Undercurrent of wrath against Naveen is strong, though who shall gain is yet a question

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I have covered some constituencies in different parts of the State.

I must state that it may be better to watch what professional psephologists would say; but I may say on the strength of my long experience in reading the pulse of people in times of the polls, that, undercurrent of discontent with and wrath against Naveen Patnaik is so strong that only a miracle can give him the number he would need to form a new government.

Though to whom the people shall prefer is not yet defined, the mandate I smell makes me shudder, as I recall the words of Kula Gourav Madhusudan Das.

When Oriya movement for resurrection of Orissa was in its peak, fellows like Harekrushna Mahtab were trying to demoralize Madhubabu in order to please some of the Congress top brass who were opposed to creation of Orissa as a separate province by re-uniting the Oriya speaking tracks.

Till Gandhiji’s clear and strong support to creation of Orissa on the basis of language of the people, the Indian National Congress was reluctant to support the Oriya Movement, as its heavyweights from provinces to which the British – afraid of Oriya “disposition” – had tagged divided parts of Orissa, were reluctant to part with the rich Oriya lands their respective States were exploiting.

Highly ambitious Mahtab had tried to embarrass Madhubabu, the highest leader of the movement, to please these non-Oriya, in fact anti-Oriya – leaders of the Congress.

Orissa was stunned when he had tried to shatter a meeting that Madhubabu was to address .

Madhubabu was aware of such sycophancy and therefore, had written, “TU MANE BHABICHHU TOSAMADA KARI BADHAIBU JATI MANA / TOSAMADIARA KUKURA PRAKRUTI AINTHA PATARE DHYANA” ( You think, through sycophancy, you can enhance the national mana. But be sure, by nature, a sycophant is a dog that stays content with orts and offals).

If Naveen Patnaik heads a party of sycophants, Congress is the trendsetter. And, BJP that already has bared its real body under waves of Har Har Modi, is no less a party of sycophants too. Whither our democracy is wandering?

Madhubabu had wondered, “SHAGUNA BILUA BAIDA SAJILE RAHIBA KI ROGI PRANA?” (Can a patient live, if vultures and foxes become the doctors?)

The mandate I smell confronts me with this question.

What should be the answer?

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Utkal Divas: The one man we ought to recall is Dinabandhu Pattanayak

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

For resurrection of Orissa comprising the Oriya speaking tracks, the one man that had taken the first initiative is Dinabandhu Pattanayak of Ghumusar.

He was a government official. Yet, he had organized the first meeting of Oriyas of his area for collective application of mind on how to save the language, literature, culture and properties of the Oriyas from the evil grip of non-Oriyas to whose provinces the British had arbitrarily tagged the Oriya speaking tracks taking advantage of a compromise with Buxi Jagabandhu that had given it a status of a government in the eyes of the people of Orissa.

The meeting he had convened and guided, resolved to seek amalgamation of the Oriya speaking areas for resurrection of the divided Orissa.

Dinabandhu had attracted attention of the Oriya brethren living in Cuttack and Puri to this mass thinking, through Utkal Dipika, the most famous mainstream periodical of the time. His appeal woke up the lion from slumber and Kula Gourav Madhusudan Das took the lead in building up a very unique movement for resurrection of Orissa. Oriya authors, scholars, and statesmen got united with the media in making this movement an epoch making success.

When we celebrate Utkal Divas, the day of birth of modern Orissa, we ought to recall Dinabandhu Pattanayak, the first man who had dreamt of this Orissa and had given birth to the movement that made it come true.

You may visit this link to know of him.

Madhu babu, in whom Gandhiji had his friend, philosopher and guide

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Export of raw materials would help profiteers to exploit the country; but industrial use of the country’s working hands would make the motherland prosperous. So, instead of exporting raw materials, attempts should be made for their industrial utilization inside the country.

This was the essence of politico-economic realization of Madhu babu, the most revered Madhusudan Das of Orissa, whom Gandhiji was looking at as his source of inspiration in formulating his practical economic programs for the masses.

“Over 98 per cent of the population works on land. Land does not grow in area. Hands grow in number with the growth of population”. So, extra-agricultural engagement was needed for people to earn their livelihood and proceed to prosperity, Madhu babu had observed in a speech to Bihar Young Men’s Institute in 1924.

Gandhiji was deeply influenced by this speech. Two years later, on 9-9-1926, he wrote in Young India, “I have kept that speech by me so as to be able to deal with the essential part of it on a suitable occasion”.

In total agreement with Madhu babu’s remarks Gandhiji noted, “the value of his remarks is derived from the fact that, though a lawyer of distinction, he has not only not despised labor with the hands, but actually learned handicrafts at a late period in life, not merely as a hobby, but for the sake of teaching young men dignity of labor and showing that without their turning their attention to the industries of the country the outlook of India is poor. Sjt Das has himself been instrumental in establishing a tannery in Cuttack which has been a centre of training for many a young man who was before a mere unskilled laborer”.

Gandhiji was so much influenced by Madhu babu’s emphasis on utilization of the raw materials in engaging indigenous industries that on 19-6-1927, he wrote in Navajivan that, “raw materials worth crores of rupees are produced in this country and, thanks to our ignorance, lethargy and lack of invention, exported to foreign countries; as Sri Madhusudan Das has pointed out, that we remain ignorant like animals, our hands do not get the training which they ought to and our intellects do not develop as they should. As a consequence, living art has disappeared from our land and we are content to imitate the west”.

India being a land of the farmers and the farming community being cattle dependent, there was enough availability of cattle hides which were being exported to foreign countries, when by industrial use thereof toiling masses were to fetch handsome earning. This is why, Madhu babu, as a demonstrative venture, had established the tannery at Cuttack.

Inspired by him, Gandhiji had established a tannery at Sabarmati Ashram.

I am going to give the copy of Gandhiji’s letter to Madhu babu in this matter, which would show to what extraordinary extent, Gandhiji was influenced by Madhu babu in formulating his practical political economy meant for the masses.

Sent from Sabarmati Ashram to Sjt. Madhusudan Das, Mission Road, Cuttack on March 16, 1928, the letter was thus:

Dear Friend,
After a great deal of thought and bother I have established at the Ashram a little bit of tannery without any power-driven machinery and without skilled assistance saved that of a man who has received a rough-and tumble experience of tanning in America and who is a crank like myself. Though I did not succeed in sharing your troubles and taking the load off your shoulders in connection with your own great national enterprise, your inspiration is partly responsible for the establishment of this little tannery at the Ashram. Can you please help me with a list of literature on the subject, a handbook on tanning and the like? If you think that there is nothing like this in English, will you out of your own wide and varied experience write out something that may be of use for propaganda, just a few hints? What is happening at the tannery? Who is in charge? I may add that my idea is to make the Ashram tannery a model for villages so that the villagers may be able to treat their own dead cattle and make use of the hide themselves. I have asked many people without success as to how I can skin dead cattle. Everybody knowing anything of tanning has something to say about hides after they are received from the village tanner; but nobody has yet told me if I take charge of a dead animal I can skin the carcass economically and hygienically and make use of other contents such as bones, intestine, etc., for purpose of manure.
Yours sincerely,
(M.K.Gandhi)
March 16, 1928

Orissa Became Odisha: What Else Could Have Happened When Stupids Rule the Roost?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Government of Orissa celebrated the assent of the President of India to the erroneous Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 that tampers with classicism of Oriya language by enforcing change of the State’s English spelling from Orissa to Odisha with effect from November 01, 2011. The Chief Minister declared November 05 a holiday to mark the success in the mischief and announced that signboards all over the State and official files shall be made to replace Orissa and Oriya with Odisha and Odia respectively by end of March, 2012. The Hindi words – Urisha and Uriya – must also be changed in use accordingly.

The Bill was erroneous inasmuch as it is surprisingly silent about so called wrong naming of the State in Bengali and other Indian languages. It is erroneous, further because, its nomenclature was misconceived. It was not meant for altering the name of Orissa and in fact it does not. Orissa as pronounced in Oriya is kept in tact and is to continue like that. So, there is a blatant mismatch between the nomenclature of the Bill and the purpose thereof. Over and above this mismatch, the aim of the Bill was detrimental to the classic character of Oriya language. Hence the Parliament of India should not have passed the misleading Bill and when despite our protests, the Bill was passed, the President should not have given assent to it sans required cogitation. The Parliament was certainly conspicuous by its absence of mind in considering the Bill and has made a blunder in passing it without going into the history of transliteration of these two most material words. But the President acted a mere rubber stamp of political power holders and approved it without application of mind to the issue raised by us.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is a congenital non-Oriya born to Biju Patnaik through a non-Oriya mother. He has neither any education in Oriya nor any commitment for this matchless language, which not only is recognized in Linguistic Survey of India (Vol.IV) as a language “of a rich vocabulary in which respect neither Bengali nor Hindi nor Telugu can vie with it”, but also is marked as the most distinguished language on archaic aspect of languages of India, specifically amongst the neighboring tongues when linguistic authorities like Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee of Bengal points out that, “Of these three languages – Oriya, Bengali and Assamese – Oriya has preserved a great many archaic features in both grammar and pronunciation and it may be said without travesty of linguistic truth that Oriya is the eldest of the three sisters, when we consider the archaic character of the language” (Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol.XXIII, at p.337). Neither Naveen Patnaik and his followers and fellow politicians in Orissa nor the members of Indian Parliament who passed the Bill know of this archaic distinction of Oriya language. But, they have given a death blow to this distinguished feature by making this misconceived Bill a Law of the land giving it effect through an amendment in the Constitution of India. This happens, when stupids rule the roost with determination to stay in power by any means and contrive schemes to divert public attention from blatant failure of their administration to misled satisfaction on fulfillment of misconceived pride that the schemers deliberately coin.

The moment it had come to our attention that the lingua non-Oriya fellows in power in Orissa were conspiring to kill the classical feature of Oriya language through this misconceived instrument, we had tried to place our views on records and had urged upon the CM that the English and Hindi spelling of the name of the State and its language should not be changed, as the same was nothing but recognition of Oriya’s classic distinction by non-Oriya Indians and English speaking foreigners.

People of this State had not coined the words Orissa or Oriya or Urisha or Uriya to pronounce and spell the name of their land or language. The non-Oriyas – Indian and foreigners – had to develop these spellings by using ‘R’ for approximately correct pronunciation of the concerned Oriya words.

The peculiarity of Oriya language lies in different appearances of the same alphabet to serve the purpose of two patterns of pronunciation. This was posing a problem for the non-Oriyas, particularly the British occupants of the land. To remove this difficulty, a British officer – Mr. T. J. Maltby of the Madras Civil Service – had authored a ‘Handbook’ in 1874 “mainly for the non-Oriya officers serving in the Oriya speaking districts of the Madras Presidency”. Orissa Government adopted the book – A Practical Handbook of the Oriya Language – in 1945, by courtesy of Miss Lilian Cranworth Maltby, daughter of the author. In this book, Maltby has most ably and faithfully located the pronunciational differences of similar Oriya letters to the extent of even a single letter and has laid down rules for transliteration thereof to Roman equivalents. In the process, he has marked the two patterns of pronunciation of the single Oriya letter represented by Roman D. When the first pronunciation of D is “dental” or “soft” like ‘D’ as in ‘Did’, the second pronunciation of the same D is “cerebral” or “hard” as in the word “Dol”, he has noted. The second pattern of pronunciation of this particular letter was being stressed by the children of the soil by adding distinction to the same alphabet with a dot underneath. M altby, who mandated that “Oriya words in the Roman character are to be pronounced as in German or Italian rather than as in English, and care must be taken that every letter be distinctly sounded” ruled that the relevant alphabet represented by Roman D with a dot underneath justifying its “cerebral” or “hard” pronunciation must stand converted into ‘R’ in transliteration and therefore, in transliteration, Odissa with a dot underneath ‘d’ had become Orissa and Odiya had become Oriya. Attempts were made in 1930s in the all-time authoritative lexicon of Oriya language – Purnachandra Bhashakosha – to present a new transliteration form by prefixing ‘R’ to ‘D’ in representing the dot underneath in matter of cerebral or hard pronunciation thereof and thus Ordisa was posted as transliterated name of the State and Ordia of the language. But, as this was practically problematic, the Bhashakosha’s prefixing of ‘R’ to ‘D’ was discarded by the founding fathers of this State and Mr. Madhusudan Das et al had accepted the rule of transliteration framed by Mr. Miltby and thus Orissa and Oriya had become the transliterated forms of the names of its land and language. Therefore these two words are symbolic of the classical status of Oriya language. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who celebrated the stupidity of tampering with the classical components of Oriya language in this matter does not know of this.

Oriya language is not only matchlessly superb as pointed out in Linguistic Survey of India and Indian Historical Quarterly as mentioned supra, but also is the language that has given birth in India to the concept of linguistic states.

But, Naveen Patnaik, after taking over the Office in the name of Orissa’s regional interest, has shown constant disrespect to this splendid language and has continuously contravened the Orissa Official Language Act 1954, which stipulates that Oriya is “to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”. In his regime, administration runs not in Oriya language, but in English. And, in his regime, massive majority of projects have gone to non-Oriyas, all major allocation of land have gone to non-Oriyas and priority of administration has been steered into serving the interest of non-Oriyas to the utter disadvantage of indigenous people of Orissa. This man now celebrates the death blow on the classical features of Oriya language and asserts to impose/enforce replacement of Orissa and Oriya by Odisha and Odia by March 2012 in the name of Oriya pride!

What a great farce! What else could have happened when stupids rule the roost?

Surasingh Pattanayak: The Inextinguishable Guide

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Whosoever loves Orissa and her cultural ethos would find it unbearable to know that Surasingh Pattanayak, born to Dibyasingh Pattanayak and Radha Devi of Aska on 26 February 1932, settled at Gopalpur-on-sea in his home district of Ganjam, has passed away at Bhubaneswar – his State’s Capital City on 4 April 2011, leaving behind memories that his motherland will always cherish.

A dedicated votary of the economy of cooperation, he was a moving messenger of Gurudev Buddha, who, born in Orissa, had developed cooperative lifestyle of Orissa’s original agro-community – the tribal democracies – into the tenets of Sangha, the epitome of his philosophy. He had retired from the cooperative department; but had remained glued for ever to Buddhism. Kahani Buddha Karunara (Stories of the Benevolence of Buddha) reminds us of how in his heart and conscience Lord Buddha was reigning every moment. This was further manifested in his emotional bond with the tribal communities of Orissa. Till he breathed his last, I believe, tribal welfare was his heart’s concern.

Lover of every uniqueness Orissa could be referred for, he was, through out his knowledge-enriched life, a dedicated admirer of Madhu Babu – the great grand man Madhusudan Das – the second most revered Oriya after Buddha – whom the Oriyas lovingly call Kula Gaurav (Pride of the race) and to whom the credit goes for reconstitution of Orissa after she was divided by the invader British and tail-tied to rival neighboring provinces. Immensely esteemed books such as Mahanayak Madhusudan, Ama Madhusudan, Madhusudan Das: Pride of Orissa are a few of tributes he had offered in immortal memory of Madhu Babu.

The day I left Orissa for four months, a cursory glance at newspaper pages at Bhubaneswar Airport had shocked me with the news of Surasingh’s hospitalization. And, in New York City I hear that he breathed his last on April 4, the fourth day of Utkal Divas, the day modern Orissa was born.

He might have breathed his last. But as long as longing for noble qualities lasts in Orissa and amongst the Oriyas, Surasingh shall continue to be an inextinguishable guide.

Yet I wish, I should have been able to place parting flowers at his noble physical feet before he was consecrated to immortality.

UTKAL DIVAS 2009: AN OBITUARY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa has a distinction that can never be surpassed by any in India. She is the founder of the modern epoch of State formation on language basis.

When her children were trying to form the new State on the basis of their mother tongue Oriya, packs of regional chauvinists from Bengal led by R.L.Mitra had tried hard to convince their British masters that Oriya was not a separate language, but rather was a part of Bengali. Their falseness was razed down by scholars with factual records so detailed that Bengal’s famous linguist Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee had to admit in course of time, as noted in Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXIII, 1947 at p.337,

It may be said without travesty of linguistic truth that Oriya is the eldest of the three sisters (Oriya, Bengali and Assamese), when we consider the archaic character of the language”.

Before Chatterjee had said this, taking cue from chauvinists like Mitra and his associates, inhabitants of Hindi and Telgu speaking tracks had also started claiming linguistic superiority over Oriya in order only to retain the opportunity to exploit the Oriya peoples and their soil made available to them by the British that had annexed Orissa to their States by fragmenting her body under a state of fear psychosis, which shall be discussed later.

But their false claim was dismantled when Sir G.A. Grierson declared in Linguistic Survey of India that Oriya was highly superior to these three languages. To quote him,

“The Oriya language can boast of a rich vocabulary in which respect neither Bengali nor Hindi nor Telgu can vie with it. The richness of the vocabulary is the index by which the vastness of a vernacular can be gauged”.

Why the peoples of the Bengali, Hindi and Telgu speaking provinces were in conspiracy against Oriya language?

This was simply because, if Oriya language was to be restored to its original majestic position and Oriya lands were to go back from their provinces, they were sure to loose financially; and massively.

The peoples of those provinces were in traditional rivalry with Orissa and traditionally envious of Orissa’s matchless cultural, sculptural, commercial and natural splendor.

None of those provinces was able to aspire to be compared with Orissa. Observations of impartial historians and administrators, available on records, confirm this.

As for example, Rev.J.Long, in Notes and Queries Suggested by a Visit to Orissa in January 1859 has written,

“Antiquarian enquiries in Nepal, Ceylon and China show that the Buddhism so noted in its regard for enlightening the masses and opposing caste, was for ages predominant all through Orissa both among rulers and the people, though Orissa be now the garden of the Hinduism and Jagannath its Jerusalem” (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1859, No.III, Vol.XXVIII, pp.185-187).

The peoples of those days knew that Buddha was born in Orissa. Hence Buddhism, as “antiquarian enquiries in Nepal, Ceylon and China” had made Rev.J.Long note, “was for ages predominant all through Orissa both among rulers and the people”.

Afraid of Buddhism and unable to defeat its impact, the Vedists had accepted Buddha as their own Lord and had equated their Lord Vishnu to Orissa’s Lord Buddha Jagannatha and thereby had succeeded to transform Buddhism to Hinduism in Orissa with Jagannath as the epitome of casteless culture. This had made Orissa such a land that as reported by Rev. Long above, Orissa had become “the garden of Hinduism and Jagannath its Jerusalem”. No land of India, specifically in the neighborhood of Orissa, had to her credit such splendid historical distinction.

When other provinces of India, specifically those in Orissa’s neighborhood were surrendering to or being subjugated by Muslims, Orissa was the land that was attacking and occupying Muslim dominions around her territory.

Describing how the King of Orissa had out-generalled the Bengal ruler Tughral Tughan Khan, the Muslim historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, who had also joined that war, which, to him, was a ‘holy war’, had to admit that a greater disaster had not till then befallen the Muslims in any part of Hindustan. (Dr. K. R. Quanungo, The History of Bengal, Muslim period, (pp.48-52). No land in India, specifically those in Orissa’s neighborhood had ever been credited, in enemy’s pen, with such valor. This was the cause of envy of the peoples of those provinces towards the Oriyas.

When India was perishing under occupation of Muslims, Orissa was so sure of her invincibility and so victorious over enemies, specifically the Muslim Rulers in the neighborhood, that in support of Buddhist Sahajayana and in exhibition of her power and opulence and in celebration of her victory, she had addressed herself to build up the wonderful Konark temple.

Analyzing the sculpture of war animals in display at Konark, in Indian Sculpture and Painting, Havell equates the fire and passion expressed therein with the greatest European art – the pride of victory and the glory of triumphant warfare. (Noted in History of Orissa by Prof. K. C. Panigrahi, at pp.413-14)

No people of India were more marked than the Oriyas for establishment of colonies overseas by name akin to those of their own soil and society. Known for the best of ports along her vast coastline, Orissa was famous for her matchless ships. Even when the British occupied India and eventually thereafter Orissa, to their mind, Orissa’s vessels were the best in India. “…by far the best that I ever saw in any part of India”, wrote E.Watson, 4th Judge, Calcutta Court of Circuit, to W.B.Bayley, Secretary to Government in the Judicial Department on 3 May, 1817) No other province, specifically those in Orissa’s neighborhood was of such historic heritage. They were therefore envious of Orissa.

Orissa was such unique that when peoples of those provinces had accepted the British as their lord, her children had been fighting against British invasion.

History knows that Orissa was the last of all the Indian States to have been occupied by the British. And according to British historians, Oriyas were the first amongst all the peoples of India to have raised battles against the British to “expel” them from their soil.

“It was not long, however, before we had to encounter a storm which burst with so sudden fury as to threaten our expulsion, if not from the whole of Orissa, at least from the territory of Khurda”, G. Toynbee has admitted. (A sketch of the history of Orissa, O.H.R.J. Vol No.1 & 2).

British had ruthlessly fought back the battle. But it had to eventually admit that the

“nature of the country (Orissa) and disposition of the inhabitants will always present formidable obstacle to the suppression of these disturbances either by military or police”(Report of Joint Magistrate W. Forrester dated. 9th September 1818 to Commissioner Robert Ker).

It is thus clear from Mr. Forrester’s Report that the peoples of Orissa were too valiant to be suppressed by “military or Police” of the British power.

This being the reality, it had to devise means to weaken the Oriya peoples in order to stay safe.

And thus it had divided Orissa into parts and annexed those parts to neighboring States compelling the brave peoples of Orissa to suffer the ignominy of minority status under rival populations. They were deliberately tortured by being forced to accept the language of those rival populations as their official language. Taking advantage of their ignorance of the so-called official language, the crafty inhabitants of the rival States to which Oriya speaking tracks were arbitrarily annexed, were grabbing Oriya properties by tampering with Official records.

Sri Veer Bikram Singh, the then Raja of Khariar had raised a literary revolution against this exploitation. “Utkal Durdasha” (The miseries of Orissa), a drama authored and enacted by him though out western Orissa had heart touching stanzas depicting the exploitation to which Orissa had been subjected to after division.

Sir Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser, who was Chief Commissioner of Central Provinces when Orissa’s western part was annexed to that province, in his famous work Among Indian Rajahs and Ryots, having seen in his own eyes how the peoples of Orissa, reduced to linguistic minority status, were being harassed in CP, had mentioned details of the damages done to the Oriyas and had recommended that the Oriya speaking tracks be amalgamated for better administration. But the British Secretary of State for India had turned down Fraser’s proposal as to him, the Oriya peoples were of such disposition that once united again, they shall be the most formidable danger for the Britishraj in India.

When peoples of the western parts of Orissa were thus being exploited under the CP administration, condition of the Oriyas of the southern part of Orissa annexed equally arbitrarily to Madras was no less disadvantaged.

Dinabandhu Pattanayak of Dharakot made a public appeal to peoples of Cuttack to come forward to fight for amalgamation of the Oriya speaking tracks in entirety as otherwise Oriya culture, sculptures and natural wealth cannot be saved from non-Oriyas.

This call of Dinaandhu eventually gave birth to Utkal Sammilani, the great Oriya movement that paved the path for formation of language-based States in India.

Why the peoples of Cuttack responded to the call given by Dinabandhu Pattanayak?

We get the answer from the Report of W. Trower, Collector, Cuttack on Revenue Administration in Orissa, dated the 23rd May 1817, in which he says,

“I believe I am the first and the only officer of the Government that has hitherto visited the interior of the District. I have traveled through the greatest part of it, conversed with all classes of people from the highest to the lowest and certainly the complaints against the Police, and the Moonsifs exceed anything I could have supposed. A regular system of oppression and peculation appears to exist throughout and instead of proving a protection to the country and a preventive against improper conduct, these people are considered the terror and the scourge of the district”. (Ms.Vol. 387, Orissa State Archives.)

The Peoples of Cuttack had responded to the call of Dinabandhu Pattanayak as in that they had found the reflection of their own feelings.

Who were these Police officials and Munsifs? They were the peoples from Bengal whom the British officials were calling as native servants.

Why Mr. Trower has mentioned that they were “considered the terror and the scourge of the District”? It is because, these fellows were looting Orissa taking advantage of their situations under the British.

Trower has described,

“Of the evil of permitting native servants of Government holding situations in the District to purchase lands at public sale I have had many proofs, and in a letter to the late Commissioner under date the 1st October, 1813, I stated my sentiments on the subjects. Not only does the influence of these people prevent the Oriyas from entering into competition with them in the purchase of lands, but if any of their own Estates are in arrears, the Oriyas are deterred from appearing as purchasers.”

He has given details of how Estates of Oriyas were being auctioned at Calcutta under stratagems contrived by Bengalis and how they were grabbing the same by way of cheating.

“It appears from accompanying statement…. that from December 1906 to December 1816, a period of 10 years, the number of Estates sold by public auction, have been 1011, which gives an average of 101 yearly”. Showing that 350 principal Estates out of the above-mentioned sales have gone into Bengali hands, Mr. Trower has told, “The Board will further remark that of those, 235 have been purchased by persons holding official situations under Government directly in their own names, or indirectly by their relations or dependents and by a reference to the price paid for those Mehals (more particularly during the four or five fist years) they cannot fail to discover strong marks of that undue influence, complained of by me. But as the number of Bengalees have increased in the district and advanced in opulence, greater competition has taken place between themselves and a somewhat fairer market established. The Jumma of the lots marked in the margin was 121695 rupees and the money paid for them at sale 46205 which can be considered as little better than downright rubbery.” (Ibid.)

The use of the words “downright rubbery” by Trower in this report speaks volumes of how peoples of Orissa were being looted by Bengalis as well as those of Hindi and Telgu speaking provinces when afraid of Oriya disposition, the British had fragmented their motherland and merged those parts with provinces of rival tongues.

The entire Oriya speaking community had woke up against this mischief under the ablest leadership of its ‘pride personified’ Kula Gaurav Madhusudan Das. The Congress party, under influence of the leaders hailing from those provinces opposed Madubababu, so much so, that Harekrshna Mahtab, then a crafty ambitious young man with a motive to ingratiate himself to Congress high echelon, went to the extent of pressing an organized assault on an audience at Cuttack gathered to hear Mr. Das.

Gandhiji stood firmly with Madhu babu and insisted that unless Oriya speaking tracks are amalgamated into a separate province, the “fine race” of Oriyas would continue to suffer and that cannot be accepted.

The culturally advanced elements in British administration ultimately accepted the Oriya demand and the new province of Orissa was created on 1st of April 1936.

Since then we have been celebrating Utkal Divas on the 1st day of April and all the Governments have fully participated in this celebration and treated it as National Day of Orissa.

But this year, a lady IAS officer of non-Oriya origin, in charge as she is of election 2009 has blocked the official celebration of this treasured day and Navin Patnaik, who has enjoyed power as Chief Minister sans any respect to official status of Oriya language and has, heading a headless pack of sycophants, served the non-Oriyas at the cost of Oriyas, repeating what the British was doing in allowing non-Oriyas to loot the land and properties of Oriyas, to loot their natural wealth and assets, as narrated supra, has readily cooperated with discarding of the official celebration of Utkal Divas.

Shocked over the degradation, as I slowly regain my composure, I write this obituary on Utkal Divas 2009.

If you like, you may join me remembering our National Day.

Dead is Utkal Divas 2009.

Live forever hereafter it may.

DEMOCRATIC PRUDENCE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Some of my readers, quite well-meaning and noble, while appreciating the factuality in my published accounts on Biju Patnaik, have observed that I am somewhat biased against a legendary leader like him inasmuch as I have not condemned the vandalization of his statue, even though he had donated all his assets to Orissa, as they have heard and believe. Therefore, the subject deserves attention, yet again.

I was exposing Bijubabu’s misdeeds when he was alive, and specifically in power. Since his demise I was silent on him. But his son and his sycophants have resurrected him to a sphinx, on which, in interest of democracy, people must be made fully informed. As a journalist I have tried to honor people’s right to be informed as a part of my duty by showing him as he was when alive, so that democracy does not get derailed. Hence there is no question of any bias.

As I understand, Press is that pillar of democracy on which the other three pillars depend to be looked into and looked after by the people, as otherwise democracy cannot survive.

So to me as a journalist, it is a disservice to democracy if position factor of a person eclipses my observation. Disinterring a person whose conduct did not commensurate with the tenets of democracy and whose posthumous use poses a threat to democracy cannot be interpreted as a bias against him. It is a democratic duty one has pledged himself to and is discharged at much risk.

Misuse of public place

I have emphasized that if followers of any political leader want to worship their master, let them do that in their respective homes, not in places that belong also to their rivals.

Destruction of Biju statue has proved that there are people who are not tolerating the use of a public place for his posthumous image-building. Today they have destroyed one statue; tomorrow or day after, there may be more. It would shatter public peace and tranquility. So, every action that gives birth to such reactions should be discouraged. If there will be no Biju statue in a public place there shall be no vandalizing of the same. Vandalization of a statue arises only when a public place is vandalized by its erection. So whosoever erects such statues in a public places is an agent provocateur against democracy and should be basically responsible for any breach of public peace over the statue. This I have said without any bias.

A question has arisen as to whether it does not tell upon a civilized society when statue of a leader is destroyed.

Mafia thrives through legends

Everything that glitters is not gold. Similarly every body who occupies power at some point of time is not a leader. No proof is necessary to show that traitors are treated by their followers as leaders. So whosoever is shown as a leader is not a leader of our people. There is a distinct difference between political acrobats like Biju Patnaik and democrats like Mr. Madhusudan Das. People take pride in paying respect to Madhubabu’s statue. If some body has taken pride in vandalizing the Biju statue erected in a public place, he cannot be blamed, because to him, Biju was a political acrobat, whom people had rejected time and again.

And, in India, a new era of punishing political acrobats has commenced. We are unable to stop it and we cannot stop it; because, people derive satisfaction in punishing, even if posthumously, the political acrobats who acted or act for self-aggrandizement under the mask of meretricious concern for wellbeing of the people.

A decade ago Durga Puja, specifically in Orissa, was an occasion of reaffirmation of our commitment to noble qualities and to fight against the evil. Now it has emerged as an occasion for RAVANA PODI. People, more and more, year after year, are joining the event of burning of the effigy of RAVANA, the greatest political acrobat ever depicted by the PURANAS. In the pages of RAMAYANA, there are hundreds of instances of good deeds done by RAVANA. He was admittedly the greatest sage of his time, who had been granted boons by all the Gods. He had acquired expertise in flying a very unique aircraft called PUSPAKA VIMANA, the like of which was nowhere available and flying in that aircraft, he had subjugated the three worlds. He had engaged Gods as his personal servants and defeated even the most ferocious of them, the Lord Shiva. Being so powerful, had he wanted to rape Sita, he could have done so; but he never did it, so considerate was he. So, he had many noble and note-worthy qualities and he was the man from whom, even in the last moment of his life, his victor RAMA had preferred to learn the last lesson on politics. He was so magnanimous that even though he knew that RAMA was to use the SETU to attack him, he had accepted his invitation to conduct the foundation stone laying rituals. He was undoubtedly the most charismatic one amongst all the characters Valmiki had created. The RAMAYANA has several descriptions of how he had innumerable admirers. But now, after so many years of his death, our people are burning down his effigies. And, we do not object. This is because, he was the Mafia of RAMAYANA, the political acrobat.

Biju was charismatic; but he was the first Mafia to have entered into and polluted Indian politics. As I have shown, most of the people of Orissa had rejected him. So imposing him over the people through erection of his statues and lunching official programs in his name is bound to be rebuked by many. Just like people indulge in RAVANA PODI, people will indulge in vandalizing his statues if presence of those in a public place poses a challenge to their democratic prudence.

Mafia thrives only through legends. And legends are legends because they are contrary to realities.

An esteemed reader to whom Bijubabu was the legendary leader of Orissa has informed that he has heard and believes that Biju had donated his assets to Orissa. There is no surprise in the fact that he doesn’t know that Biju had not donated his assets to Orissa. Donation was a propaganda generated by Bijubabu himself and spread by his agents to cheat the people. In fact, Biju had tried to cover up one of his shady deals, which we shall peep into later, with a letter to the Union Planning Minister, asserting therein that the deal was “a GIFT to the State Company without any direct payment whatsoever, for the benefit of the industrial and technical development of the State of Orissa”. And the letter was systematically spread amongst the public through a tamed set of media persons and through organized debates in the Parliament and Assembly. The word “GIFT” got so much publicity that those who were not privy to the records started believing that Bijubabu had gifted away his assets to Orissa.

Let us go to the records.

Biju a commission agent

Biju had entered into an agreement with a German firm KO-WE Niederschtofen G.m.b.H. Bad Godesberg (Godesberg) on 31 August 1954 to promote the said company’s Low Shaft Furnace (LSF) Plants in India on handsome royalty over the Plants he should be promoting and a preferential royalty of 2 per cent for all the Low Shaft Furnace Plants established and operated by himself or his associated companies per annum over the selling price of their molten products for a period of ten years.

He applied for license and loan guarantee to establish a LSF Plant. Orissa’s industrial advisor H.B.Mohanty, in his note on 3 Nov.1954, pointed out that manufacture of pig-iron by LSF would not be commercially viable as it would cost Rs.140 per ton whereas the production cost in ordinary blast furnaces comes around Rs.80/- The industry secretary, after examining the matter deeply, specifically in view of the adverse note of the advisor, noted on 24 Oct. 1957 that the advisor was absolutely correct and the LSF method will not succeed; hence the State Government should neither recommend for the license nor stand guarantee for the loan he will be taking.

Kelly angle

Mahtab was the Chief Minister. He had dubious relationship with a Bombay woman called Ms. Sophy Kelly whom Kendu leaf contractors were also using to obtain favors from Mahtab. Biju was well aware of this. He also knew how Mahtab had helped Md. Serajuddin in mine matters in blatant disregard to Rules and Policies in force.

Mahtab blackmailed

On the other hand, Mahtab was running a minority government with only 56 members in a 140 member Assembly. Biju threatened Mahtab with the stick of Ms. Kelly and Md. Sirajuddin while hurling before him the carrot of support he was capable of acquiring through horse trading and thus blackmailed him to use his prerogative as the Chief Minister to recommend him for the license and to ensure Government guarantee by over-ruling the adverse notes of both the industrial advisor and secretary, which Mahtab immediately complied.

Nehru could not be captured

But the Plant, christened Kalinga Industries, as predicted, suffered heavy loss. Biju wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nehru on 30 June 1960 pleading him for permission to expand the Plant and to establish LSF Plants in other States for production of pig iron so that major Steel Plants may get tempted to divert to steel manufacturing exclusively. Had Nehru agreed he would have got more loan and profuse royalty from the German firm as per agreement noted supra. But Nehru did not respond.

Strategy cooked up

When in such a labyrinthine situation, he cooked up a strategy to capture the Chief Minister post so that he can use the State to his advantage. He persuaded Mahtab to agree to have a coalition with R.N.Singhdeo of Ganatantra Parisad for the shake of stability. The coalition was formed and on 22 May 1959, Singhdeo was taken in as undesignated joint CM. Then he poisoned Nehru’s mind against Mahtab alleging that the coalition was an insult to Congress. End of the coalition was expedited. Biju took the leadership in electioneering where Mahtab’s leaked out relationship with Ms. Kelly and Md. Sirajuddin ensured total defeat of his loyal followers and when the third Assembly was formed with a thumping majority for Congress, Biju took over as CM on 23 June 1961. Immediately after taking oath, exactly as he had planned, he concentrated on formation of Industrial Development Corporation, which got registered as a Company on 29 March 1962 and obtained certificate for commencement of business on 16 May 1962. IDC was earmarked to be funded entirely by the State Government with a motive to keep the Central Government away from having any say in its affairs. All its Directors were State government employees picked up on basis of loyalty to Biju. And, this Board of Directors, discussed a Note on 13 January 1963 to purchase a LSF Plant and authorized its Chairman to negotiate with Kalinga Industries for purchasing the Plant from them. The stage-managed negotiation was not to fail. IDC purchased the loss laden Plant which was commercially never viable. Biju Patnaik instructed the IDC to adopt his loyal servant Balan whom he had made the Company secretary of Kalinga Industries as a director and put him exclusively in charge of the LSF Plant even as his another company Kalinga Otto (P) Ltd. was appointed as technical consultant for expansion of the Plant. Chartered Accountant H. Naik & Co, formerly the auditor of Kalinga Industries and G. Basu & Co, auditor of Kalinga Industries’ sister concern, Kalinga Tubes, were appointed for evaluation and the resultant shenanigans were such that the Plant cost was not only increased to around Rs.10 Croes from 70 lakhs, but also orders were placed with the German firm, which was bound by agreement to pay Bijubabu sumptuous royalty, for supply of machineries behind back of the IDC. Thus he derived immense financial benefit by transferring the LSF Plant to IDC for the basic purpose of which he had formed it while pretending that he had formed it for ushering in an industrial era in Orissa. It is to be noted that he had obtained a mining lease over 3,900 acres of land under condition of establishing a Ferro-Manganese Plant at Barbil within three years vide his letter dated 22 August 1952. Erection of his Plant styled as Kalinga Ferro-Alloy Corporation in 1955, despite expression of doubts by industry advisor, was shown to be the plant linked to the lease. This Corporation was later renamed as Kalinga Industries. Hence he was to transfer the 3,900 acres strong mining land to IDC along with the LSF Plant. But he did not do it and went up to retaining it through court cases.

Justice Khanna, who had presided over the Commission of Enquiry against Biju, despite being very remarkably lenient towards him, noted, “The position, as it emerges in the final analysis, is that Mr. Patnaik was able to get rid of and pass on to the IDC the LSF Plant, which in his own words was uneconomical and retain for himself the mining lease, for the retention of which he was so keen that he had to file a writ petition in the High Court, even though the mining lease and the LSF Plant were admitted by him to be linked together”.

This is the true picture of what he had painted as his GIFT to Orissa!

Orissa duped

Biju had admitted in the Assembly on 2 September 1963 that the transfer of Kalinga Industries to IDC had taken place at his instance. Justice Khanna noted that after facilitating this transfer, “Steps were taken to ensure that both the matter of placing orders with German concerns as well as in that of expansion of LSF Plant the effective control should remain with the Companies of Mr. Patnaik and their employees. It was during the period of such control that the estimated cost wet up to Rs.9.11 Crores”.

What a GIFT!

If this is not treachery, what else is? Is there any one who could be more treacherous than Biju? The man was such a hypocrite that he had not taught his children even two alphabets in Oriya though he was playing politics in the name of Oriya nationalism!

How can you expect that all the people shall continue to be befooled by the Protégés of this mafia for all time to come?