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Naveen Government not serious about the Relics of Biju's Heroism!

 

Posted Wednesday July 06, 2016

Biju Patnaik, Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, Biju Janata Dal, BJD  
 
The Dakota in which Biju Patnaik flew the Indonesian freedom fighters to India is now lying in a decrepit condition at Kolkata Airport. Researcher Anil Dhir, after discovering the fact, has written to Naveen Patnaik, the son of Biju Patnaik and reigning Chief Minister of Odisha, requesting him to get it from there and put it in front of the new terminal of the Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar as a fitting memorial to this great aviator.  
Bibhuti Pati  
 

The ruling political party that pledges time and again to carry forward the dreams of Biju Patnaik, the statesman personality that still rules over every Odia soul, has very little interest in conserving the Biju heritage and keeping live the pride feel of the Odias.

Such a perspective about the ruling party of Odisha, led by the Son of late Biju Patnaik, has developed in the mind of historians and many intellectuals of Odisha in view of the neglected aircrafts used by Biju Patnaik to get away Indonesian President Sukarno from the clutches of the Dutch. As per the information, the Dakota in which he flew the Indonesian freedom fighters to India is now lying in a decrepit condition at Kolkata Airport.

 

Researcher Anil Dhir, after discovering the fact, has written to Naveen Patnaik, the son of Biju Patnaik and reigning Chief Minister of Odisha, requesting him to get it from there and put it in front of the new terminal of the Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar as a fitting memorial to this great aviator.

Another piece carrying the glory of Biju Babu’s historical contribution to Indonesia’s freedom struggle lies in forgotten ignominy in the remote village of Ngota in the Province of Yogyakarta in Central Indonesia. Very few know about it. Hardly anyone from Odisha might have visited it, but this memorial signifies the vital contribution of a Hero of our land to their independence movement.

Apart from being an expert Pilot, for which Nehru came to his help at a critical juncture in the Indonesian freedom struggle, Biju Patnaik knew the cultural and historical links of Kalinga and Indonesia, which made him sprang up to instant action to render some service to the people of Indonesia at their crucial hour of need.

Anil Dhir, a researcher of Odisha’s cultural links, recently visited the spot and revealed the story behind it. On 17th August 1945, Sukarno proclaimed himself as President of the independent Indonesia. The Allied, Dutch and British forces had already landed on the main island of Java, but were mainly concerned with the repatriation of former prisoners of war; however, it was known that the Dutch would soon attempt to retake the former colony. Post the 2nd World War, Jawaharlal Nehru was taking a keen interest in the freedom struggles in the South East Asia. The Independence movement in Indonesia, under Sukarno was given a lot of open and tacit support by India and Nehru was eager to establish an Indian supremacy in the region.

The relics of Heroism

In 1946, Biju Patnaik was asked by Nehru to help the Indonesian freedom fighters and their cause by ferrying planeloads of medicines and humanitarian assistance. It is also believed that arms and ammunition too were sent. Biju’s Kalinga Airlines had nearly a dozen Dakota DC-3 planes, and he, along with his pilots flew numerous sorties, evading the Dutch who had put up land and sea blockades. It was during this time that Biju Patnaik developed a close friendship with Sukarno, who later on became the first President of Indonesia.

The Planes would fly from Kolkata with fuel stops at Mohanbari and Singapore. It was during one such operation that he had rescued Muhammad Hatta, the then Vice President and the Premier Sutan Sjahrir and got them to India. The flights continued till 1949, and in the course of these supplies, there were four fatal crashes.

In July 1947 the Dutch forces had captured most major cities in Java and Sumatra, leaving the Indonesian republic on the defensive. The Red Cross of Malaya wanted to donate medical supplies to for the encircled nationalists and the top Air Force officers of Indonesia, Agustinus Adisucipto and Abdul Rahman Saleh asked Biju Patnaik to transport the materials from Singapore.

His Kalinga Airlines  Douglas C-47B-20-Dakota   bearing  Call Number VT-CLA departed Singapore on the 29th July 1947 at 1:00 A.M. West Indonesian Time after obtaining necessary approvals by both the British and Dutch forces. The night before the flight, the Malayan radio broadcasted that the flight with its registration number would be on a mercy mission. The permission to land at Maguwa airfield in Yugyakarta was given and a safe passage was assured.

The flight was piloted by Alexander Noel Constantine a former officer of the Royal Australian Air Force, and carried nearly three tons of cargo. After a three hour flight, the Pilot made the approach run to the Maguwa airfield and extended the undercarriage for landing.  Just then, two Dutch Kittyhawks appeared and shot at the aircraft. The bullets destroyed the left engine; the aircraft went into a dive and crashed into the paddy fields three kilometers from the airfield. The tail section broke up on impact and the rest of the plane was totally wrecked. 

Of the nine passengers and crew, seven died on the spot. Two others were rushed to the Bethesda Hospital in the city. Beryl Constantine succumbed to her wounds at the hospital, while Handonotjokro survived. The tail portion of the plane was recovered and kept safely in a hangar of the airfield.   

On 1 March 1948, a monument to the crash was built in Ngoto. The shooting down of the Dakota was a turning point in the freedom struggle. Adisucipto and Saleh were declared National Heroes of Indonesia in 1974. Since 1979, the Indonesian Air Force celebrates the crash day as Service Day in commemoration of the crash and remembrance of all those who died. I have written in the visitor’s book about the Indian and Odishan connection. To honor the contribution that we have in Indonesia’s independence, the Government of Odisha should send a delegation to Ngota on the Memorial Day.

Appeals to Recover Dakotas

Researcher Anil Dhir who works on this since last several years says, “he has seen the Dakota in which Biju  Patnaik rescued the Indonesian Premier. It is parked along with two other aircrafts near the end of the now unused East West Runway of the Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport at Kolkata. The Aircraft was parked for years near the present Perishable Cargo Terminal and has been moved and kept in the open.

In last six months Dhir has repeatedly written to the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, the son of Biju Babu, asking him to bring the plane to Odisha for a fitting memorial to Biju Patnaik but to no avail. He is dismayed by the fact the Naveen  Patnaik cannot do  this much for his father. It’s an irony that while the name of Biju makes votes for Naveen and his Biju Janata Dal, the party and its leaders hardly have any interest up-keeping the glorious episodes of Biju Patnaik. Rather, the neglected aircrafts become glaring examples of how they do not even bother ignoring the Braputra (the great person of odisha) of Odisha it’s a glaring example.

Coming across this fact, a passionate admirer of Biju Patnaik and the Chairman of Bhubaneswar based Naxatra News and NK Media, Er Pravat Ranjan Mallick, sought immediate intervention by the ruling Odisha government under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik to recover these historical properties and showcase them as relics of centuries old Kalingan-Indonesian relationship. “It should be the primary duty of the leaders of the party, made in the name of the great leader Biju Patnaik, to bring the aircrafts used by Odisha’s unforgettable Hero.”

 
 

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