If Possible, It Will Be Most Humanitarian

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

This is Ansh Pallai. Only four months in age.

He brought sky-full of happiness to parents, Smt. and Sri Sudarshan Pallai on coming to earth on the New Year’s Day, 2011. Pallai works for the Kanak TV at Bhubaneswar.

But now, the parents have lost their sleep, as Apollo Hospital, Bhubaneswar, whereto he was taken for pediatric consultation, has diagnosed him as a case of complicated heart ailment: CHD-TAPVC.

According to the Hospital, Ansh needs immediate surgical intervention. The treatment may cost around Rs.3.5 lakhs. Sri Pallai’s works against a salary that cannot shoulder this cost.

As discussed earlier in these pages, the Orissa Working Journalists (Welfare) Fund is of no use as its provisions are ridiculously impractical.

In the circumstances, Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) has appealed to all media persons and media houses of Orissa to contribute to the best of their ability to the child’s treatment fund directly at his father Sudarshan Pallai’s Saving Bank Account No.20062339713 in Laxmisagar Branch of State Bank of India or by cash, cheque, Bank Draft or money order to Sri Pallai at Kanak TV, B-27, Rasulgarh Industrial Estate, Bhubaneswar. For proper coordination, the contributors may inform MUFP through the coordinating member of its Presidium, Sri Prasant Patnaik at patnaikprasanta@gmail.com, MUFP has suggested.

It may be noted that recently on appeal of MUFP for treatment of MBC TV Camera Person Sri Laxmidhar Mohapatra, media persons and organizations of Orissa had contributed around Rs 2.25 lakhs. Over and above this amount, the management of Kar Clinic Hospital had also given a concession of Rs. 30 thousand on their total bill on request of MUFP Presidium member Sri D.N.Singh. Mohapatra has been released from the hospital and is steadily recovering. For such support, MUFP has been extremely obliged to media friends and media houses.

It is now a fresh appeal. MUFP is conscious of financial constraints that majority of media persons and media organizations of Orissa are facing. If, despite that, it is possible to contribute for treatment of the four month old child, it would be the most humanitarian act on part of the members of media fraternity.

By the time of posting of this information, the information we have received indicate that in response to MUFP e-mail, friends have already started remitting their contributions.

The Supreme Court Should Have Used Sen’s Case to Save India from Plutocratic Terrorism

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice H.S.Bedi and Justice K.C.Prasad will be remembered for having granted bail on April 15, 2011 to Dr. Binayak Sen, the legendary victim of Plutocratic terrorism, who was, by Chhatishgarh government, thrown into rigorous life imprisonment under charges of sedition for alleged possession of Maoist literature as well as for harboring and /or helping them.

Dr. Sen has expressed happiness over the Apex Court’s order; but, after being released he has told PTI, “the case against me is still going on and I have to fight it with all the means at my disposal”.

All the patriots framed up by exploitative State under charges of sedition are not attracting global attention and Supreme Court consideration as Dr. Sen could do. They are, as under-trial criminals: majority in jails and a rare few enlarged on bails, perishing for no fault of theirs.

Dr. Sen’s case is an instance of how easy has it become for administration to clamp sedition charges on persons that have humanitarian sympathy for the suffering masses. They are being branded as or sympathizers of the Maoists to face prosecution under charges of sedition.

Orissa is an enormous storehouse of instances of this mischief.

Even the journalists, who are dutifully reporting on the plight of the people, are being charged with sedition. I give below two sample instances:

One: Keertichandra Sahu, reporter of Anupam Bharat, having exposed the Utkal Alumina Plant of the Aditya Birla group over the havoc it plays on the environment as well as the life of innocent and ignorant tribals and workers kept as casual workers sans any service condition, was arrested on 14 February 2004 by the police at Kashipur of Kalahandi under charges of sedition and since then is perishing under the framed up case.

Two: NGOs such as Sajag and Sahabhagi Vikash Abhiyan had shown, unemployment problem along with the condition of starvation and semi-starvation among the Kamar families was growing day by day. This had prompted two freelancing TV reporters of Nuapada District, Puturam Sunani and Meghanad Kharsel to keep a watch on Nangalghat in Sinapalli Block, as it was a hamlet of Kamar caste people. And in course of time, information reached them that under stark starvation the helpless ones in that hamlet were eating limestone, locally known as jhikiri. Initially unable to believe, they reached Nangalghat on 25.5.2007 and found that the starved people were really eating the stones. They took video recording of one Baru Singh Pahadia while eating stone and sent the same to their respective medias including OTV for further action. OTV telecasted the horrifying scene at 7 P.M. of 31 May 2007. Immediately thereafter, bags of rice were put in the houses of the villagers, job-cards pushed into families, a tube-well was dug overnight and both the reporters were arrested under charges of sedition, as, to the authorities, their reports were designed to destabilize the government. Revenue Minister Man Mohan Samal (as then he was) condemned both of the journalists in rudest possible terms while informing the Orissa Legislative Assembly the next day on June 01, 2007 of the “criminal cases” instituted against them. He had not even hesitated to mislead the House with false and manufactured reports on availability of job to Nangalghat villagers and their, including Baru Singh’s, food stability. The mischief was exposed in these pages. And, soon the Center for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) come out with details of “hunger, poverty and deprivation” prevalent in the region and observed, “the scenario looks worse than Sub-Saharan Africa”. Yet, both the TV reporters had to face prosecution under sedition charges for having shown to the society this terrible fact.

When these are instances of journalists framed up to face charges of sedition because of their reporting on plights of the people, there are journalists in Orissa that are charged for sedition simply because their reports went against certain members of the police force. One example:

Orissa’s highest editional Sambad has its man in Laxman Choudhury at Mohana. He has been subjected to charges of sedition simply because he exposed the nexus between the area Inspector of Police and the marijuana mafia. The Inspector contrived a method to teach him a lesson and accordingly clamped a case of sedition against him on concocted allegation that a packet of Maoist leaflets was seized from a private bus conductor who, he claimed, informed him that the packet was meant for Chaudhury. Later the said Inspector was caught redhanded by the Vigilance Police while receiving his share of profit from the marijuana mafia; but despite repeated requests from Media Unity for Freedom of Press, the false case of sedition that the corrupt Inspector had cooked up against him has not yet been withdrawn.

From the records of agreement between the State Government of Orissa and the mediators during the course of negotiation for release of Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi from Maoist hostage, it transpires that, as many as 600 illiterate tribals are perishing in prisons under sedition charges, because, misusers of power wanted them prosecuted that way for their supposed links with the Maoists.

In Dr. Sen’s case, Mr. Justice Bedi told the lawyer of the prosecuting State that if it was real that some materials on Maoist ideology were found in his possession, that does not make out a case of sedition.

“We are a democratic country. He may be a sympathizer. That does not make him guilty of sedition”, said the Justice.

His judicial wisdom made him ask the state lawyer, “If Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is found in somebody’s place, is he a Gandhian? No case of sedition is made out on the basis of materials in possession unless you show that he was actively helping or harboring them [Maoists].”

And, thus, Dr. Sen’s enlargement on bail was shaped.

But here is how justice failed to fully blossom.

While saying that possession of Maoist materials does not make one a Maoist, the Apex Court should simultaneously have determined if Maoism is an act of sedition.

That could have expedited the end of Dr. Sen’s turmoil as well as of the massive number of Indians perishing under charges of sedition, framed up as Maoists or their supporters / helper /harborers. Even the persons in whose support the Maoists raise their voice, are being projected as Maoists like the tribals / forest-dwellers / landless laborers of Orissa – as the 600 persons mentioned supra – and being tried under charges of sedition. It has become easiest for the exploitative state to project any antagonist to economic inequality / exploitation / corruption / maladministration as Maoist and torture him / her under charges of sedition.

If, for judicial decision on right to liberty, the Constitution of India provides the base, it is pertinent to revisit the Constituent Assembly debates, specifically of the concluding session where Dr. Ambedkar, whom we regard as the creator of the Constitution, had to answer to the last debates, before it was adopted.

In reply to the debates on third reading of the draft Constitution, he had said, “ On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic rights we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man and one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man one value…We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.979).

Are these words of Dr. Ambedkar’s anxiety and warning capable of being interpreted as expression of sedition? If not, no amount of antagonism expressed against economic and social inequality, even if the antagonists project themselves as Maoists, can be termed as sedition.

And, what is Maoism? It is a political ism opposed to capitalism.

The country can run on only two political economies. It is either political economy of capitalism or political economy of socialism. Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh stands for the former and the Maoists for the later.

Mixed economy propounded and practiced by Nehru has been experienced as a path-paver for peaceful transformation of democracy to plutocracy and a silent killer of socialism in support of capitalism. So, either capitalism or socialism is relevant.

When India, running under capitalism, is experiencing all out corruption in every sphere of administration, has become a land of starvation deaths, has become a land of farmers’ suicide, a land of distress sale of babies by starving mothers, a land of distress sale of paddies by loan-ravaged farmers, a land of unemployment for the unprivileged, a land of inequality in scope of education, a land of inequality in availing healthcare, a land of turmoil for the majority of citizens, a land of parliamentary manipulation, land of cash-for-question parliament, a land of cash-for-confidence vote, a land of nonchalant bureaucracy, a land of no-land-to-landless, a land of displacement of tillers for benefit of private trade operators, a land of religious revivalism and acrimonious communalism, a land of commission agents’ supremacism, a land of State-terror and all sorts of mass-harassing methods and lastly has become a grazing ground of profit-seeking foreigners that have started dictating terms, the people who want India extricated from this mess, will certainly oppose capitalism and hence they will want the country to change its course to political economy of socialism, which also is enshrined in its constitution as its resolve.

Maoism is a sort of expression of determination to lead the country to socialism.

It encourages oppressed people to revolt against the capitalist state so that India can extricate herself from the labyrinth of social and economic inequalities, which, unless done, would, as Dr. Ambedkar apprehended, “blow up the structure of political democracy” that the Constituent Assembly had “so laboriously built up”. (cited supra).

Revolt against a capitalist (exploitative) State is not revolt against the State that the people of India in their Constitution had resolved to have.

Hence Maoism cannot be same as sedition.

The Supreme Court should have appreciated this in putting a complete look into Dr. Sen’s case and saved the country of innumerable litigations over wrong interpretation of Maoism as manner of sedition by the crafty perpetrators of plutocratic terrorism and thereby could have saved the people from perishing under charges of sedition without having ever acted seditious.

But as nice hopes cannot die, one hopes, a day will come, when a Bench of the Supreme Court to come, will cogitate upon this issue and settle the matter for ever.

MUFP Asks Authorities to Protect Suryaprabha Publisher from Police Conspiracy

Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP ) has in a statement expressed serious concern over reports that the Bhubaneswar Police is trying
to slap fabricated charges against Sri Bikash Swain, publisher of Oriya
daily Suryaprabha to despatch him to jail for the second time and make
sure he does not get bail. All this because, despite vindictive police
action against Sri Swain last year, Suryaprabha has refused to fall in
line and has continued to publish critical reports on the acts of
omissions and commissions of both the state government and the
Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissionerate !

Based on inputs from ‘credible sources’ the Executive Editor of
Suryaprabha Sri Navin Das  in a letter to the MUFP has informed of the police conspiracy against Sri Swain, the newspaper’s founder and publisher.

“The MUFP would not like to jump into conclusions; but we would be failing
in our duty if we do not bring this to your kind attention to prevent
any attempt by the police to intimidate or terrorize the media just
because it chooses to project critical views on the functioning of the
government and its agencies”, the body of collective journalistic conscience has told the authorities.

Rest of India Should Stand with Konkan: It Has Given the First Martyr in Fight against Era of Nuclear Danger

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is sad that the rest of India is yet to wake up and express solidarity with the people of Konkan, particularly of Ratnagiri in Maharastra who have already given the first martyr to the motherland in the matter of her protection from the engulfing era of nuclear danger that Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has clamped on the country by hoodwinking the Parliament.

Tabrez Sayekar, a 30 year old inhabitant of Nate village on the sea coast has become the first martyr in the instant fight to save the motherland from nuke mischief. He has sacrificed his life on Monday as Police shot at the people protesting against the construction of the nuclear power plant.

Ratnagiri, though a port point, belongs to an agrarian eco-system between the Arabian Sea and Sahyadri producing excellent cashew nuts, mangoes and rice, besides being the source of livelihood to thousands of fishermen. It has given India monumental leaders of freedom movement and social reformers like Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bharat Ratna Dhondo Keshav Karve.

This remarkable place is now threatened with nuke danger, if, despite meticulous precaution, something somewhat goes wrong someday, as, in words of the government, Bhopal had gone.

Central Government’s own organization, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has started constructing the Jaitapur Nuclesr Power Project, touted to be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world for which agreement was signed between the French nuclear engineering firm Areva and NPCIL on 6 December 2010 in presence of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, is causing terrifying panic in the public and not without reason. They portend disaster on the basis of the recent Fukushima experience. Like Fukushima, the Konkan Zone is also vulnerable to earthquake. In the five seismic zones identified by Government of India, it is put in the second most vulnerable zone liable to seismic intensity VIII in the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale identified as “High Damage Risk Zone”. If at any unfortunate moment earthquake hits the zone, who can say, how shall the nuclear power plant behave? This question haunts the inhabitants of Konkan.

The Government of Man Mohan Singh should have cleared all fears from the people in this regard before signing the agreement with the French firm. It has not. Instead, it has been, sans any convincing details, insisting that the plant will not cause any hazard. The government’s version is rejected by different studies. When the Bombay Natural History Society has shown that the project will cause severe damage to the eco-system, the study conducted by Jamshedji Tata Center for Disaster Management of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) alleges that the Government of India is not transparent in this matter. According to this study, the project’s negative impact on the social and environmental position of Konkan region will be massive and menacing. The most perturbing facet of the fact is that, the central government is also manipulating notification of the area from high severity earthquake zone (high damage risk zone) to moderate seismic severity zone, the study has pointed out.

A Government manipulating notification of the area from high damage risk zone to moderate seismic severity zone to force the nuke plant on the people of Konkan is an official offense perpetrated on the people of India. The modus operandi needs be studied and the design needs be defeated. The rest of India must stand in solidarity with the inhabitants of Konkan in their fight against the era of nuclear danger ushered into the country under foreign pressure.

Hazare Farce Becomes Murkier: Jan Lokpal Bill Just A Hoodwinking Formulation; It Cannot End Corruption

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Anna Hazare’s is a hoodwinking farce formulated to mislead the masses that want end of the corrupt regime. It is as bad as a medicine prescribed for an undiagnosed disease.

Right on private property is the basic cause of corruption. Eliminate this right, corruption shall end.

Any agitation for end of corruption without putting priority on elimination of private property is an agitation against emancipation of india from the labyrinth of economic contradiction that the Constitution, in the words of its author Dr. Ambedkar, has pushed the country into.

Dr. Ambedkar had hoped that the first parliament, formed on the constitution by representatives of the people, would take steps for removal of the contradiction, which he had pointed out as economic inequality; but it did not happen.

Dr. Ambedkar had warned in the same speech that unless the first Parliament passes laws to obliterate the contradiction by removing the right to private property that helps the rich to become richer, the Republic so laboriously created by the Constituent Assembly shall be destroyed by the victims of economic inequality.

This is bound to happen. And, this has started happening as is discernible in the very fact that even non-violent sympathizers of the victims of economic inequality are being prosecuted against for sedition.

Hazare’s conception will cause more hazards inasmuch as the so-called mechanism against corruption, if at all formed in terms of his demand, as and when formed and functions, will only multiply unending litigations that will never end corruption.

Indian constitution is so very defective that right on property will not normally end.

If right on property will not normally end, avarice will not end. Then corruption will never end.

We ought to understand that in the environment of plutocracy, when right on property is being protected and consumerism savagely encouraged, persons in positions will be anxious to accumulate as much property as possible; because that is the only way to enhance and retain their consumer ability and comfort in India.

Corruption being the only way to acquire property to match the ambitions that plutocracy has been generating, peons to the prime minister, every office-bearer of this country is bound to indulge in corruption.

So the constitution that provides for protection of right to acquire and retain private property needs be changed if India is to be free of corruption. It is not easy to change. Therefore attempts must be made to put ceiling on private property. Within the framework of the constitution, at a time, ceiling was imposed on landed property. Steps need be taken to impose ceiling on properties commutable on terms of money too, with immediate effect.

In these pages, I have written on this necessity on different contexts earlier.

If India is to be saved, ceiling on property of the rich is a must in order to curb, if not eliminate, economic inequality, which, if done, will drastically reduce corruption. Then, the country can be addressed to eliminate the root cause of corruption, private property that private ownership over means of production basically creates.

The other reason of corruption is candidate-constituency link in elections.

Political leaders resort to corruption to collect money from operators of trade and industry to keep well-fed their pet packs of vote-catchers in the constituencies they represent and use their political influence for benefit of those fund providers, even though, thereby, the nation suffers the loss.

One of India’s top revered leaders of freedom movement, Nabakrishna Chowdhury, who, when Orissa’s Chief Minister, in May 1955 had warned the nation of this syndrome in the A.I.C.C. meeting at Berhampore. But Nehru and others had preferred to ignore this warning. Later in his famous speech while inaugurating the Gandhi Tattwa Prachar Kendra at Balasore on 14 July 1963 that hit headlines all over the country and abroad, he had described how Nehru’s trusted lieutenant Rafi Ahmed Kidwai was engaged in raising such funds. He had said, “Huge amounts are raised at the time of elections from big mine-owners and rich businessmen for which no detailed accounts are kept”. On the other hand, he had exposed, “As the businessmen have to pay taxes, they do not show this amount in the actual accounts book which they have to show to the Income Tax department. They keep note of these amounts in their personal note books”. (Annexure I to the Report of Commission of Enquiry headed by Sarjoo Prasad). He had also indicated how large portion of the money so collected in the name of election fund was being grabbed by the leaders in charge of funds collection and / or the top leader of the Party. Though Chowdhury had told this of his own party, i.e. the Indian National Congress, it cannot be said for certain that there is any political party in India which can be viewed as a party free of this syndrome.

All of the political parties collect money for funding elections. Over and above the fund received from the parties, individual candidates invest money in their respective constituencies and try to convert the constituencies into personal domains as is evidenced by terms like “my constituency”. This “my constituency” concept is the main cause of politicians resorting to corruption, which as they grow in stature, grows in velocity and viciousness.

How to get rid of this syndrome is discussed here.

Anna Hazare type of agitation is far from addressing to the causes of corruption discussed. Therefore, it can be said that it is an attempt to divert attention from the necessity to wipe out corruption.

Correspondences between Hazare and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, charges of corruption against co-chair of the drafting committee of the Jan Lokpal Bill that Hazare espouses, ruling party attempt through Digvijay Singh to further embarrass the said co-chair and various other developments hitting headlines make the farce murkier and makes it clear that no combine of practitioners of corruption can bring out any method or mechanism for elimination of corruption.

Corruption is growing because the country is going on the capitalist way. Only the opposite political economy can stop corruption.


Orissa Government has a Welfare Fund for Working Journalists (WFWJ) that was created to support medical treatment of affected journalists. But it does not function due to defects in constitution of the Fund.

The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) is also not available to press persons at times of dire need.

Most of the media organizations have no standing orders and no provision for financial assistance to journalists in their employment or in contract with them.

All the persons in the profession are not financially stable to defray their hospitalization cost.

In such a situation, Laxmidhar Mohapatra, senior camera person of MBC Tv fell seriously ill under malaria that eventually precipitated multi-organ-failure and put him on ‘Haemodialysis’ at Kar Clinic, a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. It was estimated that about Rs.4.5 lakhs would be the cost of treatment.

As there was no hope for assistance from either the WFWJ or CMRF, the MUFP appealed media persons to come forward with financial assistance for
Mohapatra ‘s treatment. Between 14 March and 13 April, 2011, a sum of
Rs.2,23,731/- was contributed by media persons and handed over to the hospital towards Mohapatra’s treatment, before he was discharged. A little over Rs.4 lakhs was charged by the hospital. The rest amount was borne by the family.

On behalf of MUFP Presidium, Sri Prasanta Patnaik has circulated details of the media contributions and thanked the contributors for their “unique solidarity” and “heartfelt good-wishes and unconditional support” shown to a member of the profession at the time of dire necessity under medical exigencies.

Sri Mohapatra has been advised by the treating physicians to take complete bed rest at home and periodical check-up under strict medication and medical supervision.

As medical bills are properly met with, MUFP has closed its accounts on Sri Mohapatra and has requested friends to stop any more contribution.

“We would therefore request all of our friends not to send any funds, either in cash or through cheque for the purpose. Friends’ good wishes will be enough for
his complete recovery and resuming of duties as soon as possible”, he has said.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A couple of weeks ago, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP ) had condemned the criminal attack on several photo journalists by members of an organization that had imposed a blockade on National Highway No.5 in Bhubaneswar. The photo journalists were apparently targeted to ensure that the criminal elements in the mob were not captured in camera. The MUFP had called upon the Press to boycott the organization, which was later withdrawn after the said organization apologized.

But then a new issue arose.

A newspaper editor, named in the FIR filed by affected photo journalists, was arrested by the Police. MUFP was pressurized to stand with the editor; but on principle it refused, as to it, the case of injured photo journalists was more important than standing with an editor who led a political rally that went so berserk that photo journalists were deliberately attacked; some of their cameras snatched away / smashed.

The concerned editor has been insisting that the MUFP should have stood with him as he was framed up by the photo journalists under pressure from the Police that was used by the State Government to teach him a lesson, as, in his paper, he has been criticizing the ongoing misrule.
Onus lies on the concerned editor to show that the photo journalists, acting hand-in-glove with the Police, have implicated him in a false case. He has not done it so far. However, while admitting that there was violent frenzy amongst the mob that he had addressed as an invited speaker, he attributes motive to MUFP for having not stood with him.

It gives birth to a larger question. Should politicians donning attires of newspaper editors or newspaper editors active in politics be treated as journalists on duty even while leading political demonstrations or addressing political rallies?

This question needs deep cogitation.

Majority of newspapers in Orissa is owned by politicians who also are self-appointed editors thereof. All their activities cannot be journalistic in nature. If any of them is prosecuted against because of any specific editorial, article, discussion or report in his/her paper, that should give MUFP the reason to intervene; but non-journalistic activities must not.

MUFP has emerged as the forum of media persons beyond boundaries of trade unions and is, perhaps, the best evolution of collective media conscience. It is a new experimentation in the field of protection of Freedom of Press in a State like Orissa where administration has been derailed from welfare track under impact of corporate intoxication, with increasing numbers of the owners of media organizations having facilitated this derailment by adopting corporate culture more eagerly than staying adherent of ethics, the fourth estate in a welfare state is expected to stand for. In such a situation, the media persons whom journalism is mission of life would not take Freedom of Press as freedom of owners of Press. So, for any owner of Press entangled in any case, other than journalistic by crux, a collective body of journalistic conscience like the MUFP is not available.

On the other hand, it also is possible in a State like Orissa that any owner-cum-editor of a newspaper, notwithstanding not being in politics, may be framed up in false cases in reaction to exposure of misrule by the paper. In that case, alert journalists, as a class, must rally in support of the said editor, come what may.

This explains as to why MUFP had protested against illegal arrest of Suryaprabha publisher Bikas Swain in September 2010 when it maintained silence in case of the editor hinted to supra.

Between vox populi and vested-interest politicians, journalism is the only crosspiece that dedicated media persons must ride most cautiously and competently as they are to bring about the environment for emancipation from the labyrinth of anarchy underneath the system called democracy.

MPs of Orissa Should Follow Tathagat

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When as the Chief Minister, Biju Patnaik had gained over the Opposition to support him in his conspiracy to handover vast areas of precious land under reserved forest used as sanctuary of rare blackbucks on the Puri-Konark marine drive to his preferred land-hunters acting under cover of unspecific Hotel projects touted to cater to international tourists and as a result, on 9 November 1993, Basant Biswal led the Congress MLAs to support him by saying that development must not be obstructed in the name of Forest conservation, the strongest voice of opposition to Biju Patnaik’s nefarious design had come only from his own party – then the Janata Dal.

Three of its frontbenchers: Tathagat Satapathy, Umesh Swain and Amar Shatpathy strongly opposed the proposal. “It is sad that the State Government is conspiring to handover the rare eco-system on the Puri-Konark sea-beach by doing away with the reserved status of the forest where rare blackbucks dwell”, said Tathagat when Umesh declared, “I will oppose with all the strength I command the State Government’s nasty plan for deforestation of the reserved forest to handover precious marine land to private industries” and Amar said, “It would be better for the State Government not to rush ahead with the proposal to deforest the lands by the marine drive under pressure from private industrial lobby”.

Tathagat did not stop there. He used his highly circulated daily ‘Dharitri’ to educate the general public against Biju’s harmful plan. On 15 November 1993, in his editorial column he raised the issue. He said, “The State Government’s proposal to handover the precious forest land on the Puri-Konark marine drive was attracting criticism from many leading persons of Orissa. Members of the ruling Janata Dal have also opposed the proposal in the Assembly. But sadly, the Chief Minister is not paying any heed to such opposition”.

Tathagat’s principled stand had unnerved Biju Patnaik so much that, lest the behind-the-screen land-hunters get exposed baring thereby Biju’s practice of corruption, the Government staggered and the eco-system was safe till his son Naveen Patnaik entered into Anil Agrawal’s trap called Vedant University (VU).

It is to be noted that out of the above named three colleagues of Biju Patnaik that had opposed his move to handover the seashore land to undisclosed land-hunters on 9 November 1993 in the Assembly, two have changed their allegiance. They are Umesh Swain and Amar Shatpathy. When Umesh has joined the Congress party, Amar is in the NCP. But Tathagat continues in the party, named after Biju, mastered by his son Naveen, styled BJD. Yet when Naveen’s motive to handover the seashore land – his father had tried to deforest in favor of undisclosed land-hunters – to Anil Agrawal in the name of VU, it is only Tathagat, who questioned the motive behind the land allocation to Agrawal when that would not only shatter the eco-system, but also displace indigenous people from their living environment. Naveen’s sycophants in local politics, collaborators in the central power corridor, a pack of self-proclaimed formulators of Orissa’s future progress from amongst Non-Resident Oriyas trying to ingratiate with the Chief Minister and a pet section of the Press were marked intensifying their respective and collective lobby for Agrawal in the guise of campaigning for IIT in Orissa; but despite being a BJD parliamentarian, Tathagat ventured a signed editorial on 11 May 2007 emphasizing on the need for shift of administrative priority from so-called world-class techno-education to irrigation and cultivation.

I am happy to note that Tathagat has come up yet again to stand with the real Orissa against a misconceived euphoria amongst the State’s ruling leaders over adoption by Parliament of India of the the Constitution (113th) Amendment Bill that aims at paving the way for the Orissa (Alteration of the Name) Bill to become a Law after the President’s consent after which Orissa shall be prohibited to be spelt as Orissa. Held “historic” by uninformed members of the Parliament, who never know the history of Orissa to understand as to why the English spelling of the State was thus fixed, in fact, who never have discussed on why the name of the State was thus spelt, the adoption of the Bill is a historic blunder committed against Orissa inasmuch as it will ruin the unique archaic richness of Oriya language after becoming a law.

In an editorial in Dharitri he has clearly disapproved the confused frenzy of happiness over the change of the spelling of the name of Orissa through legislative instruments. He has not only pointed out how the concerned Bill has been passed sans proper application of legislative wisdom, but also has come down heavily on rulers of the State who have tried to divert attention of the people from their economic peril through the mischief of the “alteration of name’ of Orissa.

Ever since Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has adopted this mischievous method to mislead the people and to satisfy certain elements that are envious of classicism of Oriya language and therefore, time and again have tried to use their method of subterfuge against Orissa, I have been placing my views on correctness of the existing spelling in these pages.

In fact, Orissa is the correct spelling of the name of the State developed and settled by the protectors of Oriya language from the non-Oriya regional chauvinists during the subdued days of Orissa and hence, is unquestionable.

It is sad that the MPs, who have not yet thought it necessary to ban the use of the word ‘India’ as the name of Bharat, even though the word India owes its origin to fellows that had invaded and captured our country, have not hesitated to support and adopt a Bill styled ‘Alternation of the NAME of Orissa Bill, though thereby historicity of State’s name is set to be shattered in transliteration level.

Even as I strongly condemn Naveen Patnaik’s conspiracy against my motherland, I thank Sri Tathagat Satapathy for his timely comment on the spelling change vis-a-vis unseen lack of legislative wisdom in adopting the name alteration Bill.

All the members of Parliament representing Orissa should peruse the Dharitri editorial referred to supra along with my last discussion and follow Tathagat for protection of Orissa’s archaic richness.

Surasingh Pattanayak: The Inextinguishable Guide

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Whosoever loves Orissa and her cultural ethos would find it unbearable to know that Surasingh Pattanayak, born to Dibyasingh Pattanayak and Radha Devi of Aska on 26 February 1932, settled at Gopalpur-on-sea in his home district of Ganjam, has passed away at Bhubaneswar – his State’s Capital City on 4 April 2011, leaving behind memories that his motherland will always cherish.

A dedicated votary of the economy of cooperation, he was a moving messenger of Gurudev Buddha, who, born in Orissa, had developed cooperative lifestyle of Orissa’s original agro-community – the tribal democracies – into the tenets of Sangha, the epitome of his philosophy. He had retired from the cooperative department; but had remained glued for ever to Buddhism. Kahani Buddha Karunara (Stories of the Benevolence of Buddha) reminds us of how in his heart and conscience Lord Buddha was reigning every moment. This was further manifested in his emotional bond with the tribal communities of Orissa. Till he breathed his last, I believe, tribal welfare was his heart’s concern.

Lover of every uniqueness Orissa could be referred for, he was, through out his knowledge-enriched life, a dedicated admirer of Madhu Babu – the great grand man Madhusudan Das – the second most revered Oriya after Buddha – whom the Oriyas lovingly call Kula Gaurav (Pride of the race) and to whom the credit goes for reconstitution of Orissa after she was divided by the invader British and tail-tied to rival neighboring provinces. Immensely esteemed books such as Mahanayak Madhusudan, Ama Madhusudan, Madhusudan Das: Pride of Orissa are a few of tributes he had offered in immortal memory of Madhu Babu.

The day I left Orissa for four months, a cursory glance at newspaper pages at Bhubaneswar Airport had shocked me with the news of Surasingh’s hospitalization. And, in New York City I hear that he breathed his last on April 4, the fourth day of Utkal Divas, the day modern Orissa was born.

He might have breathed his last. But as long as longing for noble qualities lasts in Orissa and amongst the Oriyas, Surasingh shall continue to be an inextinguishable guide.

Yet I wish, I should have been able to place parting flowers at his noble physical feet before he was consecrated to immortality.

Indian Parliament Should Call Back Its Resolution: Archaic Richness of Orissa Shouldn’t be Spoiled; Spelling Change Conspiracy Must be Foiled