Odissi gone into Guinness Records Despite Filth Created by Orissa Government

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak with pictorial input from Aradhana Misra

Orissa Government has pathetically failed in preserving, protecting and projecting the true history of Odissi dance, which, with 555 artists performing for 28 minutes at a stretch at the Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar, on 23rd December, has gone into Guinness Book of World Records.

A dance is a classical dance, because of its creation by and adherence to specific scriptural codes. The scriptural codes of Odissi are provided for in Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha authored by Jadunath Rai Singh, then the prince of Tigiria belonging to Tunga dynasty, which, the famous scholar Pt. Kedarnath Mohapatra, in Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts of Orissa prefers to describe as “the Grammar of Odissi dance”.

To keep warriors of his State physically fit and agile for protection of the Jagannatha trinity that his grand father Sankarshana Chamupatisigh Mandhata – the King of Tigiria – had, under a plan prepared by him and the Gajapati Emperor of Orissa, secretly transported into his principality from the backyard of Goddess Bimala in the night of 16 May 1692 by misguiding the Moghul commander take away a duplicate set of images from the temple podium of the Lord (as per Pt. Mohapatra in Khurudha Itihasa), Prince Jadunath had amalgamated Alasa Nrutya prevalent in coastal temple systems and the martial dance called Tunga Nrutya developed by his own predecessors. And for the new form of dance thus created, though not named by him, he had prescribed the codes in Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha, the scripture he authored as referred to above.

Centuries after his death, the unnamed dance form metamorphosed into Odissi.

So, it is Jadunath Tunga Rai Singh, who alone should be recognized as the father of Odissi dance. Yet, he is not honored as the real creator of this classical dance or provider of its scriptural codes.

On the other hand, it is Kabichandra Kali Charan Pattanayak whose single minded campaign carrying his dedication to and concentration in revival of the dance system has earned the classical status for Odissi. He was the real man behind recognition of this system as a classical dance. The Odissi practitioners now-a-days do not remember this man, who, despite subterfuge resorted to by envious elements, had obtained for the dance the recognition of its classicality.

But sadly, a few famous artists like late Kelucharan Mohapatra and Kumkum Mohanty, taking advantage of the political Government’s sophomoric approach to culture of the State, have, in their own way and through cronies, exploited different forums and occasions to project themselves as creators of the dance form.

The Odissi Dance Festival that commenced with the Kalinga Stadium event and is scheduled to continue till December 30 in different halls at Bhubaneswar, wherein a USA based organization is collaborating, had the occasion even to accept without any grumble that it is Kelu babu, from whom the dance came into form.

This happens when a political Government remains addressed to benefits of the ruling party than to benefit of the State.

The political government of Orissa is so very averse to cultural environment of the State that it had made the mega event take place in obnoxiously filthy an atmosphere.

A conscious subscriber, Ms. Aradhana Misra, has sent us pictures of the Odissi dancers while performing for the purpose as well as of the filthy environment where they were forced to perform before the observers from Guinness Book of World Records.

All the seats of Kalinga Stadium – that had costed the State Exchequer Rs.103 crores, according to a functionary thereof – are littered by bird droppings with no attempt ever made to clean them up as a result of which the filth is standing for years on the chairs and on the floors and between the rows and wherever the eyes go.

It is claimed that an amount of Rs.10 crores is spent on costumes for the dancers on this occasion. In the prevalent environment of scams, whether or not the said amount is really spent on costumes is a different matter; but it is sure, had a portion thereof been drafted for cleaning the filth, the guinness records could have come in a befitting condition.

We congratulate the artists, because of whom, Odissi has created a landmark in the world records. But, we should be failing in our duty if we do not say: Odissi has gone into Guinness Records despite the filth created by Orissa Government.

Except resizing, the pictures used in this report are absolutely unedited for records.

Flood Matters : Orissa Governor Echoes The Opinion Of Orissamatters

We were the first to observe that more than the lackluster operation of relief, a Judicial Commission of Inquiry is essential to fix up responsibility for the flood that devastated the State in the month of September.

And we were alone, till, taking the cue, a few days later, the Congress party moved the State Governor with a demand for an Inquiry into the cause of the flood.

Governor M. C. Bhandare called for a report from the Government that he wanted to be based on investigation by an independent committee into whether or not the water mismanagement of Hirakud dam factored the flood.

And the State Government on October 12 refused to constitute any such probe committee under assertions that the State has already a technical team headed by the Engineer-in-Chief (EIC) of water resources department that looks into implementation of the Rule Curve for the reservoir and in its opinion, there was no mismanagement of the Hirakud dam that could have caused the flood.

The answer has failed to satisfy the Governor, who has in the meantime visited various flood-hit areas and gathered victims’ views as to how the flood was avoidable had administration been careful and concerned.

To media, the Governor has given vent to his dismay and has stated that the reason of the flood needs be determined through an impartial body of investigation so that steps may be taken to save the State from recurrence of such devastation. “Any fair inquiry by an independent body is very necessary so that we take the necessary preventive measures,” he has stated.

We thank the Governor for his honest observation and maintain that the cause of the flood needs be determined through a Judicial Commission of Inquiry for fixation of responsibility on functionaries whose negligence to and mismanagement of the river system has done the devastative damage to our people that can never be recovered.

As we have said, the culprits need punishment, not leniency.

The Polluter Needs be Kicked Out: It Has Started Polluting Even the Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In these pages, Anil Agrawal’s design to have a “commercial hub” on the most sensitive sea shore near Puri in the guise of a so-called world class university has been earlier exposed. The Orissa Lokpal has expressed shock over rape of laws by the State Government in acting Agrawal’s acolyte in grabbing his desired land and has wanted action against the politico-bureaucratic pimps because of whom the laws are so raped.

But it is more shocking to see that a major newspaper of Orissa – Sambad – has used its pages to brainwash the people that are opposing allocation of land at Puri to Agrawal for his commercial hub styled Vedenta University.

The nefarious design is given a news shape that goes on to say that continuous opposition to allocation of the Puri land to Vedanta University has put its shift to Andhra Pradesh on motion. It has tried to mislead the people of Orissa by saying that Andhra Chief Minister has offered 4000 acres of land anywhere Agrawal prefers in the province as his State needs the world class university.

How media organizations are acting as facilitators of plutocracy by spreading “paid news” is not new to our observation. In these pages, we have shown how mediacracy has become dangerous to democracy. Much after we exposed the syndrome, Press Council of India had recently resolved to have a study on it. But, the pimps are so powerful that it had to suppress its own finding on “paid news”.

So, “paid news” is increasingly being used as “news” to mislead the general public by miscreants, politicians, power mongers, land grabbers, mines looters and all sorts of economic offenders.

Against this backdrop, the Sambad news referred to supra is not surprising. But it is certainly shocking as the paper, so far seen as a dedicated carrier of indigenous interests of Orissa, has indulged in serving the interest of a concern that has corrupted Orissa administration to bag benefits at the cost of indigenous people.

The shady operator has a few contact killers that are trying to kill Oriya conscience from foreign soil in the name of world class university even though the said term has not been defined in the Act formulated/framed by Navin Patnaik Government for the Vedanta University so far. Sambad, inadvertently or willfully, has joined the club of the conscience killers.

It has forgotten that the ultimate beneficiary of its new campaign is a polluter that has ruined Bansadhara and her river-system. It has severely jeopardized the unique eco-system of Niyamagiri. It has already pushed lakhs of indigenous Oriyas into the labyrinth of slow poison emitted from its alumina refinery in Lanjigarh. And, it has corrupted the administration to bag benefits and is being opposed to by massive majority of the Oriyas.

From amongst the entire population of Oriyas, only a couple of persons are supporting Vedanta. If Sambad has failed to see this reality, it is perhaps for the pollution that the Press in Orissa has been subjected to by this purchaser of elite support.

In interest of Orissa, notwithstanding what its campaigners say, natural resources of Orissa need be saved from its avarice and people of Orissa need be saved from exploitative conspiracy and Press of Orissa need be saved from being gained over to mislead the people and hence the polluter needs be kicked out.

MUFP DEMANDS ACTION AGAINT POLICEMEN IN ROURKELA FOR ASSAULT ON PRESS

The Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP ) has strongly condemned the assault on mediapersons on duty at Bangamunda , Rourkela by the police on Tuesday and has asked the Chief Minister for immediate exemplary action against the erring police officials in order to stop ruining freedom of Press in the State.

The MUFP fully supports the mediapersons of Rourkela and all their steps to save the freedom and honour of Press.

Noting with concern that during the last one year assault on Press by the Police and by economic offenders in nexus with the Police has alarmingly increased taking advantage of nonchalant manners of the state administration, the MUFP has urged the Chief Minister to seriously review all the instances of assault on mediapersons and exemplary steps against the miscreants and to address himself to prevention of crime against Press.

The MUFP has also reminded the Chief Minister to institute Judicial Probe into brutal attack on media persons at the Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar to find out the cause of death of the student, negligence of the police in filing an Unnatural Death Case and sending the body for post mortem, failure for produce the CD in the court even after five days of incident and helping the assaulters. It is sad that he having personally handed over with MUFP memorandum in this matter in the audience he had grated to its representative, and having required a detail report from the Home Secretary on the spot with the assurance that exemplary action in the instant case would promptly be taken by his government, no trace of action against the culprit institute and its operator goons is discernible as yet. This indicating official nexus with the miscreants, the MUFP has urged upon the Chief Minister once again to institute a time bound Judicial Probe by a Retired Judge of Orissa High Court without any further delay.

The MUFP has further urged upon the State administration to take exemplary steps against the P.G. Students of M.K.C.G. Medical College, Berhampur and the district Superintendent of Police without any delay in order to avoid unwanted confrontation between the media and the Government.

Orissa Journalists Adopt Landmark Resolutions on Free Press on the Day of Media Unity

The historical convention of Journalists of Orissa, held in the State Information Center, (Jaya Dev Bhawan) has resolved to observe December 14 as the Day of Media Unity for Freedom of Press every year.

It was a congregation of scribes beyond boundaries of trade unions to express solidarity with Laxman Choudhury and his family, tortured by the State as he stayed true to the callings of his profession and went on filing reports on the nexus between the police and the marijuana underworld.

Choudhury was arrested by the police at Mohana on September 20, 2009 and thrown into the jail from where he was released on bail by the High Court of Orissa only on December 1. The police have framed up him under charges of sedition on flimsy grounds such as seizure of Maoist leaflets addressed to him in transit from a private bus.

Discretionary power over bail mustn’t be discriminatory

The system has gone so astray that when discernible looters of Orissa’s mineral wealth are granted bail or anticipatory bail in remarkable speed, it took a journalist long forty days to get back his liberty on bail from the High Court, even with a legal luminary like Jagannath Pattanayak voluntarily pleading his case, roared Rabi Das, stressing on the need for reform of laws governing bail so that the discretionary power no further remains discriminatory.

Protection of Freedom of Press a must for survival of democracy

Prasanta Patnaik, presiding over the convention, had set tone to the deliberations with the clear message that no journalist should feel abandoned by his friends in the profession when loyalty to his duties lands him / her in framed up cases or in any other disadvantage. The media unity evolved in protest against harassment of scribes will continue to stand solidly behind tortured scribes in future, he declared. He called into memory the atrocities perpetrated on uncompromising reporter Swaroop Jena by the fellows in power that were being exposed threadbare by him and how the unsung hero had finally succumbed to that brutality. He gave a vivid description of all the instances of atrocities the scribes have been subjected to because of their commitment to their profession and called upon all section of the public to stand with the scribes for protection of freedom of press.

Evil design of plutocracy needs be defeated

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak stated that since diversification of priority from welfare to industry, journalists in increasing numbers have been subjected to administrative atrocities in Orissa, because as sentinels of society they have exposed the foul play of the profiteers and their politico-executive cohorts. Swaroop Jena was the first victim. Portending more rigorous prosecution against journalist as plutocracy would try to tighten its grip, Pattanayak recalled Dr.Ambedkar, who, in his concluding answer to debates on the last day of the Constituent Assembly, had warned that economic dissimilarity, which the Assembly had been forced to accommodate under peculiar circumstances vitiated by overwhelming presence of the propertied class in it, would eventually destroy democracy if the first Parliament elected by the masses fails to remove the contradiction. Regrettably the Parliament failed and the contradiction is continuing and the agents of the rich have transformed democracy to plutocracy, he pointed out. Journalists are proud of comprising the forth estate in democracy. They cannot cherish changing to forth estate of plutocracy. Hence the agents of plutocracy never feel secured before a fearless press. This is why they use and will always use all the methods of intimidation against the uncompromising journalists, he warned and welcomed the emergence of the new media forum to save the last hope for democracy, the forth estate.

Felicitation to Choudhury is symbolic of media solidarity

Sudhir Pattanaik harped on consolidation of media unity even as Jatin Dash emphasized on eternal intelligence against impediments to freedom of press. RTI activist Biswajeet Mohanty, progressive advocate Biswapriya Kanungo and Prof. Nilamani Sahoo welcomed the convention and pledged their support to the community of scribes in their mission of protecting free press. Eminent activists like Uma Ballav Rath and Radhakanta Sethi were present. Jiten Padhi, Satyajit Mishra and Bana Bihari Mohanty expressed that the convention itself is indicative of how misuse of power against media has crossed tolerable limits. Soumyajit Pattanayak emphasized on the need of a space for solidifying togetherness amongst media persons. Prafulla Das in his introductory address expressed that the felicitation to Laxman Choudhury is symbolic of the solidarity of scribes in the cause of democracy and coordinated the convention.

Journalists have the right to peruse political literature including Maoist ones

On behalf of the media community, Sampad Mohapatra thanked Jagannath Pattanaik, former President of Bar Council of India, for having voluntarily taken up the case of Choudhury and for his pleadings, which fetched the bail. He also thanked Advocate Jayant Dash for his similar role in Lenin Roy case. It was a mockery of administration of law to have entertained a misconceived police allegation hurling sedition charges at Choudhury on the basis of its unilateral seizure of Maoist leaflets from a private bus conductor allegedly meant for delivery to him. Were it been real that Choudhury was the person to whom the leaflet packet was addressed, how any sane man could found sedition therein, he wondered. He declared that the journalists have the right to go through any political literature including that of the Maoists as that forms part of their professional needs to keep themselves abreast of political activities and hence, possession even of Maoist literature can never be construed as sedition. He moved the following Resolutions to which Rabi Das seconded and the entire House unanimously supported.

THE RESOLUTIONS:

1. Media Unity for Freedom Press Convention resolves to fight any attempt by the powers that be to muzzle or gag the Press. It also resolves to pledge support and all possible help to any one who faces attacks or threats in any form from any source while pursuing or performing his professional duties as a news person.

2. MUFP demands that the State Government pass necessary orders to ensure that prior to slapping charges such as sedition, waging war against the State and criminal conspiracy against any working journalist – whether accredited, self-employed or freelance- the concerned police officials seek the recorded approval of the State Home Department, preferably of its Secretary.

3. MUFP calls upon the Chief Minister to honour his promise to a delegation of scribes by withdrawing all charges leveled by the Mohana police against Sri Laxman Choudhury. A quick and favourable response by the Chief Minister in this matter will pave the path for a healthier interface between the media and the administration.

4. MUFP also calls upon the state government to take stringent action against the people who were behind the murderous attack on fellow journalist and green activist Sri Jagannath Bastia as well as the government employees who assaulted two journalists working for the Oriya daily, Arombh. The State should compensate them for all medical expenses incurred by them towards treatment.

5. MUFP expresses its sincere gratitude to leading High Court lawyer and former President of the All India Bar Council Sri Jagannath Patnaik who went out of his way to fight for the release of Sri Laxman Choudhury without expecting or taking a single rupee towards his professional fee. We also wish to thank all lawyers, rights activists, individuals and organizations, especially the Paris-based international body of journalists, the Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) who stood solidly behind our effort to get Sri Choudhury out of jail.

6. MUFP demands the setting up of a State Media Centre on the vacant space inside the Jaydev Bhawan premises with minimum facilities such as a media room that offers Broadband and P&T services on usual payment, an auditorium with a 200-seat capacity to be used for press briefings and conferences, a reading room, a library and a canteen. The state government should respond to this at the earliest.

7. MUFP resolves to launch under its own title i.e. Media Unity for Freedom of Press, a website that would serve as a common platform for journalists and those who defend and value press freedom. The website would also act as the watchdog of the free press and facilitate debate on issues, incidents and questions that have a bearing on freedom of press in particular and those affecting democratic norms and practices in general.

8. MUFP resolves to appeal to editors and management of all newspapers and channels both at the State and National level to ensure that media personnel working for them in rural, tribal and areas under ultra-political activities in the most difficult and challenging conditions are given proper recognition and identity cards. That could help them immensely vis-à-vis questions on their status raised randomly by the authorities especially the police.

AN UPDATE:


Years after the event, on September 12, 2013, the speech of Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak on foundation of MUFP, as recorded by Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak, was retrieved from old records. As it is of referral value in the life of MUFP, we are sharing the video above.

SHOULD WE REPORT OR NOT?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Should we report or not? The question pricked the Press as the Speaker today pronounced a “ruling” that nothing beyond the business under the agenda and allowed in the Orissa Legislative Assembly could be reported.

Shocked severely by the ruling, journalists in the Press gallery were to decide to stop reporting in protest against abrupt obliteration of their working environment that the OLA was the first House in the country to have granted them under a specific law such as The Orissa Legislative Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1960.

The Government, aware of collective protests of Orissa journalists against police atrocities perpetrated on a number of members of their fraternity, sensed how the Speaker’s ruling would further embitter the Press and tried to make amendment through the Minister of Parliamentary affairs, Raghunath Mohanty.

As the House adjourned over unrelenting Opposition demand for obituary honor to farmers reassembled at 12 in the noon, Mohanty instantly stood up to request the Speaker to recall his ruling restricting reporting. “In the question hour today, Sir, you have issued a ruling. I request you to please review that ruling and to please allow the Press to report the Assembly proceedings as unrestricted as before”, he repeatedly said, while appealing simultaneously to the Press to cooperate with the House in publication of its proceedings.

The Speaker, in response, said that he had no intention to gag the Press. “I accept the request of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister. Let the friends in the Press Gallery kindly cooperate”.

DIRECTOR OF ORISSA MINES MUST BE MADE TO DISCLOSE THE NAME OF THE DIRECTOR OF LOOT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

For loot of Orissa mines, the Government of Orissa has suspended the Director of Mines, Rabindra Narayan Sahoo on September 16. But the delay in taking this minimum necessary action is so inordinate that the Vigilance Police, involved with the action, would do better to clarify as to who had protected Sahu so far from suspension.

The peoples of Orissa should immediately be informed as to whether Sahu is suspended from service or from office; because the notification in this matter is silent about the nature of suspension and unless clarifications issued, it would lead to suspect that the so-called suspension is mere choreography of administrative acrobatics aimed at hoodwinking the general public.

Sahu must be made to disclose why had he gone underground abandoning his office and where had he been during the period preceding the de facto bail granted to him by the High Court of Orissa. This will help peoples know who is his godfather in Orissa Government that gave him such cooperation in evading arrest that was then the minimum necessity to show that the Law was mightier than the miscreants.

In Sahu’s case it is clear that the Law was derailed.

It is also clear that he was allowed by the state government to join office on return from the under ground and to control the office during the most crucial period when relevant official records there were most needed to be saved from tampering.

Had he not been acting under direction of some one very high in administration to facilitate the loot of Orissa mines, the protection and patronage he has so far enjoyed should never have been available to him.

Let him be made to tell the truth. Let the loot be termed as treason against the State and merciless action against him be initiated if he does not divulge the name of the behind the curtain director of the loot, as obviously there is one, who has used his high office against turbulent times to keep him safe from the grip of Law, so far.

Medico-legal methods should be used to elicit the truth from Sahu; as otherwise, the State cannot be saved from the loot of its rare mineral wealth.

The Vigilance Police, inter alia, should explain as to why it occurred to it that only the Director of mines and a pack of his subordinates along with only two private operators were involved with the loot; not any minister or the Chief Minister.

This is urgent in public interest.