Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab was born with a silver spoon. He was deeply imbued with patriotic fervor from his school days. Left college education half way in response to the call of Mahatma Gandhi and played a pivotal role in freedom movement. Accompanied the entourage of Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Odisha in the year 1921.
Joined the Indian National Congress and organized satyagraha in Balasore district. Founded the popular Oriya daily “Prajatantra” under the aegis of “Prajatantra Prachara Samiti”. Joined the salt satyagraha movement of Mahatma Gandhi and courted imprisonment. Elected as the President of State Congress Committee 1937-1938. Nominated by Subhash Chandra Bose as the member of National Congress Working Committee in 1939.
He was imprisoned in Ahamad Nagar jail along with other national leader. He was released in 1945. Took over the reins of administration as Chief Minister in 1946, and continued as such till 1950. Joined the Central Cabinet as Cabinet Minister and became the secretary general of Central Congress Parliamentary Party from 1952 to 1954. Later became the Governor of Maharastra State 1955-56. Became Chief Minister of Odisha in 1956 to 1960 and member, Lok Sabha 1961 to 1967.
Later elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly. Protested against the emergency in 1976 and was imprisonment. Dr. Mahatab was a great literature, writer, historian and statesman of repute. He initiated a system of honoring distinguished writers in a special literary function annually held on Visubha Sankranti Day. He was honored by a Doctorate from Andhra University, Dr. Mahatab was the prime mover for the integration of Indian states.
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Article Courtesy – FullOrissa