Tejeswar Patnaik

On April 13th, the city celebrated 75 years since its founding. This intriguing voyage through time offers readers a comprehensive assessment of the city’s growth, shedding light on many aspects.

The book was edited by prominent writer and author Sri Bhaskar Parichha, who describes the evolution of the city. He has neatly chronicled the expanding city’s journey from ancient times to its present urban outfits. Bhubaneswar, commonly known as Ekamrakhetra, has exquisite historical monuments of architectural excellence.

It is a rapidly expanding city with spectacular modern ambience and landscapes. It has also carved a niche for itself as a hub for engineering colleges and health care centres in eastern India. Prof Dr Jatindra Kumar Nayak, a prominent academician and literary personality narrated the beautiful tapestry of the city’s illustrious past, with vestiges of the ancient Kalinga empire.

The preface given by Odisha’s eminent writer and retired IRS officer Trailokya Jena, on the city‘s growth story with a few critical views, is worth pondering. Apart from that, the book is a collection of articles contributed by twenty-seven writers distinguished in their respective fields of literature, history, art, culture, finance, administration, academics, business, and journalism. In the book, the authors show how it evolved from a quiet and aesthetic city to a fast-growing smart city with an impressive display of antiquity and modernity.

The front cover of the book is captivating. Some of the writers also applauded German town planner and architect Otto H Koenigsburger. He developed the capital city with Goa-born architect Julius Vaz. The authors provided a detailed narrative of the city’s identity and uniqueness. This included diverse fields such as Odia delicacies, hockey, sports, historical sites and monuments, demography, and the environment dating from the third century BC to the 14th century.The Book will be of immense help to students and research scholars in their quest for historical research since it has described heritage sites and sculptures like Hatgumpha inscriptions on Udayagiri hill during King Kharvela’s time and, the famous Ashokan edicts on the rock-cut elephant in Dhauli near Bhubaneswar evidencing the growth of Jainism and Buddhism. Odishan temple architecture is unique from the 6th to 14th Century AD.

Mrs Sulochana Das, the mayor of Bhubaneswar, has also highlighted the development trajectory of Bhubaneswar. She has mentioned various measures being undertaken by the Government for city beautification.The majority of writers have  focused on how once upon a time, an inconspicuous city on the world map hosted two consecutive world cup hockey championships. This won accolades from hockey enthusiasts all around the world who witnessed the sporting event. Even details about the city’s enthusiasm for flourishing literary and cultural activities are found in the book.The authors recount the experiences of citizens, artists, scholars, historians, archaeologists and old inhabitants which contribute to the city’s fabric. These personal anecdotes provide an intimate insight into the city’s rich legacy. The vivid description of the author creates curiosity and offers a fresh perspective, fostering the reader’s connection to the city’s culture.Bhubaneswar @75 Perspectives” is a captivating book that captures the soul of the city, yet it has minor problems. Certain chapters stray or overlap in themes, so the content organisation could have been more streamlined. Furthermore, a more detailed index or glossary would have helped readers navigate the vast amount of information provided.Despite these minor flaws, the book is a worthwhile read for anyone curious about the history of this extraordinary city. This book is therefore worth reading if you are a local resident, a history lover, a traveller and a blogger.Overall, “Bhubaneswar @ 75 Perspectives” is a fitting tribute to the city’s 75th birthday. The book encompasses a wide range of perspectives, making it an excellent addition to any bookshelf. It serves as a gateway to Bhubaneswar’s past, present, and future.

Bhubaneswar@75 PerspectivesEdited by Bhaskar Parichha and Charudatta PanigrahyPublisher: Pen in Books, Bhubaneswar

(The author is a former banker and columnist. Views are personal)