Masses and Mass Media of Orissa for Oriya Language: The Documentation of Bhasha Andolan

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The present day Orissa was created in 1936 as the Oriya speaking people wanted a separate province of their own to have their official affairs managed in their mother tongue. The British power that was then in occupation of India had to bow to the Oriya movement and thus Orissa took her shape as the first Linguistic State of India.

But, post independence politicians – some belonging to the families of the same non-Oriya native servants of the British dragged mostly from Bengal and settled in Orissa; some eager to show off their elitism and knowledge in English; and others too simple to control non-Oriya officers of Indian Civil Service and indigenous officers of anglicized mentality – have ruined this position. The incumbent Chief Minister’s abhorrence for mother tongue of the people has rendered this splendid classical language de facto defunct. Like the masses and mass media of Orissa had fought for separate identity of their motherland, the masses and mass media of today’s Orissa are fighting for restoration of primacy and paramountcy of Oriya Language in governance of Orissa under the banner of Bhasha Andolan.

This movement has no parallel in the history of mankind. A team of four eminent Oriyas per day takes up the movement’s flag of unity – Black Flag – and walk silently on the most sensitive part of the capital city of Orissa starting from the Assembly to the Governor’s House passing through the citadel of power – the Secretariat – daily evening at five.

The movement, begun on 13 April (Orissa’s New Yeaar’s Day) 2016, had postponed its ‘Black Flag March’ on 24 May 2016, as bowing to its demand the CM had amended the Orissa Official Language Act,1954 on the 21st to facilitate formation of Rules to ensure governance of Orissa in Oriya, with a declaration to completely remove all obstacles from the way of implementation of the Act by August 15. But, he betrayed the people and the movement has resumed its ‘Black Flag March’ since the 16th August.

This book, published on the 9th August by ‘Shabdasparsha’ and formally released on 30th November, is a documentation of the unique movement from 13 April to 24 May, 2016.

We have made the book available on Scribd for the Oriyas of the world and their supporters.

Governor moved to return Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is sad that the Legislative Assembly failed to use its legislative wisdom while passing the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill 2016 verbatim the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. My discussion in print media at http://bhashaandolan.com/oriya-language-legislative-wisdom/ dwells on it.

The adopted Bill being verbatim what the bureaucracy wanted it to be, crippled with inherent deficiency that may need remedy through further amendment to implement the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954, Bhasha Andolan, Orissa has, in a letter to the Governor, requested him to return the same with advice to the Government to come up with a fault-free legislation. The same is placed here for documentation:

To:
The Hon’ble Governor of Odisha,
Raj Bhawan, Bhubaneswar.

IN THE MATTER OF ODISHA OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
(AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016

Hon’ble Sir,
The Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2016, as passed in the State’s Legislative Assembly on 28 September 2016 deserves to be denied with assent on the following grounds:

1. The Bill has replaced the Ordinance dated 21 May 2016. The said Ordinance was a creation by bureaucracy, which has neither legislative wisdom nor legislative power. Members while debating on it had pointed out various defects in the Bill, but sadly no addition or alteration was advanced. Resultantly, such a Bill has been passed that, if it gets your assent, it would be a law created by Non-lawmakers.

2. The Bill is in two languages: English and Oriya. The Oriya version is saturated with ambiguous and incorrect words. If the Bill is given assent, the same ambiguous and incorrect Oriya version of the Bill will also gain assent and be a law. This would cause unprecedented anarchy in implementation.

3. Section 66-A (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Orissa Legislative Assembly’ stipulates, “Whenever a Bill seeking to replace an Ordinance with or without modification is introduced in the House, there shall be placed before the House along with the Bill a Statement explaining the circumstances which had necessitated immediate legislation by ordinance”. This explanation is totally absent in the Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

4. The Bill has totally and deliberately failed to state the circumstances which had necessitated immediate legislation by an Ordinance in the statutory Statement, because the member-in-charge, the Chief Minister himself, was eager to suppress the fact that , Black Flag movement of Bhasha Andolan in demand for punishment to whosoever functionary contravenes the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 be punished by creation of legislation for the same and that was the circumstance which had necessitated the Ordinance to create Rules for the purpose, as the Act had not given authority to the State to create such a provision.

5. Suppression of such vital information in the statutory Statement as required under Sec.66-A (1) had made the Bill devoid of merit for consideration and approval in the Assembly.

6. Sad, the Assembly has passed it on 28 Sept 2016; which means it has been passed without application of legislative wisdom and in contravention of Section 66-A(1) of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Orissa Legislative Assembly’.

Under the above circumstances, we request you to be kind enough to refuse to give assent to this bad Bill, wrongfully passed in the Assembly. If thereby the Ordinance collapses, that would be better than having a law wrongfully created.

We urge upon you, Sir, to please direct the Government to bring out a fresh Ordinance keeping in view the continuing Black Flag demonstration in demand for punishment to whosoever contravenes the Official Language Act 1954 of Orissa.

Sir, since 13 April 2016 the New Year Day of Orissa – every afternoon at 5pm, four eminent Oriyas are marching with Black Flags in their hands in total silence and exemplary peaceful manner, honoring every order/instruction of the government, from the statue of Late Nabakrushna Chowdhury who gave us the Official Language Act to the statue of the ever revered great grand guardian of Oriya nation, late Madhusudan Das, whose matchless sacrifices gave us our resurrected motherland Orissa. In this unique movement, we follow the Gandhian method of peace and non-violence and, in fact, this has emerged the national movement of Orissa, a like of which history has not witnessed anywhere so far. Its single demand is provision of punishment to whosoever contravenes Orissa Official Language Act, because, sans the punitive provision, the Act having come to force “at once” on 14 October 1954, and promulgated finally in Notification dated 29 March 1983, has not been implemented as yet.

We beg you Sir, under the circumstances, to please deny your assent to the utterly defective and deficient Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and to please issue appropriate instruction for inclusion of penalty clause in the Act and Rules for flawless governance of Orissa in Oriya.
Yours,

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Chairman, Bhasha Andolan, Orissa
Oct 12, 2016

Odia: Nothing ‘official’ about it!

By Sandeep Sahu

Bhubaneswar, September 8, 2016

The irony of it! Odisha, which became the first state in India to be formed on linguistic basis way back on April 1, 1936 – 11 years before independence and nearly two decades before the second linguistic state was formed in the country – is witnessing an agitation for the use of Odia in all official business and communication in September, 2016 – 80 years after the formation of the state on linguistic basis and 62 years after the Official Language Act mandating the use of Odia in all official work was passed by the Odisha Assembly under the visionary leadership of the state’s first Chief Minister Nabakrushna Choudhury!!

Even more surprising is the fact that the state government is using all its cunning and obfuscation to make sure Odia remains what it is now: a language that no one in officialdom cares to learn or communicate in. The government has been helped in no small measure by a group led by eminent linguist Dr Debi Prasanna Pattnaik, which has done (and is doing) everything that it can to discredit the Bhasha Andolan, the informal, loosely-bound organization led by veteran journalist Subhash Chandra Pattnaik, which is spearheading the agitation for use of Odia in all official work.

On the face of it, there is no reason why anyone who loves the language should have a problem with an agitation that is fighting for the cause of Odia. After all, all that Bhasha Andolan is demanding is the inclusion of penal provisions in the rules framed by the government, which would make failure to use Odia in official work a punishable offence. But not only is it being opposed tooth and nail; the vitriol being poured out by Dr Pattnaik and his camp followers against the Bhasha Andolan movement that has now entered its 149th day (in two phases) in the vernacular and social media has to be seen to be believed.

It all started with a fast-unto-death started by Patnagarh based poet and activist Gajanan Mishra and some others demanding ‘official language’ status for Odia on July 1, 2015. As the agitation gathered momentum, a worried state government did what it knows best: formed a committee to look into the demand.

Based on the recommendations of the committee, which had some of the leading lights of the movement (including the two Pattaniks now at war) , the government formulated a set of rules for the implementation of the Act passed in 1954. But in a clever sleight of hand, it ignored two of the key recommendations of the committee – the inclusion of penal provisions for violators and formation of a statutory body to monitor the actual implementation of the Act – and entrusted the task of monitoring to a five-member committee headed by the chief secretary instead. The rules were approved by the cabinet on August 12, 2016 and a grandiose announcement was made that Odia would become the ‘official’ language of the state from August 16, 2016, a day after Independence Day.

That the government had no intention of enforcing the mandatory use of Odia in official work and had made the rules and announcement only as an exercise in damage control has become abundantly clear in the three weeks since Odia supposedly became the ‘official’ language of the state. Forget official files being written in Odia, even the statement read out by the Chief Minister during the special, one-day session of the Assembly convened on September 1 to ratify the GST Bill was written in English! Taking a cue from him, bureaucrats have merrily continued using the Queen’s language in everything they write, knowing fully well that the rules they have framed are not worth the paper they are written on.

Meanwhile, the war of words between the two Pattnaiks (Debi Prasanna and Subhash) on either side of the divide has become shriller. In a piece written in Samaj on August 22, the former came out with the preposterous claim that 84% of people in the state are ‘happy’ with the rules framed by the government. No one really knows who conducted the survey that he based his assertion on and when.

It was quite clearly an attempt by the renowned linguist to ingratiate himself with the government of the day. In a series of hard-hitting articles in the vernacular media and posts on Facebook, Subhash Pattnaik laid bare the twin reasons for this honeymoon. First, an agreement signed by the Institute of Odia studies and Research, the organization headed by Dr Pattanaik, with a trust floated by the state government in March, 2015 for propagation of the Odia language, is due for renewal in the next seven months. Second, in a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) at the Centre on August 31, the Higher Education department of the state government has recommended the name of Dr Pattnaik for a Presidential of Award of Certificate of Honour for the year 2106.

On the face of it, there was nothing wrong with the recommendation. After all, even his sworn detractors have never questioned his contribution to research in Odia language. But there is a catch: the award for 2016 had already been announced by MHRD a full fortnight before, on August 15 to be precise! In any case, the award is given for meritorious work in five ancient languages – Sanskrit, Prakruta, Pali, Persian and Arabic – and hence there was no way it could have been given for work on Odia or any other language, for that matter.

With the two eminent Pattnaiks fighting it out in every conceivable forum, the third Patnaik, the most powerful man in the state, is sitting pretty – secure in the knowledge that his condescending concession of occasionally reading out Odia speeches written in the Roman script in his labored, halting way would keep Odias in good humour!

The report in original is here.

We shall force the Govt. to use Oriya: SCP to Nitidin

[ଉପସ୍ଥାପନାର ମୁଖବନ୍ଧରେ ଥିବା “125 ଥର”କୁ “125 ଦିନ” ପଢିବାକୁ ଅନୁରୋଧ | କହିବା ପ୍ରମାଦ (slip of tongue ) ବା ଟିପିବା ପ୍ରମାଦ (slip of pen ) ହେତୁ “ଦିନ”ଟା “ଥର” ହୋଇଯାଇଛି: ସୁଭାଷ ଚ.ପଟ୍ଟନାୟକ ]

NITIDIN_5 DEC 2015