Inviolability of Official Language Act desecrated by Orissa Assembly: Governor should refuse Assent

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The winter session of Orissa Assembly that suffered premature death as the Chief Minister who commands brutal majority decided not to be answerable, has, however, been able to pass certain Law Bills drafted not at all in Oriya, but only in English language.

In passing the said Law Bills, de facto surreptitiously, under cover of the deafening commotions, the Government has blatantly violated the Orissa Official Language Act 1954, and if the Governor gives them his assent, the Laws thus made would be illegal.

The Opposition had rightly demanded for recall and rejection of the adopted Bills as they are written only in English; but the Speaker has ruled that Bills made in English are not unfit to be adopted, as English is in use in the Assembly.

The Speaker’s ruling is not challengeable in any court of law, the treasury bench is convinced. But the Governor has the right to deny his assent to the adopted Bills, because notwithstanding what the Speaker has ruled, presentation of Bills only in English was violative of Orissa Official Language Act, and, therefore, illegal. The legislative body adopting an illegal Bill is illegal.

When the Act in original had made it a must that Oriya is “to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”, Biju Patnaik – father of present Chief Minister, who has not taught his son a single alphabet in Oriya – had sabotaged the primacy of Oriya language by amending this Act in 1963, in order to satisfy his personal ego of elitism and to please the non-Oriya officers, who, like their fathers in neighboring States, were always against the mana of Oriya language.

Biju was the greatest political hypocrite of his time equipped with uncanny ability to hoodwink anybody. After grabbing the Chief Minister position, he used his position for his self interest, indulged in all sorts of corruption and even sabotaged the country during Chinese aggression. Yet, he had claimed his steps to be patriotic and motivated with sacrifice for the people! Anybody who searches for Biju in these pages will get the evidences.

Destroying the spirit of Orissa Official Language Act 1954 was not a problem for this shrewd operator. He engineered an amendment in the Act in 1963. The amendment added English to be the language for use in the Assembly; but lest the people revolt, the amendment said, English would be used “in addition to Oriya”, not in exclusion of Oriya.

This shrewd amendment opened the road for use of English to the detriment of Oriya as the language of administration. Biju Patnaik had thus destroyed utility value of Oriya Language; but yet, in fear of public wrath, he had not dared to undo the primacy of Oriya language in businesses of the Orissa Assembly. The amendment had allowed English to be used IN ADDITION TO ORIYA.

The Opposition had, therefore, rightly demanded for recall and nullification of the Bills made in English language alone. The Speaker’s Ruling that there is no wrong in Bills written only in English, is, therefore, wrong.

The Orissa Assembly has clearly done a wrong to Orissa by adopting Bills written only in English, not in Oriya. But nobody except the Governor can protect the mana of Oriya at this stage.

We urge upon the Governor to refuge his assent to the Bills adopted in blatant contravention of Orissa Official Language Act. The Act, despite the treacherous amendment in 1963, has the inviolable stipulation that Oriya shall be the language of Law, “in addition” to which, English may be entertained. When the Bills were not written in Oriya, but only in English, they violated the inviolable stipulation laid down in Orissa Official Language Act, 1954.

The Governor should appreciate this position of Law and refrain from giving the Bills written only in English, his assent.

The Legislative Assembly must not be allowed the luxury of making Laws in ways that are basically illegal.

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Orissa shall not become Odisha

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I appreciate the deep love for the motherland that I mark in some of my friends when they appeal me to adopt Odisha in place of Orissa, specifically as the constitution has been amended to this effect and accordingly to change the name of orissamatters.com to odishamatters.com. Sri Pramod Chandra Pattanaik, my nephew, a highly patriotic intellectual and a retired IAS officer, whom I love and rely upon, represents this class of friends. I therefore, think it proper to post my views again in the matter.

A margin note in our Home page declares as to why shall we not adopt ‘Odisha’ in place of Orissa. There is a link therein that finally spells out as to why we will not change the English spelling of the name of our motherland and mother tongue despite the constitutional amendment. If any law asks a child to change the spelling of the name of his/her mother, it is proper to ignore that law; we maintain.

When Orissa’s Kera Oriya Chief Minister initiated this mischief, I had appealed him and his ministers not to adopt the proposal in the Cabinet as it would go against archaic uniqueness of Oriya language and damage its classical character. Stage by stage, in every stage, ORISSA MATTERS had argued as to why the proposed change was unnecessary, unwanted, uncalled for and injurious to uniqueness of Oriya language.

In the final stage, when the Parliament was to finally take up the issue, we, as a sentinel of Orissa, had also elaborated as to why this proposal should be rejected. But as the stupid politicians have no real concern for the motherland, the Constitution got amended. As my reaction thereto has been linked to the margin note on our Main page, I think, our views before its adoption, may help my friends getting the crux of the issue.

In answering as to why Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, whose aversion to Oriya is so deep that despite being in power for so many years he has not learned the language, is so very adamant to change the spelling of its name, I had, on June 11, 2008, written,

“Perhaps, after pushing Orissa into the labyrinth of chaos, he is in very much want of ways to hoodwink the people. So, he wants to create a confusing aura of Oriya nationalism in the guise of spelling of the name of the State and to use it as a camouflage to get people off their guard during elections that are not far away.

But why some others, specifically amongst e-mailers, are raising the chorus for change of Orissa into Odisha?

Perhaps, they may change on perusal of this posting or on further research at their respective levels. But if one is unable to understand the intricacies of Oriya language, it would be better for him or she to appreciate that motherland Orissa has many names like Odra, Udra, Uddiyana, Oddiyana, Utkal, Kalinga, Kosala, Tosala, Orissa, Udisa, Udishya etc. Call in any of these names, only she will thereby be addressed. There is no necessity to change or drop any of them.

Lord Vishu has a thousand names. So also Devi Durga. So also many of major Deities. So also mother Earth. If we have the liberty to call any of them in any of their names, we should have no problem in retaining every name of our motherland including Orissa.

What is that to us if Bombay became Mumbai or Calcutta became Kolkata or Madras became Chennai? Why should we belittle ourselves to be affected by that? Our motherland has many names with glowing history of heritage behind all of them. We have a place of pride under the Sun as an ancient nation of matchless creative people who are second to none in uprightness and valour.

If we have any reason to feel dejected and want to be extricated from that, we are not to imitate name changers of Bombay or Calcutta or Madras; we are to reject the name changers of Orissa, who have contrived this mischief to divert public attention from the damage they have done to this splendid soil”.

The entire article may be perused here.

Read with the article linked to the margin note in the home page of ORISSA MATTERS, this article, I believe, may make the background of why we continue to write Orissa and Oriya instead of Odisha and Odia clear to my friends.

I repeat, if any law is created to force a child to change the spelling of the name of his/her mother, that law deserves to be disobeyed with utmost contempt.

People of Orissa Should be Allowed to Know What the High Court has Ordered on Sahitya Award

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Mother tongue and motherland are in Oriya concept equated with the mother. “ମାତୃଭାଷା ମାତୃଭୁମି ଉଭୟ ଜନନୀ”.

Therefore, it is natural on part of every Oriya to know of what exactly the Orissa High Court has said while allowing the presentation of Sahitya Award 2011 by India’s National Academy of Letters to ‘Achihna Basabhumi’ (ଅଚିହ୍ନା ବାସଭୁମି) despite the book being a displayer of nasty words and expression of hatred against lower castes, women and muslims.

On the plea that selection of this book as the best book in Oriya language for the national award was obtained through manipulation, a man of letters – Sricharan Pratap ‘Kaniska’ – had preferred a writ case before the High Court of Orissa, which was registered as W.P.(C) 1871 OF 2012 with a Misc Case numbering 1876/2012 that had resulted in a stay on the award. But subsequently on 14 February 2012, the Court lifted the stay and dismissed the case as not maintainable as a PIL, on the basis of which, the Academy has already presented the award to the writer of this book.

As the people of Orissa – including the NROs – are also anxious to know what the High Court has really said, currently in a foreign tour, I tried to get it for my readers through the judgment site in the internet; but it was not available. I contacted the petitioner and from him I got the information that though he has applied for an urgent copy of the order, he has not yet got it, because the members of the bench – Chief Justice V. Gpal Gowda and Justice B.N.Mohapatra – have not yet signed the verdict.

This position worsens the predicament.

Presentation of the award by the Academy of Letters on 15 February following the rejection of the petition in the High Court, when the petitioner has not even got a copy of the order because the same is not signed by the judges, has given birth to a phenomenon that makes one see how eager was the Academy to give away the award, exposed in public platforms as manufactured through manipulations.

To us, presentation of the national award to this book as the best one amongst Oriya books published in a given period of three years from 2007 to 2009 is an affront to the dignity of our language. We do not know, whether the judges have read this book or not; but we know the book is vitiated with so much obnoxious words and expression against the women, lower caste people and muslims that no sane society can vouch for it.

A few samples of filth from the book are viewable in saubhasya.com. We are not producing the same here as that should be requiring translation thereof into English and if done, that may be very embarrassing to any Oriya who prides over majestic beauty of his mother tongue.

This book in normal circumstances could never have earned national award as the most outstanding book in Oriya. But what for the High Court has cleared the book for the national award is not known to any in details as yet. Therefore the sooner the order is published or made available to the public, is better.