Vir Baishnav: The Unseen Father of Integrated India that We live in

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

vir baishnavOn January 01, 2013 Vir Baishnav Charan Pattanayak breathed his last. In his demise we lost the unrecognized father of integrated India that we live in. This truth is not yet highlighted in history, because he was such a revolutionary, whom independent India had incarcerated for around four years, because of his militancy that had forced the king of Nilagiri to be the first to merge his State in India and the King of Dhenkanal to follow suit. His class enemies in power and historians – mostly elite – having written the history of modern India, have deliberately not given Vir Baisnav, the Communist, his due place in history.

Vir (The Valiant) Baishnab was the militant leader of the people that forced the Kings to sign the instrument of merger. But the Government led by the Congress had thrown him into prison for around four years thereafter and despite orders of the Supreme Court of India, had not released him till he was elected to the State Assembly from behind the bars.

His militant leadership to people of princely States like Dhenkanal and Nilagiri and Athgarh is one of the reasons of the Government’s reluctance to release him, as this document depicts. Though history is yet to correct itself in this regard, it will not be incorrect to call him the Father of integrated India that we now live in.

We in ORISSAMATTERS salute this immortal leader on whose head the tyrant King of Dhenkanal had declared a cash reward of the highest amount in those days. The following is the text of that order:

Rs. 3200/- Reward
To whoever arrests BAISHNAB CHARAN PATNAIK

Descriptive roll given bellow :-

Personal Description roll of Baishnab Charan Patnaik
Son of Sadhu Charan Patnaik of Nizgarh – Dhenkanal (E.S.A.)
Caste Hindu, Oriya, Karan
Height 5 feet 8 inches
Body Medium Built
Complexion Black
Whether vaccinated ? Vaccinated on both hands
Face Long
Hair Black
Age 26 years
Colour of the eye balls Black.

General description of his body and habits etc.

He has a black mark on the right chest, ordinarily wears Khaddar and indulges in appearing in verious disguise, such as woman, cow-herd with indigenous hat (Jhampi) made of split bamboo and palm leaf on his head or Kendra Jogi (i.e. a professional begger with a kind of harp in hand), when talks to a man does not look straight but look down or side ways, while talking nods his head side ways. One of his friends reports that he has got a black mark under the right calf and has recently one gun shot wound on his left arm between elbow and wrist . When he wants to speak any thing emphatically he strikes his right fist on open palm of the left.

Sd/- Md.Bassir
A.C.Police
Dhenkanal State
Dt. 18.9.42

The Congress Government that had, in Orissa, incarcerated most arbitrarily for four years this valiant emancipator of the subjects of the Kings after independence, had, in all over India, been with the Kings supporting them with Privileges and Privy Purse, squandering away the exchequer for the wrong purpose. As a member of the Loksabha, it was Vir Baishnav again, who made a scathing attack on the Government over the issue and made a strong demand for abolition thereof.

“Privy Purses must go if we take our independence, democracy and socialism seriously” roared he, while speaking on the demands for grants for the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Budget Session of 1965.

“The Budget provides for Rs. 508.81 lakhs as Privy Purse to the former rulers. I know that the only argument that the Government, as well as the beneficiaries of the Privy Purses make, is one of the promises made and the agreement signed with them and nothing more. But it is also a fact that the Government and the Parliament are bound by the solemn pledge to the 45 crores of the Indian people, to work for and usher in a socialist society in the country. The simple issue is: will the government permit the pledge, given to the millions of people in India be broken in the name of keeping a promise of very doubtful validity to the former rulers. The Privy Purse is an outrage in a free democracy and totally inconsistent with the aim of socialism”,

he had said.

In justifying his demands for abolition of Privy Purses, he had said,

“Let me start from Orissa, not only because I come from Orissa, but because it is full of former rulers, most of whom are openly against our national aim of socialism and so have organized themselves into a powerful political party. The Maharaja of Kalahandi, Sri P.K.Deo, a Swatantra leader and a member of this House gets Rs.1,14,000/- per year, which is more than four times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. The Maharaja of Patna, Sri R.N.Singhdeo, another Swatantra stalwart, who is also the leader of Opposition in Orissa State Assembly, gets Rs.2,49,600/- per year, which is more than 9 times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. Indian Prime Minister gets about Rs.2000/- per month, but the Swatantra Maharani Gayatri Devi’s Maharaja of Jaipur gets Rs. 5000/- per day or Rs. 1,50,000/- per month, or Rs. 18 lakhs per year, which is more than 70 times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. The ex-ruler of Hyderabad gets Rs.50 lakhs from the central government and Rs.25 lakhs from the Andhra government, which comes to about 280 or 300 times more than the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. There are about 20 ex-rulers each of whom gets Rs.10 lakhs or more per year.There are hundreds and hundreds of ex-rulers to whom we are to give lakhs and lakhs of rupees as Privy Purse, and they are all tax free.

When one thinks of the average daily income of the common citizens of our country and the tax free daily Privy Purse income of the ex-rulers, as for example, the Swatantrite Maharani Gayatri Devi’s Maharaja’s Privy Purse income of Rs.5000/- per day, and the wide disparity in income, the question of Privy Purse becomes indefensible”.

Setting the history straight he had said,

“It is argued that the Rajas gave away their power voluntarily, and Privy Purses are the recompense from a grateful nation. This is a travesty of Indian history, and of recent history which is within living memory.

It is not a true fact that the rulers surrendered their powers voluntarily. There were powerful Prajamandal movements in most of the States, as integral parts of the Indian national movements in most of the States, long before the British quit India. After the British left, the Prajamandal movements everywhere literally became popular mass upsurges and acquired tidal strength, which nothing could hold back, neither police lathi charge nor the military bullets. If the rulers had not surrendered, then they would have been swept aside. They had no courage to face their own people. Almost all of them came rushing to New Delhi to seek shelter, plead for peace and bargain terms. This is where the Privy Purse comes in.

The Orissa State people’s movement was all powerful then. It was the bitterest in India. In fact, the Whitepaper on Indian States gives our movement the credit for starting the merger of States from Orissa. We, the ex-State people of Orissa are proud of it. I can say from my personal experience that there is no greater myth current in Indian political life than that the rulers gave away power voluntarily”.

And on many other grounds over and above this, he had called upon abolition of the Privy Purses.

After half a decade, in 1971, Privy Purses and Privileges were abolished when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had to depend on the Communists.

So, the father of integrated India, Vir Baishnav, the valiant, completed his mission of freeing the people of the parasite tyrants by forcing the Kings out of their thrones and by creating for the Government of India the environment to abolish the privileges and the Privy Purses of ex-rulers.

We bow again and again to the great patriot, who, despite death, shall stay immortal for ever, for ever.

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GENDER RESERVATION IS THE GREATEST DANGER TO INDIAN DEMOCRACY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Patriotism has no gender. Concern for fellow beings has no gender. Ability to grasp a public problem has no gender. Ability to speak on issues of public importance has no gender. Debates in public forums have no gender. Parliamentary practices have no gender. Legislation has no gender. Democracy has no gender.

But Indian Parliament is besieged with a Bill that wants the Houses of Representatives to be based on gender.

It is to be noted that ever since we formed our Republic some of the foreign countries, specifically the architects of Baghdad Pact, have always tried to subjugate India. Taking advantage of our gullible voters’ confused support to their planted Gorbachevs, they are now active in driving in deterioration to Indian democracy. The Bill in question that wants to vitiate Indian Parliament with gender reservation is the most dangerous blow from their veiled villainy that makes our democracy punch-drunk like never before. Otherwise collective wisdom would never have allowed the Bill to cross the Rajyasabha.

Denigration of the dignity of the Chair while opposing the Bill by more than half a dozen of State representatives in the Rajyasabha and the Government taking a backtrack in placing it for adoption in the Loksabha is indicative of the fact that the Bill is not at all above controversy.

We have earlier shown on the basis of observations of some of our founding fathers during and beyond debates in the Constituent Assembly as to how our Country is by birth a Country of contradictions. There are a handful of Indians who are beneficiaries of this contradiction and the rest are the victims.

Our Constitution made by the rich on basis of their overwhelming presence in the Constituent Assembly has made India a Country of inequality because of which emancipation for massive majority of Indians has remained a distant dream.

The beneficiaries of inequality, though small in number, have been ruling the country, where the victims, comprising the massive majority, thrive on distress sale of anything they produce and/or possess.

Farmers are distress-selling their paddy, nubile girls are distress-selling their bodies, helpless mothers are distress-selling their babies, electors are distress-selling their votes.

Why the massive majority that such pathetically suffers doesn’t outvote the tormentors? This is because; it is divided into rival groups on basis of reservation.

It is astonishing, but true, that Indians in reserved categories are fighting amongst themselves on sharing job-reservation benefits at the cost of efficiency in administration. This division, as we have discussed on February 28 under the caption ‘How Long Reservation?’ is helping imperialists transforming India into a land of opportunism and with the help of the opportunists, occupying and exploiting Indian markets.

When there is no reprieve from it, the agents of Globalization are now trying to divide the entire Indian population on the issue of gender-reservation in Parliamentary forums.

The Bill in question, claimed as a “historic step forward toward emancipation of Indian womanhood” by the PM on its adoption in the Rajyasabha, is not in reality aimed at emancipation of Indian Women. If that were the real intention, reservation should not have been proposed to be limited to mere 33 percent. Reservation for women should have been proposed to be proportional to their numbers or at least broadly to 5o percent. So emancipation of women is not the purpose of reservation by gender. The purpose is creation of a wedge between men and women in the matter of democracy. It will further weaken democracy.

The agents of globalization are using every possible trick to keep the Country under their grip. One of their tricks is reservation. Reservation doesn’t challenge anybody’s superior position; but it makes the victim of inequality acquiesce into lower position and to ascribe whatsoever benefit comes on the way to the mercy of the architects of reservation. Now this act is designed to affect at least half of India’s population.

Reservation on gender basis will perpetuate reservation on caste basis and reservation being a machination of pampering the deficient against the efficient; our parliamentary forums will have more numbers of deficient persons. In the present environment of politics sans principles, it would be disastrous to our democracy if all beneficiaries of reservation, oblivious of party links, emerge as a class by themselves.

Democracy must be saved from this danger.

On the other hand, we have the experience that politicians have no principle. Lack of political principle and flood of thirst for power has given birth to the most shameless shape of opportunism called coalition politics and contemporary Indian political leaders have no qualms in saying that this is the reality, even though thereby they admit that in the eyes of the people they have no political credibility.

Such fellows, notwithstanding differences in their stands on political economy, have put India to a fresh predicament over the gender reservation Bill. This Bill is a creation of political confusion that the imperialists eager to weaken India have used their yes-men to proceed with.

The political confusion that the Government is bent upon to further push us into, is spelt out in postponement of placing the Bill before the Loksabha. They have no shame in saying that they will place the Bill in the Loksabha after tackling its opponents.

Yes, they have to tackle the opponents of the present Bill, if they will have to pass it in the Loksabha. This is because they cannot change the Bill, as its opponents prefer, after the same is passed in the Rajyasabha. The Bill is a Constitution amendment Bill and after adoption in the Upper House, it has entered into a phase where the Government has no power to tamper with it. So there cannot be any correction from official side on the body of the Bill before it is moved for adoption in the Loksabha. On the other hand, no amendment on it in the Loksabha to suite the Yadavs and Mamata Banerjees and others of their type is permissible as the Bill in its present form has already been passed in the Rajyasabha. In the circumstances, the opponents of the Bill are bound to accept the present form if the Bill will have to be passed in the Loksabha. And it is not possible if they are not tackled.

Is it proper for democracy that a government tackles the opponents of a Bill that aims at infesting Indian Parliament with gender components?

Should a Government be allowed to commit a wrong to justify a wrong?

STOP PROSECUTING LENIN ROY: IMPOSE CEILING ON PROPERTY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Bhubaneswar Police has arrested the editor of progressive journal, Nishan, Mr. Lenin Kumar Roy along with two of his colleagues, Dhanjaya Lenka and Rabi Jena, under suspicion that they were the authors of alleged Naxal tracts that the rightwing media had claimed to have stumbled upon in the capital city last week. They are remanded to judicial custody.

It seems, squeals of right-wing media over suspected Naxal presence in Bhubaneswar has made the police pounce on the editor of the progressive journal. Poets and authors of the State have put on records their protests against the police highhandedness.

What is Lenin’s offense that the police is harping on? Firstly, his comment carried by Nishan on the flare up that communalism had ignited in Kandhamal and secondly, presence of CDs that allegedly carry data of human tragedies, stored also in the hard disk of his computer, which, according to police interpretations, are pro-Naxal.

When the matter is subjudice, one hopes, the judiciary will unveil the truth.

But as the instant reaction of thinkers and writers of Orissa suggests, one finds that progressive intelligentsia is not taking police version as free of prejudice. As such, the right thinking Oriya intellectuals, poets and authors and fighters for freedom in expression – all apolitical patriots – have started defending Lenin and his team very openly and unambiguously.

But without any prejudice, one may say that it is quite difficult to understand as to how possession of certain data of human tragedies constitutes an offense. This is a part of intellectual pursuit that an editor of a progressive journal is supposed to have as it helps him interpret contemporary issues so germane to his profession.

On the other hand, fundamental duties that the Constitution of India has assigned to every Indian include individual and collective endeavor to interpret scriptures and religious occurrences in such manners that a socio-scientific tenor should be evolved out of such interpretations to pave the path for a future society free of religious infestations.

Progressive authors, specifically the journalists, have to bear the burden of this responsibility.

In doing this, they may make comments on religious practices that may look like disparaging to dogmatism. And, any religious fanatic may raise a cry that thereby his or her religious belief has been outraged. Notwithstanding presence of Sections 153A and 295A of IPC, police should desist from invoking these draconian provisions against such progressive journalists and authors as the same may kill the spirit of fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution and defeat the fundamental rights that the citizens are given in the matter of free expression. Police in Nishan case has preferred not to think about this.

Beyond this, if intellectuals of the State refuse to stand with police action against Lenin and his team, it is because the police personnel in various occasions have been marked for having falsely implicated innocent people in criminal cases.

This time, it seems as if the police is executing a conspiracy of rightwing media against the intellectually accepted progressive journal, Nishan.

A rightwing TV channel that feeds its viewers mostly with superstitions and other recipes of theism in apparent support to religious revivalism was the first to raise a tempest over pasting of typed sheets of papers allegedly containing the Naxal warnings at dingy joints in the city when election propaganda for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation was at its peak and went on noising that the police is too smug to nail Naxal menace even though the Capital of the State is threatened by its presence. And, rightwing print media went on repeating the same.

Assembly session added the fuel. Police pounced on the team of the only journal that is considered by even the apolitical intelligentsia as progressive.

Cases may be cooked up. Courts may be hoodwinked. Patriots may be punished. But can conscience be extinguished? No.

As long as exploitation continues, protest against exploitation shall go on. Responding to call of conscience peoples will sure rise to protest against exploitation. So prosecuting a progressive editor would not stop spread of protests.

But if protests become violent, our motherland shall bleed. And, no creative person, poet, author, artist, journalist, none of the lovers of human society, can support any action that may make the motherland bleed.

Therefore, the Naxals are not yet getting popular support. Nonetheless, they are spreading.

We must cogitate.

Everybody knows that economic inequality is the basic reason behind spreading of Naxalism. It has grown out of failure of Communists to steer the nation into political economy of socialism. So it is an economic phenomenon; not a matter only of law and order as the rightist say.

Police cannot curb it. Military cannot.

Only a politico-economic formula can curb Naxalism.

This formula must urgently be evolved to remove the inequality.

If we are serious, we must seriously think of our beloved Bapuji. We have forgotten him. He had wanted the country to run in a manner where upliftment of the poorest of the poor must form the core of planning. But our planning is addressed to devise ways to gift stimulus packages to the rich to help consolidation of imperialism.

If the country belongs to every Indian, the deprived Indians must revolt against deprivation. Who can stop?

In his reply to debates on the third reading of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly of India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had given vent to his fears that the hard-earned freedom of India may not last for long if the Parliament to be constituted under the Constitution fails to remove the economic inequality, which, overwhelmed by the propertied class representing the Indian National Congress in majority in the Assembly, the makers of the Constitution had failed to undo. Showing the shortcomings of the 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)

.

Instead of curbing inequality, the Governments, hand-in-glove with the rich, have spread inequality. Unless they stop it, peoples shall stop it by force. In words of what Ambedkar has warned, “they will blow up the structure of political democracy”. Police can’t stop that.

So, stop prosecuting the Nishan team if at all they are opponents of inequality and try to remove social and economic inequality as soon as possible in right earnest if you love the motherland. By prosecuting Lenin Roy, Dhanjaya Lenka and Rabi Jena, police can’t stop victims of inequality from “blowing up the structure of political democracy”.

But let us stop it collectively without creating any cause of confrontation.

To do this, let us go back to beloved Gandhiji, whom the Congress, represented by the propertied class, had ignored in making of the Constitution.

He had the foresight to know what would happen to India if economic inequality widens the gap between the poor and the rich. He had devised a unique method called “Theory of Trusteeship”. The rich must stop exploiting the poor and treat himself as the trustee of the property of the poor. This is perhaps the only way of stopping class war in the most non-violent way. This is time; we must address our entire political consciousness to bring Bapuji’s Theory of Trusteeship to practice in India, if we are really serious about stopping blood bath on politico-economic ground. If the rich does not voluntarily accept the theory, it must be made to accept.

To do this, two steps are essential. Firstly, the government must retrieve democracy from the labyrinth of plutocracy. It must stop economic gifts in any guise to the rich to make them richer. And, secondly, it must put a ceiling on accumulation of property. When Indian farmers are distress selling their paddies, women are distress selling their bodies, mothers are distress selling their babies, workers are distress selling their abilities, why should a single Indian Ambani, son of a man of obscure beginning, be allowed to have a home that would, when finished, be the costliest building under the sky to live in? Why should India be two Indias like this? To stop this, we must stop concentration of unlimited wealth in individual hands. And for this, ceiling on property must be an unavoidable must.

The state must be told to stop prosecuting Lenin, as the remedy to Naxalism does not lie therein, but lies in removal of social and economic inequalities.