Prasanta Patnaik’s ‘RAVAN PODI’ Launched Together With Mrs. Patnaik’s ‘SWARA MAYA’

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Authors in Orissa enrich Oriya literature everyday. But not everyday a couple makes its contribution to literature together. Eminent journalist Prasanta Patnaik and his wife Prof. Chandraprava Patnaik, on the day of their 43rd marriage anniversary on January 23 have done this to the best of pleasure of their admirers and reading public.

Prasanta babu’s Ravan Podi is a compilation of his short stories depicting life in contemporary times that he, as a journalist, has watched whereas Mrs. Patnaik’s Swara Maya is a collection of her poems that depict romance of tear and laughter in female life. Prof. Dr. Soubhagya Kumar Mishra and Vice-chancellor of Ravenshaw University, Debdas Chhotray, both poets and lyricists of eminence, launched the books, brought out by Associated Media Foundation.

Many a prominent persons attended the lively function at Hotel Keshari, Bhubaneswar, where Dr. Rangadhar Sahu delivered critical appreciation on both the works.

When welcome speech was delivered by journalist Bauribandhu Moharana on behalf of the Foundation, its secretary Puspaja Dhal proposed the vote of Thanks.

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IF YOU REMEMBER NETAJI, REMEMBER BARABATI FORT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is a matter of great pleasure that the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Oriya Bazar, Cuttack has been renovated and attempts are galore to make it a point of pilgrimage for the patriots of India and whosoever loves Nataji in the world.

But it would be sheer injustice to history if equal importance is not paid to Barabati Fort of Cuttack. This is the fort, which had inspired Subhas Chandra so much in his formative days that in course of his life he emerged as the beloved Netaji of India.

There were many Netas (leaders) of our freedom movement. But amongst them all only Subhas Chandra became the Netaji. His parents had many children. But amongst all of them only Subhas, who had spent his first sixteen years in Cuttack became Netaji.

According to the author of Arthasastra, Chanakya, character building of a person continues till he / she becomes sixteen. Thereafter that character becomes the factor of the becoming of that person. Netaji became Netaji because of the character he acquired / developed during the first sixteen years of his life that he spent in Orissa.

Orissa was the land that the British had not dared to attack until rest of India except the Portuguese pockets had gone into its grip.

But Orissa was the land that was the first to raise revolt against the foreign yoke.

British historian G.Toynbee has noted, “It was not long, however, before we had to encounter a storm which burst with so sudden fury as to threaten our expulsion”, (A Sketch of the History of Orissa, G.Toynbee ).

Such were the Oriyas. Barabati Fort at Cuttack was the epitome of their mana.

Subhas Chandra had spent his formative days till he was sixteen in Orissa. The romance of aggressive patriotism had shaped up his character under the aura of this Fort. And that eventually had blossomed into making him our Netaji.

So, if we remember Netaji, how can we do justice to history if Barabati Fort is not properly remembered?

OPPOSITION TO OPPRESSION CANNOT BE EXTINGUISHED


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh is now known for two things: (1) inaction against price rise and (2) action against Naxalites.

Price rise in health service sector had given birth to Naxalism. Price rise in essential commodities has kept alive Naxalism. Were there no price rise there would have no Naxalite in India.

Price rise is what exploitation is.

Every exploiter finds his / her enemy in the Naxalites. Pressing state power against Naxals is using state power in support of the exploiters. The PM is expected not to support the exploiters; but he is aggressively against the Naxals!

As consumers Indians are severely jeopardized by Price rise. The Country had developed a practice of studying Consumer Price Index to equip administration with analyzed instruments to save consumers from price rise.

But in Singh’s style of administration the Index is not being used to curb price rise. It is being used to sumptuously enhance dearness allowance of government servants to enhance their purchasing power and to equip them with funds to go for costly consumer goods. This is helping price rise getting increased from high to higher. The trading class is easily making massive profit, but the majority mass of the country comprising the landless laborers, marginal farmers, industrial workers and unemployed persons is left in the labyrinth of wretchedness. Majority of Indians is in slow starvation, unable as the commons are to meet the price rise. This abject wretchedness is giving birth to corruption in the grassroots and vitiating the base of India with stark opportunism that man’s survival instinct is bound to bring about.

Whether the PM has understood this or not is not material. Let him understand that human society is a living collective that is bound to oppose oppression. Price rise is a slow killing form of oppression. Man’s opposition to this oppression cannot be extinguished. Hence, instead of steering administration to extinguishment of Naxals, it would be better for the PM to halt oppression by bringing down price rise as soon as possible.

Emancipatory Journalism Must Be Protected From Sedition Charges

By Saswat Pattanayak

As Published in Kindle

As Published in Kindle

Laxman Chaudhury’s arrest in Orissa is the latest in the series of assaults on press freedom. In the guise of fighting the Maoists, various state governments in India are now harassing journalists in an unprecedented manner. But what is more peculiar in this specific oppression of the people is the manner in which grassroot scribes associated with vernacular media are being specifically targeted.

Chaudhury from Mohana has been charged under sedition and for having waged war against the state. A committed journalist who exposed the nexus between ganja smugglers, women traffickers and the police, is suddenly declared as an enemy of the State after being framed for alleged links with Maoists. OTV reporters Khusiram Sunani and Kirti Chandra Sahu, editor of Nissan, Lenin Ray, Samaj correspondent Jagannath Bastia, Aaromv reporters Sriharsha Mishra and Kiran Mishra are also instances of journalists being harassed under similar pretexts.

Sedition is possibly the most serious charge envisioned against an unpatriotic and disloyal subject of the State. To bring up such a charge against active journalists who are championing the voice of the underrepresented clouds the vision of a vibrant democracy. Not only are the charges of sedition inappropriate to be brought against any journalist who advances the voices of dissent, but the very code of sedition needs to be reevaluated, and subsequently purged from the legal paraphernalia.

We need to remember that the original Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (1870) defined Sedition thus: Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards Her Majesty or the Crown Representative in British India or British Burma shall be punished with transportation for life or any shorter term, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Conveniently enough, our judiciary and legislative power combines have not amended this section much, and have merely replaced “Her Majesty or the Crown Representative” with “the Government established by law”, “British India/Burma” with “India”, and the “transportation for life” with “imprisonment for life”. What has entirely gone amiss from juridical interventions is the need to rethink the absolutely abominable colonial strategies to continue enslaving human subjects in the name of loyalty to the ruling structure. Its utter disgusting to sustain such a tradition of oppression even to this date, let alone fabricate freethinking conscientious journalists into submitting to charges of so-called sedition.

What has gone missing from the critical discourse is the unique history of humankind against colonial empires. Had the unfree subjects obeyed such unjust legal systems enforced upon them, there would have never been a single instance of civil disobedience or non-cooperation, or outright opposition against social injustice. It is important to recall that revolutionaries of our freedom movements were not so much opposed to the British individuals per se. In fact, many of them were educated by British professors, admired rationalist traditions of the British, and joined internationalist forces in declaring their freedom rights. This was the reason why our leaders, moderates and extremists alike, did not prefer to incite violence against the British individuals. They were chiefly opposed to the unjust methods of the British colonial system. They demanded overhauling of the system, but did not preach hatred against the rulers. This is the approach of the revolutionaries – to heed to the peoples‘ causes and calls and stir up a new movement to replace an older unjust one. It is not mere opposition to specific political parties that is desirable for a journalist to air, but also the demand for replacement of a whole gamut of corrupt structure when it has failed its entire purpose.

Journalists, more than any other professionals, are representatives of the people’s voices. It is through their views and interpretations that some people aspire to be politicians, some administrators look for policy changes, and some judges inform themselves before releasing a verdict.

Not only journalists need to be forever shielded from sedition charges, they must work together to influence the masses to demand for abolition of such unjust colonial legacies in our legal system. If people demand Her Majesty to be ousted, so be it. And if the majority of India, impoverished in poverty and being penalized for being poor, demand the existing government – elected through fraudulent methods of indoctrination, money power and manipulations – to go, so be it.

If a grassroot journalist can be accused of sedition, then its time to reassess the executive-legislative-judiciary branches in view of their former colonial masters, and they must together be declared guilty of graver charges. Crimes against the people must be denounced far more stringently than crimes against the authorities.

REVIEW HIS JUDICIAL DELIVERIES TOO

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is sad and shocking that a judge of Orissa High Court has been degraded to rank of a district judge on ground of moral turpitude.

Mr. L. K. Mishra was an additional judge and as practice and precedence show, he should have been confirmed as a regular judge. But, the union law ministry preferred not to confirm him as he was marked for favoritism in selection of district judges.

The Orissa High Court deemed it fit to revert him to a district judge position as it was legally not tenable to keep him stable in the High Court.

There are many allegations against many judges many a times. It tells upon credibility of judiciary. The country needs be free from such predicament.

The scenario could best be avoided if stiff intelligence scrutiny on personal conduct and aptitude of persons under consideration for appointment to High Courts or the Supreme Court is made mandatory with provisions of prosecution against the intelligence officer when his / her report turns out to be superfluous.

Let such a decision be taken.

But whenever a judge is found deficient in probity his / her judicial deliveries should also be reviewed.

Let the practice start with review of Mishra’s deliveries.

Heads of Orissa Information Commission Hide Their Properties!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

RTI activist Pradip Pradhan has raised serious allegations against Orissa’s Chief Information Commissioner D.N.Padhi as well as the Member of the Commission Jagadanand Mohanty. “They have not provided the required information on their movable assets……. lest the disproportionate wealth they might have amassed during different phases of their public career would be leaked”, he has said.

He narrates:

“On 31.8.09, I had applied to the Public Information Officers in the offices of both Orissa Information Commission and Information and Public Relations Department, Orissa, seeking information about the property list of State Chief Information Commissioner ( Mr. D.N. Padhi), State Information Commissioner (Mr. Jagadananda Mohanty) and former State Information Commissioner (Prof. Radhamohan) which they might have submitted to Govt in compliance of their respective Service Rules. As is well known, the status of Mr. D.N. Padhi is equivalent in rank to that of Election Commissioner of India and that of Mr. Jagadanand Mohanty to that of Chief Secretary of State. It is further well known that as per both All India and State Service Rules, the concerned Officers are required to submit the property list to the Govt. under whom they are presently posted.

“Strangely enough, the PIO, Dept. of I and PR rejected my RTI Application without any rhyme or reason.

“Then I made the 1st Appeal before the Appellate Authority, Dept. of I and PR, who on hearing my appeal directed the PIO to forward the application to the PIO, Office of Orissa Information Commission under Section 6 (3) of RTI Act for providing me the required information.

But then the PIO, office of OIC, supplied me incomplete information.

As is well known, as per the Service Rules, the property list means both movable assets (Bank Balance, LIC, Insurance and jewelry etc.) and immovable assets ( land, building etc. ).
But the PIO simply supplied me list of immovable assets of the Commissioners.

On receiving incomplete information, I made 1st appeal to the 1st Appellate Officer of the Commission with request to supply me complete information.

On 27.11.09, the 1st Appellate Officer heard my case. During the hearing, the PIO explained that he could not supply the complete information to me as the information on movable assets has not been submitted by any Commissioner. He further observed that State Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have supplied only the information relating to immovable assets, and that too in a prescribed proforma.

The 1st Appellate Authority dismissed my case pronouncing that the PIO has provided me the information as available with him from the source of both the Commissioners.

Not satisfied with the decision of the 1st Appellate Officer, I have made 2nd appeal to Orissa Information Commission on 12.1.2010, pleading for supply of complete information to me and take punitive action against the PIO as required under Section 20 of RTI Act”.

Informing that he is waiting with baited breath to know how Orissa Information Commission hears and decides the case when the Commissioners themselves have not provided the required information on their movable assets to the PIO as required under the existing Service Rules, Pradhan has viewed the phenomenon in the following term:

“It is crystal clear that both the Commissioners who have not disclosed the complete information about their respective property list including movable assets to the Office of Commission have violated the Service Rules applicable to them and deserve therefore to be censured and punished by the Governor, who has sworn them into the office. Secondly, both Commissioners, who have deliberately kept their own office in dark about their ‘movable assets’ are patently guilty of ‘moral turpitude’ and therefore deserve to be dismissed by the Governor forthwith under Section 17 of RTI Act.

It seems, they have carefully hid such information from the public view, lest the disproportionate wealth they might have amassed during different phases of their public career would be leaked out and thereby invite fresh scandals to rage against them”.

NYF-15: ROMANCE OF RHYTHM

An event may pass away, but shall live for ever the romance of its rhythm. Our photo reporter Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak addressed his lenses on January 11 to pick up the romance that the 15th National Youth Festival would be remembered for, for ever. A few: