Orissa

Orissa Orissa is bounded on the north by Bihar, on the north-east by West Bengal, on the east by the Bay of Bengal, on the south by Andhra Pradeshand on the west by Chhattisgarh. The Eastern Ghats range and the Chota Nagpur plateau occupy the western and northern portions of the state, while fertile alluvial plains occupy the coastal plain and the valleys of the Mahanadi, Brahmani, and Vaitarani rivers, which empty into the Bay of Bengal. These alluvial plains are home to intensive rice cultivation.

Date of formation 1 April 1936
Area 155,707 km�
Capital
Bhubaneshwar
Governor M M Rajendran
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Geography

The capital of Orissa is Bhubaneswar <../cities/bhubaneswar.html>. The city of Puri is nearby on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Puri is a famous holy city and site of the annual festival of Lord Jagannath.

It is situated on the eastern coast and is among the poorest States of India. It has a population of 32 million with a very high percentage of scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, approximately 40% of the total population. The rate of growth in Orissa has been abysmally poor in comparison with the national average, for instance; in the 1990s Orissa's rate of growth was 4.3% in comparison to the national average of 6.7%. The agricultural sector accounts for 32% of the GSDP and 62% of the total employment, there is a stagnation in per capita income in the past two decades. Around 17.5 million people live below the poverty line. Poverty is significantly worse in the western and southern districts of the state. The literacy rate is 50% and the rate of literacy is even worse in case of Adivasis (Tribals) and Dalits.

History and Culture

Oriya is the State's official language. The state has a opulent cultural heritage.

Orissa is one of the eastern states of India. The region, earlier known as the kingdom of Kalinga was scene of the bloody war fought by king Asoka the Great of Magadha.

A list of various dynasties that ruled Orissa from 3rd Century B.C. is given below.

  • Murundas Dynasty
  • Matharas Dynasty
  • Nala Dynasty
  • The Vigrahas and the Mudgalas
  • Sailodbhava Dynasty
  • Bhaumakaras Dynasty
  • Nandodbhavas Dynasty
  • Somavamsis Dynasty
  • The Eastern Gangas
  • Suryavamsi Dynasty


Natural Areas

Chilka Lake, a brackish water coastal lake on the Bay of Bengal, south of the mouth of the Mahanadi River, is the largest coastal lake in India. It is protected by the Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary, which harbors over 150 migratory and resident species of birds.

Population

About 87% of the population live in the villages and one third of the rural population does not own any land other than homesteads. The small marginal farmers who constitute around 80% control only 47% of the land. Medium and large farmers who constitute 5% control 24% of the land.

The Adivasis who constitute 24% and they belong to 62 different ethnic communities. Their entire livelihood system evolves around the forest ecosystem. Over the years collection of forest produce, hunting and persuasion of other traditional ways of living have become increasingly difficult, influencing socio-cultural life. The vagaries of modernisation such as mining and industrial activities, construction of dams, roads, railways have not only caused environmental hazards but have displaced the Adivasi communities. The loss of access to forest produce and the lack of bargaining power in marketing what ever commodities, forest produce they have, for fair prices has left the Adivasi communities virtually bankrupt.

The Dalits who comprise 16% of the total population are subjected, to live a life of deprivation and ignominy. For historical reasons, most of the Dalits are landless and depend on various low service/occupations, petty business and crafts for their livelihood. They are among the worst hit communities as a result of ecological degradation. They are deprived of their right to live a dignified life by the vagaries of centuries old social system, wherein the rights and status is determined by the caste they are born into.

The infant mortality rate of 97 remains highest in India. In terms of infrastructure Orissa is impoverished in terms of railways, telecommunication, literacy and irrigation coverage. Only 20% of the road network are paved and more than half the population does not have access to bus facilities within two kilometers of their homes. In rural areas more than 65% of the population have no access to safe drinking water and around 96% do not have sanitation facilities over 82% of families do not have electricity and over 87% live in temporary houses.

To add to the aforesaid, Orissa faces frequent natural diasters such as cyclones, floods, and droughts as a combination of both natural and man-made causes.

Religious Background

  • Buddhist
  • Hinduism
  • Jainism
  • Shaivism
  • Saktism
  • Sun Worship
  • Vaishanavism

Education

Orissa is the home of many colleges and universities including:

Universities

  • Utkal University, Vanivihar, Bhubaneswar.
  • Fakir Mohan University, Byasa Vihar, Balasore.
  • Berhampur University, Bhanja Vihar, Berhampur.
  • Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneswar.
  • Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Sambalpur.
  • Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri.