The name of Harekrishna Mahtab is included among the famous personalities of Odisha. He was a public leader of Odisha, who has the distinction of becoming the first Chief Minister of Odisha. Apart from this, he was also a member of the Constituent Assembly. Harekrishna Mahtab, counted among the builders of modern Orissa, also played an important role in India’s freedom struggle.
Biography of Harekrushna Mahatab
Birth and family
Harekrishna Mahtab was born on November 21, 1899. He was born in Agarpada village in Bhadrak district of Odisha. Krishna Charan Das and Tohafa Debi were his parents. But, his maternal grandfather adopted him. His maternal grandfather’s name was Jaganath Mahtab, who was the landlord of Agarpara.
Harekrishna Mahtab did his matriculation from Bhadrak High School. Later, he joined Ravenshaw College, Cuttack but Harekrishna Mahtab left his studies midway due to his involvement in the freedom struggle.
Went to jail for taking part in the freedom movement
Due to his involvement in the freedom movement in 1922, Harekrishna Mahtab also had to go to jail. He was prosecuted for treason by the British government. Also in the year 1930, he was arrested for participating in the Salt Satyagraha. He was selected as the General Officer Commanding of the Congress Seva Dal, which led to his arrest at the AICC session in Puri in 1932 and the party being banned. In 1938, Mahtab was nominated to the Congress Working Committee by Subhash Chandra Bose. Once again, due to his participation in the Quit India Movement in 1942, he had to remain in jail from 1942 to 1945.
Mahtab’s political journey started in 1924, when he was the President of Balasore District Board. He remained on this post till the year 1928. He remained the Chief Minister of Odisha from April, 1946 to May, 1950. Thus, he has the honor of becoming the first Chief Minister of Odisha. He once again became the Chief Minister of Odisha from 1956 to 1960. He was also a member of the Constituent Assembly. During his tenure as Chief Minister, important steps like shifting of the state capital from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar, construction of Hirakud Dam and merger of princely states, etc. are notable.
He became MP from Angul in 1962 and was elected Vice President of Congress in the year 1966. He resigned from the Congress Party in 1966 and founded and led the ‘Orissa Jana Congress’. In 1976, he was put in jail for agitating against the Emergency.
Also did writing work
Apart from being a politician, he was also a writer. He started a weekly ‘Prajatantra’ which later became a daily. Apart from this, he also wrote prolifically in many genres of literature.
He died on January 2, 1987.
Honors and Awards
He was awarded honorary doctorates from several universities for his work in literature and society. In 1983, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work ‘Gaon Majlis’. Additionally, he was also the president of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Orissa Sahitya Akademi.
In folk traditions he is known as “Utkal Keshari”.
Read this Article in Hindi- https://hindi.ultranewstv.com/personality/harekrushna-mahatab/