No Odisha tableau featured in Republic Day parade for two consecutive years – 2014 and 2015, as the tableau from the state has failed to clear the Republic Day test each time.
The last time Odisha made it to the Republic Day parade in New Delhi was in 2013 when we showcased the state’s culture through a tableau. In 2013, Odisha’s tableau was based on the chandan yatra of Lord Jagannath.
For this year’s Republic Day, the proposed theme of the tableau was stone carving. “As the selection committee failed to come out with any interesting design and model to showcase the culture of Odisha, the proposal was rejected,” said an official.
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The state government’s failure to make the cut for the parade has come at a time when Odisha is going to observe its biggest festival, the Nabakalebar of Lord Jagananth and his siblings in July this year. Nearly 50 lakh pilgrims from all over the world are expected to congregate in Puri to witness the grand event.
Art director and painter Asim Basu, 80, who had been associated with the preparation of the tableaux from 1972 to 2004, said: “We failed to make it because the entire selection was done by handful of officials who have very little idea about the intricacies of art and culture. They should have involved eminent artists of the state rather then totally depending on officials to select the theme of the tableau. There are some criteria for making a tableau. If we don’t follow it, there is the chance of rejection.”
Denying these allegations, information and public relations secretary Madhusudan Padhi said: “We had done our best to qualify for the Republic Day Parade. A panel comprising representatives of NIFT and Lalit Kala Akademi selected the tableau. A transparent method was followed to select it.”
He said: “Odisha had made to the fifth round but failed in the sixth as the screening committee of the defence ministry rejected our idea. As a practice, they never cite reasons for the disqualification of a particular state’s tableau. Next year, we will work harder so that our proposals get selected.”
Former Congress MP Pradeep Majhi said in a tweet: “Wondering why Odisha didn’t send a tableau, because its so easy just put plaster of Paris Naveen (Patnaik) sleeping on a bed of notes.”
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Odisha is blessed with a rich culture and heritage but the state government has failed to select a tableau to showcase during the Republic Day parade attended by chief guest US President Barack Obama, Sajjan Sharma, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson said.
However, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) tried to shift the blame to the central government for rejecting the Odisha tableau.
“The reason behind the rejection of the tableau is not clear. But it should not be done in a federal country. It is unfortunate,” said BJD spokesperson Ravinarayan Nanda.
BJD Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda said in a tweet that it was disappointing. This is for the second consecutive year that the Odisha tableau got rejected by the central government.
Majority of non-BJP ruled states like Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, were among the 13 states that went unrepresented in showcasing their heritage through a tableau during the Republic Day parade.