George Fernandes was in Berhampur city as Indira Gandhi declared Emergency

George Fernandes was in Berhampur city as Indira Gandhi declared Emergency on the night of June 25, 1975

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes, who passed away recently, was in Berhampur City (Ganjam) when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi proclaimed Emergency in the country on the night of June 25, 1975.

On that day, Fernandes, a fiery socialist leader, was attending a meeting of intellectuals at Prakasham Theatre in Berhampur in the evening. While addressing the gathering, he apprehended that Indira Gandhi would either resign or might undemocratically declare Emergency in the country to retain power in her hands.

George Fernande was staying at his father-in-law Humayun Kabir’s house on Gopalpur-On-Sea beach near Berhampur City, Odisha during emergency
George Fernande was staying at his father-in-law Humayun Kabir’s house on Gopalpur-On-Sea beach near Berhampur City, Odisha during emergency

The police and the administration on being alerted beforehand had readied themselves to crack down on the dissidents.

Fernandes fled the scene when the meeting was on in Prakasham Theatre in the City. Former Kabisuryanagar MLA-cum-Janata Party leader late Tarini Charan Patnaik and environmentalist-cum-tribal rights activist Prafulla Samantara and others had helped the socialist leader escape from the scene.

He had arrived in Berhampur on June 24, 1975 and was staying at his father-in-law Humayun Kabir’s house on Gopalpur-On-Sea beach near Berhampur City, Odisha. Humayun Kabir was the Education Minister in former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet.


{Humayun Kabir was born on 22 February 1906 in Komarpur, East BengalBritish Raj. His father, Khan Bahadur Kabiruddin Ahmed, was a Deputy Magistrate in Bengal. He came first, with star marks, in his matriculation examination in 1922. He was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, completing his Intermediate in Arts (I.A.) in English with first class third, and Calcutta University, where he completed his B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in English with first class first. He won a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford where he completed his degree in ‘Modern Greats’, i.e. PhilosophyPolitical Science, and Economics with a first class in 1931.


In 1932, he was invited by Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan to join as a lecturer at the newly established Andhra University. Later, he was a Joint Education Adviser, Education Secretary and then Chairman of the University Grants Commission in Delhi. He was the Minister of State for Civil AviationEducation Minister of India twice, under the Prime Ministerships of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was also Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs Minister. In 1965, Indira Gandhi offered him the Madras Governor‘s post, which he declined. From 1956-62, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha and from 1962-69 he was a member of the Lok Sabha, representing Basirhat constituency in West Bengal.

Kabir was the editor of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad‘s biography India Wins Freedom. Azad dictated his biography to him in Urdu, which Kabir translated into English. He was one of the co-drafter of the UNESCO 1950 statement titled The Race Question.


His daughter Leila Kabir is married to Indian politician George Fernandes. His nephew Altamas Kabir was the 39th Chief Justice of India (CJI) and his niece Shukla Kabir Sinha is a judge of the Calcutta High Court. His younger brother Jehangir Kabir is a politician in West BengalIndia.

Humayun Kabir stayed some part of his life in Gopalpur-On-Sea near Berhampur City in Odisha. George Fernandes was staying at his father-in-law Humayun Kabir’s house on the same Gopalpur-On-Sea beach house near Berhampur City just before the announcement of emergency. However, Humayun Kabir died on 18 August 1969 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.}

George Fernande’s June 25th schedule in Berhampur was packed. He attended a meeting of the Berhampur University Employees Association, a meeting with socialist leaders and workers and a gathering of intellectuals in the evening.

He was scheduled to attend a meeting of the Railways Workers Association on June 26 in Berhampur City but before that he fled the Silk City secretly.

Fernandes was the National President of the All India University Employees Association and the Railways Workers’ Federation at that time.
A warrant was issued in Fernandes’ name and subsequently he went underground to escape arrest and prosecution. When the police failed to capture him, they arrested and tortured his brother, Lawrence Fernandes, to reveal his brother’s whereabouts.
On 10 June 1976, he was finally arrested in Calcutta on charges of smuggling dynamite to blow up government establishments in protest against the imposition of emergency, in what came to be known as the Baroda dynamite case. After his arrest, Amnesty International members cabled the Government requesting that he be given immediate access to a lawyer and that his physical protection be guaranteed.
Three world leaders from Germany, Norway and Austria were believed to have cabled Indira Gandhi and cautioned her against harming Fernandes. From Baroda, the accused were shifted to Tihar Jail but the accused were never chargesheeted.

-01 February, 2019/Microstat

Olive Ridley eggs hatch in thousands in Ganjam

Olive Ridley eggs hatch in thousands in Ganjam

Thousands of hatchlings are coming out of the nests buried under sand on this coast to venture into the sea. The Rushikulya rookery coast near Berhampur city in Ganjam district of Odisha is a major mass nesting site for Olive ridley turtles in India. This year, over 3,85,000 mother turtles reached the coast to lay eggs. Each nest contains around 100 eggs. This means over three crore hatchlings are expected to come out of the nests. On an average, 80 hatchlings come out of each nest.

Olive Ridley, microstat

“As the rate of mortality among the hatchlings is so high, the Olive Ridley remains an endangered species,” Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashis Behera said.

Forest range officer Dilip Kumar Martha said the hatching had started in a small number of nests on April 2. The process picked up on the night of April 7 and is expected to last for the next five days. This year, hatching was delayed by a few days because of the rains on the night of April 2.

Bivash Pandav, a scientist of the Wildlife Institute of India, pointed to an interesting fact. The hatchlings come out of the sand 48 hours after they hatch. During this period, they remain under the sand, getting oxygen through the porous sand, their shells turning hard for them to cope with the condition outside.

The Hindu, Sib Kumar Das


Village children join hands in Ganjam to protect sparrows

Village children join hands in Ganjam to protect sparrows

Fifty children of Purunabandha village near Rushkulya rookery near Berhampur city in Ganjam district of Odisha have taken on the mantle for sparrow protection at their village.

Children of Purunabandha village showing the artificial nests provided to them for sparrow conservation and eight-year-old Jogendra Behera (right).

Children of Purunabandha village showing the

artificial nests provided to them for sparrow conservation

and eight-year-old Jogendra Behera (right).

Sparrow protection was started at this village in in 2007 by activists of Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee (RSTPC). Experiments in sparrow conservation including use of various types of artificial nests here have been replicated at several other places in Odisha as well as outside the State. Artificial nests designed by sparrow conservators of Purunabandha are being used in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam outside the State as well as Banei, Tensa, Rourkela, Athagada, Sonepur, Balugaon in Odisha.

In a bid to motivate young generation to continue with the sparrow conservation efforts, the RSTPC and inhabitants of Purunabandha have selected 50 children of 10 to 12 year age group. Rabindranath Sahu of RSTPC said all these children were too friendly with sparrows as they grew up seeing successful attempts in sparrow conservation at their village. Eight-year-old Jogendra Behera is so close to sparrows that these tiny birds perch on his shoulders when he moves around the village. These children were provided specially-designed earthen artificial nests, which they would hang up at any place of their choice. When sparrows start living in their new artificial nests, these children would be in charge of their protection and feeding.

Priya Sahu (12) said that she is looking forward to the day when some sparrow would come over and start staying in her nest to lay eggs.

“We feel children would surely take active interest in sparrow conservation in competitive spirit,” said Mr Sahu.

Parents of these children are happy that they would get some creative pastime . According to Jogendra, sparrows are livelier, more entertaining and friendly than any toys that children can have. Children and elders of Purunabandha village have realised that artificial nests are major catalysts for sparrow conservation as thatched roofs which were natural dwelling places of sparrows have started to vanish from rural areas.

 -The Hindu, BERHAMPUR, January 25, 2016