadn’t stopped coming to Anand Bhavan.His political meetings were followed by overnight breaks in Anand Bhavan and meeting with  people. This was also the place which housed the Janta Party office between 1985 and 1990.

Anand Bhavan is a unique kind of Memorial. Since it has been assigned a heritage tag, the Culture Department has left its original design intact.

In the days to come, Anand Bhavan will surely add to the glory of Odisha’s previous capital and the thousand-year old Cuttack.