Bhubaneswar, Nov 13 (LocalWire): Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today called upon the Centre to accord the status of ‘National Maritime Heritage Festival’ to ‘Balijatra’, the biggest trade and cultural congregation of the state dating back to a hoary past and rich maritime legacy.
The state government had earlier conferred the annual Balijatra, a trade fair being held in the Mahanadi river bed in the erstwhile capital city of Cuttack, the tag of state festival.
‘I would request you to kindly consider the social-cultural importance of Balijatra festival and accord it the status of a National Maritime Heritage Festival,’ Chief Minister Patnaik wrote in a letter addressed to Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahalad Singh Patel.
‘I am sure that the (status) would be a befitting tribute to our heritage and an inspiration for our future,’ Patnaik mentioned in the letter.
‘India looks towards the East to revive the age-old contacts with South-east Asia aiming at mutual economic growth of India and the countries in that region; it would be appropriate and timely that Balijatra, which celebrates the enterprising spirit of ancient India, is recognised at the national level,’ Patnaik wrote.
‘The footprints of this enterprise are evident in South East Asia, particularly in Bali, Java and Sumatra. The people of Indian origin in general are known as ‘Klings’ in South-east Asian countries and this could be an indication of the old association with Kalinga in terms of trade and cultural exchanges,’ the chief minister wrote.
The cultural interactions between eastern parts of India, particularly ancient Kalinga, can be easily observed in the customs and traditions (language, cuisine, dress, dance forms, rituals) in Bali.
Balijatra is an integral part of cultural ethos of Odisha. It is deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of Odia people.
Balijatra is a signature festival of Cuttack, the millennium city. Hence I would suggest you to kindly consider the socio-cultural importance of the festival and accord it the status.
I am sure that would be a befitting tribute to the heritage,’ Patnaik wrote in the letter.