Sabyasachi’s arrest is no arrest of Maoism

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Maoism is a political concept that wants elimination of socio-economic inequality and is considered aggressive voice against exploitation of the voiceless. There is a striking similarity between the Maoists  and the State in dealing with the enemies. The State uses weapons sans any qualms to save the land from geographical aggression in the process of which arrest and death may hit any of the soldiers; Maoists use weapons without qualms, as and when necessary, to save the people from economic exploitation in the process of which they dare the jails and death. Therefore, people, who never subscribe to violence, regard the Maoists as political sentinels. So, arrest or elimination of any of them would not lead to arrest of Maoism, exactly as patriotism never declines or dies when a soldier of India gets captured or killed by the enemy on the border.

Therefore, Sabyasachi Panda’s arrest has ignited massive mass attention.

The so-called mainstream media as a whole is busy in projecting his arrest as a great victory for the State, when religious bigots that support societal inequality have started asking the judiciary to exterminate him through capital punishment. The Chief Minister has put his praise for the Police over his arrest on records in the Assembly, and ruling party backbenchers have taken the opportunity to show how active are they, by hurling abusive innuendos at the leader of opposition whose response to the CM’s statement was that, instead of celebrating Sabyasachi’s arrest, the State Government should concentrate on irradiation of poverty, the issue that had given the arrested Maoist leader his mission and strength, though the way of violence that he had allegedly adopted was inappropriate in the eyes of law.

We congratulate the leader of opposition Hon’ble Narasingha Mishra for his wise words that only a conscience keeper of the people could have told the Assembly.

We recall how eminent persons from various streams, known better for their allegiance to  Gandhism, such as Smt. Annapurna Maharana (Cuttack), Smt. Sumitra Choudhury (Cuttack), Smt. Krushna Mohanty (Anugul),Sri Rabi Roy (Cuttack), Md. Baji (Nawarangpur), Sri Ratan Das (Gunupur), Sri Bhabani Charan Patnaik (Bhubaneswar), Dr. Bhagaban Prakask (New Delhi) and Prof. Radhamohan (Bhubaneswar), while appealing him in October 2012 to shun violence, had put on records their high appreciation for his exemplary fight to emancipate the wretchedly poor and Dalit people of the State.

By arresting him, the cause he stands for cannot be curbed. Maoism cannot be arrested.

As we have seen, it is the Maoists ,who, by their aggressive stance, make the capitalist governments provide funds for welfare of the poorest of the poor, as seen in allocation of special and dedicated funds for the Maoist dominated districts by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to whom the Maoists were “left viruses”.

Had there been no Sabyasachis, there would never have evolved welfare schemes like the NREGA. Let me quote a 2010 BBC report to show how these schemes are generated by Maoist activism. It had highlighted what an executive of the scheme had said in these words: “NREGA is the only way forward to take on the Maoists. This is nothing about winning hearts and minds. Its only about giving people work before the rebels come in and convince them that they are a better option than the state”.

Against this backdrop, Sabyasachian issue needs impassioned analysis and recognition as a political issue. His crimes, as alleged, deserve to be defined as political crimes.

True, the police have instituted many cases against him. But, Police cases do not make him a criminal.

Police in the eyes of the Supreme Court

According to the Supreme Court of India, vide Judgment delivered on July 2, 2014 in Criminal Appeal No.1277 of 2014, “the Police has not come out of its colonial image despite six decades of independence; it is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not considered a friend of public”.

There was not a single freedom fighter including Gandhiji, whom the Police had not projected as criminals and not prosecuted for violence and sedition. That “colonial image” of police, according to Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose of the Supreme Court of India, as quoted above, “has not” changed “despite six decades of independence”.
The media must take note of this.

And, Media …….

Instead of boasting of mainstream tag, the media should adhere to professional ethics, and media persons, instead of acting mindless orchestrators, should refuse to dance to the tune of the media-owning class in denigrating Sabyasachi and the patriotic public should refuse to be swayed away by the versions of administration, which the compradors mostly control; and leave the issue to impartial wisdom of the Judiciary only. And, the Judiciary should ensure that Sabyasachi is not mistreated by the police when in custody, as many apprehend.

India has already experienced

Rare are the persons who suffer for the cause of the victims of socio-economic exploitation and inequality. And for every society, way to emancipation is not paved only by non-violence, as India has already experienced in her struggle for freedom. Maoism shall not be stymied by arrest of Sabyasachi and suchlike; it can end only when the State ends socio-economiv inequality. Two steps are urgent in this regard. One, elimination of caste-supremacism ; and, two, imposition of ceiling on private wealth with retrospective effect to tally with the land ceiling, Indian farmers have been subjected to.

Death made her Immortal

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Life certainly ends. But, some of us live after death. Society gets from them endless inspiration always.

Shailabala Pujari Smt. Shailabala Pujari is one such person. She has defeated death on her demise and merging with the elements, has become omnipresent.
She was the most lively and brave person I have ever seen, next only to my mother.

She was terminally ill and knew that the time was not distant when the new phase she was to enter would be called death. People are mostly afraid of death. But she was never.

When I had met her in her Bhubaneswar residence, she was in winning smiles, though what others call ‘pain’ was trying to overwhelm her. I was astonished by her composure and personality that was in clear control over the pain.

Indira Jaisingh feliciated by Shailabala PujariThe last time I saw her was when Additional Solicitor General of India Ms. Indira Jaisingh received felicitations from her hand at Bhubaneswar. She was in the wheel chair and Ms. Jaisingh had come down from the podium to her to receive the same. Except being limited to the wheel chair, she was her usual self of limitless confidence and composure.

Indian wisdom has got expression in the words of Sanatsujat saying “Mrityunastiti” meaning there is no death. Life gets a new form by death, he says.

Shailabala has entered into a new form.

With journalist Deviprasanna Nayak, I had been to Rourkela to pay respects to her new form. And, as we were coming back today, Devi asked, “are the clouds in tears”? I kept mum. He looked at the rain-drenched high way, and resigned to silence again. The car was moving ahead.


Newspaper is not a private matter

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Eminent journalist Prasanta Patnaik, whose column ‘Trutiya Nayana’ had given tremendous credibility and readership to the Oriya daily ‘Pragativadi’, was embarrassed by the owner/operator of the paper to such extent that he has declared not to contribute his column any more to that media organization.

“My column will not appear any more in Pragativadi”, he has notified through social media Facebook.

Pragativadi had begun with begged for financial support from the public. I was the first man to have donated Rs.15/- to the fund for its publication, when its founder Pradyumna Bal had not even been able to print a receipt book for the donations/advance subscription. But his zeal was remarkable, as he was in forefront of agitation against Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s misrule.

That I was the first man to have donated to its funds was witnessed by late revolutionary Manmohan Mishra and my elder brotherly Journalist Ramahari Mishra.

Let me elaborate.

I got a post card from Pradyuman Bal inviting me to a meeting of like-minded friends to be held at Jhanjirimangala in Cuttack to discuss how to develop a media weapon to fight Mrs Gandhi’s misrule. I reached his place at 5 PM on the appointed day. Rabi Das, who, later had become editor of Pragativadi, had escorted me to the inner courtyard of the house, where Manmohan babu was sitting on a cotton ‘Dari (a sort of very coarse carpet) with Pradyumna Bal. After about 15 minutes the 2nd man to attend the meeting – journalist Ramahari Mishra, then with Amrit Bazar Patrika at Cuttack – appeared. Manmohan babu kept us engaged by narrating his experience in jail, from where he had come on parole and with details of how Bhagavat Behera’s wife had sent personal letters to jailers to know of whereabouts of her husband and about his health. No third man had arrived till 7 PM. I had other works to attend. As Pradyumna babu had, in the meantime, told of his intention to bring out Pragativadi as a fortnightly, I had asked him about how much amount of money he proposes for annual subscription and how many people he had invited to the meeting, to which he had replied that he had posted a thousand post cards, and, if 1000 annual subscribers could be enlisted against Rs. 15/- each, publication of the fortnightly would have no constraints. I gave him that amount and begged leave, as we assumed that fear for police might have stymied the invitees, who, on personal contact, may have no hesitation to pay their subscription in advance, the amount being so very small. Then Ramahari babu also gave the amount and came out with me, as staying for more time there could have posed difficulties in getting a rickshaw for Tulasipur, where he was staying.

When Pragativadi was published, Pradyumna babu had never sent me a copy. Aware of the character of politicians in general, I didn’t mind. He, however, remained a friend till his last days.

This unmemorable experience is recalled just to say that, the paper ‘Pragativadi’ owes its origin to donations of unacknowledged paltry sums of money by the public of Orissa.

By embarrassing Prasanta Patnaik as aforesaid, the present owner of the paper has behaved as if the paper was created out of his family’s private property.

The income of a newspaper is the byproduct of contributions of the journalists, because the paper is basically a journalistic venture. It earns subscriptions, because journalists put the information that people want. It earns from advertisements, because the works of the journalists gives it a readership that the advirtisers want to reach. Pragativadi is no exception.

And, if Pragativadi got a readership, Prasanta Patnaik’s contributions thereto is simply unfathomable.

Its acceptability to public was for the first time discernible when its pages had in-depth reports on the plights of rural reporter Naba Kishore Mohapatra on whom the rising mafia had taken revenge for their exposure by perpetrating gang-rape till death on his wife Chhabirani in the days of J. B. Patnaik’s first phase of Chief-Ministership. Prasanta Patnaik had contributed those reports with necessary pictorial in-put.

And, for having, thereby, enhanced the credibility of Pragativadi while exposing JB’s misrule that extinguished Chhabirani, Orissa had witnessed, how eventually Prasanta Patnaik was thrown out of his official residence.

The same newspaper, in hands of the heirs of Pradyumna Bal has misbehaved with the same Prasanta Patnaik, after being established as a major paper with his help, is something, which no nastiness can ever surpass.

What is Prasanta Patnaik?

He is a very simple-natured, uncomplicated, class conscious media person who loves his friends and serves his profession, with tireless readiness to act a sentinel of the people with utmost honesty and magnanimity that he commands. He is an Ajatashatru having no ill-feeling for anybody; yet he is a doyen amongst the scribes of Orissa with uncompromising stance on ethicality of the profession.

He is so pure in mind and heart that he has deemed it his duty to inform his readers that his column shall no more be available in Pragativadi. He has not raised the issue of remunerative compensation, which Pragativadi is legally liable to pay him. He is too magnanimous to raise this issue when the son of his friend holds the reign of the paper. He has decided to stop syndicating to this paper only on the ground of self-respect. In reacting to this, eminent poet and intellectual, Devdas Chhotray has rightly said in Facebook, “Pradyumna Bala must be turning in his grave!”

Dear Samahit Bal, the paper’s editor, I have tried to contact you on this issue; but perhaps time plays the tricks. However, please note, newspaper may be a private property, but not at all a private matter. Therefore, we condemn the way Prasanta babu is embarrassed, and as a friend of your late lamented father, expect that you shall amend yourself.

The Farce called Election Cases starts commencing with Petitions filed in Orissa High Court

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Some of the defeated candidates including media heavyweight Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and popular Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra have filed election petitions in Orissa High Court. With this a new farce with very remote possibility of conclusion has commenced.

We have in these pages been insisting that the Supreme Court should come forward to constitute a separate election bench for exclusive hearing and timely disposal of election cases, binding the High Courts to create such exclusive benches at their end, so that the houses of people’s representative are helped to get rid of manipulators of elections, if any, as pointed out in entertained election petitions, without being affected by illegitimate members. But it has remained a cry in wilderness.

The result is, election cases have become de facto farcical, inasmuch as most of them are not heard and decided till the alleged manipulators complete the entire term of five years as people’s legitimate representatives!

Former Finance Minister P.Chidambaram is a case for reference.

These topics may help study the phenomenon:
1. Democracy needs Supreme Court to create separate Election Benches
2. Sivaganga shows us how hollow has become our democracy
3. Cidambaram could not have dared to contest: But Judiciary should be ashamed of how it helped him stay in power for the whole term
4. Exclusive Election Tribunals Essential

As long as separate Election Benches in High Courts or in the Supreme Court or an Election Tribunal like the National Green Tribunal do not get formed, election cases, in our opinion, can at best be viewed as a pattern pf political farce.

The Country needs a law that should put an elected member of an Assembly or the Loksabha in suspended animation the moment an election petition challenging her/his election is admitted for hearing , binding every such election court to dispose of the admitted case within the first year of election. As otherwise, democracy shall have no escape from the hands of the manipulators.