Friday, September 22, 2017

Early Days Of Naveen Patnaik & 10 Things Which You Might Not Be Aware About Him!

Naveen’s struggle with Odia language is well known and has been ever talked about or criticized since the time he took the political plunge. Patnaik, fondly referred to as Pappu by his family and friends, dons a white kurta and slippers for his routine wear; his sense of simple fashion is well familiar with all. Uninterrupted for 16 long years, he still rules Odisha as the Chief Minister which justifies Naveen’s expertise as a tough political strategist!


Apart from what we all generally know, here is a compilation of the an interesting & unique account of Naveen Patnaik’s life, on his 70th birthday!


1) Academic high-flyer & an art connoisseur

The academic years of Naveen rolled out in an elite way. He obtained his senior Cambridge certificate from the noted Doon School where even Sanjay Gandhi was one of his classmates and then he attended Delhi University for his Bachelor’s Degree in Arts. Interestingly, back in Doon School, art was Naveen’s favourite subject and he showed great inclination towards oil painting!


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2) His boutique days of glitz and glamour

In an alluring way, Naveen dabbled in the world of high fashion. Very few might know that during 1960s, he had opened a fashion boutique named the Psychedelhi along with one of his close buddies in the capital’s renowned Oberoi Hotel. His clients not only included the famous Beatles, he also landed up with projects for supplying designer clothes to exclusive outlets in London!


3) Writing is synonymous to love for Naveen

Naveen’s literary fondness is well marked by the fact that he has penned not just one but four books of entirely unique genres. His three internationally acclaimed coffee table books are titled as A Second Paradise, A Desert Kingdom: The People of Bikaner and Garden of Life: An Introduction to the Healing Plants of India. The fourth one that follows is on the Sacred Geography of Puri which is an extensive compilation of the religious land of Puri!


4) A life of luxurious travels and high profile friends

For many years Naveen mostly lived abroad in the United States of America and travelled extensively till the age of 50. Patnaik always had a deep affinity for anything that symbolized artsy opulence, be it from any region of the world. In fact to him, Odisha was just a vacation home. Besides, his friendship with Mick Jagger and former U.S. First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy has been particularly famous. The bond with Jacqueline even led her to edit Naveen’s book!


5) The political reluctance

Patnaik’s sublime world came to a halt when Odisha’s political responsibility fell on him after his father’s death in April 1997. He did put up arguments of having never stayed in the state & his unfamiliarity with Odia language. But his mind was eventually changed after a meeting with the then Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, after which he got convinced to carry forward the political legacy of Biju Patnaik’s. Since then, Naveen has survived the journey from being a political novice to one of Odisha’s most charismatic leaders!


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6) A proud holder of varied positions & titles

Naveen’s companionship with art connoisseur Martand Singh, resulted in their partnership for setting up the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Patnaik has even served as a member of the Consultative Committee of Ministry of Steel & Mines, Member of Standing Committee on Commerce, and also on the post of Member Library Committee of Parliament.


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7) His first trip abroad as the Chief Minister

Although travelled far and wide before being a politician, it was only in 2012 that Naveen made his maiden trip to the United Kingdom, after being in power for twelve years as Odisha’s Chief Minister. Besides official discussions made during this trip, Patnaik inaugurated the first-ever exhibition of Orissa (now Odisha) handloom products in London to promote the state’s craftsmanship!


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8) Handsome praises for effectively handling the situation during Cyclone Phailin

The well executed Mission Zero Casualty before and after Cyclone Phailin of 2013 was extremely praiseworthy for Naveen Patnaik government. So much so, that United Nations felicitated Naveen for his massive preparedness and efficient model of disaster management. Through this compliment, Odisha became the first state in Southeast Asia to be honoured for disaster management by the United Nations.


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9) A passionate bibliophile

Not only he is an amazing writer, but Naveen is also known to be a passionate reader. From Jane Austen, Malcolm Gladwell to books on architecture or jazz, Siberia or Lucknow, his collection is extensive & varied. Be it at his home or office, one can always find exclusive books on Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, a few by Strobe Talbott or Open by Andre Agassi. Every selection is interspersed with thin Georgette Heyer paperbacks which can be noticed on the shelves.


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10) Low in fashion, high on appreciation!

In contrast to other well booted dignitaries, it is Naveen’s simple and grounded demeanour which has earned him the likes of many. There was even an instance when he was bestowed with the title of being the ‘coolest’ chief minister for sitting comfortably with his chappals under his feet, even at the prestigious Make In India Initiative meet!


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