Odisha's 'Rangabati' duo brings in two Padma awards

Bestowed with Odisha State Sangeet Natak Academy Award and Akashvani National Award for music, Gountia was also honoured by Sambalpur University for his creations.

Published: 28th January 2020 07:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2020 07:00 AM   |  A+A-

Mitrabhanu Gountia (R) and Jitendra Haripal

Mitrabhanu Gountia (R) and Jitendra Haripal.

By Express News Service

SAMBALPUR:  The evergreen cult favourite ‘Rangabati’ has gained the rare recognition of having two Padma Shri awardees for a single work of art. After its singer Jitendra Haripal was conferred the honour in 2017, its lyricist 77-year-old Mitrabhanu Gountia has been selected for the award this year. 

‘Rangabati’ was recorded for All India Radio (AIR), Sambalpur’s Surmalika programme in 1975-76. It was later re-recorded in disc format at Indian Record Company, Kolkata in 1978-79. The popularity of ‘Rangabati’ can be gauged from the fact Gountia’s village Bilung was renamed as ‘Rangabati Bilung’ by the Revenue department in 2017. 

Reacting to the news of being selected for the fourth highest civilian honour of the country, Gountia said Rangabati gave him name and fame. He said Doordarshan, Sambalpur had produced a documentary of one hour duration on the song. Dedicating the award to lovers of Sambalpuri art and culture, the retired teacher said is a recognition of his dedication to the art.   

Born in 1942, Gountia started writing at the age of 15 only when he was studying in Class IX. His creations of initial days include ‘Masa Odasa Kali’ and ‘Parikhya Chinta’. An ardent lover of nature, Gountia, through his songs and plays, has been sending out messages to save the forest, check deforestation, pollution, education, literacy, etc. Some of his creations include Malli, Lalita, Mohini, Kaeri, Draupadi Haran, Jharbania, Haelu, Pakhal Khuri Thi Mahara, Rakshya Kabacha, Gaon Amar Maa and Jhee Ratan. 

Bestowed with Odisha State Sangeet Natak Academy Award and Akashvani National Award for music, Gountia was also honoured by Sambalpur University for his creations. Besides, he was conferred Odisha State Teachers Award in 2003 for his contribution to the field of education. 

Haripal said he was glad that another member of the Rangabati team has been selected for the honour. “The award will encourage those who are working in the field of folk art and culture,” he said.  On the present trend of Sambalpuri song and music, he said there is no dearth of talent. However, the songs of the present era are getting short-term popularity.  



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