Orissa’s poetic tradition is oldest in India

In Orissa Sahitya Akademi’s series of Prof. Arta Ballav Mohanty Memorial Lectures this year, India’s eminent poet Ashok Vajpayi lauded Oriya language as the language that bears the country’s oldest poetic tradition.

Not only poetry had blossomed in Oriya matchlessly early, but also it had made an unique pattern of its own. The richness of lucidity, rich also in diversities in style of presentation, makes Orissa’s old poetic tradition unique. The vastness of vocabulary covering cross-referred subjects on every facet of life and society as marked in the works of Adi Kavi Sarala Das is not found even in Hindi literature of those days, said Vajpayee.

He pointed out that a poet’s strength of memory linked to empirical knowledge and societal tradition makes his work utmost relevant and of permanent value. This is seen in Sarala’s works. And, this is also reflected in works of Prof. Mohanty under whose able editorship Sarala Mahabharat could enter from the ranks of palm leave manuscripts into the modern world of print.

The memorial lecture was witnessed by Orissa’s Minister of Culture Prafulla Samal in the auditorium of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar amongst hundreds of persons of letters and intellectuals on Sunday.

Strange! The Head of Press Council of India Wants Curb on Freedom of Media!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju seems to be in confusion over the role given by law to him.

He has written to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting to take steps for initiating suitable legislation to curb the social media.

What is Social Media?

Social media is opposite to monopoly media and has emerged as the latest scientific tool for peoples’ empowerment. It is platform of participatory journalism that is changing people from audience to participants in matters of their affairs. World wide in Internet, it has emerged as the unfailing weapon in the hands of the common man to challenge and change politico-economic powers to advantages of people in the grassroots.

A compilation of highly researched studies on emergence and impact of Internet media is published by the London and New York based ‘Taylor and Francis Group’ under the caption ‘Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics’. While observing that, “the Internet is now a mainstay of contemporary political life”, it attracts us to a conclusion that says, “In little more than a decade, the Internet has evolved from a collaborative tool for scientists to become a fundamental part of our system of political communication”. In other words, social media has become “a fundamental part” of political communications.

Author of ‘We the Media”, Dan Gillmor describes social media as medium of “grassroots journalism” which to him, is “by the people, for the people”.

“In the past 150 years, we’ve essentially had two distinct means of communication: one-to-many (books, newspapers, radio, and TV) and one-to-one (letters, telegraph, and telephone). The Internet, for the first time, gives us many-to-many and few-to-few communications. This has vast implications for the former audience and for the producers of news; because, the differences between the two are becoming harder to distinguish.”

Such is the social media, in words of Gillmor, media of “grasroots journalism”.

“The tools of grassroots journalism”, he says, “run the gamut from the simplest email list, in which everyone on the list receives copies of all messages; to weblogs, journals written in reverse chronological order; to sophisticated content-management systems used for publishing content to the Web; and to syndication tools that allow anyone to subscribe to anyone else’s content. The tools also include handheld devices such as camera-equipped mobile phones and personal digital assistants. What they have in common is a reliance on the contributions of individuals to a larger whole, rising from the bottom up”.

In Cluetrain Manifesto, Authors Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger have shown how information through Internet has given birth to “ a powerful global conversation” through which “people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter and getting smarter than most companies.”

In perhaps the most precise presentation of how social media is emancipatory, Gillmor utters the concluding words in ‘We the Media’ in a way that makes the common man free of fear in expressing himself. He says, “Your voice matters. Now, if you have something worth saying, you can be heard. You can make your own news. We all can.”

This is alarming the anti-people elements. But why it is alarming the Press Council of India head?

It is paining to see that, to the Chairman of the Press Council of India this emancipatory media looks like a “menace” and he wants the union government “to set up a team of legal and technical experts to find out ways and means of checking this menace”!

Resembling “His Master’s Voice”

“Unless some curbs are placed on the social media, nobody’s reputation will be safe in India”, Katju has said in the letter to the Minister.

Strangely, he has sent this latter to the Minister after the social media rendered inconsequential the Congress leader Abhishek Manu Sighvi’s armor of judicial injunction on circulation of a sex video that has put India into a tumult.

And, surprisingly, he has just echoed what Singhvi has said.

Alleging that social media is “concertedly” used by “motivated interests” through “an organized gang” to defame him, Singhvi has warned that unless action is taken against the social media, “this can happen to anyone and if this lawlessness is allowed to continue as it is, we will all be consumed shortly.”

Katju has not only copied Singhvi in lashing out at social media, but also has made it clear that his letter to the minister is inspired by Singhvi.

“Not only is there a court injunction, not only has the author of the alleged CD sworn in an affidavit in court and accepted that the contents were fabricated and morphed, but even as respectable a media group as India Today has accepted the position of the court” . Yet, the social media circulated the CD to damage his reputation, Singhvi has stated.

Katju has copied Singhvi’s this version to the minister.

In justifying his suggestion for action against social media, he has said, “The recent example (of social media’s mischief) is of dissemination of a CD which even the author admitted had been distorted for defaming a reputed senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and Member of Parliament”.

Is the Chairman of the Press Council of India expected to echo a political person of the ruling party in his letter while instigating the information minister against social sites?

Katju has no carte blanche

The law, Press Council of India Act,1978 that has created him, has not given the PCI Chairman a carte blanche to ask for such a law or to give such advice to the Union Minister against social media.

Section 13 (1) of PCI Act wants the Council to “maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India”; but not to instigate the information minister to curb social media.

In the letter to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, he has sought to set up an expert team to keep under control the social media, when social media never comes within his purview.

“The reputation of a person”, he has said, “cannot be permitted to be trampled upon by mischievous people,” This he has said to justify his request “to set up a team of legal and technical experts to find out ways and means of checking this menace, including, if the government thinks fit, initiating suitable legislation for this purpose, for filtering out such offensive material”.

To him, the satyriasis in action captured in the video is not offensive, but its exposure by social media is offensive!

“I have repeatedly said that while there is freedom of the media in our country, no freedom can be absolute, and has to be coupled with responsibilities,” Katju has said in the letter, uncalled for.

First, the responsibility component

The man in the CD looks like Singhvi.

That, he is morphed into the video by his driver is what he says.

The lawyer further says that he has arrived at a settlement with the driver out of court and the driver has informed the court that he had morphed Singhvi in the video.

Is the driver’s admission of morphing not linked with the out-of-court settlement that a very powerful person like Singhvi has arrived at with him?

Is the driver’s version believable under the circumstances?

Thousands of people including presumably everybody in Singhvi’s acquaintance have seen the video. Have they declared that the male in the video is not Singhvi?

What about the female in the video?

When a section of Delhi lawyers has identified her to be a lady lawyer it knows, had the driver also morphed her into the video?

Is that lady lawyer a nymphomaniac, indulging in such acts with anybody at anytime so that Singhvi’s driver could catch her in action on a different occasion and morphed her into the video with Singhvi?

Has any authentic and authorized lab established that the video is morphed?

Has any medico-legal investigation established that what the driver has said after out-of-court settlement with Singhvi is not untrue but true?

Is Singhvi’s driver a trained expert in videography for which he could so perfectly morphed Singhvi into the video?

If he is not an expert in videography and not done it personally, where did he got it done? Has it been investigated into and found out?

Has Katju the answer to these questions that are so essential to determine whether or not Singhvi is the male in the video?

What the video shows?

It shows a man, looking like the Congress leader having vital parliamentary role in matter of justice and law, indulged in sex with a lady, allegedly a lawyer, who is suspected to have bartered her libidinal liberty against a possibility of elevation from bar to bench under his influence.

The suspicion may be baseless and the projection of the persons may be an act of morphing.

But who can come to a conclusion without actual investigation?

Onus lies on whom to prove that the video is fake, when possibility of the post-out-of-court-settlement-statement of Singhvi’s driver cannot for certain be said as a statement not coined under any duress?

Is it responsible to keep the people in dark about it sine die?

Now to freedom of media

Katju has said, “while there is freedom of the media in our country, no freedom can be absolute”.

Let me make it absolutely clear that India is a democracy and democracy lives only on absolute freedom of media.

I take the debt to say this from the founding Prime Minister of my country, Pandit Jawaharla Nehru, who had said, “I would rather have a completely free press with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom than a suppressed or a regulated press” (‘The Law of the Press, by Dr. (Justice) D.D.Basu, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi, 1986, p. 49), though this declaration remained a wishful thinking as, under his mixed economy policy, seeds of plutocracy were sown in this soil.

A plutocracy that appears like democracy is disadvantaged by absolute freedom of media and for its smooth run, suppression of information is necessary.

Suppression of information is necessary when criminals, anti-people elements, vested interest gangs rule the country in the guise of democracy.

Media being the last pillar of democracy and democracy being the last obstructor of plutocracy, is Katju interested to clear whatever obstacle is there in the path of plutocracy by obstructing the evolution of a freer media like the social media?

It is shocking that the Chairman of the Press Council of India is for curb on people’s right to be informed.

The basic object of Press Council spelt out under Section 13. ( 1 ) of the Act is to preserve the freedom of the Press. But the Council chairman’s suggestion goes against this provision.

Freedom of press does not mean freedom of the protectors of freedom of press to deny people the freedom to be informed.

The Universal declaration of Human Rights under Art.19 thereof gives everybody the right to be informed unrestrained.

It stipulates, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

“Any media” “regardless of frontiers” includes social media that India’s Press Council Chairman wants to “curb”.

Katju’s suggestion sharply militates against the concept of freedom of press depicted in the pioneering judgment of Supreme Court of India reported in (1959) S.C.R. 12 wherein the highest unbiased judicial wisdom of the country, full of essence of freshly fetched freedom from foreign control, had delivered the dictum that, freedom of press is the foundation of free government of a free people and that, it rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public; and the guarantee given under Art.19(1)(a) of the Constitution is to prevent public authorities from assuming the guardianship of the public mind.

Sadly, the chief of the Press Council of India, required under the Act to preserve freedom of press, wants the authorities assume guardianship of the public mind in blatant disregard to the dictum above.

People in their own wisdom

As far as restriction on news, lest that affects reputation of an individual, is concerned, people have refused to be hoodwinked in this particular case, though the corporate media has honored the court injunction, obtained by Singhvi against a section thereof.

The people have deliberately shared the video through social media to avenge the attempts to use court injunction to keep them debarred from information on the alleged misconduct of a ruling party heavyweight and to use their intelligence to accept or reject the information.

The people of India are mature enough to decide which material deserves attention and which doesn’t.

As for example, Katju had described the Indians as foolish. People have refused to pay attention to this raving. The corporate media houses have given massive publicity to Congress’ as well as CBI’s statements that Rajiv Gandhi had not taken bribe in choice of Bofors guns. The people of India have not given credence to such reports. So, it is clear that it does not make everything acceptable to Indians if published in media. If the contents of the sex video had not been blocked from being carried by the media, people might have refused to accept it as true. But, attempts to disallow people to know of it through media houses that had the video in their possession, as is seen, activated social media to step in, the people’s right to information being basic in that sector.

With evolution of social media, freedom of media cannot be curbed any more, as, no law can deny people the access to Internet and no law can debar Internet from carrying any data the users can share if they like to share.

If big media on any pretext suppresses any information, social media will provide people with collective strength to know what is what and no law can put any hindrance thereto, because the Internet is a world wide phenomenon and has made every person a part of world community.

To the people, reputation of a person suspected to have committed a heinous crime does not count. What counts is possible disrepute of their motherland over silent endurance to suppression of data of a heinous crime suspected to have been committed by a parliamentary standing committee chief.

This is why, it is better be appreciated, despite aversion to obscenity, the people have shared the video through social media. This mass action is indicative only of mass protests against use of court to curtail people’s right to be informed.

It is to be kept in mind that social media is the media of the people built up by the people to its present stature in course of their anxiety to get rid of doctored information fed to them by motivated corporate media with highly paid editors engaged to tamper with or twist information as their masters like, a phenomenon that was forcing the people to see in the eyes of the rulers and the rich and their agents and the oppressors and the shareholders / controllers of media houses.

Every attempt to curb social media will, therefore, be futile and rejected by the people.

It would be better for government of India to ignore the letter of Katju as an instance of illogical zeal and meritless fanfaronade.

(This article is dedicated to Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das, the great patriot and votary of freedom on his birthday)

High Court Bar Stands with Lawyers of Sambalpur; Massive Loss of Litigant Time Portended

By not transferring the Collector, who controls the Police, the government has patronized to arrest of as many as 18 lawyers of Sambalpur on the basis of her FIR.

We have earlier shown that the acrimony between the Collector and the lawyers of Sambalpur having gone to the Police, the Collector should be transferred from the district immediately as otherwise the police cannot act impartially, as in the system, Collector is the boss over the Police in a district.

In protest against the mass arrest of lawyers, a motorcycle rally hit the streets of Sambalpur to which, as in the Bandh on Wednesday, the general public has extended complete support.

But the agitation against officer-raj has not stayed limited to Sambalpur any more. It has hit the High Court also.

The High Court Bar has held an emergency meeting and resolved to seek action against the Collector for misbehavior with the Sambalpur Bar members. It has called upon all the Bar Associations of Orissa to stop working for a day in solidarity with the Sambalpur Bar and has decided to take stock on Monday to finalize further course of action.

People of Orissa are severely affected by apathetic administration and any credible movement against officer-raj is likely to fetch public support and the lawyers are best equipped to reach the people.

The way the matter proceeds, it portends massive loss of litigant time in whole of the state if the Collector is not transferred immediately. She being the complainant against the lawyers of Sambalpur, it is ethically incorrect to keep her as the Collector in that district, notwithstanding the strong support she gets from the IAS Officers Association.

In public interest, the Chief Minister should stall the hike in registration fee till provisions are made to free the fee fixing from arbitrariness and transfer the lady Collector from the district without any delay so that normalcy could be restored.

MLA Jhinna Hikaka Released on Accepting Praja Court Directive to Resign from Assembly

Ruling party MLA Jhinna Hikaka is set free by abductors after 34 days of life in three different camps allegedly of Maoists on accepting the directive of the Praja Court (Court of the common man) to resign from Orissa Legislative Assembly.

In the Praja Court where 150 tribal representatives heard him, he confessed to have failed in developing the area under his constituency since his election in 2009. He confessed to have failed in ensuring good administration and in curbing the ongoing misrule. He confessed to have failed to stop police atrocities, false cases and other forms of state terror that the innocent people are being subjected to by the administration that protects the looters of welfare funds and prosecutes the opponents of lootraj. He expressed willingness to resign from the Assembly and the ruling party in protest against the government’s negligence to the people in order to make the people of Orissa aware of anti-people conduct of the administration.

To queries, he answered that the Maoists had never misbehaved with him. They are fighting against misrule in a pattern they deem proper and therefore, he has no grievance against them.

Sambalpur Lawyers are Not Anti-Socials; Transfer the Collector First

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a memorandum to Orissa Chief Minister, the IAS Officers Association (Orissa chapter) has demanded stern action against “anti-socials”, who, according to it, abused the Sambalpur Collector Ms. Mrinalini Darswal because of her official action, when the Collector herself has informed the Police that the alleged abusers are “lawyers”.

Are the lawyers just anti-socials to the combined body of IAS officers?

Let us come to the fact.

The people of Sambalpur are severely disadvantaged by unreasonable hike in land registration fees and as links between the local people and land registration office, the lawyers of Sambalpur had tried to prevail upon the district Collector to ensure relief for the affected public.

Had the Collector been tactful, as sequences suggest, her alleged embarrassment might never have occured.

That the entire city of Sambalpur observed Wednesday a Bandh from morning to evening in protest against misbehavior of the Collector against the lawyers wherein the government employees also participated in expression of solidarity with the lawyers indicates that the Collector was not tactful in dealing with the legal community, that was there to make her apprised of the difficulties their clients and would be clients were exposed to by the unilateral hike in registration fee. Arguments turned heated being precipitated by the Collector’s braggadocio, say eye witnesses.

The registration fee hike was detrimental to economy of the local people. The district Bar Association tried to apprise the district Collector of this. Why didn’t the Collector give them a patient hearing? Why she refused to see how the hike had affected the people? What problem was there for her to assure the lawyers to study the issue; if need be, to have a public hearing to know if the hike is really resented to by the people; if need be, to consult the Government in the matter before coming into a conclusion and to assure the lawyers that she had the ears to hear them when the issue they had raised was in reality linked to their profession?

It seems, the IAS Officers Association has not ascertained the real cause of the precipitation as otherwise, it could have restrained itself from misleading the Chief Minister in this matter in its memorandum.

It is a serious offense against the lawyers community by the combined body of IAS Officers and is designed to subjugate people’s conscious voice to their overlordship which they are enjoying under a Chief Minister entirely dependent on officers.

The Chief Minister should introspect before taking cognizance of the memorandum. If he has any respect for political governance, instead of acting on the IAS Association memorandum, he should study as to why, when the lady collector in her FIR has raised allegations against the “lawyers” to the extent of naming 16 of them, the said association has stressed on only one word i.e. “anti-socials” in its memorandum.

Orissa must reject the mischief of IAS officers that collectively hold “lawyers” as “anti-socials”.

The Chief Minister will be well advised to reject the memorandum with the contempt it deserves for having projected the “lawyers” as “anti-socials” and even before trying to ascertain what really has happened, he should transfer the lady Collector from Sambalpur, so that an approximate correct picture can come to him.

He will have to facilitate an unpressurised investigation on the FIR the lady Collector has lodged in the Sambalpur P.S. And, for this, it is better for him to appreciate that, in a District, the Collector bosses over the Police and when in this case, the Collector herself is the complainant, the Police cannot act freely if she is allowed to boss over it.

So, the Collector’s transfer from Sambalpur immediately is the minimum requirement of the moment.

Pending Determination of Unsound Mind, Singhvi Should Quit Parliament

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Assuming them(the contents of the CD) to be true, (which they certainly are not), would disclose only something private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members (who have stood completely by me) and to no one else” (Abhishek Manu Shinghvi when resigning from the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law & Justice ).

If his carnal conduct “assuming” to be true, as he says, was “private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members” is worth legality, Singhvi is certainly not qualified to claim that “no one else” has any right to find therein any “cause of action”.

He is a member of India’s Parliament in the Rajyasabha and that gives every citizen of India the right to be worried if his “private” conduct dismantles the discipline and probity expected of him.

The video in question displays indecent scenes of sex indulged into by a male who looks like him when he was still the head of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on personnel, law and justice and a female whom a lady lawyer of Delhi has identified as a lady lawyer she knows.

Before the general public could know of this video, Singhvi, an astute lawyer well versed in the tricks of law, succeeded in putting a judicial injunction on media organizations, which, to his information, were in possession of the CD carrying video records of his “certainly not true” extramarital sex. The court was shown that the video in question was a morphed one inasmuch as his driver, who, Singhvi had alleged, was threatening to tarnish his public image for settling a personal grudge as he had refused to enhance his salary, has confessed to have fabricated the video. And, then he has taken steps to keep the driver’s version beyond judicial test of reliability thereof by informing the court of a settlement, arrived at out-of-court with the driver.

But, if the lady who features in the sex video, which, as per Singhvi’s statement was “consensual”, is truly a high profile lawyer of Delhi High Court with practice also in the Supreme Court as claimed, the matter cannot and must not end with the driver’s driven confession in the court or Singhvi’s information to the court of out-of-the-court settlement with the said driver; because, as innuendoes wallop, the lady was caught in the act of bartering the pleasure with Singhvi for help in elevation to the bench from the bar, as he, heading both the Standing Committee of Parliament on Personnel, Law and Justice as well as the Law and Justice Department of the Congress party that rules India through Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairperson and Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister, was in the position to help her fulfill her ambition.

The court injunction has failed to obstruct circulation of the video and / or the news.

As people are increasingly being conscious of how heinous crimes in India are not being readily remedied because of availability of judicial cold-storage facilities to crime-based litigations in form of stay and injunctions, they have used social media to see and discuss the video.

Going by the number of hits the video has obtained in course of its circulation in social and online medias, several lakhs of viewers have already watched it.

Presumably, all the people connected with Singhvi – in the circle of his relations, in his profession, in his party and in the Parliament – have seen the video.

Social media being internet media, I have been trying all these days to find out if any of them comes out in the internet with reason to report that the male satyr displayed in the sex video is not Singhvi. But, I have not seen any. This makes me inclined to assume that almost all that know Singhvi personally, are believing that he is the male satyr in action in the sex video.

When thus the assumption tilts towards Singhvi, the lady in the nasty act is also named by people who know her. Surprisingly she stays conspicuous by her silence. On the other hand, suspecting that she was partnering with Singhvi with an eye on an superior judiciary position, one Sarbajit Roy, residing at B-59 Defense Colony, New Delhi 110024, has already made an application under RTI to the Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of India, to locate if she has any mention anywhere in relevant records that can justify the suspicion.

Singhvi resigning from the Parliamentary Standing Committee sans any disapproval thereof by the Congress party that had given him that position and getting dropped from party positions such as the party chief in its department of law and justice and party spokesmanship, has given the public clear indication that his close colleagues in the Congress do not accept his claim that the “contents of the CD” are “certainly not” true.

In the circumstances, it is essential for Singhvi to come out of the cocoon of out-of-court settlement that he has weaved with his driver projected as the manufacturer of the video and convince the country that he does not know the lady in the said video and in reality the male satyr therein is not he.

The matter getting murkier everyday with serious implications for body politic as well as for judiciary, it is essential for the Court to elicit from the driver the details of how he morphed Singhvi into the sexual act and to test his version on the matrix of science in different labs including foreign labs within its discretion and under secrecy to be disclosed along with the final verdict.

Appropriate examination of the video can also determine if it is morphed or genuine.

These are urgent and unavoidably essential necessities.

Pending this essential, it is urgent for the Congress to ask Singhvi to resign from the Rajyasabha or else, for the parliament to refer him to a competent court to know if he is not of “unsound mind”.

Satyriasis as viewable in the video is a mental disorder and the shenanigans so far observed are indicative of abnormal developments. Both the phenomena may be interpreted as effects of unsound mind.

The Constitution of India under Article 102 (1) (b) has stipulated that “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament – if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court”.

The development, when the person is already a member, protected under parliamentary privileges, makes it necessary for the Parliament to test whether or not the person is of “unsound mind”, so that, democracy, of which the Parliament is the protector, does not go haywire.

Pending this determination, Singhvi should be made to quit the Parliament till at least it is proved that the male satyr in the sex video is not he.

We Need Such A Law

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In March, the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No. 2, at Phulbani had acquitted 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigaon police as their offense allegedly committed in 2007 could not be proved.

So also the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No.1 had acquitted 14 persons arrested in a 2008 case by G Udayagiri Police, as the prosecution could not establish the charges.

In yet another case, the First Track Court No.2 has on April 21 acquitted 7 persons arrested by Tikabali police against alleged offenses committed in 2008, as there were no evidence to prove them guilty.

Is the acquittal enough?

It is time to cogitate this question.

People of Kandhamal district are too simple and ignorant to estimate what damage they have been forced to suffer being accused under-trial.

But when they are adjudged not guilty, because the prosecution had no evidence against them, they deserve to be automatically compensated in cash for the damage they have financially, physically, mentally and socially suffered.

Steps in this regard in appropriate forums are essential.

When the police fails to prove the charges it levels against any citizen, the police officer responsible for loss of his freedom and imposition of under-trial stigma on him, must be punished for misuse of power in arresting the person, for having falsely implicated the person against whom there is no evidence or for suppression of evidence to help the accused escape punishment.

Orissa Assembly Standing Committee on Home Department, in its report to the House in the Budget Session, has come down heavily upon deliberate dereliction of duty marked in the police organization. As non-registration of FIR is an offense which the police is asked not to resort to, institution of false cases against any citizen by the police also must be viewed as an offense.

The acquitted accused must be compensated with appropriate amount of cash to be collected from police officer responsible for his suffering.

We need such a law.

Rajasmita Won the Top Title: the State Should Now Wake-up

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa got a great moment to forget the continuous agony over the hostage issue, when her child Rajasmita Kar bagged the top title in Zee TV’s reality show -Dance India Dance.

She achieved distinction over Pradeep Gurung of Assam, Raghav Juyal of Uttarakhand, Sanam Johar of Delhi and Mohena Singh of Madhya Pradesh, who were also superb in their respective performances. Her mentor Geeta Kapur, whom, on winning the coveted honor, she offered her gratitude on the stage for all her guidances, attributed the success to Rajasmita’s talent, determination and matching hard work.

The reality show was not a show strictly of classical dances. So, the challenge was many faceted. Fetching the best dancer title was not at all easy for any top dancer. Rajasmita’s distinction, therefore, is of highest order.

As we congratulate her, we also remember the Prince Dance Group of Ganjam district that had bagged the best position in “India’s Got Talent” competition on ‘Colors’ TV channel in 2009.

The State government had announced to present the group a gift of four acres of land to build a dance academy for the rural talents and a crore of Rupees. The State’s department of culture that, under rules of business, handles the affairs of dance and music has no follow-up information.

A couple of decades ago there were being held folk dance competitions in every part of Orissa. When Odissi has remained its priority, folk dances are fading away. Be the members of the Prince Dance Group or be it Rajasmita, Oriya dancing talents are not being supported by the State in their practice. Orissa is Utkal, the land of excellence in music, dance and sculpture. If the land is mother to her people, they carry the gene to excel in arts they pursue. So it is necessary to provide the people with the infrastructure to make their artistic gene flourish unhindered. For this, rural institutes of dance and music and rural auditoriums are essential. The State government should wake up to this, so that many Rajasmitas will not go unnoticed.

Silent Spectators of Killing of Oriya Classicism are Eager to Campaign for Its Classical Status: Good News to Enjoy; But Not Without Reservations

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa became Odisha and Oriya became Odia under a very misconceived law enacted sans proper study of historicity of the concerned words and application of parliamentary wisdom thereto.

Shockingly, Orissa’s community of letters preferred to stay silent spectators, even though the two words – Orissa and Oriya – were samples of international recognition of classicality of Oriya language.

But a good news is that, Bhubaneswar Book Fair Committee (BBFC), in a meeting on Sunday has expressed interest in a campaign for classical status of Oriya.

BBFC, An Appropriate Forum

It can be said without any travesty of truth that, the BBFC is the mother of bibliophilic renaissance in Orissa. It will continue to be recognized for ever as the organization that has revolutionized people’s love for books in Orissa, where bibliophily was, till book fairs were started by this Committee, restricted only to the elites.

It is therefore quite becoming of this Committee to have started thinking of a campaign for recognition of Oriya language as a classical language.

In a meeting it held on 15th, with its President Satakadi Hota in chair, while welcoming the Oriya New Year, it has stressed on this recognition. Eminent authors such as Pramod Mohanty, Fani Mohanty, Rajendra Kishore Panda, Asit Mohanty, Sarat Chandra Mishra, Jugal Kishore Dutta, Sourindra Barik, Asutosh Parida, including former Director of Central Institute of Indian languages Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak and the Committee Secretary Barendra Krushna Dhal observed that the oriya language being a very ancient language in vogue since the Puranic days deserves national distinction as a classical language.

If Oriya politicians that were and are in power, not been herds of factotums of their respective high commands and suffering incorrigibly from lack of courage due to a syndrome that has afflicted them all, which we can call the ‘supremo’ syndrome, the Government of India, when it declared Tamil as a classical language in 2004 or Kannada and Telugu in 2008, could have declared Oriya as a classical language of the country.

Juxtaposed with the apathy of Oriya politicians to Orissa’s cultural need, it should always be welcome if the State’s men of letters take up the issue and demand for declaration of Oriya as a classical language.

To me, personally, BBFC, established by Orissa’s men of letters, is an appropriate forum to raise this demand and to fetch the desired result. But, I have my reservations; because neither the Committee nor any participant in its meeting had thought it prudent to oppose the annihilation of its classicism by the Government that had used the Orissa Assembly to recommend for change of Orissa to Odisha and Oriya to Odia and steered the Bill through the Parliament till enactment and enforcement.

In these pages, I have been harping on about the classicality of Oriya language, which is evidenced by its archaic distinction and recognized by many linguists. So, nothing could be more desirable for me than a campaign for classical status for Oriya language, the ancient legacy of which needs be placed before the world.

I, therefore, most heartily welcome the BBFC and wish, its steps should be such so as to make me drop my reservations.

Legacy of Ancient Orissa

Orissa in ancient days had illuminated Indian sky of knowledge so brilliantly with its own unique luster that the Rig Veda in its tenth Mandala had to advise its followers to be cautious of Orissa where indigenous people find their object of worship in wooden logs.

A formal notification recognizing the classicality of Oriya language would be helpful in conducting in-depth researches with global input into the Protohistory of Oriya language, as Oriyas are a very prominent ancient people whose valor has been mentioned as matchless even in the Mahabharata. Though the Mahabharata is believed to be telling us of an internecine battle between the sons of two cousins – Dhrutarastra and Pandu – of Bharat clan, I am convinced that it is a Puranic depiction of the battle (described as the greatest war) that two different philosophical proponents – Patriarch: the Kauravas and Matriarch: the Pandavas – had fought on the soil of India. In this war, ancient Orissa had made a matchless mark.

Protohistoric Record

In Vishma Parva of Mahabharata, it is described that, after Bhima vanquished the great Vishma, whom his Sarathi had been able to save only by taking away his chariot from the battle field, no other Kaurav could dare to face Bhima. The war was going to be lost for the Kauravas, as Vishma was their Commander-in-Chief.

Duryodhan had to take refuge in Orissa’s king Shrutayu, who, as a proponent of Patriarchy like Vishma, had joined the Kaurava’s camp against the matriarch Pandavas.

And so, Shrutayu led the battle for Duryodhan with his distinguished army, well equipped with a regiment of war elephants. (Orissa’s king emperor is traditionally known as Gajapati – the lord of elephants).

Vyasa has described that Bhima, the victor of Vishma, failed to face Shrutayu. As the Orissa army with its unique elephant regiment wreaked havoc on the Pandav side, the emperor of Orissa, despite being very senior in age, overwhelmed Bhima to such extent that the vanquisher of Vishma that day was clearly in utter grip of death in his hands.

Arjuna, drowned under surprise and shock, wanted to rush to the rescue of Bhima and boasted to eliminate the old king of Orissa to avenge reduction of his brother’s wonderful victory over Vishma into a defeat.

Krushna, his charioteer, not only refused to proceed, but also restrained Arjuna in such words that were a matchless tribute to the king of Orissa.

“Not even can I defeat Shrutayu in a battle, Arjuna; so it is not within your prowess to face him”, he said.

But as Bhima’s chariot was smashed by Shrutayu, it was essential to save him. So, Krushna asked Satyaki to rush to the spot to offer him his chariot and the moment he boards it, to bring away the chariot as quickly as possible from the engagements with Shrutayu.

While thus arranging for Bhima a narrow escape, Krushna himself rushed to Shrutayu challenging him to test his strength against him if he dares.

Shrutayu accepted the challenge and raised his divine spear to attack Krishna; but then he found that Krushna was without any weapon.

Shrutayu had, in his younger days while obtaining the divine spear, made a promise not to use it against any unarmed person.

The Spear was Abyartha – infallible – which also meant that the user must not make it fail. Once raised, it was certainly to be used, as otherwise it would tantamount to disrespect to its divinity.

With Bhima run away from engagements, at that moment in the battlefield there was only one man who was challenging Shrutayu; and he was Krushna. And, he was not armed with any weapon! Shrutayu was clearly in the worst of predicament.

If he was using the divine spear against Krushna, he would be violating his own promise not to use it against any unarmed person. If he was not using it, he would be acting against its divine distinction.

So he decided not to go against his promise and not to render the raised spear inconsequential.

He, therefore, decided to pierce the spear into his own heart.

And, thus he died in absolute adherence to his own principles.

This is the single most distinguished episode in Mahabharata, the like of which in the epic of war is nowhere found.

So, Orissa has her due revered recognition in Mahabharata.

By that time, language of the Aryas had not reached Orissa. Language is the basis of the strength of a land. What was Orissa’s language then that had made her so strong and elevated her to such stupendous stature? To know it, study of her Protohistory language is essential and for this study, declaration of Oriya as a classical language is necessary.

On records in History

After the epics, the greatest war that history had witnessed in ancient India and which the entire world recognizes as a turning point in world civilization that made nations after nations embrace Buddhism, was the Kalinga war fought below the Dhauli Hill at Bhubaneswar of Orissa. The people of Orissa had fought back Asoka, the invader in this war and stopped the spread of his empire for all time to come.

Asoka, as history admits, had nowhere faced the resistance he faced in Orissa in this war.

To him, as he has declared, Kalinga was “unconquerable”.

In his spree of empire building, he had never found any other people than the Oriyas “unconquerable” and has never used this epithet for any other region or people.

The history written by his courtiers has noted, Orissa’s resistance was so resolutely valorous and sacrifice of the Oriyas for their motherland was so matchlessly patriotic that Asoka’s wicked heart melted in repentance by seeing the ruin he had wrought through his invasion and he changed his creed and adopted Buddhism, (the religion in original of the Oriyas) in the battlefield itself and from Chandasoka he became Dharmasoka and dedicated his life to spread of Buddhism.

But, this, despite truth to a large extent, is far from the fact.

A wicked man like Asoka had no reason to repent on his victory, if at all he had vanquished Orissa.

His heart had never melted in pity seeing the plight of the vanquished as his bards had claimed.

Had it been so, all the Oriya civilians he had taken to arrest in sudden attacks before facing the Oriya army at Dhali Hills and exported to Magadh, should have been released with their dignity and honor after the war was over and all the riches he had looted en route before reaching Dhauli, should have been returned.

This had never happened. He had never even apologized to the people of Orissa for the offenses he committed against them.

So, even though it is true that he had attacked Orissa and had converted into Buddhism in the battlefield in Orissa, he had not defeated the people of Orissa and never in his heart had metamorphosed into a true Buddhist.

The sole purpose of his attack on Orissa was to desecrate the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Kapilavastu, the land of reddish soil spread below the Dhauli Hill on river Daya and to destroy the fountainhead of Buddhism, which was the strongest obstacle to the Magadhan empire building even since the days of Ajatasattu.

Therefore he had faced the massive resistance at Dhauli hill only.

In this battle against the people of Orissa, his army was completely overwhelmed and he had no other way than accepting Buddhism as his creed to escape the wrath of the people he had attcked.

It had taken decades for him to convince the Oriyas that he had really been loyal to Buddhism and then only he had dared to visit Orissa to pay prayers to Buddha at his birthplace Kapilavastu – later converted into Kapileswar when Vedic chauvinists occupying Orissa had converted Buddhist shrines into Hindu temples – and to commission stone inscriptions highlighting his concern for the people.

I have discussed this aspect in my book ‘Sri Jaya Devanks Baisi Pahacha’ (published in 2005 by Bharata Bharati, Cuttack) in course of focusing on the background of the love lyrics complied in Geeta Govinda.

Mother tongue being the sole unifying factor and hence the basis of collective strength of the people, what was the people’s language that had made them “unconquerable” and helped them conquer the great wicked Asoka to the extent of converting him into Buddhism, their own religion and had given their land this unique distinction?

Only specific researches into the Oriya language of the concerned period will bring out the missing chapters in history in this regard. Under the prevailing legal provisions, recognition of classical status of Oriya language will facilitate such research.


The Charyagities by Chourashi Siddhacharyas present us a previous shape of modern Oriya language that linguists suggest to be Proto-Oriya.

But Pali was Proto-Charya-Oriya.

Gurudev Buddha had preached in Pali and Pali was the then Orissa’s mother tongue.

So, it is necessary to know how modern Oriya evolved from Pali.

In the post 2004 scenario, only a legal declaration of Oriya as a classical language can help us conducting this highly expensive and world encompassing research. Therefore, it is essential to obtain classical status for Oriya language.

And, therefore, it is most welcome that the BBFC has now expressed interest in campaign for this.

But I know, no campaign can be a real campaign unless the campaigners have the total commitment and adherence to the cause of their campaign.

Neither the BBFC nor the participants in its 15th April meeting have raised any voice at any point of time against annihilation of a great instance of international recognition of classicism of Oriya language caused by change of Orissa to Odisha and of Oriya to Odia. The harm this change causes to classicality of Oriya language is discussed in these pages.

Ignoring the Wrong Law is Essential

If the BBFC is serious about its proposed campaign, the campaign should begin with demands for legal restoration of the international spelling of the name of the State as Orissa and of its language as Oriya. It may look time-barred and unrealistic, specifically as the change has come through a constitutional amendment. But, Orissa’s lost classicality in this particular regard can be reclaimed by authors ignoring the wrong law that hampers the uniqueness of their language. Here in Orissa Matters, we have declared to ignore the wrong law, as to us our mother tongue is too precious to be rendered subservient to any set of law, even if that be an instrument created by the country’s constitution. We have been using Orissa and Oriya in these pages because these two English spellings of our motherland and language depict the archaical magnificence of our mother tongue; and because, no law can force anybody to change the spelling of his / her mother’s name as the stupids in power desire. Therefore, BBFC should work out how to reclaim the politically dropped two words – Orissa and Oriya – as the first step to claim classical status for Oriya language.

Otherwise, to us, its attempt would appear like a farce, that men of letters hankering after publicity often resort to.

The agents of the rich in power have already shrewdly changed India into a plutocracy.

A plutocratic government kills the character of the people. Hypocrisy becomes the software of society. It corrupts even the creative persons whereupon authors hanker after prize and publicity instead of staying committed to preservation and furtherance of their languages. In this light we would allow ourselves to interpret the BBFC endeavor if no step is taken to revive Orissa and Oriya, the two words that were the global gateway to classicality of Oriya language.

Nalini Mohanty No More; Orissa Bereft of a Popular Politician

A fighter against many odds from the young days, Nalini Mohanty gave a fight against death till breathing his last in the afternoon of Friday. Orissa lost a popular politician.

He was a smiling face in Orissa Assembly whose wits were matched with preparedness to participate in its proceedings. Minister many a times, he was seldom in controversy, but always in excellent control over his portfolios.

Majority of his career spent in anti-Congress camp, he had succumbed to ‘supremo-syndrome’ in BJD and joined the Congress, where he had soon been recognized as an asset.

While in Opposition, his attacks on the treasury benches were razor-sharp, yet his target was never personally wounded. As a minister he was seldom stonewalled; but whenever he was being horned in, the fellows in the officers gallery were sure that he was not letting them down.

In his demise, we have a feeling of loss too. Leaders across political parties, watchdogs irrespective of allegiance, general public of and outside his constituency have paid him obituary tributes. We add ours to them.