Category Archives: Odia Folk Song

Toast to Rangabati for Binding Us Together

And Rangabati had returned, with a bang for sure. Her grand homecoming was preceded by overwhelming updates on Twitter and Facebook. It was indeed the most awaiting musical extravaganza of the year for Odias. Then she came, she was heard and suddenly she tore apart the whole world (read Odisha) into two groups. As FB and Twitter lent their hands, she made her way to the top trends with hashtaq #Rangabati. The first group were busy celebrating the unexpected appearance of the song of their soil on national television whereas the second group were busy analyzing the mistakes (read mispronunciations of Sambalpuri words) committed by Sona “Kataki”Mohapatra. The first group had goosebumps while listening to the breathtaking voice of Rituraj singing to the tune of “Bande Utkala Janani.” They bashed Jitendra Haripal and team for their 1 cr lawsuit against Ram Sampath and team. On the contrary, the second group despised the remix and detested the irrelevant incorporation of Tamil rap in the new Rangabati. Both the groups came up with strong, valid and powerful arguments and the online fighting seemed to become more intriguing with each passing day. We, Odia people loved Rangabati, hated Rangabati, but definitely we couldn’t ignore her.

Among this rage and frenzy around Rangabati, I was quite amused (actually amazed) and something very interesting had caught my attention. Belonging to a generation where speaking, listening and watching Odia is a middle class mentality (read LS), I was wondering when was the last time we young Odia people had taken a bullet for something that was Odia, a song, a movie, the language, its culture or may be for its people!!! People were fighting, putting up their views, taking their stands, raising their voices and for what?? For Rangabati!!! Did I see Rangabati as a symbol here?? A sign, a reference or may be a representation?? Of Odisha itself!! May be yes, may be no. It might sound weird but I could sense that among those word-wars about Rangabati, these people were getting back to their roots and their origins. Those who had never heard Rangabati went back and googled about it. The Youtube hits on old Rangabti video in two days superseded its lifetime views. For the first time we, Odias, came to know that Rangabati was the first Odia song to be mentioned in BBC and Voice of America. It was featured in the Bollywood movie Kaun Kitne Pani Mein (2014) by Odia director Nila Madhaba Panda and also the Korean dancers danced to its tune during the 7th World Water Forum at Daegu in South Korea. It was like going back in the past and realizing when do you really belong. It was like meeting your inner-self, acknowledging your rich heritage for the first time. It was like seeing yourself in the mirror and all of a sudden finding a new identity. It was like recognizing your roots and realizing how thriving it was/is. The two groups, the Pro-Rangabti and the Anti-Rangabati seemed like two different categories of people but in reality they were fighting for the same cause, for the same purpose, for their state Odisha and its legacy. The first one was fighting for Odisha’s authenticity, the other one was fighting for its originality. The first one was fighting for its new-found glory and the second one was trying to keep hold of its fading grandeur. The first group was celebrating its present, and the second group was basking on its past. Whatever their stands were, whatever their values were, inadvertently they were fighting for one motive, to retain the pride of being an Odia. And, interestingly, Rangabati succeeded in enabling them in doing so. It’s quite irrelevant if personally I liked the new Rangabati or not, but I would always be appreciative of Rangabati for binding the Odias together for a greater cause.