A commemorative postage stamp on the Centenary of The Samaja, an Odia daily newspaper published by Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das :
Issued by India
Issued on Oct 6, 2019
Issued for : Department of Posts is pleased to release a Commemorative Postage Stamp on ‘The Samaja’, to mark its centenary.
Stamp/FDC/Brochure : Sh. Brahm Prakash
Cancellation Cachet : Smt. Nenu Gupta
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 406450
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
- ‘The Samaja’, a widely circulated and read Odia daily, was founded in 1919 by Gopabandhu Das (1877-1928); a visionary and freedom fighter. He was a symbol of Odia identity popularly known as Utkalmani and devoted his entire life to the cause of Odisha in particular and India in general. The environment of his time was marked by the awakening of nationalist forces in Odisha, the introduction of western education and the rise of Indian Renaissance.
- As an educationist, Gopabandhu realised that without education, people would not be conscious of their freedom and duty towards the nation. He was greatly influenced by the work of the Deccan Education Society under the leadership of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. As a result, a school was established at Satyabadi in the district of Puri. Gopabandhu became the Secretary of that school.
- The Odia weekly which he started and edited viz. ‘The Samaja’ was the means to propagate his ideas and create awareness among the masses. He emphasised on four major problems, viz. amalgamation of all the Odia speaking tracts; permanent measures for the prevention of floods and famines in Odisha; the restoration of Odia’s right to manufacture salt free from excise duty; and spread of education on Satyabadi model. He brought Gandhiji to Odisha in 1921 to further the cause of Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested by the police in 1921 and imprisoned. He was released from Hazaribagh jail on 26 June, 1924. Subhash Chandra Bose rightly called him the father of the national movement in Odisha.
- Today, the Odia daily ‘The Samaja’ continues to be a powerful medium to carry unbiased and independent news to every nook and corner of the state. It was initially published from Cuttack and now it has multiple editions being published from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Balasore and Berhampur in Odisha apart from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Kolkata in West Bengal.
- Over the years, it has slowly transformed itself into an institution. In the annals of the post-Independence era, the role of ‘The Samaja’ has been instrumental in contributing to the nation-building process. Now, it has a readership of around Sixteen Lakh having a daily circulation of nearing Three Lakh Fifty Thousand.
- ‘The Samaja’, is owned and managed by ‘Servants of the People Society’ (Lok Sevak Mandal), New Delhi, a trust founded by Punjab Kesari, Lala Lajpat Rai. The association of many a luminary in the course of time has enriched ‘The Samaja’. The profound and enormous contribution of Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai, Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, Rajarshi Purushottam Das Tandon, Sri Balwant Rai Mehta, the former Prime Minister of India Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri, former Vice-President of India Shri Krishna Kant, former Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Biswanath Dash, Padma Bhushan Dr. Radhanath Rath has enabled the newspaper to leave an indelible imprint on the psyche of every Odia as the ‘Newspaper of the populace’.
- Apart from disseminating news, ‘The Samaja’ is committed to several social causes. The ‘Samaj Relief Committee’ has been the social face of ‘The Samaja’ over the years. The objective has always been the welfare of the people of Odisha be it their health, education or relief during natural calamities. ‘The Samaja’ reaches every doorstep through its relief work as a tribute to his founder. ‘The Samaja’ has established a 100-bed hospital known as Gopabandhu Institute of Medical Science and Research at Madhabpur under Athgarh subdivision of Cuttack district to provide health services to the poor and distressed. Scholarship is being provided to encourage talented students to carry out their academic ambitions.
- Text : Based on information received from the proponent.