Exactly 100 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had visited Odisha for the first time to address the historic meeting on his Non-cooperation Movement in Cuttack.
Through the meeting that was attended by revolutionary leaders like Gopabandhu Das, Nilakantha Das and Acharya Harihar Das, Gandhi urged the people of the State to support the movement against the British rule.
During his first visit to the State that lasted for seven days, Gandhi visited Bhadrak, Puri and Brahmapur to propagate his ideas of the Non-cooperation Movement. It is pertinent to mention here that Gandhi visited Odisha eight times.
First visit: March 23-29, 1921
Gandhi arrived in Cuttack on March 23, 1921. He conducted his first meeting at Qadam-e-Rasool in Cuttack on March 24 to propagate his ideas. He also addressed women at Binod Bihari in the city and later a huge crowd on the riverbed of Kathajodi in the evening. On March 25, Gandhi addressed a meeting at Gandhi Padia in Bhadrak district. He then visited Satyabadi Bana Vidyalaya of Pandit Gopabandhu Das before leaving for Puri. He addressed a public meeting on freedom struggle in the pilgrim city on March 27. On March 29, he visited Brahmapur with Pandit Gopabandhu Das and addressed a huge gathering at the Brahmapur Stadium.
Second visit: August 19 and 20, 1925
Gandhi had visited the Utkal Tannery, a factory producing shoes and other leather products, established by Madhusudan Das in Cuttack. He also visited other places of Cuttack before leaving for Kolkata on August 20 evening.
Third visit: December 4-21, 1927
Gandhi visited Odisha for the third time to promote Khadi. He went to several Khadi production centres at several places, including Brahmapur during the tour. He also met people of flood-affected area in Bhadrak district. Due to the extensive tours, he fell ill and stayed indoor. He attended a public meeting at Cuttack on December 20 and then left the city on the very next day.
Fourth visit: December 22, 1928
During this one day visit, Gandhi alighted at Jharsuguda while going to Kolkata to attend Congress session. He addressed a meeting there before travelling to Sambalpur. In a meeting on the riverside of Mahanadi in Sambalpur, people apprised him about various issues faced by them.
Fifth visit: May 5-May 16, 1934
This visit was important because he conducted Padyatra in the State for welfare of Dalits. On May 5, Gandhi addressed people in Jharsuguda and Sambalpur and appealed people to eradicate untouchability. On the very next day, he went to Angul by car and addressed people there. He reached Puri on May 7.
On May 8, he unveiled statue of Pandit Gopabandhu Das in Puri and started a Padayatra from Puri to Cuttack. He stayed at several places including Kadua Ashram, Satyabhamapura and Balianta while attending the Padayatra. He left for Patna on May 16.
Sixth visit: May 21-June 7, 1934
Gandhi resumed his Harijan Padyatra on May 21 from Byree station in Jajpur district to Bhadrak. He covered rural areas of Cuttack, Kendrapada, Bari, Kabirpur in Jajpur and Bhadrak district. It continued till June 7.
Seventh visit: March 25-31, 1938
Gandhi attended a week-long conference of Gandhi Seva Sangh and an agro and village enterprise exhibition at Beraboi in Delang area of Puri district. Renowned freedom fighters like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad attended the expo.
Eighth visit: January 20, 1946
Gandhi met his supporters at Baleswar, Bhadrak, Cuttack and Brahmapur while going towards Chennai in train on January 20, 1946. Huge turnout had been reported at the stations.