INVOLVE SCHOOLS AND ELIMINATE ILLITERACY

Suchismita Pattanayak

India is a democracy. Democracy depends upon informed participation of citizens in control and management of the affairs the nation. For informed participation it is essential that the citizens should be able to receive, perceive, interpret and share information. Audio reception of information would not help; because there could be such information, which should need juxtaposition with related information and with relevant documents as otherwise the same information may mislead. Newspapers and journals, which are important sources of information are usually available in print ad one must be able to read in order to receive information through the print media. Another important source of is the internet through which news portals are available. But again, to receive information through the news portals, one is to read. Indian constitution has made provisions for statutory audit of government expenditures so that the peoples can be informed of how the administration executes its responsibilities. The statutory audits are conducted by the Chief Accountant General and the reports thereof are placed before the Parliament and the respective Assemblies and then the citizenry is expected to watch the official actions on these reports. But to do this the audit reports and action taken reports are to be read. In order to help people receive whatever information they need to evaluate official action in depth, Right to Information Act has been framed and enforced in India. But to know as to which would be helpful information in this regards and to know as to what information emanates, one is to read. On the other hand, watching administration is not the whole thing in life of a person and in life of a nation. People must know the history of their land to understand how the society has evolved so that a better society may be built up. They are to read history. The same is in respect of tradition and culture and literature and Laws. The same is also applicable to areas of industry and agriculture, trade and commerce; cooperation and civil administration. So one is to read to rise to become a responsible citizen for making the country a better place to live in.

Illiterates cannot read. Therefore illiteracy needs to be eliminated. Schools have the most major and relevant role in this respect.

Despite planned approach to eliminate illiteracy, literacy has not grown as expected.
Orissa may be cited as an example.

An average of figures indicated by various agencies indicate that 70 per cent of Orissa’s Schedule caste and Schedule Tribe people constituting 43 percent of her population are illiterate. 30 percent of OBC that constitutes 50 percent of Orissa’s population is also illiterate.

Incentives like midday meals and free textbooks etc are failing to stop the flow of school dropouts.

WHY IT IS SO?

Unemployment and lack of the scope of employment of parents is the most major cause of children of school-going age not at all going to schools and dropping out of schools. The ever-increasing numbers of child labor is indicative of this.

In most of the cases, poor children act as babysitters in their huts at the behest of their parents who in search of daily wages acquiesce into drudgery or in search of food, rush into jungles leaving the tiny kids in the care of elder babies. This unavoidable babysitting pushes children of poor families into illiteracy in rural areas.

It is also remarkable that lack of confidence in children of poor families is also a factor of illiteracy. The poor children are often not encouraged to mingle with school children belonging to advantaged families. Thereby a sort of inferior feeling gets injected into their psyche and they fail to acquire courage to aspire for education. This negative trend also spreads illiteracy.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE TREND CONTINUES?

Unless this trend is stopped, Indian democracy will be in serious doldrums. As the children shaken by the feeling of inferiority would grow, the psychological gap between them and the advantages children will grow. India can never be a country of equals at least in feeling for the country. It would end up in class wars.

On the other hand, democracy will never get informed participation, as most of the major citizens, bereft of ability to read and receive and analyze information relating to nation building, shall limit their activities to casting their uninformed votes. So majority participation in Indian democracy would be unconcerned participation and that would never be good for the country’s health.

Educated people can manage their hearths and health by themselves without being dependants on the state on every occasion, which the illiterate people can’t. As the global scenario indicates, state role will be diminished in societal management. In that condition, educated people may overcome hurdles and manage themselves. Uneducated people will perish and consequently become the society’s worst detractions.

So, it is time, the advantaged people must address themselves to elimination of illiteracy and for availability of education to all.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

In this respect, Schools have the best role to play.

The Society should encourage the schools to educate their pupils to cultivate fellow feeling for the disadvantaged children.

Every student should be encouraged to adopt a poor child of his locality to literate him or her. As age factor would eliminate the communication gap between them, it would give a positive opportunity to educate the disadvantaged child.

Schools may make this essential role of a student a part of examinational incentives so that every student who makes a child of his locality literate would be rewarded with higher marks are certificates of excellence. What the mid day meals etc are unable to generate – in study aptitude – the students of the schools can do, even as they shall be, thereby, growing as responsible citizens, highly concerned for fellow beings of the society.

The schools, on the other hand, can press its faculty and library to help the environment of mutual trust and cooperation grow in the field of education.

Holidays and vacations may be best used for generation of contact between the school and the members of the society and a collective endeavor to make every body educated may be generated for all round development of all.

But would the planners and intellectuals interact and help how the process should be formulated?

IFJ Calls For Investigation Into Attack on TV Channel Chief in India’s Guwahati

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the authorities in the Indian state of Assam to urgently investigate the likelihood that there may have been an attempt on the life of Ms Manoranjana Sinh, chairman and managing director of NETV, a news and entertainment broadcast network serving India’s north-eastern region.

According to reports from the Indian Journalists’ Union, an IFJ affiliate, Ms Sinh was driving to her office in the state capital of Guwahati during the early hours of February 10, 2008, when her car was fired upon from a passing vehicle.

Ms Sinh has alleged negligence or worse by the local police since the attack happened within a short distance of two security checkpoints at either end of the road on which her TV studio is located.

“We have been informed that NETV has been gaining audiences and credibility with its reporting on matters of public interest in Assam and neighbouring states of the north-east of India”, said Jacqueline Park, IFJ’s Director for the Asia-Pacific. “Since this has reportedly led to some resentment among those in authority, we seek an early reassurance from the state government of Assam, that there has been no effort to intimidate the chief of the news and entertainment channel”.

The IFJ is aware that journalists in the north-east of India work in a highly challenging environment because of the unsettled security situation. “We urge the authorities in the region to respect the rights of journalists and ensure that they are given sufficient security to carry out their duties”, said Park.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

Worst of Times…

When looters rule, a State runs in the way Orissa has now been caught in the camera to have run in the matter of implementation of World Bank loan in the Health System Development Project (OHSDP).

Just look at the photos below to see samples of how the looters have left their fingerprints on the bodies of their victims under the protective umbrella of administration.

These are only a few of the pictures Sriman Sachi Satpathy, privy to relevant documents and to have taken these pictures on spot inspection by virtue of his assignment, has circulated and helped us help our people to have glimpses of the loot going on unabated in Orissas present regime.

We have earlier discussed the matter and will further discuss hereafter.


Photos: Sachi Satpathy

Orissa Chief Minister’s Indifference Fueled Religious Communal Riots, alleges OTN Chief

Chief of orissatoday.net, Sri Manoj Padhi has claimed that the Kandhamal communal riots could have been avoided had the Chief Minister of Orissa heed to progressive advice.

In a Press note issued from Plano,TX,United States of America, he has informed that in January 2006 he had attracted attention of the Chief Minister and law minister of Orissa to a board in the famous temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri wherein depicted is a notice that says, “Only Orthodox Hindu’s are allowed”. He had demanded that this notice board be immediately removed as it is discriminatory in tenor.

The Chief Minister had directed the State Law Department to collect opinion from the Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee on the issue. Accordingly the Law Department ad taken up the matter with the Temple Managing Committee, headed by Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb. The Law Department and the Temple Management Committee agreed to a countrywide opinion poll to decide on the proposal. A sub-committee had been formed to frame a suitable questionnaire, which was to be circulated among intellectuals, sadhus, mutt chiefs, senior sevayats and researchers all over the country. It was decided that their opinions, when received, will be discussed by the sub-committee before being passed on to the Temple Managing Committee for its final opinion, Padhi informs.

In December 2006, there was a month long controversy over entry of untouchables in to Keradagarh Jagannath temple leading to around 1000 lower caste Hindu’s embracing Buddhism in protest against caste discrimination. But the CM as well as Minister, Law did not act diligently to do away with the caste discrimination notice board from the polestar temple at Puri as a result of which rival religion preachers have found congenial climate to convert low caste Hindus into their casteless outfits, Padhi has claimed.

Mr. Padhi, frustrated by the attitude of the state Government, has initiated a public awareness poll at his blog portal http://www.HindToday.com. He is hopeful that, probably the Government will open its eye, after the recent communal riots in Kandhamal district. He appeals to all concerned citizens to support and endorse this initiative to put a permanent halt to the caste-discrimination, which is not sanctioned by Hindu religion, but a man made tradition. As per Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Ram, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, had accepted food from a tribal lady. Apparently, this discrimination is man made and hence must be stopped by Government, he has reminded the CM of Orissa.

Mrunal gets Sahakar Galpa Samman 2008

Cuttack, 16 Jan.: Noted literateur Mrunal (Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee) was awarded Sahakar Galpa Samman 2008. Lokpal Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra confered the award at a literary meet at Satabdi Bhaban, Cuttack on Tuesday evening.

Mrunal has published four novels and five short story collections. He is also well known as a columnist and a television anchor.
Presently he is working as Associate Professor in Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal, Orissa.

DO YOUR WOMEN NEED JAGANNATH AT THEIR SWEET SPOTS? AMERICANS!

Dear residents of USA,

Please peruse the link relating to cafepress.com and its commerce.

If you are honest, condemn the designer and the seller of the panty that carry a picture of Lord Jagannath of Orissa as a cover of womens sweet spots (as they claim) in the undergarments section under the Hindu segment.

Religion or no religion, Jagannath is the icon of national emotion and identity of the nation of the Oriyas.

If you are civilized, compel the designer and trader to withdraw the item and if your Laws have any provision against mischief, rise to the occasion and demand prosecution against the firm that has engineered and steered it. The protection given to creative artists in your first amendment must not be allowed to be misused by your unscrupulous traders to tarnish your identity as a civilized nation. Do not be a party to a commercial ploy that in its eagerness to fetch profit severely jeopardizes your sense of proportion as a leading people of the world. So, take the culprits into task and compel them to make amends.

Women everywhere are decent and peace loving and I am sure your women must not be different. Please dont allow any designer or commercial firm to project them as vampires by making the world understand that they need Sri Jagannath of Orissa to cover their sweet spots.

I feel seek to say this, but it is you whose failure to stop this nuisance has provoked me to say this.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
President,
Mass Mind,
Bhubaneswar.

SURYA OF TIGIRIA ILLUMINATES THE WORLD OF BUSINESS


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As a man of Tigiria, I am thrilled to know that my land has given a new contribution to the world of excellence in the shape of Surya Sahoo, who has been honored for being a champion entrepreneur in the business world.

Tigiria’s contributions to world of culture is immense.

The world famous Odissi dance, had its origin, incognito, in Tigiria. It was created by a prince of Tigiria, Jadunatha @ Jadumani Tunga Rai Simha. Later Kavichandra Kali Charan Pattanayak had given it the name of Odissi.

Prince Jadunatha had developed this wonderful dance system by amalgamating the love dance Alasha nrtya, then prevalent in the coastal belt of Orissa and martial dance of Tigiria named in his family name as Tunganrtya and codified the manners of this new dance form by providing it with a scripture captioned as Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha, which, in the words of eminent scholar Pt. Kedar Nath Mohapatra,“has got wide circulation in the land, as the classical ‘Odisi’ dance and ‘Odisi’ music were being regulated by the injunctions given in this work” (Contribution of Orissa to Sanskrit Literature, Orissa Sahitya Akademi, 1960, p. CXCIX).

Pt. Mohapatra has further noted,“Jadunatha Simha, the author of this work was a chief of the Tigiria royal family of the ex-State Tigiria, not far from the city of Cuttack” (Ibid).

Raja Gopinath Tunga Champatisimha, his predecessor in the throne had authored Veera Sarvaswa, which is regarded as the grammar of warfare that, over and above missilery, for the first time had codified the training techniques of war animals.

The world famous ikat (bandha) fabric of Orissa owe its excellence to Tigiria. This is evidenced by the very fact that all the sets of Bandha fabrics- Sadhi, Khandua, Pheta and Phuta– needed for Sri Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra during a year comes from Nuapatna of Tigiria. Madala Panji has recorded that the Gajapati King of Orissa had requested the Raja of Tigiria to prevail upon the weavers of Nuapatana to continue supply of the bandha fabrics to the deities in return of which he had offered them hereditary positions of Patra.

Eberhard Fischer and Dinanath Pathy at Chapter 12 of Jayadeva And Gitagovinda (Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1995), citing their earlier research with Sitakant Mohapatra in the team captioned Orissa, Kunst and Kultur in Nordost Indian have noted,

The ikat technique of tie-dying threads before weaving to produce multicolored designs in the warp, or in the weft, or in the combined wrap and weft, was practiced by Orissa weavers since several centuries in simple forms, especially in the region of Nuapatana and Tigiria where silk was used as raw material.

Even in development of these “simple forms” to multi-designed pictorial motifs, the earliest historical documents they have discovered depict Tigiria as the source of such excellent textile technology.

The late legendary Bibhuti Kanungo had learnt this technique from a master weaver of Nuapatana, namely Arjuna Subuddhi, staying in his house for months during my childhood days and had transferred this technique to weavers of Sambalpur through Krutartha Acharya for which he was awarded by the central government. The words in the citation of felicitation that he was given bears proof of this. By adopting the Tigiria technique, Sambalpuri Vastra has surged ahead.

It is Tigiria where Mahamahopadhyaya Chandra Sekhara Simha Samanta (Pathani Samanta) had mastered astrology under the famous scholar of his time Bhubaneshwara Badapanda and it is Tigiria, that in modern times, has given the world one of the finest philologists in Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak.

But twentieth century’s only Mahakavya in Sanskrit Matrumukti Muktavali (Published by Orissa Sahitya Akademi) also comes from Tigiria, Prof. Jayakrushna Mishra being its author.

Bengalis owe the origin of their first library of palm leaf manuscripts to Tigiria, as at Shantiniketan it was begun with hundreds of such manuscripts, most of them rare and original, donated to Visva Bharati for referral use of the world by the Raja of Tigiria when Dr. D.P.Pattanayak was working there as a member of faculty.

Now Surya, as the Sun is called, has illuminated our other side of the globe.

As said above, Tigiria, though the smallest amongst all the ex-princely states of India, has a lot of contributions to many distinguished fields of human pursuits.

The latest in the list, Surya, the “champion entrepreneur in the business world” as Houston Business Journal of November 16-22, 2007 depicts, makes me as a Tigirian happy beyond description.

I thank Prof. Debasmita Misra for having shared with all of us Oriyas, through his forum ‘myodisa’ this pleasing news of this honor bestowed upon Surya.

So nicely and so aptly Prof. Misra has put his pride to pen that I think, I should reproduce it in its entirety in these pages.

This is what has said Prof. Debasmita Misra.

How many of us have come across the name of Surya Sahoo? Except for the Houston bAsi oDiAs of USA, not many.

However, if you read the Houston Business Journal of November 16-22, 2007, you will be proud to see a simple smiley face of this individual who has been honored for being a champion entrepreneur in the Business World.

Fairing originally from Panchagan, Tigiria of Cuttack District, the journal states that as a child, even while counting the stars at night, Surya Sahoo always had a technical aptitude. ‘We have seen quite difficult times in our early married days’, says his wife Kabita Sahoo. Surya graduated from NIT Rourkela in Chemical Engineering in 1986 and did his MS and Ph.D. from University of Memphis, TN in Environmental and Civil Engineering, respectively.

In 2000, Surya Sahoo, along with his wife Kabita and sons Amlan and Ishan, initiated the company called Institute of Information Technology (IIT) in the outskirts of Houston, TX. Getting vehicles where they need to be in the least amount of time possible is the goal of the Institute of Information Technology Inc. Located in The Woodlands, the privately owned company founded of Surya Sahoo, combines Geographic Information Systems technology with operations research optimization methods to provide solutions to a variety of spatially based challenges. ‘Basically we develop software applications that address the problems businesses find in their industry that are spatially based,’ says Clive Thomas, chief operations officer for the Institute of Information Technology. ‘Distance and space is a critical factor to be able to route vehicles
efficiently, and we support those challenges.’ (cf. Houston Business Journal)

Surya’s business acumen and his leadership has been recognized consistently through awards such as,

1. Fast Tech 50 Award in 2003
2. Who’s Who in the Heritage Registry in 2004-2005
3. Franz Edelman Finalist Award in 2004
4. Fast Tech 50 Award in 2004
5. Enterprise Champion Award from Fast Tech 50 in 2007

Faring from a simple oDiA family, Surya has reached a point in his career, where he has made everyone proud. Despite his achievements and accomplishments, he is a person with immense humility and generosity. He has increased his employees by 40% over the last year by expanding his operations. He is being considered now as a leading businessperson of Houston.

Surya Sahoo’s parents are Sri Bansidhar Sahoo (Retd. Asst. Engineer) and Smt. Kumudini Sahoo. His wife Kabita Sahoo’s parents are Sri Sankar Sahu (Retd. Reader in Physics) and Smt. Pravasini Sahu (Retd. Asst. Teacher) of Bargarh, oDishA. I am sure, their blessings have made Surya and Kabita to achieve what they have today.

Such achievements should be an encouragement for all oDiAs. Please join me to give a big hand to Surya and Kabita Sahoo for their success. Please pass on this message to all oDiAs so that Surya and Kabita be the inspiration in the heart of any aspiring entrepreuner. A profile of their acomplishments will appear in Duradrusti, January Edition, 2008. I have attached a brief note to this communication for your perusal.

On behalf of myodisa, I offer my sincere CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes to Surya, Kabita, Amlan and Ishan.