DISHONOURING JAYADEVA’S ORIYA ORIGIN IS AN ACT OF CULTURAL DISHONESTY- Donaldson

Dr. Thomas E. Donaldson, Professor in Asian Art History at the Cleveland State University of America, has made it clear that Sri Jaya Deva whose love-lyrics have been edited as �Gita Govinda� was an Oriya by birth and every attempt to link him to Bengal by a section of the Bengalis must be construed as an act of cultural dishonesty.

Teaching at CSU since 1969, Prof. Donaldson is an international authority on Indian culture. He has toured India extensively and has deeply analyzed Indian civilization on the basis of her art history. The world is indebted to him for the light he has thrown on Orissa�s unique contributions to man�s philosophy, arts and culture. His works include �Hindu Temple Arts of Orissa� in three volumes (Leiden 1985-87), �Kamadeva�s Pleasure Guarden-Orissa� (Delhi,1987), �Sculptural Masterpieces from Orissa: Style and Iconography� (New Delhi, 1998), �Ornaments of Orissa� (Delhi,1998), �The Iconography of Vaisnava Images in Orissa� (New Delhi, 2001), �Iconography of Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa� in two volumes (New Delhi, 2001), and �Tantra and Sakta Art of Orissa� in three volumes (New Delhi, 2002).

Addressing a seminar on �Sri Gopinath and Jaya Deva� organized by the Utkal University of Culture at Soochana Bhawan here on 14 February 2003, this scholar par excellence totally agreed with Orissa�s position as the motherland of Sri Jaya Deva and made it abundantly clear that the poet was not at all a contemporary of Bengal�s King Laxman Sen as claimed by the Bengalis and hence it is quite absurd to say that he was his court poet. In fact, the Bengalis had no knowledge of Sri Jaya Deva till a section of them following Sri Chaitanya came in contact with his love songs at Puri where the later had found his final quest-point on philosophy. The said protagonists of �Goudiya� sect, charmed as they were by their Master�s reverence for Sri Jaya Deva, spread his fame in Bengal. And, later, when Orissa lost her freedom to British power that clubbed her administration to Bengal, in an urge of chauvinism, attempts were made to appropriate this splendid son of Orissa by a section of Bengalis, he said.

Emphasizing that Gita Govinda is a part of Puri heritage, Prof. Donaldson declared that it is Orissa and only Orissa in whole of India that has to her credit the oldest of manuscripts of this immortal work and the oldest available annotations on it, the �Sarvangasundari Tika� written in the 14th century. This as well as the �Rasikapriya Tika� authored by Rana Kumbha, king of Chitore, in the 15th century do decidedly place Sri Jaya Deva in the Brahmin village �Kenduvilva� that was situated near Puri of Orissa. No Brahmin village by this name had ever existed in Bengal, he said. If at all there was a village by the name of Kenduli on the bank of river Ajay in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, it was certainly not the birthplace of the poet of Gita Govinda. Had that been the birthplace of Jaya Deva, poet Chandra Datta, belonging to the Bengali race, would certainly have proudly trumpeted that in his famous work �Bhakta Mala�. But he has clearly stated that Sri Jaya Deva was born in the Brahmin village �Kenduvilva� near Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannatha. On the other hand, there is no mention of Sri Jaya Deva in any literary work of Bengal prior to the 18th century linking his origin to Bengal. The evidences paraded by the Bengali community in support of its claim on Sri Jaya Deva are so feeble and flimsy that a serious student of literature and cultural history cannot put any premium on them, he said. Stating that the poet�s name has been mischievously linked with Laxmansen only after decadence of Orissa�s political influence under a foreign power, Prof. Donaldson felt that this cultural dishonesty might not have received any encouragement had Orissa of the 18th century not been in a disadvantage administratively and had her voice not been rendered feeble under the foreign yoke. But, whatever whosoever may say, every credible piece of archaeological and literary records makes it doubtlessly clear that Sri Jaya Deva was born in Orissa and by birth belonged to the race of the Oriyas, he pinpointed.

IT IS WRONG MR.SPEAKER !

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Speaker’s action in recognising Mr. Prasanna Kumar Acharya as the new leader of the Lok Sabha wing of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is an issue that goes beyond the BJD.

Democracy depends basically on collective wisdom of the citizenry expressed through political parties. To imagine of democracy without a political party is as bizarre as a parliamentary wing being considered independent of the party it represents.

On the other hand, dissidence in a political party is not undemocratic There is admittedly rampant dissidence in BJD. So, formation of a group in the parliamentary wing of BJD under the leadership of Mr. Acharya is not surprising.

What bothers one is the manner in which he has been recognised by the Speaker.

It is argued that the Speaker is the sole authority to recognise the leader of the parliamentary wing of a political party in the House. That is not contested. The question is: how could he come to know that BJD has changed its leader in Lok Sabha? Did the BJD inform him that Acharya was elected the new leader of its parliamentary wing requiring an amendment in his previous order of recognition? No. Did Arjun Charan Sethy, recognised earlier as the leader of BJD inform the Speaker of any such change? No. Can any member or any numbers of members of parliament belonging to a political party cause a change in the legislative leadership of that party behind the back of the organisation and can this be acceptable within the framework of democracy? No.

When there is no fissure in a political party, there is no problem. But, once there is one discernible, can a rebel group be accepted as representing the original party?

The Speaker should have applied his mind to this.

One who puts premium on democracy must expect that the Speaker, in such cases, would, at the first instance, obtain from the Election Commission the name and address of the relevant office-bearer of the political party in question and ascertain from that source as to whether that party wants a change in the leadership of its parliamentary wing. He should have recognised Acharya only on the basis of an affirmative reply from BJD. That would have been in conformity with the tenets of democracy. And that would have been justified.

Number of traitors in a parliamentary wing of a political party may multiply but that cannot diminish the authority of the party they represent. Democracy rests on the party system and therefore, authority of political parties over their members of parliament should remain ever absolute. Any member of parliament can revolt against his party leader within his party and can cause a change in its hierarchy with majority support and with the authority of that reorganised set-up can also effect a change of leadership in its parliamentary wing. But before that any attempt by any member of parliament to cause a change in his or her party’s parliamentary wing must be termed as unauthorised and undemocratic.

The fissure in the parliamentary wing of BJD had given the Speaker a chance to clear as to whether a group of MPs can claim a privilege to be considered independent of the party they represent; but it seems, it has not happened.

What has happened, hence, is wrong

COPS SUSPENDED FOR LOCKUP DEATH

Bhubaneswar Bureau

Pitambar Nayak, an assistant sub-inspector of police and Bipina Bihari Nanda, constable have been suspended by the disciplinary authority under clouds of their suspected involvement in a lockup death in the Mahanga police station within the constituency of Orissas Assembly Speaker.

In demand for exemplary action against the police personnel responsible for the custodial death, about half a thousand people of the locality had staged a road blockade on National Highway No.5 last night, disrupting vehicular traffic from 9 pm to 2 am.

Police authorities not only suspended the accused duo, but also have pressed into action the Human Rights Protection Cell in order to conduct an in depth investigation.

RIGHTS PANEL ON THE ANVIL

Bhubaneswar Bureau

Now shall there be no problem in having a Human Rights Commission in Orissa. The State Cabinet has decided on February,1 to create this commission with a five-member panel.

To be headed by a retired chief justice of any high court, the panel shall include a retired or sitting high court judge, a retired or sitting district judge and two of such persons who know human-rights-related laws and issues. Subordinate bureaucratic posts for manning the commissions office have also been created.

Bhubaneswar Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Feb.5, 2003

The annual Conference of Collectors, convened after long 32 months, was to hear from the Chief Minister yesterday that the people have lost their faith in administration. Make the welfare measures like the Pani Panchayat, Mission Shakti, and Watershed Mission a success; speed up execution of Prime Ministers Rural Roads Programmes; take up e-governance; take administration to doorsteps of the people; retrieve their faith on government; they were told.

Expressing ire over delay in implementation of the centrally sponsored schemes in the State, the Chief Minister called upon the Collectors to monitor every ongoing project within the areas under their respective jurisdiction and to faithfully follow the guidelines issued by the Chief Secretary recently. In view of exposure over starvation deaths, the Collectors were advised to be more cautious and to file their reports in time in the matter of draught management and malnutrition.

The Collectors had to hear all the Ministers who competed with each other in criticizing the chief executive offices of every district, but had no free scope to air their respective experience in the matter of execution.

In almost a manner of rushing to a hide out, some of the collectors tried to take the plea that vacancies in most of the base level posts are the main cause of delay in implementation of welfare projects. But this couldnt convince the State. Later of course, reporting power in respect of character rolls of district level officers of all streams was announced vested in the Revenue Divisional Commissioners, who, armed with this magic stick, the government believe, can cause officers of departments not belonging to the department of revenue to which the collectors belong co-operate with them in monitoring of projects. Lack of manpower in the base level remained covered up under ambiguity.

However, one thing was clear that the ruling leadership is feeling uneasy over decadence of public faith in administration, even as bickering between both the partners in government is refusing to decline.

ASI SUSPENDED FOR ATTEMPT TO RAPE

Bhubaneswar Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Feb.4,2003

Ramesh Chandra Das, an Assistant Sub-Inspector of police in Jagannathprasad outpost of Ganjam has been put under suspension on charges of attempt to rape an unmarried girl in course of an investigation.

In the night of February 1, he reached the house of the victim under the guise of official duty. Earlier in the day, the girl had accompanied her mother to the out-post on call from the ASI to clarify their position in a dowry related matter. The officer took the girl to an attached enclosure and abused her peripherally. The place being disadvantageous in view of its accessibility to public, he then let the girl go with pronouncement that he shall visit her in her house during the night and if she refuses to satisfy his desire, then implication in the dowry torture case would be a must. The poor child, on return from the outpost, informed this to her villagers who decided to keep a secret watch. Storming into her house, without any qualm, Ramesh dragged away the girl to the backyard and the villagers, as per their plan, caught him red-handed in his attempt to rape her.

He was physically rescued by the Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Bhanjnagar the next day but not before being beaten black and blue.

POLICE OFFICER NABBED BY VIGILANCE TEAM

Bhubaneswar Bureau

Bhubaneswar,Feb.4,2003

The Officer-in-charge of Railway Police Station, Puri, Madhu Mishra was nabbed today by vigilance sleuths while taking bribe from the brother-in-law of an accused for forwarding the case dairy (cd) to the court to help him expedite hearing on his bail plea.

One Shambhu Nayak was remanded to judicial custody three days ago for having manhandled a tourist from Bihar. His application for bail could not be granted in absence of the case dairy. As per practice, the court preferred to wait till it comes to record. Legally, therefore, there was no chance of hearing till the Government Railway Police forwarded the cd.

As the family members of Shambhu were eager to bail him out, the cd was to be available to the court as early as possible. This gave Mishra the opportunity to demand a thousand rupees as bribe. Sambhus brother-in-law informed the vigilance police and the trap was laid.