Odisha Surakhya Sena has registered a case against the singers Rituraj Mohanty and Sona Mohapatra at the capital police station in Bhubaneswar for weird rendition of ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ (misspelt as ‘Jannini’), the state anthem of Odisha.
The outrage over Rangabati was more pronounced in western Odisha where the song had its origins. But most Odias would have perhaps forgiven the fiddling around with Rangabati since it is, at its core, a folk song, though an immensely popular one, and speaks the language of love that most songs of the genre do. It is the liberties taken with the state anthem that has got the goat of most Odias. Given the outrage it has already sparked, it is almost certain that there would be a spate of court cases seeking a ban on it in the days to come.
Rituraj can’t understand what the fuss is all about. “MTV Coke Studio is a huge platform. It would take the song to the world at large. I just don’t understand what is wrong with the song,” he says.
Bande Utkala Janani song is written by Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra. When Odisha became independent on 1 April 1936, this poem was made the state anthem of Odisha.