Governance of Orissa in Oriya: Gajanan Mishra cries on dubious role of Government

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Governance in Oriya language is birthright of the people of Orissa. But Orissa is under non-Oriya rule. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ignored the right of the people to be governed in their mother tongue for the last sixteen years, when, through manipulations he has kept the State under his grip. His party is notoriously named after his father Biju Patnaik and all the government programs are intentionally named after Biju, pushing the poor, illiterate people to confusion where official welfare programs are mistaken by the gullible voters as BJD programs, ensuring him victory in elections without any merit.

He considers the people of Orissa as spineless idiots who have tolerated the blatant violation of Orissa Official Language Act 1954 that has mandated that “Oriya shall be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.

Despite this offense against Orissa, he can rule as long as his sycophants are able to hijack elections, he feels.
He makes farce of Oriyas by forcing Oriya officers and ministers to stand like Ajnyabakas (Factotums) before his non-Oriya private secretary who has emerged the super chief minister in the eyes of all who have any function in the government.

He does not want Oriya to be a must for governance in Orissa as he himself does not know Oriya.

His father Biju Patnaik was the nastiest ever hypocrite to have ruled over Orissa. His sycophants shamelessly glorify him as an Oriya nationalist ignoring the fact that he was such a man who had not taught a single Oriya alphabet to his son Naveen. It is a national shame for the State that Naveen has not shown any ability to learn Oriya even. He does not understand intricacies of administration and lest his weakness be caught, he has been depending on bureaucratic notes in English.

Implementation of Orissa Official Language Act would throw him out of power within no time. So he and his sycophants in the cabinet never want Oriya to be the language of governance in Orissa.

But not all the people of Orissa are to be befooled. Gajanan Mishra of Titilagarh, Bolangir, certainly not.

He is a lawyer by profession. Since decades, he has been doing his practice in Oriya language. He is drafting his cases in Oriya, conducting his cases in Oriya, prevailing upon the courts to take depositions in Oriya, to record the depositions in Oriya, to hear the arguments in Oriya and to deliver the verdicts in Oriya. His sincerity and dedication to the people’s mother tongue had made a District Judge to instruct all lower Courts to conduct adjudication in Oriya.

This Gajanan Mishra, who is a poet also, has been continuously pressing for governance of the whole of Orissa in Oriya as per the Act of 1954. As all his prayers fell in the deaf ears of Naveen Patnaik, he staged a fasting protest at Bhubaneswar and gave a three months time to the Government for implementation of the Act, failing which he would resort to fast onto death in support of his demand.

And, accordingly, he sat in fast onto death on July 1, 2015. Ms. Madhumita Samal and Sanjib Parida also sat on fast on that day.

Relay fast commenced on the 2nd day with your Representative-in-Chief Subhas Chandra Pattanayak sitting in the strike. This encouraged continuous relay fasting by many luminaries from different walks of life and by 8th July, the whole State was woke up against non-Oriya rule over Orissa, with poets coming from all over the State offering their solidarity though inspiring recitation of their poetries in praise of the mother tongue.

Various organizations working for Oriya language that had decided to support Sri Gajanan Mishra in his fast onto death had amalgamated into a common platform called Oriya Bhasa Sangram Samiti (hereinafter called ‘Sangram Samiti) with poet Sankara Parida as its convener. Under his able stewardship, leaders of all political parties except the ruling BJD were frequenting the strike spot and expressing their solidarity with Sri Mishra.

Situation was going out of control for the Government which was in a deep quagmire over blatant mismanagement of Jagannatha’s Navakalevar.

In such circumstances, a team of ministers, in the name of the Chief Minister, proposed to implement Mishra’s demand and begged for breathing time to first finish the Navakalevar event and then to finalize the date for implementation of the Act of 1954 in a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to be notified on obtaining the list of representatives of the Sangram Samiti.

The date for this JAC with five ministers on one part and seven representatives of the Sangram Samiti on the other part was fixed to August 1 and accordingly Gajanan babu ended his fast on July 8 to the announcement of the above agenda by the Law Minister of the State on the fasting podium.

But sadly, the government started playing tricks. It convened the Joint Action Committee on August 1 pretending that the notification of the JAC has been already published and the same would be delivered on the discussion table. Instead of doing this, it brought in BJD MP Baishnab Parida to derail the scheduled discussion and Linguist Dr. Devi Prasanna Pattanayak under whose cover it was trying to escape.

The Sangram Samiti had submitted a five-point-charter of demand on July 8 to the Government through the team of Ministers that claimed to be discussing with the Sangram Samiti on behalf of the CM.

On this charter of demand only decisions were to be taken in the JAC on August 1. There was no question of any discussion with Baishnab Parida.

Gajanan babu and fellow relay strikers had ended the fasting strike and the Sangram Samiti had withdrawn its campaign on official assurance of fulfilling its five-point charter of demands and the Government was morally bound to act only upon that assurance in the JAC on August 1. It could have honored its words to implement the five demands of the Sangram Samiti as promised or could have shamelessly refused to honor its words given to the Sangram Samiti.

But it brought in their party MP Parida who raised uncalled for hubbubs, knowing pretty well that in the instant scheme of JAC, he was not legitimately entitled to participate, because he was neither in the team of ministers nor in the list of representatives of the Sangram Samiti.

The Government was and is free to discuss with him and any number of persons in matter of its role in Official Language Act. But, as far as its promise to Gajanan Mishra and fellow fasting strikers and the Sangram Samiti is concerned, bringing in Baishab Parida to make unnecessary noise to derail the discussion is a naked act of betrayal.

We doubt, as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is afraid that he cannot function if Oriya becomes the compulsory language of governance, and Officers who have been cheating the State by operating only in English, the Government  have resorted to tricks to delay the implementation of the Official Language Act.

Sri Gajanan Mishra, in this context, has placed the facts before the people of Orissa in a detailed edit-page article in Samaja today. I am placing below his article.

Peruse it and rise to the cause, dear brothers and sisters.

Gajanan Mishra in Samaja

SARATHI SCANDAL // Ten Questions the Television Channels are Afraid of Answering

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa was subjected to massive blackout of all information in the television channels for minimum five days as they were schizophrenically engaged in sharpening mass mania against suspected sexual offense of a fellow called Sarathi Baba, considered by gullible people as an incarnation of God.

On August 9, well known young intellectual and thinker, socio-cultural activist Sahasranshu Mohapatra addressed an OPEN LETTER to the Television Channels and their pampered panelists designating them as “Demigods” of Orissa who are well equipped to raise any noise they like at any time on any issue of their preference. As a citizen with the right not to be overwhelmed with anarchic use of media power, he has asked ten questions to the “Demigods” in his “open letter”.

The Television Channels and the persons he has named in his open letter posted in social media are yet to answer him.

I consider it a correct step of a bright young man whom everybody who knows him takes as a conscience keeper of the society.

Let the channels and the panelists named by him come forward with appropriate answers, if they have any, to the questions raised

His ‘Open Letter’ is reproduced below:

Dear Demigods of Orissa,

The flag bearers of morality in private (yes private because you set moral standards for personal lives of individuals as well) and public life, after the relentless coverage of the ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬ since last five days I am writing this OPEN LETTER to you all out of fear, concern and frustration as a concerned Oriya.

My fear is you might tomorrow get hold of a photograph or a video clip of me hanging around with a woman (May be someone enjoying high status in public life) and then set high moral standards, a moral code of conduct for me and when I fail to meet that (which obviously I will fail) you will hound and destroy my life as you have done in the case of the girl concerned (sorry the mysterious girl, as per your words) in ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬.

I hope Mr Satya Nayak of Zee Kalinga, Mr Manoranjan Mishra of Kanak TV, Mr Ardhendu Das of Prameya News7, Chief Editor of MBC TV, Mr Navin Das of Nirbhay and Chief Editor of Pragativadi – you all would answer the following questions. I have few questions for the Orissa Union of Journalists (OUJ) also, so mentioning Mr Prasanna Mohanty.

I have mentioned all these names because I follow you all closely for my daily peg of news.

I follow OTV but not mentioning it for obvious reasons.

I don’t watch Prameya News7 but can’t avoid as all the questions begin with the Prameya’s relentless “90 hours coverage that has made a newly launched channel No 1” (by their own admission).

Here are the questions:

1. What was the issue here in ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬- moral turpitude, illegality and some kind of criminal act or sexcapade involving Sarathi Baba?

2. If it’s about morality yes you can question the lifestyle and living of a religious preacher who calls himself an incarnation of the god. But who gave you the right to question the morality of the girl and set moral standards for her? Does an adult girl need your consent where should she travel, who should she be staying with in a hotel?

3. If it’s about travelling to Hyderabad and staying in a Hotel with an adult girl under which law of this country it’s a criminal act? At the same time if there was criminality by hounding the girl and making her identity public have you not assassinated her character and cast aspersions on her conduct? Are you not further victimizing a victim of the crime (as you call it not the law)?

4. If it’s about sexcapade, has the girl concerned lodged an FIR or a police complaint regarding this? In the absence of a formal police complaint how does this case qualify for such relentless coverage?

5. Hope you all know under section 228A of IPC making public the identity of a rape victim is a punishable offence. Also the SC guidelines on sexual harassment victims don’t allow revealing the identity of the victim. Have you all not committed a crime by making the concerned girl’s identity public and showing her photographs, hounding her family for bytes?

6. Be it ‘Mahaprabhab’, ‘Explosive Exclusives’ or ‘Relentless coverage for 90 hours’ now Sarathi Baba has been sent to police remand. He has been charged for cheating, forgery, promoting superstition, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy among other charges. What is new in it? Tell me one charge that we all were not aware of earlier or nobody had alleged about such criminal act in the past? Why you all were silent then and now firing from the shoulder of a Dalit girl?

7. Is the objectivity of the newly launched news channel Prameya News 7 full proof? When you are setting high moral standards for all, should not the channel’s morality or that of the organization running the channel be put to public scrutiny?

8. The Orissa Union of Journalists strongly reacted to the police atrocity in Kendrapada because media persons were also not spared. But does not the OUJ agree with the fact that the media houses with their brazenness and shameless coverage of a non-issue created a vitiating circumstance that gave opportunity to the Orissa police to unleash its brutality?

9. When with your irresponsible behavior you create a circumstance that can make anyone vulnerable and create a volatile situation why do you complain if you at all become a collateral damage? Will OUJ take ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬ as a test case and set up guidelines for the media houses in Orissa, at least for its members? Remind you NBA learnt its lesson after 26/11 coverage.

10. Was this story needed such a relentless coverage round the clock for five days? Could this story have been presented in a better way without recklessness and brazenness? Is it such a big issue that is Orissa confronted with today? Will OUJ ask its members to introspect and also take steps to prescribe a set of code of conduct like all the demigods set it for all others?

I am a kid before all the demigods mentioned above. I’ve grown up watching and reading you. If this is the standard you set for us kids, then think what kind of future are you all going to create?

Hope you all will answer the above questions. After all the demigods have the power to make or break (sorry destroy) anything and everything, at least in Orissa.

Please answer my questions, so that I don’t live in fear and apprehension. With your permission may I hang out with a woman (who could be a public figure), yes if at all that meets the moral standards set by you all.

A kid in Media block who follows you all for his daily peg of news.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Prof. Ganeswar Mishra, former Professor in English, Utkal University is no more.

The eminent author, thinker, founder editor of Prameya, a man of immense patience, of unfathomable friendship, of deep concern for the society, a man of matchless strength to overcome debacles is lost to Orissa. He passed away this early morning leaving family members. innumerable admirers, friends and relations to mourn.

Author of 30 books in English including 25 research papers mostly on Aspects of Translation, Indian and Commonwealth Literature published in India and abroad, he had written 50 books in Oriya spread over all major areas of literature like Novels, Features, Translations, Travelogues, Book Reviews, Essays and Poems. Many of his Oriya works have been translated into English and several Indian languages.

He was Commonwealth Academic Staff Scholar, University of Kent (U.K.) from 1974 to 78; Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow, University of London (U.K.), 1983-84; British Council visitor to U.K. in 1989. Very many award winners in the field of literature, he was awarded with Senior Fellowship in Literature  by the Government of India for 1992-94. Professor of English, Utkal University (1986-2002) he was President of Orissa Sahitya Akademi from 2005 to 2007, during which period, he headed the Project Committee of Oriya Bhasa Pratisthan. he had earned his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from University of Kent (U.K.) in 1978; yet he was a Praveen in Hindi from Hindi Rastrabhasha Parishad.

“MRUTYURNASTITI” (There is no death) has said Sanatsujata in Mahabharata. “DEATH IS DEATHLESS” has said Buddha.

I hope, Sriman Sandeep Mishra, the worthy son of this illustrious father, will appreciate this ancient wisdom and convince his entire family to feel Prof. Mishra as omnipresent hereafter always.

I stand in silence in his honor.

Long live Prof. Mishra in our hearts, live for ever.