PRATIBHA PATIL SHOULD NOW LEARN TO BE PRESIDENT OF INDIA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is good that Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has been defeated in the fray for the post of President of India. He was a candidate of the communalists, that too, their hesitant choice! Communalist BJP and its abettors in NDA had not put their preference on Shekhawat when nomination of candidates for the top most post of Indian Republic was called for. As no person known and acceptable to India was available to them, they set Shekhawat as their candidate and vitiated the seriousness of the election to the highest office with rabidly raw attempts to assassin the rival candidate’s character. This was so disgusting that many a member of NDA decided to reject Shekhawat and, even though clandestinely, put their electoral value in the accounts of his rival. It is good therefore that Shekhawat has been defeated and whatever semblance of democracy we still possess has been saved from getting demeaned with a communalist overhang.

But this does not mean that the people who love their Motherland and cherish democracy would say that their choice should have been Pratibha Patil.

She is an education merchant with her flagship Vidya Bharati Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, which operates a chain of schools and colleges in Jalgaon and Mumbai including an engineering college for rural youths as well as an Industrial Training School for the blind in Jalgaon. She has also set up hostels for workingwomen in New Delhi and Mumbai and is also the founder chairperson of a sugar factory in Jalgaon.

In power politics since 1962, when she was first elected to the Maharastra Assembly, she has worked as a minister in various capacities and has hold many important portfolios like parliamentary affairs, public health and social welfare, urban development and housing, education, tourism and cultural affairs in Maharastra till 1985. Drafted into national politics by being elected to Rajyasabha in 1985, she has made a mark as its Deputy Chairperson from November 18, 1986, to November 5, 1988 after which serving the Congress party as PCC Chief of Maharastra from 1988 to 1990, she had entered the Loksabha in 1991. This shows that she has enough experience in legislative politics in all the parliamentary forums like the Assembly, the Rajyasbha and the Loksabha. By working as Governor of Rajsthan from 2004, she has also acquired experience in constitutional politics. Taking all this into view, it can be safely said that she has adequate experience in applied politics to justify her election to the highest position in India.

But notwithstanding this, her being a Congress Party candidate for the top most post is perhaps the reason for concern to them, who would never have been happy to see Shekhawat elected.

Why this concern?

What else could happen taking into consideration the message Congress has given to Pratibha Patil?

The message manifested first in refusal of another term to President Kalam, the most popular President the Country has ever had so far. Had there been a direct election, no less than 99 plus percent votes would have gone in his favor. In him, for the first time the people of this betrayed country had felt that there was a President, who could be their own, who could be trusted upon, who could be relied upon, who could be nearest to their hearts. Love, love and love. There was only love of the people for their President in Kalam. Faith, faith and faith. There was absolute faith of the people in their President, because he was Dr. Kalam. No President had ever been so near to the ‘ordinary’ citizen. Eager to learn from every episode of life, he was eager to teach whatever best was under his command to every one on every occasion. Monster of missiles, he was the deity of dreams. Soft and simple like a child in character, he was strong like the Himalayas in manners. Detached to the splendor of Rashtrapati Bhawan, he was attached to the common man in soul and in spirit and in nature. He was, as if, whole of India in a single form. It is baffling that the Congress that rules over the country refused to nominate such a man for second term in office!

It should have been proper for the ruling alliance and the Prime Minister to explain to the nation as to what deficiency they saw in Dr. Kalam that made them seek a substitute. But they have not dared to speak out. In fact, they have no explanation to offer. They had wanted Dr. Kalam to function as a rubber stamp. But Dr. Kalam functioned as the President as was seen in the matter of the Office of Profit Bill. The Sonia-Singh combine in power, USA is sure of India succumbing to its hegemony. But an individual like Dr. Kalam continuing as President, this evil design would not have succeeded. So he had to go.

And, thus, Dr. Kalam has left the Rastrapati Bhawan. But the Sonia-Singh combine has not stopped at this. In order to embarrass him, a single-room defense department rest shade has been deliberately given to him as his residence at the moment!

In this has been delivered the unuttered message to the new President that it would be proper for her not to be a President like Dr. Kalam, but to be a rubber-stamp President.

Had Smt. Patil, on being aware of non-allocation of a suitable residence to Dr. Kalam awoke to the occasion, gone personally to Dr. Kalam, who undoubtedly was the people’s most beloved President and invited her to stay as her guest in the Rastrapati Bhawan till a suitable bungalow is ready for him, she would have won over the heart of this country and could have established that she is not a party projection, but a true successor of the outgoing President and a perfect choice. She has pathetically failed.

This is why, notwithstanding having vanquished the second grade choice of communalists in the fray, Pratibha Patil is unable to evoke unreserved respect as the new President.

If she wants to be regarded as the real President of India, she has to shed the skin of loyalty to Sonia-Singh combine. She should now learn to be the President of India. And, in due deference to the tradition founded by the founders of our Republic, she should take leading steps to ensure that the Prime Minister remains loyal to our sovereignty.

As most of us in India are ignorant of this tradition, let me recapitulate what had happened on election of the first President of India.

That was the last day in the life of the Constituent Assembly. January 24th, 1950. The republic was to take birth after election of the President. So, in spite of constitutional provisions for a parliamentary democracy, ours is a President-centric Republic.

Members of the Constituent Assembly were to elect the President and on election, the President was to convert the Assembly to our Parliament.

Returning Officer H.V.R.Iengar informed the House that only one nomination paper had been filed and that was for Dr. Rajendra Prasad. So, he declared Dr. Prasad elected uncontested as the first President of India.

In offering “respectful congratulations” to Dr. Prasad on his unanimous election as the first President of India, Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had delivered a short but speaking speech on 24 January 1950, which holds the key to understand the President’s real position in Indian Republic.

He had said, “One dream that we dreamt for years past has been realized, but we confront again other dreams and other tasks, perhaps more arduous than the one we have already accomplished. It is a comfort for us all to know that in these future tasks and struggles, we shall have you as the Head of this Republic of India, and may I, Sir, pledge my loyalty and fealty to this Republic of which you will be the honored President”.

In complete corroboration, Sardar Vallabhbhai J. Patel, Deputy Prime Minister had said, “God may give us all the good sense to give you unreserved loyalty and complete co-operation in the heavy task” when “all of us have to swan together in the stormy seas that we have to cross in the future”.

Orissa’s Bishwanath Dash was the next member to speak. “People are everywhere suffering from the greed of men and India stands in no less need of upliftment”. With this observation Dash had called upon the President to “guide our destinies”.

This is how the founders of our Republic have thought of the President. He is the ‘Supreme Leader’ to “guide our destinies” and his incumbency would fetch pledge of loyalty from the Prime Minister and the rest to the Republic.

How did Dr. Prasad respond? He had said, “I feel confident that the duties, which have been imposed upon me will be discharged to their satisfaction: not because I can do that, but because the joint efforts of all will enable the duties to be so performed”, specifically as “I am placed in one chair and they (the Prime Minister and his colleagues) are occupying the other chairs side by side and there are other friends whose association I value equally well who will be sitting by their side to help and assist me”.

So, notwithstanding the perverse words of the proviso inserted in Art.74 (1) of the Constitution in 1978, the President is the person to whom the Prime Minister and his cabinet shall “help and assist” and shall give “unreserved loyalty and complete co-operation” and he is the person who shall guide “our destinies”. This makes it clear that even though a parliamentary democracy, we are a President-centric Republic. This is how the founders of our Republic had wanted us to proceed.

But lack of legislative consciousness in the commons and rise of legal intricacies in the country matching the deterioration of political probity has ruined us so much that we have been made to accept that the President of India is nothing but a decoration called constitutional head. This is generated by the Constitution (42nd amendment) Act, 1976 that substituted the original article 74(1) to say that the President of India shall act in accordance with the advice of the council of ministers. This amendment was a product of stark confusion that had engulfed the country in the dark state of emergency and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was eager to use the President to her advantage. When the Janata government took over, the over-egotist Morarji Desai found in Sanjiva Reddy a hostile President. His aversion to Reddy was so acrimonious that he had said, “We brought Sanjiva Reddy into Rastrapati Bhawan for various reasons, among them the fact that he was a senior leader with a clean image who was wedded to Janata philosophy. However, he turned out to be a self-centered man who did things we now feel ashamed about”. (The Morarji Papers, Chapter One). Against this backdrop, by way of 44th amendment, a Proviso was added to Art.74(1) that said, “the President may require the council of ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration”. So these two amendments are sans Republican principles; they are devoid of democratic ethics and nothing but perverse enactment of autocratic ambitions of individuals having grabbed the government using democratic means. These two amendments are frauds played on our Constitution first by Smt Indira Gandhi and latter by Sri Morarji Desai, both autocratic crabs, in their respective regimes, under guise of democracy and need review.

Review or not, the mischief of Art.74 (1) that mislead even Dr. Kalam to sign on the Office of Profit Bill, has no real teeth to do away with the supreme powers of the President. The Article, even after the 42nd amendment, says, “There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice”. So the Council of Ministers is bound to “aid and advise” the President. They cannot refuse to aid the President. On the other hand, they cannot volunteer any advice. An Advice cannot be volunteered or advanced or imposed. If so, that cannot be an advice. The word “advice” is defined as “opinion from one not immediately concerned as to what could or should be done in a given situation”. It is sought for by some body and given in response to that by the person called upon. So when the President shall seek an advice, then only the Council of Ministers can give its advice.

As for example, She can seek “aid and advice” from the Prime Minister immediately on one issue. That is, as Governor of Rajsthan she had refused consent to the Rajasthan Freedom of Religion Bill 2006 and when the provincial government resubmitted the Bill she did not change her stance and finally sent the same to the President of India for a decision at his end. Dr. Kalam had no time to take a decision on that, her communication reaching him at the end of his tenure. Now as the President herself, she is to take a decision. When as Governor she had refused to give her consent to this particular Bill, as President she would not be held unprejudiced in deciding its fate. So, this is a fit case for her to seek the advice of the Central Council of Ministers. And she can act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers. Except such specific and limited use the word “advice” has no other utility. Seeking and accepting advice of the Council of Ministers in such exceptional cases cannot be the same as considering on and consenting to a Bill or any other instrument formulated and framed by the Council of Ministers. The fellows, irrespective of position and pursuit, who have interpreted the word “advice” as a phenomenon fit enough to be imposed on the President, have deliberately or inadvertently contributed to impairment of our democracy.

How the advice-seeker can be compelled to accept the advice?

The new President must have to cogitate this aspect, as she has to play the most important role in preserving Indian sovereignty at this critical juncture.

She has a Council of Minister that is encouraging foreigners to establish their own territories on Indian soil in the guise of SEZs. Under the Sonia-Singh regime, India has made many compromises with national interest including regularizing politico-economic corruptions, criminalisation of politics and administrative improprieties by bulldozing Presidential reservations on Office of Profit Bill etc. Many more unethical, unpatriotic and pro-foreigner machinations may come in attires of Law seeking Presidential consent and many more ordinances may hit the President’s desk for authentication that may even jeopardize Indian geography. It is only the President that can save the country at that time by refusing to authenticate those unlawful Laws.

So, Smt. Patil must learn to be the President who can say no to such advances and can use the ‘pleasure’ clause of Art.75 notwithstanding how wrongly the provisions U/A 53(1) are interpreted, when situation so warrants.

By subjecting validation of Acts and Regulations protected by Schedule 9 to judicial review, the Supreme Court has made us understand that Prime Ministers being politicians having eyes on vote-banks are vested interest persons who can make many wrong Acts taking advantage of majority in the Parliament. Unless the President learns how not to give consent to every such legislative mischief, the country shall be doomed.

Let me remind Smt. Patil that it is the women of India who had created and presented to the First President of India the National Flag in unfurling which our Republic had emerged and received applause of the world on 26 January 1950. So when we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of our first national level war for independence, it is a matter of pride for us all that a woman has become the Head of our Country. Let her keep her head high. Let her leave behind Pratibha Patil of Congress with loyalty to the high-command and be our President under whose “pleasure” only the Prime Minister, presently of the Congress, will act and “pledge”, as Nehru had said, his “loyalty and fealty to this Republic” of which she “will be the honored President”.

I will wait and watch how she acts.

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WHAT SRI JAGANNATH REALLY IS ?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Majority portion of this presentation was published earlier in these pages. But we feel, the way Sri Jagannath is being misappropriated by reactionaries in India and the way powerful electronic media is supporting this misappropriation by intoxicating people with all sorts of superstitious propaganda in an environment that has been vitiated so much with self-centrism that common people have neither the orientation nor the time to think beyond personal hearth and entertainment, unless truth is brought to records, it would be impossible for future generation to know how this unique deity was conceived and created in commensuration with the process of social development of the ancient Oriya race interlaced with agro-magic and refurbished with teachings of Buddha, the most revered son of Orissa soil.

With this in mind, we place this afresh to proceed further into social relevance of Sri Jagannath

HE IS BUDDHA

In the entire world, the Oriyas are the only people who have a National Deity: Sree Jagannatha.

Every Oriya belongs to Him and He belongs to every one born in an Oriya family. You will not find a single Oriya who is away from Him. He is the synonym of belief in God. He stands for toleration. He is the beloved of believers and the quest point of nullifidians. To every Oriya He is the final answer to every philosophical search, spiritual or social. In every Oriya family every birth is celebrated with invocation of Him and every death is held desirable if the final rituals are performed in the Swargadwara at Puri, His abode. The Gajapati Maharaja, who reigns over every Oriya heart as the traditional sovereign of Orissa notwithstanding the constitution of sovereign India and whose name and era constitute the first part of the horoscope of every new born Oriya child, heads the list of the servants of this Lord to whom his predecessors had dedicated their State in its entirety. No where such a land and its people have thus been dedicated to a particular Deity

This Deity of the Oriya Nation is Buddha himself. It could never have happened had Buddha not been the greatest leader of the soil of Orissa; had the entire race of the Oriyas not been his ardent follower and not taken refuge in him.

History has made a Himalayan mistake by projecting a place in the Himalayan belt as Buddhas birthplace Kapilavastu. But, in reality, born in Orissas Kapilavastu- the red soil area near Bhubaneswar, Buddha who was regarded as Bhubaneswar (Lord of Earth) himself, had gone from this soil to the heartland of Vedic activism in the Himalayan belt to fight spread of Brahmincal hegemony under patriarch autocracy and had stood firmly with the autonomous tribal democratic units there, which were still in existence. When on behalf of Ajatasattu, his Brahmin minister Vassakara met Buddha to dissuade him from supporting the Vajjians, he not only refused to be influenced, but also, in front of the minister declared that as long as the tribes retain their democratic system, they shall not decline. He suspected that emperor Ajatasattu might attack his followers who were providing philosophical support to the free tribes against the socio-economic design of Vedic imperialism. And therefore sent his close associate Ananda (in whose memory the Puri Temple has its Ananda bazaar) to call all his followers to the central Assembly Hall. As the Bhikkhus assembled, he went on giving guidelines on how to frustrate imperialistic assault through unity, fraternity, and collective wisdom. Revelation of this in Maha Parinibbana Sutta gives us an idea on why Buddha chose the Himalayan belt as his place of activities.

He had carried with him the Tosala outlook of Orissa, which he had philosophized, with the tenets of Samskhya the unique school of thought emanated, again from Orissa, his birthplace, in order to combat the Vedic philosophy that was propelling Brahminical hegemony and greedy autocracy over the soil. When Vedas were putting premium on heaven, he, therefore, was putting emphasis on earth. This is evident from the Bhumisparsha Mudra accepted as uniquely his own. He had built up his Sangha system in the pattern of Ganarajya in vogue in the then Orissa. And spread of Brahminical hegemony had stopped even in the Himalayan belt because of mass acceptance of his tenets. The principal source of those tenets was Orissa, known as Kalinga Ganarajya even up to the time of Ashok.

The Magadh emperors attack on Kalinga was because of this politico-philosophic rivalry. He had attacked Kalinga Gana Rajya not because of any physical attraction for Karubaki as is being propagated, but simply because the matriarch autonomy of this Ganarajya, probably under the leadership of Karubaki, having had its tenets from the ideals of Buddha, had been continuing as a threat to the patriarch imperialism Magadh was standing for. Legends have been floated to suppress this fact from the eyes of later generation. And, history has not tried to find out the truth.

Ashok, whose aim was to destroy Buddhism and who did his best to do that, has been wrongfully and deliberately projected as the man who spread Buddhism beyond the seas. We shall discuss this aspect later. But at the moment, this much can be said that the matriarch republic system of Orissa which was strengthened and spread by Buddha got so shattered during the reign of Ashok that thereafter it could not publicly surface for centuries until rise of Indrabhuti whose adherence to matriarchy gave birth to the Vajrayan school of Buddhism and transformation of Buddha to Lord of Universe, Lord Jagannath.

Indrabhuti, the king of Uddiyana, which later transformed into Orissas previous name Udisha, was founder of the Vajrayana branch of Buddhism. In Jnanasiddhi the scripture he gave to Vajrayana, Jagannatha was propitiated as Buddha. The work began with the following verse:

Pranipatya Jagannatham Sarvajinavararchitam
Sarva Buddhamayam siddhivyapinam Gaganopam
Sarvadam sarva satvevyah sarvajnam varavajrinam
Bhaktyaham sarva bhavena vaksye tat sadhanam param

(Chapter-1/verse-1&2)
(Lord Jagannatha who is Buddha in entirety, and who as all pervading siddhi is compared to the sky, is worshipped by all the highest Jinas; He is the giver of all, the omniscient of the essence of all and the best of all the Vajrayanists. After bowing low before Him with all my feelings and devotion, I now enunciate His great Sadhana. )

After demise of Buddha, his followers had come to believe that their Guru had transformed his physical visibility to an invisible reality. His worldly existence had changed to an existence in void. From physical presence he had transformed in to omnipresence. The Mahayan sect had gathered strength. But the new concept was too philosophic for the common man to comprehend and traces of decline of mass appeal of Buddhism became discernible. The advocates of Vedic society were busy in spreading idol worship and because Brahminical scriptures were abundant in assuring relief from suffering through worship of specific deities whose images were built up purposefully, the common man was getting more inclined to their worship, unmindful of the Buddhist tenets. Through idol worship the Vedic sect was strengthening patriarchy, the Vedic Gods being entirely male and patriarch. The matriarch pattern of tribal life of Orissa was threatened to the core and the agro-culture to which the Oriyas in general belong was heavily impaired. Orissa being the base and mainstay of Buddhist philosophy, Buddhism proper suffered a great setback as Brahminical influence kept Orissa engulfed. Seeking a ready remedy, Indrabhuti tried to salvage Buddhism by tactful use of idol worship. He tried to retransform the omnipresence of Buddha to a form of physical presence for better concentration of the followers by creating the image of Jagannath. He made Buddha the Supreme one amongst all the deities conceivable by coining the word Jagannath and made it clear that this new word stands for Buddha, the Guru. He then proceeded to provide the formulas for achieving Siddhi of His worship. In the process he built up an environment of worship of female deities in total contrast to spread of male deities by Vedic propagandists. He developed the tenets of Vajrayana in consonance with the original Buddhist identification of the female factor as the cause of creation as against the male factor speculated by Vedas.

He therefore contemplated the image of Jagannath in the form of a female.

HE IS EMBODIMENT OF THE FEMALE FACTOR

Come the Car festival of Sri Jagannath, Orissas agro-magic perception, refurbished with the omnipresent grace of Buddha, the greatest son of Orissa soil, manifests in its assertive best to tell the world that Mother factor is the principal factor of creation.

Look deeply at the body of Sri Jagannatha; you will need no proof to know that it belongs to a female.

Take the torso of a young woman, from shoulder to pelvis, wrap up the lower portion with cloth, keep the breasts uncovered and place it by the side of Sri Jagannatha, you can see the truth. The eyes of Sri Jagannatha and the breasts of the woman are strikingly similar. In the torso, the breasts are prominent, in Sri Jagannath, the round eyes.

You wont find any deity elsewhere having round eyes (chaka akhi). All the deities have eyes like that of human beings. But Sri Jagannatha is the only deity whose eyes are round. It is so unique that the deity is known in the name of Chaka akhi ! But why are they round?

Brahminical explanations are misleading.

Being the master of the universe, the deity has the sun as one eye and the moon as the other; and both of them being round to look at, they are so, they say.

But in reality they are symbolic of female breasts. When the pupil stands for the nipple, the iris for the areola and the rest for the spread of the breast.

In the female body, Vajrayan had found the universe in its creative best. And the female breast was observed as the symbol of growth and sustenance.

The breasts represent uninterrupted development of life inasmuch as they start to grow from mammary buds when the fetus is about five months old. The nipples with rudimentary milk ducts, present on both sides of the chest of the baby at birth begin to develop as she enters into puberty and in its course they enlarge and the areolas swell. This is followed by an increase in glandular tissue and fat causing enlargement of the breasts. Eventually, the breasts become rounded, the areolas flattened. The female breast is regarded as a symbol of femininity, beauty and eroticism even though its primary function is nourishing a baby with milk. Just before and after childbirth the glands in the female breast produce a watery fluid called colostrum, which contains proteins and antibodies to protect the newborn baby against infection. Eventually, within about three days, a lactogenic hormone called prolactin, released from the anterior pituitary gland, replaces the colostrum with milk, with which the baby lives and grows. So, female breasts stand for, besides the urge to procreate, sustenance of creation.

Orissas ancient tribes did not know the modern scientific terms and their co-relations, but knew these qualities of the womans breasts. Therefore, in their perception, the power that gave the living being the urge for procreation and provided them with post-natal sustenance was the breasts of the creator of all creations. They called it Jagantatha (Jaganta+Tha). Jaganta was, to them, the supreme Mother Nature and Tha was her breast (Tha being abbreviated from Thana, which, in Sanskrit is Stana meaning breast in English)

In the deep woods as they were living, depending fully on forests for food, water and shelter, they were thinking that the Mother of all mothers- the Supreme Mother- was staying invisibly in the woods. She was providing them with their means of sustenance. She was protecting them from wild animals, and natural calamities. Because of her they were being saved from the carnivorous beasts like tigers or lions. Even today in Orissa, Bana Devi or Goddess of Forests is being worshipped. Remarkable is the fact that there is no Bana Deva or God of Forests. There is only Bana Devi. In their vocabulary that Supreme Mother was Jaganta who ruled over and beyond the forests. This Jagantas breasts were Jagantatha. The word Tha, as indicated above, was an abbreviation of the colloquial word Thana, which in chaste Oriya or Sanskrit is called Stana. Hence, Jagantatha means the breasts of the Supreme Mother. When the founder of Vajrayana sect of Buddhism, Indrabhuti tried to sanskritise the word Jagantatha he made it Jagannatha in his epoch making work Jnyanasiddhi. Therefore Sri Jagannatha image resembles the torso of a female body with both the breasts prominently displayed, described, though, by the proponents of patriarchy, as chaka akhi or round eyes of the Deity.

Brahminism has played all possible nasty tricks to convert Orissas unique matriarch conception into a patriarch figure. The historicity of Indrbhuti, who in his Jnynasiddhi first coined the word Jagannatha and in consonance with the tenets of Vajrayana that he conceived had caused the shape of this image emerge, has been converted into Indradyumna through concocted legends. Legend of his queen Gundicha has been added to convert the female torso into half built body of the Lord. All lies have been spread to make the post-Ganarajya (Ganarajya means the Matriarch Democratic units of indigenous Tribes) generation believe that this deity is Purusottama meaning the best amongst the males.

Notwithstanding all these and many more tricks in vogue, proponents of patriarchy have not been able to completely wipe out the matriarch practices of Sri Mandira. These are akin to the practices of an Oriya woman.

In traditional Oriya families, when a nubile girl gets her first menstruation, that gets trumpeted through blowing of conches and beating of drums followed by a ritual bath and stay in seclusion for number of days. When the girl completes her stay in seclusion, the Nava Jouvana ceremony takes place after her Sringar (cosmetic make-up) and the family declares that she is physically ready for a spouse. Then search for a groom starts. In tribal culture, the girl goes in search of her husband, mingles with the suitors and goes with him whosoever becomes able to Ghinch her, meaning, to surpass all others in dragging her away. These practices are very much in vogue in life of Jagannatha. Around Raja-Parva, the unique Oriya ceremony that is celebrated to grant rest to Mother Earth on her menstruation before her union with monsoon, on the last day of Jyestha that awakens on advent of Asadha, the month of rain, Jagannatha gets the ritual bath known as Snana to the blowing of conches, trumpets and beating of Jhanja and Mrudang and then goes to stay in seclusion in Anasara. After this the make-up ceremony known as Netrotchhava occurs followed by Nava Jouvana Darshana. And the next day, decorated with all sorts of female ornaments like Guna, Nakachana, Kanaphula etc Jagannatha, in a peculiar provocative style, belly dances into the fold of suitors maddening them into the action of ghinch (dragging).

Behind the world famous Car Festival of Orissa, this historicity and its social significance is getting juggernauted year after year taking us further farther from our unique cultural heritage.

AN IAS OFFICER PLAYS FRAUD ON JAGANNATH DAS’S BHAGAVAT ! WHAT A GOVERNMENT !

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

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Cover of the printed book (left) and cover of the e-book (right)

If hankering after fame makes one maddened into dishonesty, Orissa’s former Chief Secretary Subas Pani’s role in the matter of Oriya Bhagavata is an instance.

He has tampered with “Jagannatha Dasanka Srimad Bhagavata” published by Orissa Sahitya Academy and obliterated the name of its editor Pt. Nilamani Mishra while placing his own self as the sole presenter of the correct edition of the immortal work that has remained at the top of popularity unperturbedly for last 500 years in Orissa, changing, inter alia, its title to “Oriya Bhagavata”.

Inscribed in palm leaves, in thousands and thousands of copies, this great work occupy the most revered place in Oriya households where it is recited daily with utmost respect in quest of spiritual realization in individual homes before the family retires to rest in the night. Where people are illiterate, the villagers collectively keep a set in a common cottage known as Bhagavata Tungi and listen its recital by an educated person whose remuneration they collectively pay. Such importance is given to this work by the Oriyas.

But copying from palm leaves to palm leaves having brought its corollary corruption to the text, it was impossible to find out a correct copy of the work even in printed editions brought out by various publishing houses. Keeping this in mind, Mr. J.B.Pattnaik, translator of the Bhagavata Mahapurana from Sanskrit to Oriya in prose, after becoming Orissa’s Chief Minister in the 1980s, had asked the Orissa Sahitya Academy to bring out a fault-free edition of this immortal work as a result of which, Pandit Nilamani Mishra was vested with the responsibility.

Pandit Mishra dared all the difficulties to complete the work in 1889 and the Sahitya Academy published it under the caption: Jagannatha Dasanka Srimad Bhagavata.

It was a unique work, done with single-minded dedication, on juxtaposition of seven sets of palm-leaf manuscripts of different period, collected from different places as well as printed copies published by various publishers and determination of the correct version on philological matrix.

Pandit Mishra had not only focused on the background of the edition in a highly scholarly essay, but also had added the relevant lexicon to every volume, compiled by himself, sans which, typical expressions of Jaganath Das, caused by adherence to colloquialism in lucid poetic stanzas comprising two lines each in a first-of-its-kind pattern of nine-lettered-metre, would have remained difficult for correct grasping. The edition also carried a precise analysis presented by Sri J.B.Pattnaik on Jagannatha Das vis-a-vis his Bhagavata.

It was and still is regarded by one and all as the most authentic and correct edition of the original work.

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Inside page of original work (left), inside page of e-book (right)

If the State Government was interested to help Oriya netizens getting the correct version of Bhagavata, it could have made an e-edition of Pt. Mishra’s compilation. But with Subas Pani as the Chief Secretary, this was not to be.

Had it been done, along with Pt. Mishra as the compiler, J.B.Pattnaik as the inspirer would have reached the global community of Oriyas. It might not have pleased Naveen Patnaik, who is marked for total intolerance to political rivals.

So, Pani, eager to keep Naveen pleased at any cost to facilitate translation of his yet unveiled promise to POSCO into reality, preferred JB’s name jettisoned from the e-edition.

But, as jettisoning JB’s name alone would have been impossible, he cooked up a conspiracy to project the e-publication as altogether a new and original work whereby it was also possible on his part to throw away into oblivion Pt. Mishra and to project himself as its sole presenter.

A hybrid organization of letters, styled as Oriya Bhasa Pratistana, created in Naveen-raj in total disregard to how it may affect the Sahitya Academy, was used as the instrument.

Under banners of this hybrid organization, the “Jagannatha Dasanka Srimad Bhagavat” edited by Pt. Nilamani Mishra and published by Orissa Sahitya Academy in 1989 was copied and published under a new name as “Oriya Bhagavata” in Orissa Government’s official website under a category captioned as “Kalajayee Srusti”, projecting the same as original fault-free edition of Jagannatha Das’s work.

In this work of nuisance, name of Sri J.B.Pattnaik, under whose orders and inspiration, the correct edition of the Bhagagavata was brought out, has been dropped in order, as apprehended supra, to please Naveen Patnaik.

But the most obnoxious outrage of Orissa’s culture grimaces at our collective conscience when we see the name of Pandit Nilamani Mishra, but for whose dedicated involvement and research the Oriya nation would never have retrieved the correct version of Jagannatha Das, has been obliterated from the copied edition with Subas Pani grabbing the opportunity to project himself as the sole presenter of the fault-free edition of “Oriya Bhagavata” before the global community of Oriyas.

Orissa has a couple of officers that are more inclined to appropriate others’ works as far cautiously as possible and/or to bask under others’ glory by somewhat managing to make their presence felt in theirs’ context, howsoever wrongly that might be; but so far, such blatant dishonesty was not resorted to by any.

So, the Government of Orissa under Naveen Patnaik, if it has an iota of probity, should withdraw its so-called ‘Oriya Bhagavata’ from the web and reload it with due notification to the effect that it is the e-copy of the set of “Jagannatha Dasanka Srimad Bhagavata” compiled and edited by Pt. Nilamani Mishra and published by Orissa Sahitya Academy.

It should further initiate action against Subas Pani for the fraud he has played so that similar offense by any other official functionary gets discouraged.

Let us remember, it is time to save our culture from vultures.

A STUDENT OFFERS INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS ON ORISSA EDUCATION

When anarchy is the synonym of education in Orissa, with an anti-people government nonchalantly continuing its game of mismanagement, we are happy to note that a source of solace to aspiring students comes from Debi Prasad Dash, an IT student of Orissa that provides with information on admission, examination, results and scholarships including other useful news.

Styled as eduorissa.com, the new portal on Orissa’s education scenario, though on net for around 4 months, is being visited by more than 500 students a day, Dash claims.

Welcome Debi, orissamatters.com wishes you all the best.

WHEN SCRIBES COLLECTIVELY AIR IRE AGAINST ADMINISTRATION, THE GOVT. MUST BE BAD

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Assembly in session, Members across party lines have expressed profound shock over the state government’s anti-Press activities and have warned that unless administration changes its stance, democracy would be in jeopardy.

Journalists in Orissa are in deep despair due to curtailment of the role of their collective wisdom in matter of accreditation. Ever since Naveen Patnaik has taken over reigns of the State, freedom of Press has been severely transgressed and grant of accreditation has become a fantoccini farce. This farce became so ruthless that 87% of the accredited journalists were threatened with disaccreditation following a resolution adopted by the puppet committee. We in these pages exposed the illegality of this official action and maintained that:

The Committee has no power, excepting review, to disaccredit a journalist. Once accreditation is granted, it shall continue till the concerned journalist voluntarily returns it under Sub-Rule (v) of Rule 5, can be withdrawn under Sub-Rule (vi) of Rule 5, can be suspended by the Director, I. & P.R. as a punitive step against misuse of the facility under Sub-Rules (i) to (iii) of Rule 15, can be cancelled by the Director under Sub-Rule (v) and (vi) of Rule 15 when the accredited reporter remains absent in his headquarters for more than three consecutive months without any intimation and is found guilty of obtaining accreditation on false documents. None of the 87 % of Orissa journalists now threatened with disaccreditation are shown to be belonging to the above categories.

The illegality exposed, the committee abandoned its resolution and the department of information refrained from disaccreditation.

But it had no sooner stopped than newer ways were invented to transgress freedom of Press. It had to be; because Free Press is anathema to misrule.

Plutocracy needs a Puppet Press. And for this purpose it tries to weaken unity of journalists by pampering the black sheep section while disregarding their Trade Unions and subjecting them to deception in matters of collective bargaining. These tactics are practiced in Orissa by the recalcitrant Nabeen Government that has framed a new set of Accreditation Rules behind back of the journalists in 2006 obliterating their participation in the Accreditation Committee through their respective professional bodies, to which they have strongly resented.

The Government is so recalcitrant that advice from every right-thinking person that the administration should leave the matter of accreditation, as hitherto before, to professional bodies of journalists and editors instead of nominating its own favorites to the Committee has not fetched any result.

Resolved not to tolerate this “anti-journalists policy” any more, both the Trade Unions of Orissan scribes, the Utkal Journalists Association and the Orissa Union of Journalists have formed a “Journalists Co-ordination Committee” and on June 28 have demonstrated their collective wrath in front of the Orissa Assembly in session.

The demonstration programs having been announced a fortnight ago, the government tried to divide the journalists exploiting the weakness of some of them generated by recognition crisis, envy and avarice; but that did not click and journalists from every nook and corner of the state staged a unique demonstration against the official mischief.

This reminds me of a time when, as the Secretary of Orissa Union of Journalists, I had to burn down copies of the Working Journalists (Industrial Disputes) Act, 1955 as well as the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 before the Assembly in protest against the scope given to government in these two Laws to kill the conciliation reports and recommendations of the Labour Laws Administrative Machinery for forwarding the disputes to designated courts for adjudication and determination of the relief the affected journalists are entitled to.

Late Biju Patnaik, the then Leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly had rushed to the spot, ignoring the Question Hour, to witness that first blaze of scribes’ wrath against pro-management manners of the Government.

He along with his Party Legislator Prasanna Pattasani heard my speech and discussed with me the problem in-depth; but surprisingly, sloughed over the crux of the issue while dealing with the matter in the House. More noteworthy than this is the fact that, the then heavyweights of my own Union except Narayan Rath, Barendrakrushna Dhal and Prasanta Pattanaik, had kept themselves surprisingly away from this event lest their personal rapports with the concerned official functionaries deteriorates.

So, in collective life of journalists, opportunists are not rare, specifically when there is a political climate where both the benches side with managements and where Free Press is dreaded by both the sides.

With the help of some such opportunists, the Naveen regime has been playing havoc with the professional life of the scribes of Orissa.

The present leadership of both the genuine Trade Unions of Journalists of Orissa have rightly enumerated the plights of journalists in Naveenraj, which has been published.

When scribes collectively air ire against administration, the government that runs that administration must be a bad government. And, even in a plutocracy a bad government cannot be saved. The sooner Naveen Patnaik understands this, the better.