Bhubaneswar: While non-resident Odias have started celebrating Nuakhai, an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India, in Dubai, London, Japan and America, spreading awareness about it among the non-Odia speaking population and Non-Indians continues to be a challenge.
In view of this, Global Odias for Odisha’s Development (GOOD), an expatriate group comprising of Odia Professionals living across the globe has made an ambitious attempt to globally popularize Odisha’s premier agrarian festival – Nuakhai.
With the primary objective of popularizing Odia culture & traditions on the global stage, GOOD members, living in Dubai have undertaken a unique and novel initiative. They have approached Global Business Leaders based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and explained the festival and its significance to them and their communication teams. They convinced these leaders and enlisted their support in popularizing this agrarian festival across the globe. Video messages wishing Odia people across the globe were obtained and released to the media.
In a specially recorded video message, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of DP World, UAE Region, Mohammed Al Muallem, sends out his greetings from the United Arab Emirates and congratulates the people on this festival. He wishes that the festival brings in prosperity and joy in people’s lives. He also talks about India being a great nation and about DP World’s partnership in India’s growth story. This message from Muallem is very unique as probably for the first time, a non-Indian business leader has wished the people of Odisha on the festival of Nuakhai.
Padmashri Dr BR Shetty is an Indian born businessman and founder of a number of multinational enterprises. He is the Founder and Chairman of the London Stock Exchange listed company NMC Healthcare and Finablr. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Neopharma and BRS Ventures. In his message, he congratulated all Odias on this auspicious day of Nuakhai festival. He also had some kind words for the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik. He praised Patnaik for his welfare orientation and talked about the insurance scheme which the state government has implemented in the State. He talked about his investment in Odisha in the form of Kalinga Hospital in Bhubaneswar wherein he is trying to do the best for the people of the State.
Being the senior most Indian Government official in Dubai, Consul General of India, Dubai, Vipul, sent out a very warm message. A career diplomat, Vipul, was also engaged for a short time with the Rourkela Steel Plant. Apart from wishing the people on the occasion of Nuakhai, he said that the people of Odisha possess a lot of material and spiritual wealth. He praised the Odia people living in the United Arab Emirates and complimented them for preserving their culture. He congratulated Global Odias for Odisha’s Development (GOOD) for taking this initiative to popularize Nuakhai at the international level.
The messages started with the traditional greeting of ‘Nuakhai Juhaar’, giving the entire video a very traditional and unique feel. The joy of seeing such business leaders, senior government officials and Emirati Business Magnates starting their messages with ‘Nuakhai Juhaar’ in ‘Sambalpuri-Kosli’ language and wishing the people on this festival has been phenomenal. This gesture has definitely led to a lot of smiles and happiness among Odia people across the globe.
According to Senior Member of GOOD, Capt. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, who is the CEO of a shipping company and lives in Dubai, “Nuakhai is the most popular harvest festival of Odisha and is celebrated with pomp and splendor by the Odia community. This festival is similar to Onam in Kerala or Pongal in other southern states .We in ‘GOOD’ have been trying to promote and propagate Odisha’s rich cultural heritage to the global audience and this is one such initiative”.
According to GOOD member, Priyadarshee Panigrahi, who is the general manager of a leading consumer products company and is based in Dubai, ‘This initiative of ours is an attempt to popularize Odisha’s unique agrarian festival – Nuakhai at a global level. By enlisting the voice of global business leaders, attention of non-Indians (and non-Odia speaking Indians) has been drawn to Nuakhai and the traditions associated with it. This will definitely lead to the spread of Nuakhai’s culture across the globe and is a source of immense pride for all of us’.
Global Odias for Odisha’s Development (GOOD) continues to act as an opinion building/pressure group comprising of expatriates from Odisha Province in India whose primary aim is to work for progress of Odisha and promotion of its culture. It has previously been instrumental in building public opinion among the Indian diaspora regarding resumption of regular flights from the Newly Opened Jharsuguda airport in Odisha. GOOD members had met senior Indian leaders like the Chief Minister of Odisha as well as the Consul General of India in Dubai and pressed for regular services from this airport.