The Proposed Women University should be named after Bharat Chandra Nayak and established in Sambalpur

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Today is the day of Sambalpur.

This forenoon, there is going to be held a discussion on Bharat Chandra Nayak’s matchless autobiography – MOR PURBASMRUTI KATHA – in a hotel at under the banner of ‘Think Literature Festival-2014’. Reprint of the rare book is slated to be released on the occasion.

And, today, Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the 150th anniversary celebration of Sambalpur’s famous seat of learning – Chandrasekhar Behera Zilla School.

Sambalpur’s contributions to Oriya mana is immeasurable and immense. Its Indrabhuti and his sister Laxminkara were the founders of Jagannatha cult that has given Orissa its distinction as a land of culture and peace. And to modern Orissa, it is Bharat Chandra Nayak of Sambalpur who has given its new era of Women Education.

But this truth has been covered up under the debris of time.

In this posting, I will recall only Bharat Chandra.

I will call him the father of modern women education in Orissa, because, none other than him has suffered so much loss in convincing the conservative people of Orissa that emancipation is not unachievable if girls are given modern education.

When he admitted his daughters in schools where english was being taught, he was subjected to social boycott. He was born in Bolangir, but had decided to reside in Sambalpur in professional pursuit. So, Sambalpur had no congenital bond with him, and hence, no emotional attachment.
In such a condition, having a life under the conservatives who were not at all in favor of English education for the girl children, he had dared to give his daughters modern education.

It had attracted social wrath that was, for a common man, impossible to tolerate. Obnoxious posters were pasted against his daughters, and all sorts of character assassination was used as instruments to force him abandon his zeal for imparting English education to his daughters. He never faltered. Even he had to harden his heart to tolerate the cruelty of time.

Social oppression and non-cooperation by his close relations over the issue of modern education to his daughters had given him such a deadly blow that no man sans dedicated determination for a noble cause can ever withstand.

He has given a detailed description of what situations he has to face over the issue in his book MOR PUBRASMRUTI KATHA. Fortunately its reprint will be now on available. Anybody may go through the book and study the matter.

I have not seen him in my life. He had spent some days as a royal guest in my birthplace Tigiria and because he was Assistant Dewan of Dhenkanal where the cousin brother of my grand father was the Dewan, he was well received in Tigiria. From my father I came to know that he had authored a book where the famous festival of Fireworks of Tigiria – Champakadwadashi – had been described.

I had known one of his daughters who to my wife Sabita and me was Shyama Nani and had known her husband Mr. Panigrahi in whom I had seen a humanitarian Judge when he was heading the Labor Court at Bhubaneswar. But, when I failed to get the book from them, Prof Shova Roy told me that when she was the Principal of Saambalpur Women’s College, she had seen the book in the College Library. Eager to go through the book, I rushed to Sambalpur. My sisterly Prof. Laxmi Gop was the Principal of Sambalpur Women’s College. She allowed me to browse through the book in the college library and helped me to have the rare work xeroxed. And, that xerox copy gave me the opportunity to read the book deeply.

During reading the book, I can’t say why, but I must say, I was crying.

I was sure, there was none, and sure that, there can’t be any, amongst the entire population of Orissa who could have suffered so much for women education.

I remember, after finishing the book, I took a bath and attired in fresh cloths, like someone worships a deity, I put the xeroxed copy of the book on a cleaned chair in the room of the PWD IB where a suite was allotted to me for two days and offered flowers picked from the IB campus and prostrated before it, as if I was seeing Bharat Chandra Nayak dazzling in satisfaction over all his sufferings. And, from there, I had gone to the Pantha Nivas standing nearby, typed a letter using the type-writer of its office, and personally presented the same to the Collector, Sambalpur, wherein I had made a request that in honor of the great man who suffered so much for women education, the Sambalpur Women’s College should be named after him.

In a system where contributions to society and sacrifices for a cause are not counted, my endeavors could not click.

However, when the State Government is thinking of creating a Women’s University, and, suggestions are afloat to transform the Rama Devi Women’s College of Bhubaneswar to this status, I want to point out that, the proposed University be named after the greatest sufferer for women education: Bharat Chandra Nayak.

When the Bhubaneswar College is named after Rama Devi, it would not be desirable to change its name. The Sambalpur Women’s College is not named after anybody, when, in fact, women education owes its spread in Sambalpur to the sacrifices and sufferings of Late Bharat Chandra Nayak.

The people of Sambalpur on their own accord had established the Government taken over Sambalpur Women’s College in the year 1959 when R.D.Women’s College, Bhubaneswar was not even in the womb of time. The State Government created R.D.Women’s College in 1964.

Though Shailabala Women’s College, Cuttack is senior to both of these two institutes, the College at Sambalpur is not to discard any name. So, the proposal advanced by the State Government to establish a Women University should be named after Bharat Chandra Nayak and should be established in Sambalpur, as Bharat Chandra Nayak University for Women.

Stick to Sambalpur, don’t dilute

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A former minister, who heads the BJD in Kalahandi has moved his party boss -cum- chief minister Naveen Patnaik to help his district headquarters in having the High Court Bench in demand for Western Orissa. Bolangir has a similar claim. Rourkela is not far behind. This fissure amongst people of Western Orissa over where the bench should be established, as and when it becomes possible, suits the most to elements that are not in favor of creation of a bench for western Orissa.

The Western Orissa Development Council is, because of feuds and fissures amongst the inhabitants of that part of the State, having its headquarters at Bhubaneswar, to the detriment of interest of the affected people.

The feud has a historical background, in as much as the entire western Orissa was under feudal kings and landlords and separated with rival territorial nationalism for ages.
This rivalry is inherent and continues till date, as post-independence governments of Orissa have never wanted emotional integration of the people of that region.

Unless the people of Western Orissa overcome their age-old territorial psycho-differences, their dreams for affordable justice with a High Court bench in their midst, would not come true. Like the WODC continuing at Bhubaneswar, Western Orissa’s entitlement to affordable justice will continue getting smashed at the alter of the High Court at Cuttack.

So, friends in Western Orissa, if you sincerely want a bench of the High Court, do not dilute the justified demand with unjustified psycho-territorial nationalism and stick to Sambalpur, the headquarters of the Revenue Division, for the purpose of the bench.

When the British had arbitrarily annexed Orissa’s western region to the Central Province as it then was, Sambalpur was the headquarters of the Oriya tracts, which now is being identified as Western Orissa.

It is from Sambalpur, Orissa’s world outlook was redefined by the founder of Vajrayana, personifying the Uddiyana concept, Indrabhuti.

It is again Sambalpur, where resurrection of modern Orissa had commenced by retrieval of the Oriya specking tracks from the Hindi speaking Central Province.

Therefore, friends, concentrate on having the High Court bench at Sambalpur and discard district-based-differences.

Utkal Bharata, Orissa’s Nationalist Rightist Regional Party Registered: Offers Alternative to BJD in Political Resolution

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Utkal Bharata is now registered as a political party.

Founded by former Parliamentarian Mahameghabahan Aira Kharabela Swain, the party has recently been registered by National Election Commission.

Its number is: 56/145/2011/PPS-1.

The Party had its third core committee session on July 30 wherein a new pattern of enthusiasm and determination to surge ahead to retrieve Orissa’s lost national pride, without in anyway affecting India’s national solidarity, was noticed. Its creed is Oriya nationalism, but it would work with undiluted respect to national integration of India. This preamble to its political objective is reflected in its very name: ‘Utkal Bharata’.

Demand for Special State Status
diminishes Orissa’s self-respect

And, in strict adherence to this objective, in its political resolution, adopted unanimously, it has rejected the idea of Special State Status that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been seeking for Orissa. By insisting upon such a grace from the Centre, the Chief Minister has projected the State as a beggar, the resolution alleged. We won’t allow the State Government to compromise with the self-respect of the State, it declared.

Two-rupee-rice is counterproductive

Similarly, the political resolution came down heavily upon the scheme of subsidized rice being supplied to BPL people at the rate Rs.2 per Kg. This corrupting scheme, contrived for vote catching, has ruined Orissa’s agriculture sector by denuding agricultural workers of work-culture and making them lazy and lethargic. Ruin of agriculture has ruined the vast scope of rural employment that agriculture had been generating for generations, the resolution has said.

Industrial confidence shattered

Focusing on political chaos the BJD government has pushed the state into, the party has observed that Naveen patnaik’s 13 year old regime has derailed Orissa by rendering the administration rudderless. Internecine rivalry in the ruling party has become so acute and acrimonious that it does not seem to improve. Because of aimless in administration, not only agriculture is now in doldrums, but also industry has declined, corruption being at the core of affairs that affects industrial confidence. By re-induction of persons to the cabinet thrown out of the ministry earlier, the Chief Minister has established that in his government the corrupt is rewarded and this phenomenon has become counterproductive industrially too, the party holds.

Congress in nexus with Naveen

According to the political resolution, the Congress party is hoodwinking the people in matter of opposition to BJD. In reality, the Congress party has stayed a BJD’s collaborator in corruption and crime against the people as evidenced in absence of action against its MLAs who did not vote for Congress candidate in 2010 Rajyasabha election, which helped the BJD.

The other points that indicates to secret pact between BJD and Congress are: non-imposition of President’s rule after smash of BJD-BJP coalition in 2009; Central ministers visiting Orissa keeping mom over unveiled corruption in centrally funded schemes and the Centre’s blatant and deliberate reluctance to press the CBI to investigate into the mega mining scams carried out in Orissa.

This patronization to Naveen Patnaik’s misrule besides, the massive corruption indulged into by the UPA government in the Centre run under leadership of Congress has exposed the Congress as so much corrupt, that a government under Congress in Orissa cannot be countenanced, the party has said.

BJP would be opposed

On the other hand, the national principal opposition party, the BJP, which presently is in a leaderless state, it trying to coalesce again with BJD. If it materializes, in no way Orissa would benefit.

Therefore, the party resolved to keep away from the Congress, the BJP and the BJD and to oppose them, in order to give the people a transparent, competent, non-corrupt administration that would never compromise with self-respect of Orissa.

Land Health Card

Founder of the party Sri Swain, in elaborating the political resolution, declared that on coming to power, the party will use the Agriculture University as consultant to cultivators who would be provided with ‘Land Health Cards’ to guide them with scientific cultivation. So that, agricultural production would increase. It would stop the two-rupee-rice supply, so that wage earners would be active and agriculture would get proper man-power.

Academic Institutes to be referral points

Education in Orissa is so mismanaged that none of the universities and institutes is able to make a mark in national scenario. The party would change the scenario by making the academic institutes referral points to their respective locality, which would lead to enhancement in standard of education, Swain said.

High Court bench in Sambalpur
WODC Headqrs in Bolangir

While supporting the popular demand for a bench of the Orissa High Court in Western Orissa at Sambalpur, Swain stressed on shifting of the headquarters of the Western Orissa Development Council to Bolangir.

Swain’s address was laced with usual rightist rhetoric against Maoism.

Branches already in 28 districts

In placing he organizational report, Secretary of the Party, Ms. Bratati Chatterjee informed that in 28 out of 30 districts of Orissa the party has its branches whereas in the rest two districts, where district committees are yet to be formally formed, the party has already its active members who are taking up various party programs.

A distinguished group of political and non-political intellectuals watched the proceedings as observers.

Sambalpur Collector Apologizes, Lawyers to Withdraw Strike

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s habitual inertia in matter of memoranda of grievances has this time become a bit of boon to justice-seekers of Sambalpur. The Advocates’ continuous strike, notwithstanding full support to them by the general public, had put the litigants in severe predicament, which, come the next working day, may be over.

The lawyers would end their strike probably on Monday as the District Collector has expressed regrets on Friday.

The IAS Officers Association had appealed the CM to take stern action against lawyers, who, in its view, were “anti-socials”.

But the CM taking no immediate effective step, and thus the district Collector being forced into a fix, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Sambalpur had stepped in to formulate a compromise between her and the lawyers which apparently has clicked.

Withdrawal of the strike would be finalized after the district bar formally approves it and other bar associations who stood in solidarity with the Sambalpur lawyers are consulted over the development.

High Court Bar Stands with Lawyers of Sambalpur; Massive Loss of Litigant Time Portended

By not transferring the Collector, who controls the Police, the government has patronized to arrest of as many as 18 lawyers of Sambalpur on the basis of her FIR.

We have earlier shown that the acrimony between the Collector and the lawyers of Sambalpur having gone to the Police, the Collector should be transferred from the district immediately as otherwise the police cannot act impartially, as in the system, Collector is the boss over the Police in a district.

In protest against the mass arrest of lawyers, a motorcycle rally hit the streets of Sambalpur to which, as in the Bandh on Wednesday, the general public has extended complete support.

But the agitation against officer-raj has not stayed limited to Sambalpur any more. It has hit the High Court also.

The High Court Bar has held an emergency meeting and resolved to seek action against the Collector for misbehavior with the Sambalpur Bar members. It has called upon all the Bar Associations of Orissa to stop working for a day in solidarity with the Sambalpur Bar and has decided to take stock on Monday to finalize further course of action.

People of Orissa are severely affected by apathetic administration and any credible movement against officer-raj is likely to fetch public support and the lawyers are best equipped to reach the people.

The way the matter proceeds, it portends massive loss of litigant time in whole of the state if the Collector is not transferred immediately. She being the complainant against the lawyers of Sambalpur, it is ethically incorrect to keep her as the Collector in that district, notwithstanding the strong support she gets from the IAS Officers Association.

In public interest, the Chief Minister should stall the hike in registration fee till provisions are made to free the fee fixing from arbitrariness and transfer the lady Collector from the district without any delay so that normalcy could be restored.

Sambalpur Lawyers are Not Anti-Socials; Transfer the Collector First

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a memorandum to Orissa Chief Minister, the IAS Officers Association (Orissa chapter) has demanded stern action against “anti-socials”, who, according to it, abused the Sambalpur Collector Ms. Mrinalini Darswal because of her official action, when the Collector herself has informed the Police that the alleged abusers are “lawyers”.

Are the lawyers just anti-socials to the combined body of IAS officers?

Let us come to the fact.

The people of Sambalpur are severely disadvantaged by unreasonable hike in land registration fees and as links between the local people and land registration office, the lawyers of Sambalpur had tried to prevail upon the district Collector to ensure relief for the affected public.

Had the Collector been tactful, as sequences suggest, her alleged embarrassment might never have occured.

That the entire city of Sambalpur observed Wednesday a Bandh from morning to evening in protest against misbehavior of the Collector against the lawyers wherein the government employees also participated in expression of solidarity with the lawyers indicates that the Collector was not tactful in dealing with the legal community, that was there to make her apprised of the difficulties their clients and would be clients were exposed to by the unilateral hike in registration fee. Arguments turned heated being precipitated by the Collector’s braggadocio, say eye witnesses.

The registration fee hike was detrimental to economy of the local people. The district Bar Association tried to apprise the district Collector of this. Why didn’t the Collector give them a patient hearing? Why she refused to see how the hike had affected the people? What problem was there for her to assure the lawyers to study the issue; if need be, to have a public hearing to know if the hike is really resented to by the people; if need be, to consult the Government in the matter before coming into a conclusion and to assure the lawyers that she had the ears to hear them when the issue they had raised was in reality linked to their profession?

It seems, the IAS Officers Association has not ascertained the real cause of the precipitation as otherwise, it could have restrained itself from misleading the Chief Minister in this matter in its memorandum.

It is a serious offense against the lawyers community by the combined body of IAS Officers and is designed to subjugate people’s conscious voice to their overlordship which they are enjoying under a Chief Minister entirely dependent on officers.

The Chief Minister should introspect before taking cognizance of the memorandum. If he has any respect for political governance, instead of acting on the IAS Association memorandum, he should study as to why, when the lady collector in her FIR has raised allegations against the “lawyers” to the extent of naming 16 of them, the said association has stressed on only one word i.e. “anti-socials” in its memorandum.

Orissa must reject the mischief of IAS officers that collectively hold “lawyers” as “anti-socials”.

The Chief Minister will be well advised to reject the memorandum with the contempt it deserves for having projected the “lawyers” as “anti-socials” and even before trying to ascertain what really has happened, he should transfer the lady Collector from Sambalpur, so that an approximate correct picture can come to him.

He will have to facilitate an unpressurised investigation on the FIR the lady Collector has lodged in the Sambalpur P.S. And, for this, it is better for him to appreciate that, in a District, the Collector bosses over the Police and when in this case, the Collector herself is the complainant, the Police cannot act freely if she is allowed to boss over it.

So, the Collector’s transfer from Sambalpur immediately is the minimum requirement of the moment.

Give up Hypocrisy With Respect To Surendra Sai, Give Sambalpur Its Due Importance

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government behaves hypocritically in many respects. But it should give up hypocrisy with respect to Veer Surendra Sai.

Our discussion on Surendra Sai being well read in these pages, we do not now prefer a new discussion on his life and sacrifice. But, we can certainly say that he had made the greatest and the most inspiring sacrifice for restoration of the distinct dignity of Sambalpur, the place that has the most monumental contribution to culture of Orissa.

Orissa owes its name to Uddiyan Tantra founded by the founder of Vajrayana of Buddhism, Indrabhuti, the light of Udradesh, Sambalpur.

Indrabhuti was the man who coined the name Jagannatha for Gurudev Buddha and established him as such amalgamating the tribal matriarchy with Buddhist tenets that are yet in vogue in the Jagannatha temple system.

So, it is Indrabhuti of Uddiyan Sambalpur who gave birth to Jagannath culture on which Orissa’s unique world outlook is based.

When this Jagannatha has been converted from Buddha to Vishnu and thereby into a deity controlled by the caste supremacists, it may depend on argument and counter argument to arrive at this truth that Jagannath of Puri owes his origin to Indrabhuti of present day Sambalpur. But, no argument is needed to show that Surendra Sai had made supreme sacrifice for restoration of the distinct position of Sambalpur.

I have in these pages as well as in my columns in Oriya language harped several times on transfer of a portion of the State Secretariat comprising departments having more relevance to western Orissa and high lands to Sambalpur as well as for establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court in this place without wastage of time. The people of the western region are also agitating for availability of executive and judicial government at their door step.

These essential facilities are not being available to people of Western Orissa simply because the State Government is not rising above timidness and hypocrisy.

If Surendra Sai is really to be honored, the unique contribution of Sambalpur region to Orissa should be unreservedly recognized and the offices of executive and judicial government must be established in Sambalpur.

So, politico-administrative hypocrisy should be given up with respect to Surendra Sai and he should be given due respect by establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court at and by transfer of a part of the State Secretariat comprising departments more relevant to Western Orissa to Sambalpur without wastage of time.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is well known that the Western Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Ltd.(WESCO) is infested with corrupt personnel. But it was not yet known that it also collaborate with housebreaking and power hijacking by the housebreakers!

Several of its employees and officials have been captured redhanded in different places on different days by the State Vigilance while taking bribes and also have been subjected to raids for accumulation of wealth beyond known sources of income.

Authorities are of the view that, it also is a mismanaged organization.

In analyzing its performance for 2010-11, the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has not only noted it to be “really shameful” , but also has arrived at “the inescapable conclusion” that “stealing of electricity by high end consumers with active connivance of the employees at different level” is going on with “the top management sitting as silent spectator”(OERC Report on Review of Performance of WESCO for the FY 2010-11, taken up on 26.05.2011).

Sadly, the Government run by Naveen Patnaik is also sitting nonchalant over such specific observation of OERC.

Encouraged by the State Government’s collaboration with corruption, the WESCO officials have become so very emboldened that they have started even collaborating with housebreakers in having energy connections at their criminally trespassed sites. One such instance has come into light in the town of Sambalpur.

Owner of ‘Asharani House’ behind Misra Lodge at Fatak, Sambalpur, Smt Asharani Misra, who resides with her family at Bhubaneswar, was, shocked to see that two illegal trespassers into her house were using electricity illegally dragged into by “wire-hooks connected to the street electric pole”.

In a complaint dated 23 Nov 2011, duly acknowledged by the SDO of the concerned electrical sub-division of WESCO, she wanted instant disconnection of the illegal line and corresponding actions against the miscreants.

But to her surprise and shock, to neither Sri Satpathy, the Junior Engineer to whom the complaint was addressed, nor Sri Tanuram Behera, the SDO concerned to whom copy of the complaint was given, this was a matter to merit attention.

A shocked Smt. Misra, in a complaint before the Chairman of WESCO filed on 30 Nov.2011, wanted her house to be free from illegal power connection failing which she would seek redressal in appropriate courts and make WESCO liable for the damage.

The illegal hook was then removed on 2 Dec. 2011, but despite Smt. Mishra having named the illegal users of hook to drag energy into her house, no action was taken against the hijackers of electricity.

Yet, to her surprise, Sri Behera, the SDO, gave her alarming threats over phone that if any hooking is found in future, she shall be prosecuted against for the same.

Smt. Mishra immediately informed the WESCO Chairman of this telephonic threat in her communication dated 6 Dec 2011.

To her horror, she found on 20 Dec 2011 that illegal connections are given to the trespassers by the WESCO officials on permanent basis sans any meter and inspection of wiring!

This being a potential threat to safety of her house, as she contacted the area JE, she was informed that, he had to give the connections under orders of Behera, the SDO as well as of the area Executive Engineer Sri Bibhudendu Padhi. This information was to her hand on 28 Dec 2011 and instantly she apprised the WESCO CEO of this illegality in her written complaint.

But yet, no action is taken against the illegal users of energy and their collaborators in WESCO!

The WESCO chief is unable to throw any light on this scenario.

It is apparently clear that WESCO has started collaborating with housebreaking by miscreants in absence of legal owners and helping the housebreakers in power hijacking too.

What next!


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Delay in establishment of a Bench of Orissa High Court in Sambalpur is delay in allowing law to stand with a very big segment of disadvantaged people of the State.

The High Court at Cuttack might be making the Cuttack lawyers rich; but people of the remote corners are perishing in absence of easily available protection from higher judiciary.

About ten years ago, Biswanath Mohapatra of Sambalpur, being well known to me, had requested me to find for him a good lawyer at Cuttack to conduct his case. I introduced him to a senior lawyer quite illustrious by his own accomplishments. After the lawyer agreed to file and represent him in the case, Mohapatra settled the total amount of fee with him and paid the amount in advance. During the decade Mohapatra has come to the lawyer’s chamber many times and has paid further money to his juniors as per their demands in hope that thereby the case would proceed. But the case has not proceeded. This is just an instance.

All the Mohapatras of Western Orissa, perishing because of the difficult distance from the protection of higher judiciary, are crying for a Bench of the High Court in Sambalpur. It is sad that their cries are not yet taken note of.

The lawyers of Western Orissa are again on strike in support of their outstanding demand for a Bench in their environment where they can assist the higher judiciary more ably in adjudication of cases that they are absolutely acquainted with by virtue of being the lawyers in the lower courts. We are at loss to understand why this minimum necessity of justice is being denied to the people.

We have shown in these pages earlier as to why a Bench of the High Court should be established in Sambalpur. And, we stand by that.

It is sad that neither the High Court Bar nor the High Court comes forward to help Western Orissa have a the Bench. Litigants of the western districts are unbearably suffering as they are unable to travel the far distance frequently to set their cases on appropriate motion.

People have a right to get due justice without difficulty and the State has a duty to facilitate that. The Government that plays no role in discharging this duty must be censored as anti-people.

It is time, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, the autocrat ruler of democratic Orissa, who is so devotedly concentrating on serving the interest of POSCO and the Vedanta and the Tatas and the likes, should take up this urgent matter truly relevant to our people with the central government and with any functionary that matters in the matter of establishment of Benches of High Courts beyond their original seats and ensure that Sambalpur gets the Bench that the locals are crying for.

There should be no plea of paucity of funds. The fellows in power are known for unnecessary expenditure from the State Exchequer. This expenditure is necessary.

The sooner it is understood the better.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Lawyers of Sambalpur are on indefinite relay strike in support of their demand for a bench of the Orissa High Court.

Sambalpur should certainly get the High Court bench and every right thinking man of Orissa should support the demand.

The State Government as well as the Orissa High Court should take prompt steps in this favor and the lawyers of Cuttack should cooperate.

Peoples have every right to move courts without any disadvantage.

But who moves a Court? Only the disadvantaged peoples move the Courts.

When a person is disadvantaged by some other person(s) or system, he or she moves an appropriate Court for justice. A severely disadvantaged person, whose life and liberty fall into jeopardy, needs the High Court.

But seeking justice from the High Court of Orissa is often more disadvantageous than the disadvantage a litigant wants removed, if he or she does not live in or around the City of Cuttack, where the High Court sits.

To move the High Court one needs a lawyer who practices there. And, once a lawyer is fixed, the litigant falls into a labyrinth where he / she seldom finds the remedy within reach. The more eminent the lawyer the more becomes the cost of his advice and service and the more distant becomes the horizon of justice.

Let me cite an instance of how litigants from remote corners of the State feel suffocated by depending on lawyers of Cuttack. A young friend from Sambalpur, Sri Biswanath Mohapatra, disadvantaged in the matter of his rank in government service, had requested me to recommend an efficient lawyer of Cuttack, whom he should hand over his case.

Like all highlanders, Mohapatra is a simple natured upright person. And such a person usually does not like to be deliberately harassed by another person or any authority. And highlanders are by orientation too law abiding to resort to ‘Bijuism’ against miscreant mandarins in administrative offices.

Bijuism is a typical synonym of hooliganism.

When Chief Minister after decades long public rejection, Biju Patnaik was instigating the peoples of Orissa for beating the bureaucrats as and when any of them was hit by any bad orders issued by any office.

It had given birth to such anarchy that his own secretariat staff had assaulted Biju himself and the peoles of Orissa had thrashed him to dustbin in the subsequent elections.

So a person like Mohapatra could never have resorted to Bijuism to avenge the injustice he was subjected to. The only best remedy a man like him could have besought, was moving the Court for justice.

And, the appropriate Court (for him the High Court) was situated in Cuttack. This is why he had wanted me to find out a Cuttack based lawyer for him.

Amongst my many lawyer friends of Cuttack there is a senior one who is nationally well known and whom I personally respect. I asked him if he could help. He agreed. I informed Mohapatra. He came from Sambalpur with his file. The lawyer perused it and agreed to take up the case. He did not charge any consultation fee; but specified the amount that he would take in advance to conduct the case. The entire amount of money that he had demanded was paid in my presence.

The case was filed, was admitted and was registered vide a number of 2002.

And, the matter perhaps rests there.

Till date, Mohapatra has visited the lawyer many times and every time has paid for the juniors of the senior lawyer. But till date he has not been informed of any development.

How long is the period from 2002 to 2009?

The Court has many cases to settle and the lawyer has many cases to handle, he hears whenever he visits the chamber of the lawyer.

Who can stop the delay?

Should the lawyer not honestly say as to whether any case registered after this case in the year 2002 has so far been taken up or not?

Should the lawyer not think of the distance of Cuttack from Sambalpur and the turmoil his client must be going through during fruitless journeys in pursuit of justice?

Why he is not explaining him the real reason of delay?

As a man who had recommended this ‘eminent’ lawyer to Mohapatra, I am deeply embarrassed over the lackadaisical manner the seeker of justice is being treated with.

But this is not a solitary case.

This is just a sample of how peoples are being harassed because of the geographical distance of the citadel of justice from their places of dwelling.

On the other hand, the lawyers practicing in peripheral Courts suffer from acute mental agony when the inordinate delay in disposal of the appeal cases preferred by their clients in the High Court under their advice eclipses their professional credibility in the eyes of the persons disadvantaged by the lower Court verdict(s).

Had the High Court been having a bench at Sambalpur, peoples like Mahapatra might have pursued their cases through the lawyers of their locality. Cost of litigation should have drastically been less and the legal fraternity of Sambalpur side of Orissa could have earned utmost satisfaction out of their ability to professionally help their clients up to the highest stage of jurisprudence in the State.

I support the demand for a bench of Orissa High Court at Sambalpur and specifically at Sambalpur for the very reason that it is the peoples of Sambalpur that had facilitated creation of Orissa High Court.

It is here the peoples had revolted against disadvantage caused to them in seeking justice when Hindi was promulgated on 15.1.1895 as the court language by the then Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces to which the British had arbitrarily annexed the Sambalpur district.

The peoples’ movement for restoration of their mother tongue Oriya as the Court language so that justice shall not stay beyond their reach had made the British to review the position.

In July 1901, the peoples of Sambalpur District had placed their specific demands before the new Chief commissioner Sir Andrew Fraser, wherein they had stressed that if the Government does not appreciate to restore Oriya language in the Sambalpur District under the plea that it may be inconvenient for the administration to have a particular District of the Central Provinces managed by a language different from that of the province, the Sambalpur District be immediately separated from the CP and be merged in the Oissa Division.

Sir Fraser extensively traveled through out the Sambalpur District and noted the stark disadvantage the peoples were pushed into by denial of justice in their language and by keeping Courts out of their reach.

He sent to the Government of India a thorough report depicting the correctness of the peoples’ demand and suggested that the Sambalpur District should be separated from CP, “if it was thought impossible to have Oriya as the language of one of the Central provinces”.

Kula Gaurav Madhu Sudan Das on behalf of the Oriyas of Sambalpur moved a memorandum to the Government strengthening the same with Fraser’s findings, which the British Officer had also elaborated in his work “With the Rajas and Rayats”.

Though the Government did not agree to separate Sambalpur from CP, it decided to desist from keeping the Courts beyond the peoples’ reach and restored Oriya as the Court Language.

This administrative experience latter convinced the British to agree to restoration of Oriya speaking tracks to a Province and thus modern Orissa was created as the first State of India created on the basis of mother tongue.

Had there been no modern Orissa, there would never have been the High Court of Orissa.

To keep peoples of Sambalpur devoid of getting a bench of the Orissa High Court is not only an offense against the people of that area, but also an offense against history.

The entire population of Orissa must support the Sambalpur lawyers who are leading the most justified demand of the people who in fact had contributed their best to birth of Orissa.