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[box_info]The Great legendary Biju Patnaik’s Role in Indonesian freedom struggle [/box_info]


Biju Patnaik came in contact with Jawaharlal Nehru during his participation in Indian freedom struggle. He became one of his trusted friends. Nehru was sympathetic to the freedom struggle of the Indonesian people who had traditional links with Indian sub-continent from the ancient days. Indonesia was under Dutch rule from 1816 to 1941 when it was occupied by the Japanese. The Indonesian freedom fighters declared the independence of Indonesia on 17 August 1945 two days after the Japanese collapse in the Second World War.

The Dutch tried to regain control over these territories and started fomenting trouble for the new Government. President Sukarno’s government launched a vigorous propaganda activity to gain support for their cause. Sjahrir who became Prime Minister of Indonesia on 14 November 1945 was a trusted lieutenant of Sukarno. He also became friendly with Nehru who was at that time the Foreign Minister and the leader of the Interim Government of India. In July 1946, the government of Indonesia concluded an agreement with India government to supply 4,000,000 tonnes of rice in exchange of textile, agricultural implements, tyres and other goods which India would send to Indonesia for her economic rehabilitation.

On 23 March 1947 Nehru called 22 Asian countries for First Inter-Asia Conference to which Sjahrir was specially invited. He addressed the conference after concluding the agreement with Dutch on 25 March. The Dutch continued to foment trouble on one pretext or the other. Finally they launched a large scale attack on Indonesia on 21 July 1947. Immediately President Sukarno consulted Sjahrir and ordered him to leave the country to create international public opinion against the Dutch and also persuade the friendly countries to raise the issue before the UNO. He tried to come out but could not succeed as the Dutch had absolute control over Indonesian sea and air routes. He was also under surveillance.

Nehru came to his help at this critical juncture. He entrusted this task to Biju Patnaik, who was an expert pilot and was famous for his passion for adventurous achievements. Biju Patnaik sprang up to instant action. As an avid reader of the history of Kalinga, Biju knew how Kalinga and Indonesia had a long-standing cultural link in the past and the opportunity now at hand to render some service to the people of Indonesia at their crucial hour of need should never be lost sight of. He braved all hazards.

He flew to Java and brought Sultan Sjahrir aboard from Java islands on 22 July 1947 using a Dakota and reached India via Singapore on 24 July. Sjahrir was successful in his mission at last. For his act of bravery Patnaik was given honorary citizenship of Indonesia and awarded ‘Bhoomi Putra’, the highest Indonesian award and a rare distinction ever granted to a foreigner. In 1996, when Indonesia was celebrating its 50th Independence Day, Biju Patnaik was awarded the highest national award, the ‘Bintang Jasu Utama’.

In return, the Indonesian Govt offered honorary citizenship, huge land & a sprawling bungalow to which Biju Patnaik politely avoided & said he would prefer to stay/serve his own motherland – Kalinga. President Sukarno’s daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri (in Sanskrit means -Goddess of the Clouds Daughter of Sukarno) name was suggested by Biju Patnaik who was born at that turbulent time.

In Odia “Utkalara BaraPutra kebala odisha mati ra nuhanti se sara bishwo re parichita, kintu. aama desha re pujya pujara abhaba hetu se upajukta sanmana ra adhikari hoi parinahanti .”

(src :- http://en.wikipedia.org)