Land Ceiling was Nandini’s landmark contribution: Brinda Karat

nandini's birthday

One of the most popular Information Ministers India has ever had and former Chief MInister of Orissa late Nandini Satpathy was paid glowing tributes for her progressive contributions when her 82 birthday was observed with deliberations on “Social divisions in the society and the ways to overcome it” in the State Information Center (Jaya Dev Bhawan) on June 10.

CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat and Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury were the guests. Satpathy’s son and carrier of her legacy Tathagat, who, besides being a member of Indian Parliament in the Loksabha, is the editor of Dharitri of which she was the founder, presided.

Brinda focused on why, despite death, Nandini is alive.

She was in lifelong link with the people in the grassroots and had used her power to usher in progressive reforms with specific purpose to help the downtrodden proceed towards prosperity, which has kept her alive, she said.

She had joined politics, as a conscious revolutionary initiated into marxism, epitomizing the ideals of her famous elder father Bhagavati Panigrahi, and despite her metamorphosis into power politics under the canopy of the Congress party, she had not drifted away from her original revolutionary ideals while holding positions in the Central Council of Ministers and accepting Chief-ministerial responsibilities in Orissa,said Brinda.

It is she who had generated dreams for employment through industry in Orissa by establishing such employment generating undertaking in the public sector and in order to self employment in agriculture, she had not only used her chief-ministerial powers to formulate and promulgate a first of its kind Land Reforms Act, but also had made the most landmark contribution to progressive economy by promulgating land ceiling in Orissa, that was yet again a pioneering step towards liberating the most essential raw material of a agricultural society – the land – from concentration in the hands of a few people who do not cultivate.

A multi-dimensional personality, she was a colorful politician that epitomized elite manners but remained glued to expectation of the poor in right earnest which was reflected in her administration, addressed to pro-poor programs and in her literary works spangled with dreams and aspirations of the disadvantaged, she said.

With the petals of her observation on Nandini, Brinda dwelled on the topic of how to overcome social division. The traditional divisive factors like castes and communal identities apart, economic inequality has emerged as the divide that needs be effectively removed if social division is to be tackled, she said. Concentration of wealth in marginal few to the impoverishment of the majority is the problem that the conscious citizens everywhere are battling against. She was sure, mass resentment against social divide will succeed, because the people are increasingly getting more informed and meretricious assurances of pro-rich power-holders are reaching the last stage of reliability. Determined mass involvement in movements against the existing divide will expedite its end, she said.

Audience responded to Brinda’s observation with standing ovation.

Echoing Brinda, national Congress spokesperson Ms. Chowdhury, as the chief speaker, observed that change is inevitable, as Indian society, despite continuity of social divide, has changed from a stage of ‘Sati’ to women making their marks of success in public domains. That the governments, over the times, have framed various progressive laws such as Right to Education Act, is evidence of the change the society is marching towards. She stressed on mass awakening against factors of social division, as “the onus is on us to bring the changes”, she said.

Sri Satpathy told that the main aim behind having the debate on this revolutionary subject on the birthday of the late leader was to bring in new ideas, new thoughts, new people and a new visions into our thinking process that can refine the dreams and aspirations of intellectuals of Orissa, with the experience of others who have remarkable practical involvement in overcoming the hurdles social divide creates on the way to development and thanked both the speakers for the rich input they gave to the topic.

Ms. Adyasha Satpathy presented both the guests with their respective portraits drawn by eminent artist Manas Jena to resounding applaud from the audience.

Indian postal department has issued a special post card in Nandini’s honor. Both the guests formally made the card public.
post card in honor of nandini

Nandini Satpathy Fondly Recalled

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Nandini Satpathy had epitomized the determination against gender discrimination and was in her assertive best in the male dominated political scenario. In this respect she was the first in Orissa and one of the first few in India that have made their marks in applied democracy.

Orissa, to her credit, had, before emergence of Nandini, excellent leaders amongst the women like Sarala Devi, Rama Devi and Malati Choudhury. But, though legendary Gandhians, none of these leaders had ever been in assertive politics.

One of the three founders of Communist Party of India in Orissa, Bhagavati Charan Panigrahi, who philosophized annihilation of exploiters through his immortal character Ghinua, which depicted in Mrigaya bestowed upon Mithun Chakravarty his first national award for best acting, and who is regarded as the initiator of progressive writing in Orissa was her elder father. Bhagabati’s younger brother and who was the first to refuse to salute Sri Jagannath as the supreme deity of the land but saluted him as a mark of respect for all the labor of the artist who created his image and all those workers who built up his excellent temple in a powerfully speaking poem, Kalandi Charan Panigrahi was the father of Nandini. She not only inherited but also epitomized this revolutionary inheritance and therefore, it is she that could dominate the mail-dominated political spectrum. She defeated in elections most popular stalwarts like Biren Mitra and Malati Choudhury and in that all the shadow fighters including luminaries like Biju Patnaik and H.K.Mahtab. But amidst all her astuteness in assertive politics, she was absolutely humane, abundantly affectionate, immensely friendly and unfailingly motherly.

I was a victim of machinations in emergency as I was expressly against administrative interference on freedom of press. Over-enthusiast bureaucrats had made the climate so clumsy that emergency became synonymous with oppression. Because of her assertive manners, in the mass mind, she appeared to be the architect of all that denigrated democracy in the regime. And, to the best of my ability I had tried to expose the excesses. Naturally the bruised mandarins were eager to teach me a lesion and the time was such that for anything tyrannous, not the mandarins, but Nandini the Chief Minister was viewed responsible. I was not different in my perception too. But she was such in her private life that when my father Nishanath Pattanayak passed away, I got the first condolence message from her in writing through a special messenger.

She was in fact a wonderful personality in politics. She was in public perception the architect of emergency excesses in Orissa. But to the progressive people, she architected assertion of State against indiscipline. She architected land reform and accommodated the communists to the extent of reshaping state approach to progress. It is she who gave rural orientation to industry by commissioning a spinning mill at Govindpur of Dhenkanal to begin with, which in the context of those days was a unique instance of prioritization in planning beyond the beaten track. But remarkable was her ease in enjoying life like boundless commons sans artificiality of politics in the domain of her heart.

Her birthday was celebrated on 8th at the State Information Center she had founded in Bhubaneswar. The day had begun with an exhibition of her photos that are preserved by her son Tathagat Satpathy, M.P. and editor of Dharitri. In the evening, its auditorium was jam-packed to remember her and to hear eminent writer and activist Indira Goswamy as well as Sarojini Sahoo. Both of them, famous for emancipatory writing in interest of women, paid their rich tributes to Mrs Satpathy who had personified women emancipation even as they dealt with the unending psycho-physical trauma females are yet being subjected to in the male-dominated society. Juxtaposing the present time with the time of the formative stage of Mrs Satpathy, they praised her for having pioneered the rise of a new epoch where females feel free to face the challenge from the gender-supremacists.

The event with Tathagat Satpathy in the chair and coordinated by Bijay Malla was consecrated with a video show on Mrs Satpathy and with the magic of Orissi presented by famous danseuse Sujata Mohapatra.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the guise of volunteer service, the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) have become insurmountable mediums of looting public money. Their activities are in presenting projects and executing them in files, not in the fields.

This observation does not come from any official auditor or from any administrative authority that has the experience of granting money to NGOs and watching misutilisation thereof. It comes from an active sentinel of society, Sri Tathagat Satapathy, who besides being a member of Indian Parliament marked for appropriate participation in debates, edits and brings out Orissa�s fearless and speaking daily The Dharitri.

Let me first tell you a few lines on Tathagat.

About 15 months ago, I had written a letter to one thousand persons that are my personal relatives and friends, well acquainted with my political past and present prejudices. They love me deeply and know every aspect of my life.

And therefore they know that in my perception, whosoever is not for communism is for commissionism, through which capitalism strengthens its grip on national economy.

My close circle being well acquainted with this perception of mine, I had the hope that while answering they shall not forget to keep my perception in mind. But none of them gave any glimpse of my perception having influenced his or her answer. Therefore their answers were unprejudiced, unbiased, and honest. Now, therefore, I will tell you of it.

I had asked them to suggest four persons from amongst politicians of Orissa in whom they can visualize a future Chief Minister.

I had made it clear that Orissa is languishing in the labyrinth of leaderless politics and therefore a future leader is to be located.

I had made it clear that all the political parties have failed and betrayed the people and therefore, as political parties they are looked at so askance that the country has been left to experience unending chaos under coalition of political parties representing rival geo-politico-economic interests for decades.

Situation is so precarious that till people, most of them belonging to the working class, elect the working class political ism to shape the Country, no political party could be acceptable. This is why people are seen relying upon individuals.

The active wing of Indian National Congress transforming into Indira Congress; and later, the Janata Dal that had grabbed power as the first non-congress Government in India, getting drifted into the state of being identified by the name of Chandrasekhar; regional outfits usurping power in the name of Annadurai or Biju Patnaik, and degradation of democracy to the supremo-syndrome that mocks at our motherland through people like Bal Thakre and Navin Patnaik, cannot but be the result of political parties� forfeiture of credibility as a whole.

As I have said, till people elect the working class ism to shape the Country, no political party can command confidence.

Against this backdrop, I had informed my relatives and friends that Orissa�s position is more precarious.

No body from amongst the past and present Chief Ministers of Orissa is any more acceptable.

The High Command syndrome in Congress is not congenial to emergence of any leader in that party as a sure future CM.

The BJP is so much infested with vested interest stooges of private capital that none of it can be trusted by the people for the top post.

The capitalists having pushed the electoral system into the dark height of exorbitant expenditure, with right-wing media in their pockets and religious revivalists at their beck and call, the Communists, far from proper publicity, cannot catch votes, most of the voters being uninformed and misinformed and in inanition.

The BJD being boss-centric sans any ideology, cannot dare to think of any alternative to Navin.

Hence no political party in Orissa can offer future leadership as a collective body.

This means, we have to pick up individuals from amongst us, irrespective of creed, whom as a nation we should groom as possible CM. Otherwise, the State, already in chaos, would rush into a vacuum of leadership. In fact, this vacuum has already been discernible. Taking advantage of this vacuum, the non-Oriya industrialists and traders are rushing for our land. Unless, reversed, the Oriya race, to quote Gandhiji, �this fine race�
(Young India, 18 Feb.1920), would forfeit its own identity.

Narrating this, I had requested my well informed relatives and friends to suggest four persons on the basis of their individual leadership qualities and concern for the people who could be groomed as future CMs. To facilitate their choice I had, on the basis of my experience as a political watcher and analyst over and above my past experience in applied politics, I had zoomed into ten names and asked them to pick up four names out of those ten and also , if any, beyond these ten. All of them agreed that the ten names I had advanced were exhaustive. Therefore they suggested four persons out of the list of ten I had advanced. I found Tathagat was one amongst these selected four. I have discussed this with many people who have had discussions with me.

It was my private query and the answers of my relatives and close friends shall remain in my private domain till I am convinced that their choices were not without justification. And I have put my alert eyes on all four of them including Tathagat since then.

As a parliamentarian Tathagat has made a mark. He has established that he is not a minion in the machine of power politics. He has given enough evidence of his capability of thinking independently, individually and with foresight and conviction. As for example, I watched his participation in the debate over reservation of seats for the women. His argument was ethical. And, clearly so. When there is no bar at all on women contesting elections, reservation of seats for them would pave a permanent way to looking at them as inferior, he maintained. This is just an instance.

His other side being media, as Editor of Dharitri, he has also made a mark. I have watched him going against the tides in pursuit of facts, even to the extent of facing judicial trials.

Therefore, I have quoted him to begin this page.

What he has said is worth noting. The NGOs, he has observed, are hand-in-glove with corrupt officials in looting public money citing restoration of blacklisted NGOs to panels for execution of developmental projects as a pointer.

In this timely editorial, he has come down sharply on the Government decision to hand over as many as 60 Primary Health Centers and 120 Health Sub-Centers to the NGOs.

When private clinics and hospitals stand synonymous to patient exploitation to the extent of denying dead bodies to families of the deceased ones, unless sumptuously paid for the co-called service they claim to have rendered; and to dishonesty, to the extent of tampering with evidence as seen in Rahul Mahajan�s drug offence case by the famous Apolo hospital; how come the Government decides to hand over government hospitals to NGOs, the segment marked more for scheming for benefit of own office-bearers than for benefit of the people, he has questioned.

So this question has not been raised by any uninformed citizen, unfamiliar with what is happening.

The wisdom of the Governments, both at the Central and the State Level, has been questioned by a thinking mind in which alert people of Orissa have found a person, who, given the requisite support can lead them; and who, as a Parliamentarian and as a Mainstream Editor has given enough evidence of right thinking.

I recommend Dharitri editorial of January 29 to every body.

All attempts to privatize health services must be objected to and rejected.