Sunday, Jun 16, 2024 10:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jun 16, 2024 05:08 [IST]

Change of Guard

Mrinal Chatterjee

Window Seat

For the first time BJP formed a government on its own in Odisha (it was BJD's junior coalition partner in Odisha from 2000 to 2009; BJD jettisoned it in 2009) and Mohan Charan Majhi, a four time MLA from tribal dominated Keonjhar district became the Chief Minister of Odisha. Coming from a humble background, Mohan Charan Majhi inched his way up the slippery ladder of politics by sheer grit and determination. Nobody expected him to be chosen for the post of Chief Minister of Odisha, which charismatic (also enigmatic) Navin Pattnaik unexpectedly lost after twenty four years. Critics say, Majhi has been chosen for his loyalty, acceptability and also for pliability and manageability. But he started off on a positive note. He personally invited his predecessor to the swearing in ceremony and Navin Pattanaik attended the ceremony.

This courtesy and grace on both sides was such a welcome sight. As my friend JP Jagdev writes, “It strengthens our faith in the democratic processes and our respect for the verdict of the people”. It was such a relief from the raucous and toxic political culture that we live in now.


Ramoji Rao

Ramoji Rao, founder of Ramoji Group which changed the media landscape of undivided Andhra Pradesh in particular and impacted the media ecosphere of several states including Odisha passed away on 8 June 2024. He was 87.

Extraordinary life of an extraordinary man came to an end. He lived his life to the full and with many ups and downs. Beginning as a newspaper boy, studying with a lot of struggles, being close to unions and left movements at a time, and growing up to become the owner of Eenadu media, ETV chain, growing multi lingual regional Television and online media, producing some of the biggest blockbuster films in Telugu and Hindi, and setting up world's largest Filmcity and Entertainment City, his has been a fabulous life to say the least.

Disciplined, simple lifestyle, sporting white shirt always, and a true blue Telugu, Ramoji Rao Garu has been an epitome of business acumen with no showbaazi in personal life.

I had the pleasure of working with ETV Odia for many years as a presenter of a weekly Science Show titled Ajira Bigyan for over four years. I wrote scripts for three of their long running humour based serials, and hosted probably the first ever election debate show in Odia, thanks to Sanjay Pathak and Nilambar Rath.

ETV Odia played an important role in the development and professionalization of Odia visual media and sustaining the Odia film industry by engaging people associated mostly with film in television serials.

Rest in peace Ramoji Rao garu. 

Sundarir Ma

Last night’s thunderstorm toppled one of the oldest mango trees on our campus. I live inside the leafy campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication located at Dhenkanal, Odisha.

The mango tree bore reddish yellow fruits (we called it Sundari, and hence named the tree Sundarir Ma- Mother of Sundari) every year. It was not as sweet as the Amrapalli, a popular local variety of mango. It had a sweet sour taste and also did not have enough flesh. But it looked good and was available in plenty. The tree, mysteriously, did not bear any this year. Did it have a premonition of its end?

I used to spend a long time under the huge tree in the mornings talking to each other. At times some birds and squirrels also joined. We had kept a water pot for the wild animals here- nice place for an adda. At times we just kept quiet and listened to the sound of the breeze, marred by the occasional chirping of the birds. On many occasions I touched its brown, wrinkled trunk as I poured water into the water pot. Somehow I felt it responded. It did not, this morning.

I’ll miss you Sundarir Ma.



The drawing of two happy persons- one man and one woman drenching in the rain read: happiness is walking in the rain. We- me and my wife did, as it rained in Dhenkanal after a long interval. After a while she sneezed and told me don’t be extra romantic; you’ll catch a cold and fever.

End of happiness.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi