By Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems to have developed a wrong notion that governance of Orissa in Oriya depends upon his mercy. His press-note of December 17 and full page display advertisement in major broadsheets of today force us to arrive at this apprehension.
In his December 17 press note it was declared that he had held a meeting with the five members of the ministerial committee on that day for the purpose of “strictly implementing the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 in official and non-official level” to facilitate which a website has been floated by the government. In the full page multi-color advertisement in broadsheet dailies today, this is intriguingly missing.
The advertisement is designed to tell the people that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken historical steps to save and develop Oriya language, and has enumerated the steps he has taken. This is blatant lie. Neither he nor his government has executed any single item claimed to be “historical” in the official advertisement. The entire advertisement is nothing but false propaganda. What a shame it is, that, the people of Orissa are taken for granted by their Chief Minister!
We have now enough reason to apprehend that the Chief Minister is trying to render our movement for governance of Orissa in Oriya inconsequential.
I will come to the crux of the issue in course of the discussion. At the outset let me make it clear that Oriya Language has created Orissa and therefore, it is Oriya language that must rule over Orissa.
Had there been no Oriya Language, there would have been no land called Orissa. Had there been no land called Orissa, there would have been no chief minister called Naveen Patnaik.
So, it is better for Naveen babu to know that governance of Orissa in Oriya is not our begging; it is our right. For Oriya language to rule over Orissa, we don’t need the Chief Minister’s mercy.
I will come to this phenomenon later. Let me first tell Naveen’s sycophants, who pride in posing elite and, imitating the blue-colored jackal of Mitralava, howl in English to the disadvantage of the Oriya-speaking people in Orissa, that, their forefathers would have died forlorn as servants of the “native servants” of the British in neighboring provinces, had Oriya Language not created Orissa as a separate province for them to live in and prosper.
Wherever Oriya was the mother tongue, the Oriya speaking people of that place had wanted to amalgamate their areas into a single province for better management of their individual and collective affairs and in that process they had very ably fought out the nasty designs of the native servants of the British such as the Bengali, Hindi and Telugu speaking people. The main thrust behind their movement was the necessity to preserve and promote the magnificence of their mother tongue. Their mother tongue Oriya had guided them into success in this movement.
Therefore, Orissa belongs to Oriya language.
People’s eagerness to see a province of their own as quickly as possible, of course, left some Oriya speaking tracks outside the geographical limits of modern Orissa; but the Orissa we are living in, is undoubtedly the product of Oriya Language.
To educate the Chief Minister and his sycophants further on this matter, I would like to quote from the immortal poet Gangadhar Meher where he has described how Utkala Bharatee (Oriya Language) labored to create Orissa. Through Meher, she chided various Kings for their negligence to the need of amalgamation of all the tracks under her letters to save her identity, which the envious crooks of rival tongues belonging to neighboring provinces, serving as “native servants” of their British masters, were conspiring to destroy.
Cries of the Mother Tongue
I am quoting only a few instances of how various Kings were jerk-waken by Utkal Bharatee (Oriya Language) to unite with the people in their battle for their mother tongue, by cunningly using the method of scolding for their failure to have woken up in time. Such were the cries of the mother tongue (Utkal Bharatee):
(1) In reprimanding the Bolangir Patna King Ramachandra Dev for his indulgence in hunting tigers instead of coalescing with the people for the cause of the mother tongue, Utkal Bharatee had said:
(2) In Meher’s pen, Utkal Bharatee had upbraided the King of Kalahandi Raghukishore Dev on the same ground in the following terms –
(3) Noteworthy is the way the King of Barapalli Harihar Singh was admonished in the pen of his subject Gangadhar. In those days, Kings were more frightening than Yama, the ‘God of Death’ to their subjects. Meher was an inhabitant of Barapalli. It was normally impossible for a poor subject like him to scold his King for his negligence to get united with the people in the cause of their language. So, Utkal Bharatee used the poet to berate the King by way of linking his silence to his anxiety to preserve his royal title, lest that be quashed by the British that had deliberately promulgated Hindi as official language in Oriya speaking tracks. It was Utkal Bharat that was to dress down the King as follows:
Many instances of how our mother tongue Oriya inspired her children in the British Raj to form our province has been given in my eBook ORISSA PRADESH STRUSTIRE GANAMADHYAMA and its forthcoming printed edition.
With these instances on records, be it known without any ambiguity that, Oriya Language has created Orissa, which has given asylum to Naveen Patnaik after his father’s death in a rejected condition.
He is continuously in power, because this magnificent soil has been granting his prayers for votes, despite all his failings, in the best tradition of mercy shown to people under asylum.
But it seems, he is misreading this magnanimity as his birthright to rule over Orissa. And under this false notion, he is behaving as if he is showing mercy to people of Orissa by declaring to grant limited use of Oriya Language in administration, as is evident from the press note issued by his office on 17th December and the advertisement dated today.
He had told the Assembly on 14th December that for implementation of the Act, his government was working on necessary Rules. But neither the press note issued by his office on 17th December nor the Advertisement of today make any mention of it.
The press note shows that he had taken a meeting with the five Ministerial members of the Committee which comprised, besides the said Ministers, the representatives of the Orissa BhasaSangramSamiti, (hereinafter called the Samiti) without informing them of this meeting.
Committee no product of CM’s sweet will
This Committee was not a product of the CM’s sweet will. It was formed on the basis of agreement with the people represented through the Samiti on implementation of the Act, on the basis of which, Poet Gajanan Mishra had withdrawn his fast on to death. Along with Sri Mishra, many activists including this writer had joined the fast and whole of the State had woken up against the government of Naveen Patnaik. Situation had become so threatening to his smooth sailing in power that he was compelled to declare that, use of Oriya as Official Language would now be a must. Accordingly he had entered into agreement with the Samiti to form a joint committee comprising ministers and the Samiti representatives to formulate the process of implementation of the Act and to monitor the implementation.
The Committee has already met three times and representatives of the Samiti have made the best of their contributions to the cause of Oriya Language, including ‘Language Policy’ outlined by Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak and draft of necessary legislation by this writer. Both of these milestone documents are published by the government at http://bhasha.odisha.gov.in/upload_files/pdf/notification/Vasaniti.pdf
and http://bhasha.odisha.gov.in/upload_files/pdf/notification/Draft%20Odia%20Rule.pdf respectively in the dedicated website at http://www.odia.odisha.gov.in/
But, surprisingly, the CM has taken the meeting with the ministerial members of the Committee without the members of the Samiti and made certain declaration unilaterally that neither tally with the crux of the agreement nor with the purpose of the Committee nor with the aim and objects of the Act.
This is most unfortunate and never acceptable for the people of Orissa.
CM has been contravening the Act
During the16 years of his tenure as CM, Mr. Naveen Patnaik has not honored the Orissa Official Language Act. This is an offense.
The Act has mandated that, “Oriya shall be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has willfully contravened this Act ever since he has become the Chief Minister. He has never used Oriya as Official Language in his own office so far.
Encouraged by this continuous contravention of the Act by the Chief Minister himself, the entire administration of Orissa has discarded Oriya as Official Language and resultantly our mother tongue has declined in its value of utility.
Necessity of new legislation
Why did Orissa Official Language Act – the first amongst all the regional Acts on official language – failed to operate, notwithstanding being the act of the people’s heart? I tried to find out the reason.
And, I found, the Act was inherently defective inasmuch as it had no provision to take to task its contraveners.
This is why, no action has been taken against any contravener of this Act since its enactment, even during the days of J.B.Patnaik, who had tried to implement the Act and was refusing to peruse the files if not put with notes in Oriya.
As a member of the Samiti in the ministerial Committee, it was my duty to suggest a remedy. Hence I thought it prudent to suggest for Rules to implement the Act. There was a problem. The Act had no provision to make and promulgate the necessary Rules. So I advanced a draft amendment to the Act to provide for the Rules and a draft of Rules to drive the Act ahead. My friends in the Samiti endorsed the same and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee Sri Debi Prasad Mishra and other four Ministers – Bikram Keshari Arukh, Arun Kumar Sahoo, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Pranab Prakash Das – accepted the suggestion and directed the GA department to help the Principal Secretary of Law to proceed for legislation thereof with vetting if necessary. Therefore, the CM had told the House on 14th December that the Rules were getting prepared to implement the Act. Media had given his answer due publicity and the Samiti had wholeheartedly welcomed the his reply.
New attempt to sabotage the Act
But sadly and surprisingly on December 17 the CM took a different turn and deviated from the position of 14th December.
In his new posture, he thrashed down the scope of the Act from “all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa” to “circulars”, “advertisements” and “nameplates”. In the advertisement of today, there is no trace of implementation of the Act, whereas “safety of Oriya Language” and “development” thereof are the two items projected as purpose of the CM!
These are nothing but instances of wordy acrobatics devised to fizzle out the movement of the people for governance of Orissa in Oriya.
The Oriya Language has remained safe by her own strength, foiling the conspiracy of the Bengali, Hindi and Telugu speaking people serving as “native servants” of the British. Rejecting their claim of superiority over Oriya Language, the First Linguistic Survey of India had clearly held that Oriya as a language was so superior and splendid and so rich in vocabulary that “neither Bengali nor Hindi nor Telugu can vie with it”. And now, thanks to Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, Ramachandra Khuntia and Dr. Subrat Kumar Prusty, Oriya language has been recognized as Classical Language of India, when neither Bengali nor Hindi are considered for this status. So, the Chief Minister’s “safety” slogan is a contrived attempt to misguide the people. Development of the language doesn’t depend on digitization of books. Has he ever studied how many numbers of rare palm-leaf manuscripts have been missing from the State Museum Library and destroyed in the mouths of the moths? How many of them edited and published? Can he say, what happened to manuscripts and books collected by the directorate of Culture from Kabichandra Kali Charan Pattanayak’s residence after his death? What sort of preservation he is saying? Wordy acrobatics shall not develop the language. Its utility potential can do. Therefore, our demand is for implementation of the Official Language Act, because only the official use of the language can increase its utility potential and drive its development ahead. As the Act has no provision to punish the contraveners thereof, we had drafted and submitted the necessary Rules, as noted supra.
But the press note of 17th December issued by his Office and the Advertisement published by his Public Relations Department today are totally silent on the Rules suggested by this writer on behalf of the Samiti and the Language Policy submitted by Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak as proposed by the Samiti and resolved for in the 1st meeting of the Committee.
The press note and the advertisement issued by the CMO and DIPR respectively are repetition of old tricks used many times to hoodwink the people.
In the intro of the press note it was asserted that the Act shall be strictly implemented. There is nothing new in this assertion. It prods me to ask the CM:
Was it not the direction of the Act when it was enacted and promulgated with “immediate effect” carrying the stipulation that “Oriya shall be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”?
Was it not the position when Chief Minister J.B.Patnaik (as he then was) had issued direction to all his ministerial colleagues on 3 July 1989 to use Oriya Language strictly in every case in every office under their respective control, with immediate effect?
Therefore, the CM’s fresh assertion in his press note that the Act shall be strictly implemented is nothing but repetition of earlier positions and carries no meaning without framing the necessary Rules to punish whosoever uses any other language than Oriya in governance of Orissa.
The modus operandi behind the CM’s new posture is quite intriguing.
The Rules I have submitted on behalf of the Samiti carry provision for punishment and therefore perhaps, it is disturbing for him, because he is a habitual and chronic contravener of the Orissa Official Language Act. Law doesn’t discriminate between the CM and a common functionary. I am afraid; this is the reason behind his new posture.
In this new posture, on December 17, the CM has played a joke on Oriya Language by saying that the Orissa Official Language Act shall be strictly implemented. This joke is discernible in the very fact that from that day to this day, he has not given any order in Oriya and his office has been working in English language as before. In other words, he has been contravening the Official Language Act even after declaring that the same shall be strictly implemented.
The harmful design of the Chief Minister is discernible in his press note where implementation even of the purpose of the Official Language Act has been left to decision to be arrived at after studying the language scenario prevalent in other provinces.
Orissa administration in Oriya language cannot be allowed to be dependent on practices prevalent in other provinces.
As has clearly been told above, Oriya Language has created Orissa as a province.
Therefore, the entire province of Orissa belongs to Oriya Language.
There cannot be any compromise on this position and any mischief that makes the governance of Orissa in Oriya dependent on practices elsewhere would stand rejected by the people of Orissa as a harmful design contrived by non-Oriyas and anti-Oriyas. The false assertion in the advertisement today is a creation of this harmful design.
Wake up dear all who love the mother tongue and the motherland.