Biju (Bijayananda) Patnaik (1916 – 1997) is the only person in India on whose death his body was wrapped in the national flag of three countries. India, Russia and Indonesia.
Biju was also the Chief Minister of Odisha for 2 terms.
Biju Patnaik was a pilot and when the Soviet Union was in trouble during World War II, he bombed Hitler’s forces by flying a fighter aircraft Dakota, which forced Hitler to retreat. The highest award was also given to him and he was granted honorary citizenship by the Soviet Union.
When the Kavalis attacked Kashmir, it was Biju Patnaik who made several trips a day from Delhi to Srinagar on 27th Oct 1947 by flying a plane and transporting the soldiers to Srinagar.
Indonesia was once a colony of Dutch ie Holland and the Dutch occupied a large area of Indonesia. Dutch soldiers kept the whole sea around Indonesia under their control and they did not let any Indonesian citizen out.
Indonesia was freed from Dutch in 1945 and again in July 1947 PM Sutan Sjahrir was house arrested by the Dutch. They sought India’s help. Then Nehru asked Biju Patnaik to rescue the then Indonesian PM Sjahrir to India. On 22nd July 1947, Biju Patnaik and his wife took a Dakota plane without caring for her life, while flying over the control area of the Dutch, they landed on their soil and showing great bravery brought the Indonesian Prime Minister to India safely via Singapore. The incident developed a tremendous energy in them and they attacked the Dutch soldiers and Indonesia became a completely independent country.
Later, when the daughter of Indonesian President Sukarno was born, he called Biju Patnaik and his wife to name the newcomer. Then Biju Patnaik and his wife named the daughter of the President of Indonesia as Meghawati. Indonesia had granted honorary citizenship award ‘Bhumi Putra’ of their country to Biju Patnaik and his wife in 1950. Later he was awarded the highest honorary award of Indonesia ‘Bintang Jasa Utma’ on their 50th year of independence.
After the death of Biju Patnaik, seven days of state mourning was observed in Indonesia and one day state mourning was observed in Russia and all flags were lowered.