WHERE IS BARENDRA KRISHNA DHAL?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

My friend Barendra Krishna Dhal is not an ordinary man; he is extraordinary. Ask any conscious citizen of this part of the Country, he shall never say that he has not known him.

In formative days he had made a mark in sports; in sexagenarian days he has been heading the State’s premier organization of martial arts. In between, he has made lasting contributions to human pastime as a sports reporter and cine-critic. He co-founded Orissa Union of Journalists and headed the National Union of Journalists of India. An author of repute, he has received the Central Sahitya Academy Award and has been the most acclaimed organizer of men of letters in Orissa as the founder-secretary of ‘Lekhaka Samukhya’. His contribution to the socio-educational cause of Orissa is unique. The State is now witnessing book fairs in every corner of its boundary. But it is only he who has given birth to this splendid scenario. Against all odds, he had started the Bhubaneswar Book Fair with a handpicked number of friends dedicated to letters. Come February 26, the Capital City of Orissa rises with utmost warmth to celebrate the festival of books, an event to be seen to believe. A columnist par excellence, he has stood as the conscience keeper of Orissa and has set a trend in dealing with matters of public importance.

Keeping all this in view, I have been urging upon the authorities to honour this unique man of Orissa with a ‘Padma’ award. As we know, this national award was created to honor extraordinary Indians whose contributions to society in their respective sphere can be cited as unique and exemplary. In this yardstick, Barendrababu deserves this honour more than the contemporaries. But where is he? Why has he not been selected?

A mainstream newspaper of the Country has editorially reacted against the “blatant lobbying” behind the selection. “The tendency of every political dispensation to utilize these awards to reward those who proved loyal and cultivate those less so”, as observed by the ‘New Indian Express’ on January 24,2003, is possibly the reason of individuals like Barendrababu staying out of the zone of consideration for this award. According to this paper, Union Minister of Communication, Mr. Pramod Mahajan, is on records for having stated that such awards invariably end up being given to various ‘gaanewaley, bajaanewaley aur khaanewaley’.

Failure in picking up people like Barendra Krishna Dhal for the Padma award makes one really conscious of the devolution of this national honour in the hands of people who are managing the affaires of our nation. We insist that the machinery that selects the persons for this coveted award be addressed to see beyond the ‘gaanewaley, bajaanewaley and khaanewaley’ circle and to defeat the lobbyers.

Beyond perception of Mahajan, some really deserving individuals like Sonal Manasinh have of course been selected. Had there been no lobby, they would have got it earlier. Had there been no lobby, Barendrababu would also have got it this year. Be it noted.

3 comments » Write a comment

  1. I have had the privilege of knowing Mr BK Dhal more intimately than probably many of his “inner circle”. This year for some reasons I started scanning the Padma awardees list a little more seriously … somewhere it was a dream to see him adored with the much deserved Padma Award. But alas it was not to be.

    Mr BK Dhal fascinates me not for all the eulogies that he is “generally” heaped upon with but for TWO facets in his life.

    The first is about a man who started off as a journalist in a terrain where even the tracks werent marked or milestoned. From a really humble and “deglamourised” luggage – he has today come to establish himself as an unquestionable doyen in the domain of his influence. His initial days are only a undoctrined blurred Tale for me.

    However, I have been privileged to witness his second innings post his traumatic medical condition. Not many a people would have had the courage or the spunk to deliver back what he has done over the years. It is indeed a salute to a human spirit not very different from that “old man” of Hemingway who had to fight his sharks. Mr BK Dhal not only has fought off his sharks but brought to bay an even more awakened disposition.

    I have my personal chasms of thought, philosophy and literature with him. Das Benhur probably would vouch on my behalf. But nobody can question his resilience, art of words and a quintessential insight. I would really want to include the word “humane”, but I know him a little too well.

    Am proud to have known and interacted with him.

    Regards

  2. In one BOOK FAIR at Berhampur i collected a book MUKTABICHAR by Barendra Krushna Dhal and after going through felt there are many straight farward free frank fearless honest Journalists in our Orissa. Subsequently after reading some of his other books Klanta Nakhyatra where one true life of Appana Panigrahy the blind famous singer who used to be called ORIYA KLSaigal in his book a heart taching syory. I have great respects for his bold writing and high thinking for uplift of our oriya culture and keep it in par with other states and language. I shall be grateful if he gets his rightful recognition and fulfills his aims. Ramesh Nayak Retd Engineer BERHANPUR Orissa camp USA

  3. BK Dhal is like a grand old for me in our Odia Journalism, He is also a very good Odia writer who tels the truth straight n most of time it seems, his all writings r based on truth. I have seen his strongest sence of courage of conviction he has shown some of hard touching columns against some most powerful officers of GOO. I salute his fearlessness attitude in some of his immortal articles !
    Er Chakradhar Mohanta
    Rtd CE n Golden Jubilee Publica
    tionYears Writer (1967-2017) n Poet

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