06 October 2019
Bhubaneswar: October 4 marks a significant day in the history of revolutionary and modern Odisha. This was the day in 1919 when Pandit Gopabandhu Das launched the weekly newspaper ‘The Samaja’ which went on to become synonymous with newspapers in Odisha over the years, and still maintains the same stature today.
Gopabandhu Das, a prominent freedom fighter and social worker started it as a weekly from Satyabadi in Puri district of Odisha to facilitate the freedom struggle and to revive the moribund Odia language. Under his leadership, and with the support of local people, the paper grew into prominence. In 1928, just before the death of Das, the paper was handed over to Lok Sevak Mandal (Servants of People Society), a non-profit organization started by freedom-fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. ‘Servants of the People Society’ still runs the paper.
The mass circulated and widely read Odia daily celebrated 100 glorious years of existence on October 4 this year. 'The Samaja' stands for high standards of accuracy, authenticity and the core value of journalism. Addressing a gathering on the centenary celebration of the newspaper, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu rightly said that Samaja is the nerve centre of journalism in Odisha.
Over the years, Samaja has transformed itself into an institution. In the post-independence era, the role of 'The Samaja' has been instrumental in awakening the social values and contributing to the nation-building process.
With a modest beginning, Samaja today boasts of eight editions published simultaneously from Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Balasore, Cuttack, Kolkata, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Vizag spreading across three States - Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Apart from disseminating news, 'The Samaja' is committed for its social milieus and value system. The 'Samaja Relief Committee' has been the social face of the 'The Samaja' over the years. The objective has always been the welfare of the people of Odisha be it their health, education or in their time of distress during natural calamities.
The doyen of print journalism in Odisha, ‘The Samaja’ sets an example of credibility and consistency.