SEED SCANDAL: THE SPEAKER HAD TO ISSUE A DIRECTION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The administrative approach to agriculture is so agonizing that the ruling alliance heavyweight Pradeep Maharathi could not control his aggrieved mind and thought it prudent to use todays zero hour to vomit his allegations against non-supply of seeds to the cultivators. His aghast co-sitters in the treasury benches corroborated Maharathi on the basis of their experiences in areas under their respective constituencies. The Opposition stand was amply substantiated.

Devastated by repeated floods that lashed Orissa five times this year, the cultivators have lost their domestic stock of seeds in entirety under the water that was not receding for weeks at a time. Every expert on agriculture, mostly retired from Government service and every social worker helping the affected and every political leader worth the name irrespective of party affiliations were unison in warning the Government that it should procure and stock sufficient seeds for the winter crops as that would be the only source of sustenance of the people. The Government was emphatic in its repeated assertions that it has enough seeds to meet the needs even for two years! The media was flooded with advertisements that the flood-hit farmers shall also get the seeds under subsidy.

Where are those seeds?-asked Maharathi. What to say of other places, farmers even in the constituency of the Agriculture Minister are unable to get the seeds they require! he pointed out in presence of the embarrassed Minister. The Government, thriving on a nonchalant corrupt bureaucracy, has been playing havoc with the lives of innumerable farmers, he said and cautioned that if the seed need of the flood-ruined farmers are not met one cannot say for sure what shape shall take the mass upsurge that would eventually rise. Ms. Sanchita Mohanty of the BJP group of the ruling alliance agreed with Maharathi and corroborated with facts from her constituency the allegations raised by her colleague. It is a shame that the administration is using the tactics of short supply of seeds to cheat everybody, she alleged. Elaborating, she said, in her constituency, the Government has made propaganda that groundnut seeds are available for sale. Farmers are rushing into the designated counters and whosoever gets the seed helps in building up public belief that the Government is supplying the seeds. But in reality, only 4 thousand quintals of seeds are available when 48 thousand quintals of groundnut seeds are needed. This is nothing but a trick played by administration to hoodwink the people, she maintained. Members from both the parties of the ruling alliance as well as from the Opposition were in unison.

The Agriculture Minister was silently watching the debates. The Speaker asked him to place on records the details of the stock of seeds vis--vis requirement as estimated by officials and position of supply vis--vis volume of real demands, as to him it was too serious a scenario to slough over.

ASSEMBLY MUST ENSURE THAT NO-GOVERNANCE IS NOT TENABLE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Legislative Assembly was shocked over a situation of no-governance in the State when Law Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan confessed in the House today that the report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry held over death of six persons and maiming of many in the Temple of Sri Jagannath during Biju Patnaik’s chiefministersip on 26 November 1993 is missing.

Commenting on the present Chief Minister expressing eager intention to appoint a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on the killing of four persons and maiming of at least sixty in the same Temple on 04 November 06, we had noted:

Navin seems to have inherited this tactics from his father Biju Patnaik. When Biju was the Chief Minister and the State was drowned under misrule and chaos and in dire despondency the helpless people were madly seeking mercy of the God, a similar stampede had occurred in the same place of the temple of Jagannatha on November 26, 1993 killing as many as six persons on the spot and injuring hundreds. Biju had appointed a single-judge Judicial Commission of enquiry under Sri Bhubana Mohan Mohapatra to determine as to who was responsible for the mishap and to suggest remedies against future such possibilities. People of Orissa ousted Biju from office on 15 March 1995. Till then he had not taken any action on the Commission’s report nor had he ever bothered to take any action. His only intention in appointing the Judicial Commission of enquiry was to immediately divert public attention from his maladministration and then to burry the issue under his carpet sine die. No body has been notified as yet on what action has ever been taken on the findings of the said Commission, not even the State Assembly. Against this background, appointment of another Judicial Commission on the same sort of mishap on the same spot of the same Temple, when by coincidence, Biju’s son is in office, is a seer farce and nothing else.

Taking the clue, during discussion on an adjournment motion on the November 4 mishap, members wanted to know of the earlier Judicial Enquiry. The Minister admitted that the Report of the said Enquiry is missing in the Secretariat.

The House was shocked. Why the Report is missing? – asked they. This is indicative of no governance, alleged many. Who is responsible for this?-members wanted to know. The Speaker saved the moment from roaring turmoil by announcing an instruction that the minister must come with the report within a day. The Minister fidgeted. He begged for a week. The Speaker allowed the time and thus the issue got stashed for a week.

Was there anything in the Report that could have been embarrassing to the present CM, the killer mishap having happened during the time of Biju Patnaik, under whose cultivated aura only he is having his post? Was there anything that could have been disadvantageous to any body in the top echelon of power in the present regime had the Enquiry Report come to the gaze of the Assembly? Such questions shall go on hunting the minds of the people till the original Report is recovered and perused.

The original Report, if at all recovered, must be made available for public inspection as there is justification in suspecting that that might have been tampered with to do away with embarrassing findings, if any.

If the Government honors the orders of the Speaker and produces the Report after seven days, i.e. on 22 November 2006, it should be honest to say as to wherefrom the Report got recovered and who was keeping it off the records and why.

Every Commission of Enquiry is conducted with the funds placed by the Assembly at the disposal of the Government. Hence the Assembly has the right to know of its finding along with the action taken report (ATR). The Government must explain as to why has the Report as well as the corresponding ATR were not placed before the Assembly.

The Assembly has a research wing well equipped with computers and internet and a director of research with his staff. It would be better, rather proper for the Speaker to ask the research wing to find out if at any point of time any member of the House had raised any question or made any mention over that Commission of Enquiry. If any member was dutifully vigilant to have bothered about this, the resultant outcome thereof might have been in the records of the Assembly. So an intensive research must be made in the Assembly itself over the issue.

If the fellows who boast of being MLAs had never bothered to know of what happened to the Judicial Commission of Enquiry that took so heavy a toll of the State Exchequer and administrative energy, and if the present stars fail to enlighten people as to what exactly has happened to that Enquiry Report and exemplary action is not taken against the culprits who have suppressed it so far as well as against the culprits that had caused the casualties, it would be a fraud played on the people if these fellows are pampered with ever rising pay packages and pension.

The way the Government has treated the Assembly leads one to apprehend that the authority of the august House over the Executive is in jeopardy. Its time, the Assembly understands this. Its time the members understand that in order to justify the pay and perks they are getting from the exchequer they must ensure that the rampart of democracy is not taken for granted by the Council of Ministers and Bureaucracy. They must assure the people that no-governance is not tenable.

IS IT THE ANSWER? THE SPEAKER SHOULD ANSWER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Orissa Legislative Assembly commenced its winter session on 13 November 2006 with an important agenda to adopt the supplementary budget worth Rs3654 Cr.

How would the debates on the supplementary budget proceed when the State Government has failed to proceed in expected speed to utilize the funds at its disposal is a matter to be watched in future. But what happened on the first day with the first business of the House is a matter of concern for all who have not yet lost faith in democracy.

The first business in a Legislative body is assertion of its control over the Executive. The Legislature sees that the Executive remains answerable. Therefore the first hour is the hour of questions and answers. Members ask questions and the Ministers, being the chief executives of the departments under their charge, provide the answers. The answers must be honest and must not be evasive or superficial. Otherwise democracy would fail.

Ministers that are corrupt, incompetent and/or iniquitous usually try to be evasive and the inept ones, superficial while answering. That best suits also the corrupt bureaucracy. The corrupt bureaucracy uses such ministers as umbrage and such ministers keep them pampered.

That the ruling alliance MLAs are marked for their vociferous protests even on many occasions in the floor of the House against this syndrome is a matter that cannot be dismissed as mere political stunts. Even the Speaker on various occasions has expressed concern over evasive replies to members queries.

The scenario is not changing. The Chief Ministers answer to the first question of the first day today is indicative of this.

Sitakanta Mohapatra of the Congress had wanted to know as to why the Government has failed to curb spread of Naxal activities. The CM s reply was that his government has taken many safety and developmental steps and the State is not as affected as the neighboring States. Holding it evasive, the questioner put a supplementary query wherein he wanted to know as to whether ammunitions for Naxal armory are being conveyed into Orissa from Nepal and Srilanka and if yes, what steps the Government has taken to stop this. The CM reply was such that Mohapatra wondered if it was the answer! On call, Tara Prasad Bahinipati of Congress asked as to how many Naxals have been killed in encounters ever since their organizations were banned by the State and what is the progress in the CMs promised dialogue with the Naxal groups. The answer, not commensurate with the question, came with an advice that the member should put his query in a separate form. Is it the answer? He wondered. On call again, Lalatendu Vidyadhar Mohapatra of Congrees wanted to know as to how much money the State has spent on compensation paid the victims of Naxal guns. The answer was that Orissa was less affected by Naxal violence in comparison to other States. Is it the answer? The entire Opposition wanted the Speaker to clarify if it was the answer. The Speaker was flooded with the plea that he should advise the CM to answer to their queries in stead of marshalling evasive replies. He was insisting that the members should file separate questions when Narasimha Mishra, Deputy leader of Opposition hurled his query to know as to why the Naxal revolution has gained strength and whether or not socio-economic menaces that the people are subjected is its basic factor. The CM shocked the Opposition by going beyond the query to divert attention of the House to alleged trimming of central assistance to KBK program. Is it the answer? – wondered the Deputy Leader of Opposition.

This agony not looked into, the Speaker called the Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadei to answer the next question that ignited such protests that the House was to remain adjourned, time and again, till 3 PM.

But the question Is it the answer? went unanswered.

This syndrome is very harmful to the health of democracy. If the government gives evasive answers and enjoys immunity in evading questions, democracy will collapse.

To save the democracy from doom, it is necessary that the Speaker must compel the CM and his council of ministers to answer the questions properly and truthfully. The question is never asked directly to a minister. It is asked to the Speaker in a style that links the concerned minister and the minister concerned also addresses the Speaker while answering the question raised by a member. This mechanism has made it clear that it is the Speaker who is to see if the answer given by a minister is correct. He should refuse to tolerate inadequate, inappropriate and improper answers and bind by his rulings the ministers to stop hoodwinking the House. When a member alleges that he has not got the answer the Speaker must use his impartial wisdom to determine as to weather the answer is correct and if he finds that the same does not satisfy the question, he must nullify the answer on records. If done, it would be the most effective deterrent to evasive conduct of the council of ministers and thereby answerability of the Executive to the Legislature would be enforced.

Is it the answer? is therefore a question that the Speaker should answer.

HASSLES OVER BHASHAKOSHA: HIGH COURT SHOULD INTEREVENE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

An Order of the Cuttack District Judge has put a stymie on the way of the Oriya Nation to get back its most unique and sought after treasure, the Purnachandra Ordia Bhashakosha, the incomparable encyclopedic lexicon of Oriya language comprising 1,85,000 words with multi-lingual synonyms and explanatory notes and word history compiled by the most memorable son of Mother Orissa, Gopal Chandra Praharaj and his team and published with the help of the people of Orissa and their public exchequer; the first Volume released in September 1931 and the last Volume in September 1940.

Published in seven massive volumes comprising a total of 9248 pages, this unique work is now extinct, save a set preserved in the National Library at Kolkata and a very few more sets at places with people never accessible to general public. Hence for the last so many years, attempts at various level were being made to republish it in public interest. Srujanika, Orissas famous combine of creative minds, has already brought out its e-edition. But the general public, unable to take advantage of the e-edition, but eager to get this treasure revived, a Bhubaneswar based publishing house, Lark Books, has brought out the reprint of the first volume last month with assurance to bring out the rest volumes in quick succession.

At this stage, moved by Ms. Girija nandini Praharaj, a lady who claims to be an heir of Gopal Chandra, under the Copyright Act, has issued on November 09 an injunction on Lark Books proceeding with the project. The competency of the District Judge in issuing such injunction is not questionable. But in larger interest of Orissas general public, I think, the High Court should intervene and end the avoidable hassle.

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I venture the following points:

ONE – Purnachandra Ordia Bhashakosha is a compilation of Oriya words, not created by Gopal Chandra, but created and developed by the people of Orissa generations after generations. Conscious of this he himself, though an eminent lawyer, had never reserved the copyright of this work for himself or any in his family or future successors. Perusal of the relevant pages of the Bhashakosha would make this clear.

TWO Gopal Chandra was not the sole compiler of the Bhashakosha. As would be seen from the accompanying photo, there were four other co-compilers such as Smt. Pitambari Devi, Sri Chandra Sekhar Mishra, B.A., Pt. Kulamani Dash, Kavyatirtha and Pt. Ramachandra Rath. According to Gopal Chandra, Smt. Pitambari Devi, after a painstaking research that spanned over five years, had compiled several hundreds of the words in vogue amongst the people belonging to the castes of Gauda (Cowherd), Bhandari (Barber), Badhei (Carpenter), Chasa (Cultivator), Keuta (Fisherman as well as paddy-husker), Tanti (Weaver) etc. She also has collected hundreds of words in vogue amongst the rural women in form of badinage, banters, proverbs, nursery songs, etc. It is most pertinent to note that above mentioned castes are of the people who are illiterate but self-employed professionals. The words they were using were proto-technical words and mostly in vocal form. So also the words used by the rural women in their conversation in day to day life under varied circumstances. But all these words were of excellent applied potentiality. Gopal Chandra has noted that Pitambari Devi had contributed not less than 5000 such typical words which otherwise would not have been available to the compiled lexicon. In view of this he was against claiming exclusive right over the compilation. And this was one of the reasons of his not reserving any copyright for himself or any of his heirs.

THREE According to his own version, he had no money of his own to publish the Bhashakosha. So, he had, through the newspapers, appealed to the general public for financial help. And, people of Orissa, particularly the rich in person, and the rest through their respective Kings and organizations made the donations. One is to peruse the pages of the BHashakosha to know how the people of Orissa saw it as a cause of their own and made the best of their efforts to bring out the publication. The people of the Garjats through their kings were contributing, the State of Kalahandi being the first respondent to the appeal in 1928. Its King Braja Mohan Dev was the first to send Rs.1000/- in a lump which paved the way for other Rulers making their contributions. Oriya nobles having their Kingdoms away from the present homeland, such as Munger, Chikiti, Kharasuan etc also sent financial support. Every eminent Oriya that was holding any influential post tried his best to cultivate financial support for the project. As for example, Rajah of Kanika who was Member-in-charge of Finance in the Bihar-Orissa Government had prevailed upon the Administration to book in advance for at least 1000 sets of the Bhashakosha and Deputy President of Bihar-Orissa Council Rai Bahadur Laxmidhar Mohanty had made intense lobby in the affluent circle within his jurisdiction for patronization to the project. It would never have been as easy as it has become to day to print and publish the Bhashakosha had Laxmidhar not devoted his sincere most might to the cause, Gopal Chandra has recorded in his acknowledgement in the pages of the lexicon. Similarly he has recorded how the collective bodies of the people of Orissa have helped him. The Oriya Sahitya Prachar Sangha of Cuttack is an instance. So, the entire work is the work of the Oriya people done collectively and in acknowledging this, the compiler has never reserved any copyright in his personal favor. When he had never reserved copyright for himself, where from one or any heir of him accrues this right?

FOUR The compiler has admitted that the Bhashakosha is the common property of the people of Orissa. Look at the language and the words he has used. He has said this at page XV of the introduction in Oriya in Volume-1 in the following words: PURNACHANDRA BHASHAKOSHA ODIA JATIRA KOTHA SAMPATTI. So Gopal Chandra has made it unambiguously and absolutely clear for all time to come and for all persons to know that the Bhashakosha is the collective property of the people of Orissa. The claim of copyright over the common property of the people of Orissa by a lady claiming to be an heir of Gopal Chandra is therefore not tenable and I am afraid the lady has misused the judicial process to stop the people of Orissa from having access to the common trove of their vocabulary.

In disposing the case of V.R.Gowd seeking judicial help to restitute conjugal rights, which, he had claimed, actress Sridevi was denying him, even though they had married in March 1992, the Supreme Court of India, has enforced, on November 10, a cash penalty of Rs. 1 lakh on Gowd, holding his case as a misuse of judicial process. Had the lower Court first tried to find out if Gowd had the locus standi to file the case, the matter would never have consumed so much valuable judicial time up to the Apex Court. The above four points lead me to fear that the hassles over the Bhashakosha is an instance of misuse of judicial process. The people of Orissa, whose common property (KOTHA SAMPATTI) is the Purnachandra Bhashakosa, as admitted and declared by Gopal Chandra Praharaj himself, must not be kept away from access to this splendid trove of their vocabulary by a District Court on hearing a person who claims to be a family heir of Praharaj though the same person has kept the Court in dark about his aforequoted declaration.

It would not be out of place to say that the family of Gopal Chandra has deserted him during his life time. In the opinion of Shashi Bhusan Roy, eminent author and his closest friend, he was a personification of compassion. He was as harmless as a five years old child. He was never after money, but was always satisfied with whatever he honestly earned, if that could help him to help others and to sustain his own simple hearth. It is a pity that such a nice and benevolent man was deserted by his family. His wife Muktamani was staying with their son in the village enjoying the ancestral properties and none of them stood with him when he was most threatened, so contemptuous were they to his intellectual activities, specifically to his use of time in the Bhashakosha. He had reasons to suspect that there is threat to his life. He was suspecting that he may be poisoned to death. Therefore he had pet a cat and was taking milk only after the said cat was fed with a portion thereof and watched for after effects, if any, till his satisfaction. The cat preceded him two days before he succumbed to poisoned milk on 17 May 1945. So helplessly and so wretchedly he had to die!

If his family had not abandoned him he would never have died such a pathetic death. According to Shashi Bhusan Roy, the most authentic eye witness to what had happened to him, Gopal Chandra Praharaj had to endure a helpless, isolated life under constant threat of annihilation with an antagonist family in the background.

Had the family not abandoned Gopal Chandra, the 30 thousand pages of the manuscript of the Bhashakosha would have been under their possession. In order to establish the primary locus standi to claim a stake, the claimant should be asked to deposit the handwritten manuscript of 30 thousand pages before the judiciary for scrutiny so that an attempt to misuse the judicial process gets the logical end.

Taking clue from the Supreme court verdict in Sridevi-V.R.Gowd case, I feel that it will be better if the High Court of Orissa intervenes in this sensitive issue and ends the hassles.

Press accreditation fracas in Orissa

Editor’s Note: We are reproducing below a brilliant and timely critique by journalist Elisa Patnaik, on the amended accreditation rules affecting journalists in Orissa. The article was originally published in the South Asian Media Watch Website The Hoot. TheHoot.org is run by The Media Foundation.

Additional references regarding this matter, including the interview of SCP as quoted below, can be found by following any of these links below:

1. PRESS ACCREDITATION RULES, 2006 IS ANARCHIC, ALLEGE SCRIBES

2. ANARCHY IN ACCREDITATION

3. STATUS OF 87 % JOURNALISTS IN ORISSA UNDER DIMINUTION

4. LET NOT ACCREDITATION BE A FANTOCCINI FARCE

Press accreditation fracas in Orissa

The newly amended accreditation rules for 2006 have laid down stringent conditions for journalists in Orissa to obtain and retain their accreditation.

Elisa Patnaik in Bhubaneswar

If you are an Orissa-based journalist seeking government accreditation, you are in for a tough time. And if you are a freelance journalist, the task is even harder. The state government.’s newly amended accreditation rules for the year 2006 has laid down extremely stringent conditions for journalists in Orissa to obtain and retain their accreditation. The govt.’s latest move, termed as “highly undemocratic” and “anti press,” has drawn a great deal of flak and protests from not only the media, but also from other quarters across the state. Most of the journalists have rejected the recently published Orissa News Media Accreditation Rules 2006 and have demanded its immediate withdrawal.

A new set of rules for grant of accreditation to media persons was formulated and notified in the Orissa govt.’s gazette published during the month of June. Earlier, journalists were granted accreditation by the government following the approval of an Accreditation Committee considered to be a “representative professional body” after thorough examination of the applicants’ credentials and professional experience. The Accreditation Committee was formed taking representatives from various media organizations and journalist associations. But, as per latest accreditation rules, a new Accreditation Committee has been formed consisting of journalists nominated by the govt., whose decision the govt. may or not agree with. The ultimate decision to cancel/grant accreditation to an applicant journalist now lies solely with the Information & Public Relations (I&PR) minister, a post currently held by Debasis Nayak.

Other conditions required for accreditation like years of professional experience, have also been made stringent making it difficult for even middle-level journalists to obtain accreditation. Earlier, a journalist with five years of experience was eligible to apply for accreditation, but now a minimum of 10 years professional experience is required. The amended rules also note that accreditation would be cancelled if a media person is found absent continuously for three months.

Freelance journalists would even find it harder to get accreditation in Orissa. Not only would print journalists have to gain 20 years of professional experience, but would have to have also written at least four articles per month (in at least four different publications) and 50 articles per year. Moreover, one of the publications would have to be major publication.

As per the newly amended accreditation rules, renewal of an accreditation card would also prove to be quite difficult. The accreditation card has not only to be renewed every year, but the publication/organization in which a particular journalist has been working has to inform the I & PR Dept. about it a fortnight before the time limit. If these conditions were not met, the accreditation of a journalist would be cancelled. Besides, the Accreditation Committee would review the credentials of a journalist every year.

Allegations against the state govt.’s latest accreditation rules are abounding in the local media here. Many have even termed the present govt. as “anti-journalists” and that this move has been planned to prevent journalists from filing anti-govt. stories. The I&PR minister Debasis Nayak and the I&PR Director B. C. Mohanty especially have been targeted for their “dictatorial” stand.

Several veteran journalists have expressed their shock and displeasure at the government’s latest move. “The govt. with these rules is trying to constrict the Fourth Estate in the state. When on the one hand the Right to Information (RTI) Act is being amended for the free and fair flow of information, on the other such rules are being framed to curb the spread of information,” said Orissa-based journalist Gopal Mishra. Moreover, when most of the states are following a democratic process of granting accreditation, the govt. here is resorting to just the opposite, he said, adding that the new accreditation rules would also discourage young journalists from entering the profession.

At a recent meeting held in the Capital more than 100 journalists after discussing the new policy, announced the formation of an 11-member Committee to put forth their recommendations before the Govt. and the chief minister. The Orissa News Media Accreditation Rules 2006 should be repealed and the old accreditation rules of 1994 should be reintroduced with suitable and simple modifications, said another memorandum given to the CM by journalists from other districts of the State.

Although government sources claim that the new rules would cause media persons to take their state accreditation “seriously” and screen out unprofessional journalists, many feel that it would stifle freedom of press in Orissa. “The Accreditation Rules, 2006 were formulated, framed and enforced with this malicious motive. In doing this they have tried to promote a puppet Press by obliterating the collective wisdom of journalists in matter of accreditation, says another Orissa-based senior journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak.

“There have been cases where the accreditation of some journalists in the state has been cancelled because of their anti-govt. stories,” said another journalist who did not want to be named. “By amending the rules, the government feels that it would be able to keep a check on the journalists and force them to produce only govt. friendly articles/programmes.” Scribes in Orissa opine that perhaps, it would not have created so much resentment amongst media persons but for certain clauses that clearly point at the state’s intention to obstruct the press media from accessing official information, they opine.

Even if most of the journalists associations and journalists are against the govt.’s latest orders, the fear of their accreditation being cancelled also seems to loom large. Some also apprehend that the perks which come along with accreditation like provision of govt. accommodation (though journalists pay a nominal rent), special invites for state programmes etc, would cease making it difficult for them to work in the future. The present situation has also taken a political turn with some of the Opposition Party members staging dharna against the govt. for the amendment in accreditation rules.

Though journalists have warned that if the govt. fails to take action they would not hesitate to revolt against the amended rules, it remains to be seen what the Orissa government eventually does in this matter.

COOPERATIVE INSTITUTES MENACED BY THE BJP MUSCLE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government has placed a sum of Rs.123 Cr. on 09 November 06 towards its share in a package of Rs.1000 Cr. for rejuvenation of cooperative institutions gone astray.

This is nothing but patronizing loot in the co-operative sector. Like in Biju Patnaik’s regime, the cooperative sector is subjected to loot in his son Naveen’s time, modus operandi being the same.

The Government has earned public and institutional stricture including scathing comments in Legislative and Judicial forums over strangulation of democratic management of cooperative societies for years. Navin has not bothered to bring in any remedy. Like an idiot putting the cat in charge of dry-fish fry, he has put the cooperative institutes under charge of Surama Padhi belonging to BJP segment of the Cabinet, notwithstanding the ethical truth that cooperation movement is anathema to BJP, which is avowedly and unambiguously the party of private commerce. As is supposed to happen under a BJP minister, cooperative societies not only have been made bereft of democratic participation of their members, but also have been subjected to financial bungling leading to their ruins.

What has happened through out the State can be best judged from what has happened under the nose of the minister(s) in the headquarters of the Government. Only two instances, one each in the major and the minor segment, will suffice.

Urban Cooperative Bank in the major segment

Established in 1986 during the Congress ( J.B.Pattnaik ) regime, the Bhubaneswar Urban Cooperative Bank made a continuous profit reaching as high as Rs.38 cr. in 1990. This attracted attention of Biju Patnaik, father of the present Chief Minister after he grabbed the reign of Orissa. In 1992, the management of this most successful cooperative venture was taken over by the Government as Biju was keen in pleasing his followers. It was then plundered by followers of Biju Patnaik in nexus with obliging officials. Doomed due to continuous corruption, it ultimately became inoperative and its banking closed since 22 January 2004. Cash worth Rs.32 Cr deposited by 18 thousand depositors of low and middle income group has gone into the pockets of the yes-men of politicians in power.

Capital Cooperative Housing Ltd in the minor segment

In the minor sector Capital Cooperative Housing Ltd (CCHL) may be taken as an instance. A sure success housing cooperative, it was made bereft of members’ cooperation, as Surama Padhi’s predecessor, also belonging to BJP, Arvind Dhali, appointed a Board of Directors under Presidentship of a BJP activist T.Prasad Rao Dora. His extended term over, when members are keen in restoration of democratic norms, the Annual General Body (AGB) was fixed to 26 June 06. Dora stormed into the official chamber of the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies- cum – management-in-charge of the CCHL Mr. Bibhuti Bhusan Bhuyan on 23 June 06 and asked him to stop the AGB as he was sure of a fresh appointment within a short span of time. Bhuyan refused to honor his commands. He threatened him of dire consequences and declared that he will bring a hundred hooligans on the day fixed for the AGB and thwart it away if the Joint Registrar does not stop the meeting. So savage was Dora’s threatening, that Mr. Bhuyan had to inform the Chief Executive of CCHL in writing who in turn had to inform the Laxmisagar Police Station seeking protection. But why was Dora so eager to stop the AGB? The answer is obvious. During his appointed presidentship, besides suspicious land deals, funds of the organization had been illegally withdrawn by Dora himself. As for example, he had personally withdrawn through a Self-drawn Cheque a sum of Rs.3, 30,000.00 from the CCHL Accounts at Indian Bank, Bhubaneswar on 24 April 2003. This makes it clear that the BJP Parivarist, after being appointed by the BJP minister as President of CCHL was operating the official Accounts of the Cooperative Organization at Indian Bank through his self-drawn cheques. And, without any qualm.

These are only instances.

It is a shame that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Cooperation Minister Surama Padhi and Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadei have provided money from the State Exchequer to cover up losses of Cooperative Societies even while keeping their eyes closed to the blatant looting of their funds by the people to whom they had handed over the Societies by superseding elected bodies.

TAKE ACTION AND SAVE SRI JAGANNATH FROM SHOWY RITUALS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A showy ritual has taken a toll of four lives in the Temple of Sri Jagannath at Puri when 60 others including 25 in serious conditions are injured while trying to witness the Alati (waving of light before the image of Sri Jagannath) at 6.40 in the morning of November 4.

As usual, palm greasing of the bereft families has started with Rs.1 lakh each from Orissa Government and the Temple Administration to make them accept that their losses are compensated.

No action has been taken against any functionary for the killer lapses in spite of eye witnesses pointing out accurately accusing fingers at the Secretary of Law Department Sri Dillip Sahu, who, being the highest administrative authority on the Temple, had tried to exploit his position with the help of the Temple Staff for forcing the devotees to make a way for himself and in the process precipitated a stampede leading to the casualties.

Judicial Inquiry: Device to Divert

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik may not want to antagonize judicial officers as his administration is full of punishable malfeasances and hence, Sahu, an officer of District Judge grade, has not been touched as yet notwithstanding being spotted as the basic factor behind the sordid deed. In stead, the age old tactics of pushing official crimes into oblivion has been adopted through a request to the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court for allocation of a Judge to conduct a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Navin seems to have inherited this tactics from his father Biju Patnaik. When Biju was the Chief Minister and the State was drowned under misrule and chaos and in dire despondancy the helpless people were madly seeking mercy of the God, a similar stampede had occurred in the same place of the temple of Jagannatha on November 26, 1993 killing as many as six persons on the spot and injuring hundreds. Biju had appointed a single-judge Judicial Commission of enquiry under Sri Bhubana Mohan Mohapatra to determine as to who was responsible for the mishap and to suggest remedies against future such possibilities. People of Orissa ousted Biju from office on 15 March 1995. Till then he had not taken any action on the Commission’s report nor had he ever bothered to take any action. His only intention in appointing the Judicial Commission of enquiry was to immediately divert public attention from his maladministration and then to burry the issue under his carpet sine die. No body has been notified as yet on what action has ever been taken on the findings of the said Commission, not even the State Assembly. Against this background, appointment of another Judicial Commission on the same sort of mishap on the same spot of the same Temple, when by coincidence, Biju’s son is in office, is a seer farce and nothing else.

The Law Secretary being the highest boss in the temple administration had used temple staff to force his way into the inner chamber of Sri Jagannath to witness the Alati with comfort. And the temple staff, eager to please their boss, used force to organize the thronging devotees into giving him the way. This precipitated the stampede and caused the casualties. This is eye witness account. So, in stead of taking action against the Law Secretary, why the Government wants a Judicial Commission of enquiry to find out the truth? What truth is truer than the eyewitness accounts? Is the Government running by brains that are unable to understand what the eyewitnesses say?

Let Navin make this point clear.

More essential than judicial inquiry

But let him take a step that is more essential than appointing a Judicial Commission of enquiry into the deaths that have occurred. This essential need is restoration of Jagannath philosophy buried under Brahminic rituals.

The first step needed in this respect must be meant to free Sri Jagannath from legends created by vested interest agents of Brahminsm and their patrons in Orissa, the Gajapati kings. In my book SRI JAYADEVANKA BAISI PAHACHA published by Bharata Bharati of Cuttack, I have shown how the female torso worshiped by Tribal people of Orissa as Jaganta-tha as the source of creation and protection of life eventually evolved into an embodiment of Gurudev Buddha because of his role as protector of Tribal Democracies that were primarily matriarch and subsequently became known as Sri Jagannath through Gnyanasiddhi of Indrabhuti. In order to suppress this truth, after non-Oriya invaders occupied Orissa, with the help of the Brahmins imported entirely from outside Orissa, Vedic rituals were promulgated in Sri Mandira to enforce transformation of Sri Jagannatha from Buddha of Orissa to Krushna of Dwaraka. This now needs State intervention.

Buddha was against religious rituals as well as divide of society on caste line advanced by the Vedic system. Therefore the Brahmins, thriving on caste-apartheid, hand-in-glove with their patron Gajapati kings, in order to extingush Sri Jagannatha’s Buddhaness, formulated and promulgated these rituals in Sri Mandira. In order to restore Sri Jagannath to his real position, these rituals must stop.

Orissa’s culture is Buddhism

Gurudev Buddha was born in the Tosala region of Orissa. He had developed the Tosala culture of unperturbed ‘TOSA'(complacence) into a philosophy that eventually became famous as Buddhism. This philosophy being a philosophy of complacence was naturally a philosophy of universal brotherhood.

Universal brotherhood was anathema to Vediv imperialism, which was spreading caste-apartheid in order to reduce Indian Tribes to a state of slavery so that their subjugation would look like philosophically proper.

The philosophical necessity was felt as there were also some people amongst the Aryans who were not willing to be blind followers of the Brahminic hegemony. Sukracharya, Lopamudra and Viswamitra etc are examples.

Philosophy of Imperialism

But Vedic imperialism had invaded India not to leave this splendid place. They tried their ruthless best to annihilate and subjugate the indigenous people, the Tribes, who had built up their matriarch civilization in India prior to the Aryan invasion. They declared them as demons and created scriptures to justify killing of the demons.

But a great Brahmin Sukracharya opposed them and Brahmins like Ravana sided with matriarch tribal communities.

Ravana was shown as killed by Rama of Ayodhya of the Aryavarta and Rama was shown as having undergone a purifying penance to get rid of the sin he committed by killing Ravan, the Brahmin.

Similarly Brutra, another great Brahmin also opposed the oppression let loose by Vedic imperialists on the indigenous tribes. He was shown as killed by Indra, the king of Gods. But because Indra killed a Brahmin like Brutra he was also shown as punished through penance. These episodes were coined in order only to show that a Brahmin, in spite of being an offender, was above punishment and whosoever punishes them must undergo penance.

Origin of caste-supremacism

Notwithstanding such punishment of death, there are many instances of Brahmins in the Vedic society who were revolutionaries and against annihilation or subjugation of indigenous tribes of India. They were considered to be demons despite being born to Brahmins. Evolution of the epithet Brahma Raksasa (demonized Brahmin) suggest that there were many such people amongst the Aryans who were progressive in outlook and therefore were held as demons in the aggressive Vedic system. And they were making friends with the indigenous Indians, the non-Aryans.

So when subjugation of Indian community could not be possible on the line of Aryans versus non-Aryans, Vedic orthodoxy developed the caste system in the guise of systematizing the work order in society, though their hidden agenda was promulgation of Brahminic hegemony through caste-apartheid. The tribal unity was the next obstacle on their way. So they were trying to destroy tribal unity.

Buddha’s Solution

Buddha had meditated deeply on this problem and found out the solution. The solution was building up of class consciousness amongst the tribes and strengthening of Tribal Democracies.

He provided the Tribal people with a pattern that he called as Samgha. The Samgha was being managed by democratic participation of adult members through votes, known as Chanda in stark contradiction to the autocratic system propounded by the Vedic class in whose sriptures, the autocrat king was the incarnation of Vishnu, the all powerful God, whose personal orders were invincible and final in shaping of the society. So with emergence of Buddha, emerged a battle between ‘Chanda’ of the people and ‘Order’ of the autocrat kings.

According to Limca Book of World Records, Chanda is the first system of vote in whole of the world. The birthplace of Buddha, i.e. the Tosala region of Orissa is still known as Chandaka because the Chanda system of societal management was conceived and created here only.

Buddha was proud of this unique system already in vogue in his birthplace Orissa and used this system as the solution to autocratic exploitation let loose by Vedic imperialism.

Buddha’s Political Success

In order to save the Tribal democracies of his motherland Tosala, i.e. Orissa, he developed a strategy to obstruct possible invasion from the Vedic autocracy that had by then spread up to Magadh in North India and therefore he rushed into that part of the country and organized the tribals there in his Samgha pattern.

Ajatasattu, emperor of Magadha, had tried to gain over Buddha through his Brahmin minister Bassakara and failed and as long as Buddha was alive, it was not at all possible for Vedic autocrats to subjugate the tribal communities; and hence Orissa was saved.

The Real Reason behind Kalinga War

After the demise of Buddha, Orissa, his beloved birthplace, particularly the Tosala region, known by then as Kalinga, had remained the only fountainhead of mass obstruction to Vedic imperialism.

This is why Asoka, the notorious autocrat of Magadha, had attacked Kalinga.

Despite a catastrophic mayhem that his pursuit precipitated, he could not destroy the Buddhist spirit of Orissa. Then strategically he adopted Buddhism and like Gorbacheov – the agent of imperialism – destroyed the USSR by posing as a true communist, Asoka destroyed Buddhism posing as a Buddhist, through tactful induction of theism in Buddhist system. He projected himself as beloved of the God (Devanam piya) and thus clandestinely induced a climate that glorified the supremacy of God. Before the true Buddhists could understand the game plan of Asoka, he was recognized as the great patron of Buddhism and that eventually eliminated Buddhism from India where agents of Vedic imperialism, the Brahmins, grabbed Buddhism as a part of their system in view of the presence of God having had its recognition in the Asokan network.

Evolution of Sri Buddha Jagannath

This network having its overbearing impact on psyche of common people, the true followers of Gurudev Buddha in Orissa, the Chaurasi Siddhas and social philosophers like Indrabhuti amalgamated Buddhist tenets with imagery compatible to circumstances dominated by Vedic imperialism and transformed the tribal image Jaganta-tha to Gurudev Buddha to Gurudev Jagannatha. History of Jagannatha is a history of philosophical battle between Vedic imperialism and Buddhism. And, the later had, till our independence from the British, won.

Post-Independence Mischief

After independence, taking advantage of loss of societal strength of local people under overbearing impact of the Indian Constitution, the people in power have succeeded to promulgate Brahminic hegemony in Sri Mandira. For illustration, an officer belonging to Brahmin caste has always been chosen for the post of Temple Administrator and the Government of Orissa being the appointing authority there is no respite in this at any point of time.

Compare this with earlier times. An instance:

After Orissa remained under the reign of non-Oriyas for centuries, who had subjected our people to the exploitative system of Vedic imperialism by bringing in at least ten thousand Brahmins from Kanyakubja, destroying the utility of our mother-tongue by promulgation of Sanskrit as official language, a genuine Oriya, Kapilendra Rautray raised a linguistic revolution demanding for use of the peoples’ language as official language of the State and proceeded for elimination of official influence of the Brahmins who were non-Oriyas, He got total support of the genuine Oriyas and occupied the Throne. After becoming the Gajapati King, he declared himself as belonging to Sun Clan because Gurudev Buddha was of this Clan. He dedicated his State to Gurudev Sri Buddha Jagannatha and declared that he himself would work as the Rauta or representative of this sovereign Lord and ordained that all his successor- by blood or occupation- will have to honor this order. He extinguished caste hegemony in the Army and obliterated caste preference in the matter of taking Mahaprasad of Sri Jagannath. Disadvantaged and enraged, the Brahmins hibernated till Kapilendra Dev became too old to retain reign and then instigated Mangula Rai, a son born to Emperor through a Brahmin concubine, to usurp power by putting his father under house arrest. The Brahmins enthroned Mangula far away from the headquarters in the bank of river Krishna and gave him the name Purusottam Dev. This new agent of Brahminism did everything to destroy Buddhaness of Sri Jagannath. He replaced Jaya Dev’s lyrics with a work captioned Abhinav Geeta Govinda composed in his name by a Brahmin Dibakar Mishra wherein attempts were made to replace Buddha with Sri Krushna in the Dasavatara Stutee. People rose so ferociously against this ruler that he had to withdraw his mischievous work and restore Jaya Dev’s lyrics to daily ritual as before. His position as the Emperor had of course helped him and his intimate Brahmins to cause interpolations in the transit as I have shown in my aforesaid work; but it is clear that the people of Orissa had revolted against the Brahminic conspiracy to transform Sri Jagannath from Buddha to Krushna.

It was possible because there was no written legal apparatus like the Indian Constitution at that time.

Promulgation of Indian Constitution has obliterated this scope of showing collective strength of Oriyas to stop projection of Sri Jagannath as Vishnu in stead of Buddha.

So, the State should restore
Jagannath to his original position

So, it is the Government, contextually the Government run by Navin Patnaik at the moment, who only can restore Sri Jagannath to his original position of Buddha. This is necessary to get rid of the showy rituals that are not necessary in paying respect to Buddha. In Jagannath’s life these showy rituals have no place; because Buddha was against all such rituals.

These rituals are practices, as I have said supra, in order only to show Jagannath as Vishnu, which he never is.

Pt. Chakradhar Mohapatra has established in his epoch making book Real Birthplace of Buddha that Tosala of Orissa was the place where Buddha was born. I have supplemented Pt Mohapatra through newer and research-based arguments in my aforesaid book and notes in these pages.

The Government can also take advantage of the notes of Mr. Ajit Kumar Tripathy,IAS and Superintendent of Sri jaya Dev State Museum Mr. C. Patel besides comments of eminent international scholars coming frequently forward to express inclination to accept Orissa as the birthplace of Buddha.

Scriptures like Gnyanasiddhi are proof of the fact that Sri Jagannatha is Buddha.

Ancient Oriya literature like Sarala Mahabharata, Daru Brahma Gita, Sunya Samhita, Sasi Sena, Deula Tola etc provide the evidence that Sri Jagannath is the deity form of Budha.

Sri Jaya Dev stands as irrefutable evidence in this respect.

So there is no scriptural problem in restoring the Sri jagannatha to his original Buddha form.

If his original form is revived, the showy rituals shall stop and human lives will be saved from future such stampedes.

Difficult Task

But it will not be easy for the Government to do this instantly.

Religious revivalism has engulfed the Country.

Vested interest hooligans have gained ground in politics in the name of religion and they thrive in politics only by intoxicating people with erroneous interpretations of scriptures and by blocking the progressive aspects of culture from public gaze.

The antagonists of progress. comprising the exploiter class, are in control of economy as the Country has been reduced to a plutocracy with their agents in power in post-British India.

They are safe as long as the exploited is down with blind faith fueled by rituals like Alati and religious fundamentalists, contextually the fundamentalists of religious genre that reigns over the majority, continue as a commanding force.

Hence the antagonists of progress, who because of being that, have amassed wealth in post-British India taking advantage of the wrongful fundamental right on personal wealth, have ensured through the avaricious media managers that people hear only the fundamentalistic jargons.

And fueled by and in hope of advertisements controlled by black money that the antagonists of progress command, the audio-visual media is so vociferous in projecting Sri Jagannath as Vishnu of Hindu religion that common man is no more in a position to think freely.

When Prime Ministers like Narasimha Rao and Atala Behari Vajpayee were seen lying prostrate at the feet of so-called god-men oblivious of the fact that thereby they were making India’s Prime Minister prostrate, what to say of free thinking of a common man?

Under such circumstances it needs patriotic guts to stop the nuisance that is going on in the Temple of Sri Jagannatha and to restore him to his original Buddha form. I don’t believe that Navin Patnaik has the guts. It is for him a real difficult task.

Time need not be lost

No doubt, the people will rise in revolt one day against caste-apartheid and the unavoidable modern education will make them able to understand what is desirable and what is disposable in our collective socio-religious life. Then there shall be no such killer rush for seeing the Alati.

But we cannot wait for that. We shall have to find out an effective remedy.

The Remedy

To me it occurs, we should, for the time being, at least till it is finally decided as to whether Sri Jagannatha is Buddha or Vishnu, allow the rituals like the Alati to continue. But let be a secret ritual with a ban on its public performance.

It will not be non-spiritual in tenor. The Alati under public gaze is nothing but a showy ritual. The person who conducts the Alati under public gaze can never maintain his spiritual concentration. Any ritualistic performance without concentration of mind cannot be anything but showy and hence that makes a farce of that ritual. So this farce should stop.

Let the so-called pujapandas perform the Alati rituals in an environment of total peace and tranquility with full concentration, without any disturbance from any gathering of devotees.

I know, scriptures have been created to say that whosoever sees the Alati gets liberated from sins. Such provisions were deliberately scripted to attract maximum numbers of devotees, conscious of their sins, so that the Brahmins earn profusely from money collected in shape of Dana (cash offering) and the Rajah earns heavy revenue in shape of pilgrimage tax.

So the showy Alatis have no spiritual role. They can easily be stopped without any threat to spiritual entailment.

If any Panda wants to perform Alati let him do it behind closed doors if that is necessary for the Deity. After such closed door Alati, the devotees can be allowed entry into the space before Sri Jagannatha as and when they find time during designated hours and perform Alati personally near the Garuda pillar as per facility in vogue even now. So there shall be no rush for Alati and no stampede will occur at any time.

This will not hamper the rituals. On the other hand this will allow the rituals peaceful environment.

It may hamper the clandestine, unauthorized, illegal income of the Pandas. But helping Pandas in their illegal income is never important than saving human lives.

Dear Chief Minister, please apply your mind to the points discussed, take action and save Sri Jagannatha from showy rituals.

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