EXPOSURE IN orissamatters.com JERKS NIC INTO ACTION
Orissa High Court is no more invisible in the net.
This portal had shown how the justice seekers of Orissa were suffering due to lack of transparency in listing of cases and progress thereof.
For elimination of manipulation in listing, which is a strong factor of delay in timely disposal of cases, it was decided to computerize the courts which had started 15 years ago in 1990. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) was given this responsibility. Within these 15 years, it has implemented many applications in computerization of the Supreme Court and several High Courts, which have either direct or indirect beneficial impact on litigants. But it had not carried out the project in respect of Orissa High Court. It was discussed at the following link.
It is a matter of satisfaction for this portal that the NIC has taken our observation seriously and has built up the website of Orissa high Court in the mean time. Now the litigant public as well as the lawyers of Orissa is to enjoy access to judicial lists and verdicts through the Internet.
The clandestine design of the Central Government against academic interest of Orissa having been exposed in orissamatters.com vide (http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/07/under-whose-spell-the-prime-minister-has-done-it/ , http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/13/why-an-nisiiseriit-should-be-established/ and http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/13/orissa-cm-must-rise-to-the-occasion-and-join-the-campaign/ ),an alert periodical of Bhubaneswar ‘Pratisruti Plus’ carried the first story in its latest edition giving link to this website. The exposure developed into consequential stir. Eminent senior citizens, who have served the State in top positions with acknowledged expertise in their respective fields, have collectively preferred a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging upon him to honour the earlier decision, placed before Parliamentary Committee by the then Central HRD Minister Mr. M.M.Joshi for establishment of a National Institute of Science (NIS) at Bhubaneswar. Headed by Prof. Sabitarani Kanungo, former President of State Selection Board, the signatories include former Works Secretary P.K.Quanango, former Vice-Chancellors M/s Bimalendu Mohanty, Gokulananda Das, Niranjan Panda, Former Engineer-in-Chief M.M.Kamila, former Director of Treasuries Hemant Kumar Das, former Director of Higher Education Gunanidhi Sahoo, former Director of Forensic Science laboratory B.K.Das etc. Even as the netizens of Orissa spread all over the world have e-mailed protest letters against eclipse of Orissa’s entitlement to have the NIS, protest rallies and debate-events are on the anvil in profusion against the Prime Minister’s order for establishment of the NIS in a new nomenclature like Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) at Kolkata in obliteration of the NIS for Bhubaneswar.
Against this backdrop, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Orissa High Court by Prasant Kumar Das on behalf of Orissa Public Interest Protection Council. Admitting the case, a Division Bench comprising Justice L.Mohapatra and Justice R.N.Biswal has issued notices to both the Central and State Governments warranting their say on the status of the NIS decided for establishment at Bhubaneswar in 2003 by 31st day of this month on which day further hearing in the matter shall proceed.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Freedom from bureaucratic machiavellianism was the sole purpose behind enactment of the Right to Information Act, 2005. But Orissa Government has made it a farce by recommending only two persons to form the first Information Commission of the State in which the corrupt bureaucracy shall see its rampart well protected.
A committee constituted under Sub-Section 3 of Section 15 of the Act, comprising Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Leader of Opposition J.B.Pattanaik and Damodar Raut, a member of the Cabinet nominated by the Chief Minister, has recommended the names of D.N.Padhi and Radhamohan for the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioner (IC) respectively. Padhi is currently working as the Union Power Secretary when Radhamohan has retired from Orissa Education Service. When the former has spent almost entire span of his career in Orissa administration, the later, whose recruitment was meant for teaching economics in Colleges, has spent almost all the years of his career not in any College, but in the State Secretariat as a scientist!
If these two fellows did not commit any corruption during their tenure in Orissa then it must be assumed that there is no corruption in Orissa.
But everybody knows Orissa administration is full of corruption. And, the bureaucrats know where and when who of them committed or commits what sort of corruption.
Corruption is a vicious game played by bureaucrats under the canopy of their mutual cooperation. So there must be many people in Orissa bureaucracy, starting from clerks to Secretaries, who must be knowing what were the corruptions committed by Padhi and Radhamohan during their long tenure in Orissa. How these fellows constituting the only two-member-Commission can come up against the same persons who must know their questionable conducts, if any, in course of their career, is a question to which no answer is known to anybody.
A suspicion is still nagging in the minds of many that Padhi, had he not been a senior IAS officer, could not have been free from the blemish that had soiled his cloths in the matter of official purchases following the 1999 killer cyclone. If somebody now invokes the Act to dig out what really had happened and if the concerned Office refuses him access, what would be inferred? Similarly, when some one will want to know if using his Secretariat position, Radhamohan had provided benefits to the NGO called Sambhav with which he is associated, what would be its impact?
Therefore, a lot of precaution should have been taken in selecting the CIC or IC. I do not know if the selection flew from free choice or from a guided choice. But there is reason to apprehend that information blockers against whom the Act has stringent provisions may bargain for leniency through blackmail, if these two persons are appointed.
This apprehension would never have arisen had the legislative intention behind the Act been properly understood before the selection. Meant to grant access to the citizens to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority the Act was from the beginning considered to be an instrument against bureaucracy. Hence bureaucracy as a whole had heightened its lobby against the Act and politicians who benefit from collaboration with bureaucracy were opposing it. Many concerns and questions were raised during discussion on the Bill in the Parliament.
Putting forth the legislative intention, the Prime Minister had to call upon the civil servants to see the Bill in a positive spirit; not as a draconian law for paralysing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government-citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our people.
So saying, the P.M. had further said, “I appeal all civil servants to see this Bill in the right spirit and hope they will only be spurred towards better performance”. The Prime Minister’s emphasis on the very words “civil Servants” eventually proceeded to specification when he stressed that “the passage of this Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance, an era of performance and efficiency, an era which will ensure that benefits of growth flow to all sections of our people, an era which will eliminate the scourge of corruption, an era which will bring the common man’s concern to the heart of all processes of governance, an era which will truly fulfil the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic”. (Lok Sabha debates, 11 May 2005)
Hence it is clear that the right to information given by the Act to the citizens of India is meant for curbing corruption in bureaucracy.
It is therefore shocking that in Orissa an incumbent bureaucrat, whose integrity in public perception is still shrouded by nagging suspicions and a retired economic teacher who deceived the State for many years donning the attire of a ‘scientist’, have been chosen as the Chief Commissioner and Commissioner of the State’s first Information Commission. What a mockery!
The three-member committee of power-politicians, by selection of these two fellows, have individually as well as collectively played a fraud upon the people of Orissa.
Governor Rameswar Thakur would do a wrong if he accepts this selection. Before proceeding to accept the recommendation of the committee it would be better for him to peruse Sub-Section 5 of Section 15 of the Act. It says: THE STATE CHIEF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER AND THE STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS SHALL BE PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE WITH WIDE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN LAW, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL SERVICE, MANAGEMENT, JOURNALISM, MASS MEDIA OR ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE.
So the Committee should have selected PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE, which necessarily means PERSONS OF UNQUESTIONABLE INTEGRITY WHO HAVE EARNED RESPECTABLE PLACE IN THE LIFE OF THE PUBLIC and in whom the public have grown and shown confidence. Such people of eminence in public life, the Act stipulates, should have wide knowledge and experience in Law, Science & Technology, Social service, management, Journalism, Mass media, or Administration and governance.
But the Committee of three politicians that made the selection did not want to make a choice from all these segments even though Orissa has many eminent persons of impeachable place in public life having wide knowledge and experience in all these segments.
Misled by officialdom it has erred in accepting official employment as ‘Administration and governance’ and equated government service with public life.
The Act has never equated official employment with administration and governance. Had by ‘administration and governance’ official employment was to be meant, then instead of these three words, the Act would have noted a single word ‘bureaucracy’. So the words ‘administration and governance’ must be construed as Company, Banking, Industrial, University or NGO management, or can be taken as erstwhile Ministers who are no more with any political party or outfit. But by no stretch of imagination, these words can be accepted as employment in any government office.
Under these interpretations, Padhi and Radhamohan are not eligible to hold the offices of CIC and IC respectively and hence selection and recommendation of their names for the said posts by the Committee of three politicians is devoid of legality.
It would be proper therefore for the Governor of Orissa to turn down the recommendation and to refuse to appoint them.
The farce that is being enacted in Orissa in the name of Right to Information Act must not be allowed to proceed.
Filed under: administration, Animadversion, Editorials, judiciary, law and order, news, orissa, politics | Tagged: accountability, bureaucracy, chief minister, civil Servants, corruption, current event, Information Commissioner, leader of opposition, legislative intention, lok sabha, Right to Information, transparency | 3 Comments »
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is seen very keen in protecting the interest of POSCO; but come the question of protecting the interest of Orissa, one feels, he should know how not to be nonchalant.
Orissa has been severely hit by an order of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who has reversed the central government decision to establish a National Institute of Sciences (NIS) at Bhubaneswar. The reversal smacks of Bengali conspiracy against Orissa. But Patnaik has failed to rise to the occasion. He must reverse his own attitude and address himself to the cause of Orissa in a way expected of a Chief Minister.
We have earlier discussed the issue in these pages. The Chief Minister must try to understand the issue and take up the matter with the Prime Minister Mr. Singh in right earnest and if Mr. Singh does not buzz, must join the mass campaign that patriots of Orissa have already started.
For him to understand the issue we may begin from December 09, 2003. On this day, the then HRD Minister of India, Dr. M. M. Joshi had told the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry that a decision had been taken to establish four NISs including one at Bhubaneswar ďż˝for improving the relevance and quality of teaching and researchďż˝ in science, which was put on records by the U.G.C. vide http://www.ugc.ac.in/pub/jan_2004/12.htm. It makes it abundantly clear that the decision to establish a NIS at Bhubaneswar had been taken by the Union Government and the Parliament of India was made a witness to this decision through its Committee comprising members of both the Houses.
When the decision was awaiting execution, a media report informed that there is possibility of shifting of the proposed site of NIS from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata.
Chief Minister Patnaik was asked for comments. He told the Press that his Government has already located necessary land for the Institute and informed the Center accordingly and hence there is no question of its shifting. He, however, assured that he will take up the matter with the Center and do every needful for execution of its earlier decision.
What has he done in the matter is not known either to the department of higher education or to the department of science & technology. But on September 28, 2005, the Press Information Bureau vide http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=12305 informed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cleared on the same day an Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) for Kolkata and has ďż˝authorizedďż˝ the Ministry of HRD to fund the Institute ďż˝so that it can become operational in 2006ďż˝.
Difference in nomenclature notwithstanding, this suggesting a sure shift of the NIS from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata, the NROs, specifically members of the ďż˝ODIA SAMAJAďż˝ group of netizens under stewardship of Prof.. Chitta Baral and Prof. Debasmita Mishra started submitting their protests online.
Orissamatters.com preceded mainstream newspapers of Orissa like the Sambad and the Samaj in questioning the prudence of the Prime Minister in withdrawal of the NIS from Bhubaneswar.
But as I proceeded to see what steps our State Government has taken in the matter, I was shocked to see that the Government has neither located nor offered any land for the purpose within these two years. As I could not get any information from the secretaries of both the above-mentioned departments, I preferred a letter by e-mail to the Chief Secretary in his official id seeking information on what step the state government had taken to facilitate establishment of the NIS. A copy thereof was sent to CMO. It is a matter of surprise and shock that none of the two top functionaries have shown the courtesy of responding to a necessary and proper query from an authorized person, who has been in journalism for last four decades, specifically when the query was made in State interest. Such recalcitrant has become our administration!
In these pages, we had discussed the issue on October 07 under the caption ďż˝Under whose spell the Prime Minister has done it?ďż˝ and we have the pleasure of saying that on this Vijaya Dasami, which is the day of success of battle against evil, we have carried another article from Prof. Chitta Baral who has been spearheading the campaign seeking implementation of Union Governmentďż˝s original decision for establishment of a NIS/IISER at Bhubaneswar.
We strongly recommend Prof. Baralďż˝s article captioned ďż˝Why an NIS/IISER/IIT should be established in Bhubaneswar?ďż˝ to the Chief Minister. He should equip himself with all the facts and personally meet the Prime Minister for the specific purpose of placing Orissaďż˝s case for NIS/IISER. The Prime Minister of India cannot act and cannot be allowed to act arbitrarily. The previous Government had taken the decision to establish a NIS in Bhubaneswar and had involved the Parliament with this decision by placing it before the consulting Committee. Therefore the Prime Minister cannot render that decision inconsequential. Patnaik must go and tell him of this. If Mr. Singh refuses to heed to Orissaďż˝s just demand, Patnaik must rise to the occasion and place the matter before all the chief ministers of the Country. One province cannot be allowed to hijack the project originally meant for another province and the Chief Ministers of the country must be made aware of its adverse impact on regional balance and national integration.
Why an NIS/IISER/IIT should be established
Chitta Baral, Arizona State University
India is economically shining as a whole. But it is falling behind
in science and technology, especially in research. According to ,
the best Indian university, IISc Bangalore is grouped at 300-400
internationally. The next best, IIT Kharagpur is grouped 400-500
internationally. Within Asia they are grouped 37-65 and 66-93
respectively. For a long time India had 5 IITs and one IISc. Since
then even though one new IIT has been established at Guwahati and
University of Roorkee has been made to an IIT, with large population
increase and with India falling behind in Science and Technology,
there is a need for more IIT and IISc like institutions. Moreover
with India’s economy doing well now, India can financially afford to
create several more IITs and IISc like institutions. The Indian
government, scientists and academicians all are aware of the above
and thus there are plans to create more IITs and IISc like
institutions. In this context on 9th December 2003, the then HRD
minister Professor M. M. Joshi had announced [2,3] that UGC has
established steps to initiate four National Institute of Sciences
(NIS) at Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Pune and Allahabad. Recently ,
Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced the setting up of two
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), which
are the same in all but name to the NIS, at Pune and Kolkata,
Since it is a consensus that India needs more high quality
institutions like or better than the existing IITs and IISc, one of
the important questions that arises is where should these new
institutions be established. Two main principles, with some possible
tension among them, need to be followed in the determination of
1. For all around growth of India the institutions need to be
distributed across the country. (In this regard recently PM Dr.
Singh, in , addressed the regional imbalance issue in terms of
educational institutions and said “I trust our government as well
the state governments will take note of these findings and evolve
policies to remedy these regional imbalances.”)
2. The institutions need to be located in places where it will have
the largest impact and where it will benefit India as a whole the
most. (i.e., the biggest bang for the buck.)
Based on the marginal utility principle where the marginal
satisfaction of eating a second rosogolla is much less than eating
the first rosogolla, it is clear that biggest bang for buck of a new
IIT/NIS/IISc will be in a location or state which does not have
such an institution yet. But among these places the following
criteria becomes important:
3. The institution should be located in a place that can nurture it
locally, that has the promise to nurture it locally and that
benefits the local population also, so that the local population has
vested interest in supporting such an institution.
Finally, because of the urgency of establishing such institutions,
we need to consider the issue of:
4. Whether the location and the local and state government can help
in the quick establishment of such an institution?
We will argue here that Bhubaneswar, Orissa satisfies all the above
criteria, and if they are all taken into account it comes out in the
top among all cities in India.
(1) Currently Orissa does not have a central university , an
institution of national importance (such as IITs, ISI, etc.) , a
reputed centrally funded institute such as an IIM, or a centrally
funded IIIT or IIITM. It also does not have an autonomous science
and technology institution  of the department of science and
(2 and 3) We will address the issues 2 and 3 through two points. (a)
Orissa government and the people of Orissa have helped create
several top notch institutions in Bhubaneswar, Orissa which do world
class research; and (b) An IIT/IISc/NIS in Bhubaneswar will
tremendously benefit the local population, thus they will have a
vested interest in nurturing it.
(a) Orissa government and the people of Orissa have helped create
several top notch institutions in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Notable among
them are the Institute of Physics, the Xaviers Institute of
Management and the Institute of Life Sciences, all in Bhubaneswar.
We now describe these institutes using phrases from their web pages.
The Institute Of Physics, Bhubaneswar is an autonomous research
institution funded jointly by the Department Of Atomic Energy (DAE)
and the Government of Orissa. The Institute was officially
established in 1972 by the Government of Orissa . Research at
Institute of Physics is top notch by international standards. Its
alumni  have gone on to many good institutions all over the
world. Many of its faculty and students have preferred it over an
IIT. Its annual report , publication list , faculty vita,
and alumni biography  are testament to the quality of this
institution in Bhubaneswar.
The Xaviers Institute of Management  owes its origin to a Social
Contract between the Government of Orissa and the OJS (Orissa Jesuit
Society). It was established in 1987, and ranks among the top
business schools in India . This year’s Outlook magazine ranks
it 8 in the country among various business schools, including the
IIMs. It has faculty with Ph.Ds from top business schools such as
University of Massachusetts, and Stern School of Business, NYU, New
The Institute of Life Sciences, an initiative by the Govt. of
Orissa, Department of Science and Technology started a decade back.
On August 2, 2002 it came under the administrative and financial
control of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was
dedicated to the nation on July 15, 2003 by the Prime Minister of
India with a declaration to develop it as “National Centre of
Excellence” engaged in research on various areas of modern biology.
The researchers of this institute publish often in international
To reiterate, the above three institutions were created by the
foresightedness of the Government of Orissa, and are now premier
research institutions, albeit small with limited focus, but doing
world class research and teaching. Besides these three there are
several other research institutions in and around Bhubaneswar that
do very good and useful research. This includes the Regional
Research laboratory (RRL)  in Bhubaneswar, the Regional medical
research center (RMRC)  (see page 123 – 125) in Bhubaneswar, the
Central Rice research institute (CRRI)  in Cuttack , the central
institute of fresh water aquaculture (CIFA) [20,21] in Bhubaneswar,
and the national institute of rehabilitation training and research
 in Olatpur. In additions two fledgling institutions, the
Institute of Material sciences  and the Institute of mathematics
and application  have been established by the Government of
Orissa and are in their beginning stages.
The above illustrates, how Bhubaneswar and Orissa have established
and nurtured top notch research and educational institutions. Thus
one can extrapolate and conclude that with high probability an
NIS/IISER/IIT in Bhubaneswar will be very successful and well
nurtured. Nevertheless, as we mentioned earlier, it is important
that an institution like NIS/IISER/IIT should have some significant
benefit to the local population, lest the local population feel
alienated by it.
(b) In the greater Bhubaneswar area (which includes Puri and
Cuttack) there are now 2 state funded and 19 private engineering
colleges. An NIS/IISER/IIT in Bhubaneswar will benefit these
institutions as a place where the faculty of the local colleges can
pursue higher education (without moving away and thus negatively
affecting their parent institutions), the local colleges can recruit
high quality faculty from among the NIS/IISER/IIT graduates, and the
students of the local colleges can pursue summer research and
training at the NIS/IISER/IIT. Besides Bhubaneswar and its vicinity
have a large range of industries with many more industries set to
come. This includes metal based industries such as NALCO to software
companies such as Infosys and Satyam, and planned operations of TCS,
and Wipro. There will be significant synergy between these
industries and the proposed NIS/IISER/IIT in terms of joint
research, students of NIS/IISER/IIT pursuing practical training at
the industries, and employees of the industries pursuing higher
degree at the NIS/IISER/IIT. In addition Orissa has two STPs (at
Bhubaneswar, Rourkela), and one more STP in Berhampur in the making,
which will provide opportunities to the graduates of the
NIS/IISER/IIT to incubate start-up companies. Thus, with great
benefit potential of an NIS/IISER/IIT to the local population and
the benefit to the NIS/IISER/IIT from existing infrastructure,
Bhubaneswar is an ideal place for establishing an NIS/IISER/IIT.
Now moving on to the final point, because of the urgency an
NIS/IISER/IIT can be immediately started in Bhubaneswar by using
some of its existing infrastructure.
(3) In particular, the Institute of Physics and the Institute of
Life Sciences can be the starting point of an NIS/IISER/IIT. The
picturesque Institute of Physics campus can be used to start an
NIS/IISER/IIT right away. As mentioned earlier, Bhubaneswar also has
the beginning of an Institute of Material Science, and an Institute
of Mathematics and Applications, which may be folded into an
NIS/IISER/IIT. If an NIS/IISER/IIT is started in Bhubaneswar, the
Institute of Physics and Institute of Life Sciences faculty can form
the initial core faculty and teach the first classes until the
institute hires additional faculty. The researchers at Regional
medical research center, and Regional research laboratory can also
Conclusion: In summary, Bhubaneswar is the best in the country with
respect to the various criteria necessary for the next location of
an NIS/IISER/IIT. It is clear that for that reason, in December
2003, the then HRD minister Professor M. M. Joshi had announced
[2,3] that UGC has established steps to initiate one of the four
National Institute of Sciences at Bhubaneswar. Unfortunately, for
some reason the recent announcements for IISER did not include
Bhubaneswar. Although this injustice needs to be corrected for many
other reasons, by its own merit, as we elaborated in this article,
Bhubaneswar, Orissa deserves an NIS/IISER/IIT immediately and we
sincerely hope the central government will agree with us and pursue
this at the earliest.
. List of central Universities
http://www.education.nic.in/htmlweb/autbod.htm (NONE in Orissa)
. List of Institute of National Importance from
(NONE in Orissa)
. List of autonomous Science and Technology Institutions from
http://dst.gov.in/autonomous/autonomous_index.htm (NONE in Orissa)
SOCIAL SLAVERY GETS OFFICIAL SUPPORT: PROTESTOR IMPRISONED
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Mr Baghambar Pattanayak, the suave social activist of Puri is in Jharapada Special Jail at Bhubaneswar since 04October 05.
He is jailed not for any economic or criminal offence; but because he headed a protest rally against social slavery in the Capital City of the State. The rally was not an impromptu occurrence. Government had been duly notified of it and in appropriate manner. Instead of heeding to a just and humanitarian cause, police was used to demoralize the protestors by engineering imprisonment of their leader. Pattanayak is happy that he has dared the jail in the cause of social justice. But by sending him to Jail the State Administration is caught in flagrante delicto in supporting a social evil like slavery.
Visitors of this portal are acquainted with Sri Pattanayak’s campaign against upper caste oppression let loose on members of the barber caste in specifically the district of Puri. Government is well aware of the fact that 82 families of barbers in 17 villages of Puri district are being socially and economically boycotted by the upper castes after their refusal to continue the age old practice of washing feet and cleaning up the ort in public functions and other inhuman and degrading traditions. Our report dated 24 August 05 would remind you of how convincingly the human rights activists under leadership of Sri Pattanayak had put forth the grievances of the disadvantaged barbers vis-ŕ-vis the constitutional framework for eradication of bonded labor in this particular sector.
The District administration having no inclination to heed to it, upper caste hoodlums who are bent upon to perpetuate this slavery could contrive a new method of torture designed to frighten up the agitators to such an extent that they would think a thousand times before raising their voice against the oppression in future.
They jumped on their women folk and denuded four of them; assaulted and paraded them in that wretched condition under the scorching sun to the dastardly amusement of the perpetrators of caste superiority in the village of Bhubanpati under Brahmagiri Police Station of Puri on 19 September 2005. Profusely covered by media, this heinous assault on human rights rocked the entire State, but the State Government remained recalcitrant.
Perpetrators of this crime have so much confidence in the collaboration of the State, that they have got united under the banner of Kshyatriya Khandayat Mahasabha and resolved to thwart any attempt that they would find inconvenient to their social tradition of using barbers for feet-washing and ort cleaning. It is a shame that the Government has not yet thought it prudent to take these asserters to task even though their resolution is designed to precipitate social violence.
In such a State, under such an administration, what else could have happened to Sri Pattanayak than incarceration for championing the cause of the oppressed?
A NASTY TRICK PLAYED IN THE GUISE OF ODISSI DANCE RESEARCH
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Behind back of the Oriya nation, danseuse Kum Kum Mohanty has played a nasty trick. She has reduced Orissa to a state of ungratefulness.
Using Government of Orissa, she has published a book styled as ‘The Odissi Dance Path Finder Vol-1’ in the capacity of Chief Executive of Odissi Research Centre, which is purchasable only against US Dollar. Naturally therefore people of Orissa are not aware of this book. She has given a misleading history of Odissi dance in its foreword and given an account of how it earned classical status. Even though designed to show as official record, she has, in this book, deliberately omitted the name of Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak, the man who had defeated all obstacles to fetch classical status for Odissi dance. The book being meant for foreigners and non-resident Indians, not priced as it is in Rupee, whosoever in the world outside Orissa gets interested in Odissi dance, shall never know the matchless contributions of Sri Pattanayak to revival of this unique dance form of Orissa and to its recognition as a classical dance.
Truth must prevail and therefore in spite of Ms. Mohanty’s mischief, the truth-seekers will one day know how under the spell of a danseuse history is set to obliterate a man to whom the Oriya nation should have remained grateful forever.
Odissi teachers are in a position to rectify this wrong. But most of them are not aware of this. When the book published by the Odissi Research Centre, created and projected as Government of Orissa’s official wing on Odissi does not mention his name even for once, what to speak of the common practitioners?
But it is Sri Pattanayak who revived Odissi as Orissa’s national dance and persuaded India to accept it as a classical one. And, for this he had to defeat many a design that was determined to deny it classical status.
It is sad that his name is not mentioned in the document, which is published by Ms. Mohanty in the name of Government of Orissa.
Almost everybody who had helped Sri Pattanayak in establishing Odissi as a classical dance is omitted.
Ms. Mohanty has not thought it prudent to mention the name of even Ms. Jayanti Nandi who was the first demonstrator of Odissi in the national headquarters before the national jury in attunement with the theory placed by Sri Pattanayak in the national dance seminar without which classicality of the dance form could not have bagged national recognition as it did.
Kum Kum has reduced Orissa to a stage of ungratefulness by omitting the role not only Sri Pattanayak and Ms.Nandi, but also of Dr. Nrusingha Charan Samantaray, Chintamani Panigrahi, Pratap Keshari Deo, Umacharan Pattanayak and Shraddhakara Supakar who as Members of Parliament had used all their might in convincing government of India to accord classical status to Odissi on the basis of the theoretical presentation with matching practical demonstration that Sri Pattanayak had given in the National Dance Seminar where the Jury in consonance with express opinion of the great gathering of experts and critics had announced unreserved recognition of its classicality.
Forgotten is Indrani Rehman, whose demonstrative performance in consonance with Sri Pattanayak’s theory in the Talkotra Stadium of Delhi, had prompted the concerned Union Minister Hyumayun Kabir to express national gratitude to Sri Pattanayak for his singular role in adding Odissi to the list of classical dances of India.
Forgotten is the collaboration of Charles Febri and Mohan Khokar with Sri Pattanayak that had facilitated his overcoming the hurdles created by saboteurs on the eve of the National Seminar to place before the connoisseurs his theory with practical demonstration on 5th April 58 in the Vigyan Bhawan auditorium of Delhi.
Forgotten are Barrister Raghumani Pattanayak, Sarala Kosambi and Vinod Chopra but for whose cooperation with Sri Pattanayak, Odissi Dance would have missed forever the chance to earn the classical status. I say “missed forever” because none other than Sri Pattanayak could have bagged the classical staus for Odissi. We will see it later.
At the moment this much can be said that the scriptural codes on the basis of which Sri Pattanayak had established the classicality of Odissi are forgotten too.
Forgotten are also the methods of subterfuge adopted by Kelucharan Mohapatra, Debprasad Das, Govind Tej etc.
Forgotten is the trick played by Ramanand Kanungo, son of the then union minister Nityananda Kanungo, who himself was hand-in-glove with conspirators to sabotage Sri Pattanayak’s endeavors for recognition of classicality of Odissi.
Some members of this later group are still alive. They know that Sri Pattanayak had initiated the demand for national recognition of classicality of both Odissi Dance and Odissi Music. And had done everything to achieve this.
His paper on Odissi dance being placed as the base paper before the National Seminar at New Delhi on 5 April 1958, defeating every conspiracy hinted to above, he had convinced the Country that Odissi is a true instance of classicism and the entire galaxy of exponents of classical dances and dance critics present in the Bigyan Bhawan auditorium were, on the basis of the theoretical and practical presentation of the unique tenets of Odissi by him, one in their opinion, that if any dance is classical, Odissi is.
But this was not an easy achievement for Sri Pattanayak. His denigrators suffering obviously from inferiority complex, hand-in-glove with people envious of Orissa’s cultural superiority, were bent upon obstructing Odissi’s recognition as a classical dance lest the credit goes to Sri Pattanayak.
The most astounding obstacle was also conspiratorially spreading from the corridors of Nityananda Kanungo, then a central minister who was representing Nehru’s Cabinet in the Central Sangit Natak Academy. Sri Pattanayak had to overcome that obtacle.
Let us have a cursory view of that.
Secretary of Central Sangit Natak Academy (hereinafter called the Academy) Smt. Nirmala Joshi had informed Sri Pattanayak on 4 Jan.1958 that his pleadings for recognition of Odissi as a classical dance being in vogue since 1954, may be considered in the National Dance Seminar to be held at Delhi from March 31 to April 6, 1958. He should present his paper specifically for the Jury written within 1000 words and bring a group of “most competent” dancers to give supportive demonstration. “It is suggested that the group should be as small as possible”, she had said.
Sri Pattanayak had written the first book on Odissi dance in 1954 in English with the title ‘Odissi Dance’. He modified its properties to 1000 words in accordance with the Academy stipulations and sent the advance copy recaptioning the same as “Odissi Dance Tradition”.
At this stage, as is discernible, the mischief mongers ignited their activities. On 13th Feb.1958, he was pressurized by the Academy through P.C.Jain to get in touch with Govind Tej of the National Music Association (hereinafter called the Association) in order to be able to give his demonstration.
It was a mischief of most incomprehensible dastardliness. Central Minister Nitanand Kanungo’s son Ramanand was associated with this Association and obviously, under pressure of the Minister, this mischief was contrived.
However, without any hesitation, in the best of spirit of a true patriot, Sri Pattanayak contacted this Association and requested it to draft one or more artists to him for training as to how to give demonstration of what he should be saying. The association did not heed to his request.
The said P.C.Jain wrote to Sri Pattanayak again on 17 March 1958 that his paper has been approved and is scheduled to be placed before the dance seminar on 4 April 1958. Agenda thus fixed, Sri Pattanayak again requested the Association to cooperate in demonstration. But till the last moment, it did not buzz.
It was clear that the Association was determined to sabotage the cause of Odissi and was playing this trick to debar Sri Pattanayak from presenting his pleadings. Left with no other option, Sri Pattanayak picked up Ms. Jayanti Nandi, who was at that time a student of Kala Vikash Kendra, Cuttack and made her attuned to his paper and took her to Delhi to attend the scheduled agenda.
When he was inspecting the auditorium on 4 April 1958 to finalize as to how to offer the practical demonstration while placing his paper, the Secretary of the Academy Ms. Nirmala Joshi informed him that the agenda for the Seminar has changed and he cannot present his paper.
Was it a conspiracy? Yes it was.
When the Association trick could not click, the saboteurs tried to stop Sri Pattanayak delivering his address and demonstration. It was clear.
Shocked to the core, a combine of Oriya and non-Bengali M.P.s namely Shradhakar Supakar, P.K.Deo, and Umacharan Pattanayak of Orissa, Badua, Basumatari and Bhagawati of Assam, Dr.Malkhote and Laxmi Bai of Andhra including eminent scholars in the field namely Dr. Charles Fabri and Indrani Rehman met the President-in-charge of the Academy Ms. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and requested her not to cancel the agenda for presentation of Sri Pattanayak’s paper on Odissi dance. She refused the request. The conspiracy was clear.
Then the combine met the concerned minister Dr.Humayun Kabir in the Parliament Lobby and convinced him of the conspiracy.
On his intervention, Sri Pattanayak was allowed to present his paper. But again he was saddled with term that stipulated that he shall have to conclude his presentation within half an hour without any demonstration.
Sri Pattanayak was disheartened but did not lost hope. As he proceeded, the splendid congregation of dance connoisseurs, by that time well aware of the conspiracy against Orissa’s cultural interest, demanded in the hall itself that Sri Pattanayak should be allowed to give demonstration in support of the theory he was propounding, which was tactfully but meticulously executed by the Master using Ms. Nandi whom he had brought with him, in a hope against hope, in costumes. The house was so very surcharged with the proof of classicism in Odissi and so very irritated over the conspiracy against it that the Jury did not allow the Association-Academy trick to work. On vociferous demand of the audience, Sri Pattanayak went on putting forth his argument with corresponding demonstrations unhindered for 3 hours and 35 minutes at the end of which the Jury unanimously declared that there cannot be any doubt on the classicality of Odissi dance.
It was a day of victory for Sri Pattanayak as well as for Odissi. Delhi was agog with the rise of this new source of classicality in India’s horizon of culture.
It was decided, then and there, that every interested person in the National Capital should watch the unique dance of Orissa the next day, i.e. the 6th April 1958.
Sri Pattanayak instantly prevailed upon beauty queen Indrani Rehman to cooperate with him in presenting the dance to which she agreed. Sri Pattanayak had earlier taught Ms. Rehman a few numbers on Jayadev’s love lyrics as depicted in Gita Govinda.. A totally dedicated Oriya nationalist as he was, Sri Pattanayak found in the audience demand a golden opportunity to present Sri Jayadev as the poet of Orissa at Delhi where people from all parts of India were sure to gather. And, he did it.
On the 6th April 1958, Ms. Rehman offered oblations to Sri Pattanayak as the Guru and as chosen by him gave an ever memorable performance of Odissi depicting the lyrics of ‘Orissa’s Jayadev to the unprecedented approval of the august audience. Dr. Hyumayun Kabir, in the capacity of the portfolio holder Union Minister, personally ushered in Sri Pattanayak to the podium and felicitated him with thanks for the new addition he made to the classical dances of India. Thus, because of Sri Pattanayak Odissi Dance earned the classical status on this day i.e. the 6th day of April 1958 finally.
But this was intolerable to the cultural Kalapahads. The anti-Oriya lobby strengthened by central minister Nityananda Kanungo’s antagonistic attitude towards Sri Pattanayak tried to obliterate the national recognition of the classicality of Odissi Dance at a later stage.
On 18 April 1958, Academy Secretary Nirmala Joshi issued a note noting therein that Odissi was not recognized as a classic dance as the observation of the National Seminar Jury was not binding on it. She informed that the Academy was appointing an experts committee on whose finding recognition of its classicality would depend.
The Statesman, reacting to this press note, on 20 April 1958 posed the question: “Odissi being as beautiful and as classical as it is, what recognition from the Academy is needed at all?”
And, in fact, the Nation of India in particular and the entire world in general did not need the Academy recognition in support of classical status of Odissi. The national felicitation offered to Sri Pattanayak at the Talkotra Stadium in the National Capital on 6th April 1958 itself had put the national stamp of approval on the classical status of Odissi dance.
Kelucharan Mohapatra and Deba Prasad Das, even though trained and promoted by this great master, had refused to help him in his campaign for recognition of Odissi as a classical dance. But they later derived unlimited benefit from his success.
History should be addressed to say, “Had there been no Kalicharan Pattanayak, Odissi Dance would never have been recognized as a classical dance till date”. A cursory view on the status of Odissi music would be enough to arrive at this conclusion.
Till his last days he was trying to fetch classical status for Odissi Music too. In his autobiography he has written how Nilamadhav Panigrahi, Anant Mishra, Satyanarayan Rajguru etc had been opposing him in his endeavor to achieve recognition of Odissi as a classical music. After he passed away, all the proofs he had gathered in favour of his argument are left at the mercy of elements in the State Museum building where they were stashed uncared for by the Directorate of Culture. Notwithstanding abundant presence of Odissi musicians and sabjanata IAS officers who cherish being projected as cultural ambassadors of Orissa, none of the Odissi Gurus have succeeded in getting classical status for Odissi Music. As far back as in April, 1954, Sri Pattanayak had submitted a paper on classicality of Odissi Music which was published by Government of Orissa’s Public Relation department and circulated on the occasion of Odissi Music being rendered for the first time in Delhi, in presence of Prime Minister Pt. Nehru.
That, despite a base paper like this, and presence of so many musicians and dancers, Odissi music has not yet been able to earn classical status makes the unique position of Sri Pattanayak as the matchless exponent of Odissi classicality absolutely clear. The patriotic fervor with which he had taken up the cause of Odissi is not found in any. Therefore Odissi Music is left in the lurch.
His struggle to win the classical status for Odissi dance succeeded during his lifetime due to the support of the alert Media and Members of Parliament mentioned above as well due to determined support of dance connoisseurs whom he had inspired. He would have succeeded in bringing the same recognition for Odissi music too, had his denigrators, suffering from inferiority complex, not opposed him. He is no more alive, but no other Oriya has taken up the cause of Odissi music in as earnest zeal as was his. Therefore, the Odissi Music has failed to fetch the classical status as yet although it is its due.
Had the Odissi Dance teachers and dancers been basing their presentations only on the Odissi music as was contemplated by Sri Pattanayak, it would have been accepted as a classical music by this time. But they have never thought it prudent to pay due respect to this great Master, although they have emerged as the real beneficiaries of Sri Pattanayak’s achievement. As they have ignored him, so also have they ignored the scriptural injunctions and reduced Odissi to a commercial dance form.
Propelled by avarice, they have, on the other hand, tried to project themselves as creators/codifiers of Odissi Dance. I had shown in a high-circulated article in Orissa’s mainstream newspaper ‘Sambad’ on 30 November 1995, how Kalibabu was encouraging his introduction as the sole force behind Odissi’s revival and recognition as a classical dance.
I had shown in the said article how in the book prepared and published by Ms. Mohanty tacit attempts were made to project herself as the creator of the written code of Odissi. “Till date, there had been no accepted basic training principles in written form”, she has mentioned in the foreword of the book. To what extent this statement is motivated wrong could be ascertained from the very fact that at page CXCIX of ‘Contribution of Orissa to Sanskrit Literature’ published by Orissa Sahitya Academy in 1960 it has been clearly mentioned that Odissi Dance and Odissi Music of Orissa were being regulated by the injunctions given in ‘Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha’ authored by the Prince of Tigiria Jadunath Rai Simha. He has not only given the code in writing but also elaborated every injunction with links to appropriate Odissi songs or Chhandas. It is a shame that there is no mention of Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha or its author Jadunath Rai Simha in Kum Kum’s book ‘The Odissi Dance Path Finder’ even though it is produced with state funding and promulgated in the name of the State.
None of the Odissi Gurus makes any mention of this original grammar of Odissi, its author Jadunath Rai Simha and the architect of Odissi’s classical status Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak.
Orissa Government’s reliance on Odissi Research Centre for updatation of the codes of Odissi had generated a scope for placing before the world its real history as well as the unique contributions of Jadunath Rai Simha and Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak from the angle of a grateful nation. But Kum Kum has obliterated both these Masters from official records in such a style that degrades us to level of ungratefulness. Shame. Shame.
It is time to understand that performance of a dance does not perpetuate its classicism. To retain the classicality of Odissi Dance it must be made mandatory for the performers to honor the injunctions given in Abhinaya Darpana Prakash by Prince of Tigiria, Jadunath Tunga Rai Simha and along with him, oblation must be offered to Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak as an unavoidable ritual recognizing him as the principal factor of rise of Odissi in the horizon of classicism.
If this is not done and the trick played by Kum Kum Mohanty is tolerated, future shall certainly address us as an ungrateful nation.
Please react, if you can.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It is sad to say that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India can act under a spell. But people of Orissa are so bruised by an order of the PM that it is difficult to believe that he could do this without a spell.
On 9th December 2003, the then HRD minister Prof. M. M. Joshi had announced that UGC had decided to establish four National Institutes of Sciences (NIS) one each at Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Pune and Allahabad. This was documented in the Ministry of Human Resource Development – Science & Technology – press release, dated 10 December 2003.
But it is shocking for Orissa that instead of establishing the planned NIS at Bhubaneswar, the Central Government has obliterated this proposal.
Government of India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) in a Press Release datelined 28 Sept 2005 informs that the Prime Minister has passed orders for establishment of an Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) at Kolkata. The only other IISER is cleared for Pune.
The aim of the N I S that Prof. Joshi had announced in December 2003 is the same as the proposed IISER. Thus, NIS and IISER, though they differ in their names carry the same concept.
Thus Orissa is severely affected by the September 28 order of the PM. She does not have any central university, any institution of national importance (such as IITs, ISI, etc.), any reputed centrally funded institute such as an IIM, or any centrally funded IIIT or IIITM. It also does not have an autonomous science and technology / institution of the department of science and technology. The PM’s order for an IISER at Kolkata has jeopardized her chance of having one such Institute even in future. There is every reason to apprehend that as and when any additional IISER would be announced, Bhubaneswar will not be one of them, as many would then argue for a regional balance. Therefore, in a sense, the PM’s order is contributive to regional imbalance.
Candidly speaking, Orissa may not have any objection against Kolkata getting the IISER, if the NIS offered to her in 2003 is not withdrawn. To ascertain if Orissa is affected by the PM’s order, we from orissamatters.com had posted a query at the e-mail address of the PMO. It was addressed to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and was worded as follows, keeping in mind the highest limit of 500 characters:
“Dear Pr. Secretary to Prime Minister,
On 09/12/03 Orissa was offered a National Institute of Sciences (NIS)
Before it materialized, the PM has cleared an IISER for Kolkata (PIB 28 Sept 05)
Please inform: Is NIS offered to Orissa withdrawn in context of IISER cleared for Kolkata?
PM’s decision being conducive to regional imbalance and tension, clarification is needed for proper reporting”.
We are shocked to see that the PMO is not opening up as yet. Therefore, we have every reason to fear that the NIS offered to Orissa is dropped in a clumsy manner.
It is beyond all logic and acceptability that Government of India changes an educational investment decision made by an earlier government, especially related to a state like Orissa, which has, as shown above, been kept bereft of any super-specialty central institute of higher education, particularly in the field of Science and Technology. If the PM’s September order connotes to withdrawal of NIS offered to Orissa in the context of IISER cleared for Kolkata, it will certainly be disastrous to healthy growth of academic facilities in the Country.
A PTI report filed on 28 September 2005 informed that while releasing the first report on the country’s performance in the area of science, the PM had enumerated how all round progress of the country was affected by lack of balanced distribution of academic facilities. “I trust our government as well the state governments will take note of these findings and evolve policies to remedy these regional imbalances”, he was quoted to have said. It is, therefore, specifically surprising that he, while clearing the IISER for Kolkata on the very same day, failed to see how his own action in jettisoning the NIS announced for Orissa would worsen regional imbalance.
West Bengal in whose favour one of the IISERs is cleared by the PM has an IIT in Kharagpur, a central University in Shanti Niketan, two additional institutes of national importance in an IIM and an Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), and three autonomous science and technology institutions established in Kolkata.
If not under a spell, how has the PM obliterated Orissa’s legitimate due for an IISER if that stands for the NIS?
Keeping mum in this matter is not becoming of the Prime Minister of the Country.
BAJI RAUT: THE YOUNGEST MARTYR OF INDIA
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
“NUHEN BANDHU, NUHEN EHA CHITA,
E DESHA TIMIRA TALE E ALIBHA MUKATI SALITA”.
(It is not a pyre, O Friends! When the country is in dark despair, it is the light of our liberty. It is our freedom-fire.)
When the dead body of BAJI RAUT was burning in the pyre, Sachi Rautroy, who was one of the seven Marxist revolutionaries whom time had chosen to be immortal by burning the mortal remains of THE YOUNGEST MARTYR OF INDIA, had, in the light of the pyre, on the cremation ground of Khannagar, Cuttack, in the night of an unforgettable October 10, 1938, had given this wordy expression to the inconsolable cries of his heart, while his other comrades: Baishnav Pattanayak, Ananta Pattanayak, Govinda Mohanty, Rabi Ghosh, Motilal Tripathy and Bishwanath Pasayat were doing the last service to his co-martyrs: Hurushi Pradhan, Raghu Nayak, Guri Nayak, Nata Malik, Laxmana Malik and Fagu Sahu.
The stanza quoted above is the first stanza of Sachi Rautroy’s famous poem “BAJI ROUT”, which translated into English by Harindranath Chattopadyaya, had set the entire nation on an unprecedented motion for freedom of people from the Kings of princely States. People in various States were agitating against their respective ruling chiefs. But the supreme sacrifice the thirteen-year-old boy Baji Raut had given the necessary momentum to the movement that ultimately wiped out kingship from India.
Baji Raut, the light of liberty, was born in 1925 in the Village of Nilakanthapur in Dhenkanal, His father Hari Raut, had passed away when he was a tiny tot. He was brought up by his mother who was thriving on wages earned by rice-husking in the neighborhood. He had watched how mercilessly the King of Dhenkanal, Shankar Pratap Singhdeo was fleecing the poor villagers including his mother of their earnings by using armed forces. So, when Baishnav Charan Pattanayak of Dhenkanal town, later famous as Veer Baisnav, raised a banner of revolt against the King and founded Prajamandal, Baji joined it despite tender age.
Baishnav Charan Pattanayak deliberately joined as a painter in the Railways in order to be able to move from place to place free of cost by using a railway pass he was to obtain. Taking advantage of this Pass he not only started moving from place to place along the Railway track, instigating people against the King, but also established contacts with leaders of National Congress at Cuttack and attracted their attention to the plight of the people of Dhenkanal.
He associated himself with the only revolutionary journal of those days, THE KRUSHAKA, which was being produced and published by the Marxists. Thus, while educating himself in Marxist revolutionary theory and practices, he prevailed upon local intellectual Hara Mohan Pattanayak and founded the people’s movement called “Prajamandala Andolana”. The tortured people of Dhenkanal joined this movement with rare and unheard of courage. Soon, subjects of adjoining Princely States also formed Praja Mandalas in their respective States.
Seeing this, many other kings offered their cooperation to the king of Dhenkanal to suppress the people’s movement. King of Bolangir R.N.Singhdeo, King of Kalahandi P.K.Deo, Shankar Patap’s father-in-law who was the King of Sareikela and the king of Keonjhar sent their armed troops to Dhenkanal to terrorize the people. The British authorities also sent from Calcutta a platoon of soldiers comprising 200 gunmen to assist him. The King of Dhenkanal unleashed a reign of terror to suppress the mass movement.
For maintenance of these outside forces, Shankar Pratap clamped another tax on the people, called ‘Rajabhakta Tax’ or Loyalty Tax. He declared that whosoever fails to pay this tax, shall be adjudged a traitor and punished accordingly.
The houses of the people who did not pay the Rajbhakta Tax were being razed to ground by use of royal elephants and all their properties were being confiscated. Such repressive measures failed to deter the people from joining the movement.
Deciding to crush the movement forever, the king pressed his entire force against the leaders of the movement. All the ancestral properties of Veer Baishnav were confiscated. Hara Mohan Pattanayak and other top leaders were taken into custody in a surprise raid on September 22, 1938. But the royal forces could not arrest Veer Baishnav Pattanayak.
While frantically searching for him, news reached the palace that he was camping in the Village of Bhuban. The armed forces of the King attacked Bhuban on October 10, 1938 for the third time and destroyed many houses by using the elephants and tortured many a persons. But they could not elicit any information on Veer Baishnav despite use of all sorts of brutality.
They arrested as many as eight persons and let loose terror to elicit information on Baishnav Pattanayak. At this stage a source informed that he has escaped by jumping into the river Brahmani and swam across to the villages on the other side. The troop started immediate chase. People obstructed. To disperse them, they started firing. Two of the villagers lost their life on the spot. The troop rushed to the nearest ferry at Nilakanthapur on River Brahmani.
Baji Raut was on the guard at the Ghat at that time. He was ordered by the troop to ferry them across. He refused.
By that time he had heard from those who fled from Bhuban details of the brutality the troop had resorted to there and had understood that if Veer Baisnav Pattanayak was to be protected, the troops were to be obstructed. He therefore refused to comply with the command.
The royal troop threatened to kill him if he did not ferry them across immediately. He rejected their orders again. Surrender to the Pajamandal first, he retorted.
A soldier hit his head with the butt of his gun that fractured his skull severely. He collapsed. But he rose. He collected whatever little strength was left in him, and raising his voice to the highest pitch beyond even his strength, warned his villagers of the presence of the royal troop. A soldier pierced his bayonet into the soft skull of the brave boy even as another fired at him. Somebody who was watching this cruelty run to the people and informed them. Charged with wrath and contempt, people in hundreds rushed to the spot like angry lions. Seeing them, instead of running after Baisnav Pattanayak, the panicked troop fled for life.
Taking hold of Baji’s boat after killing him, the troop oared away in utmost haste; but while escaping, opened fire on the chasing masses causing four more deaths.
Baishnav Pattanayak collected the corpses and brought them by the train to Cuttack. The news spread like wild fire. People rushed to the Cuttack Station and received the dead bodies raising revolutionary slogans with Lal Salaam to the martyrs. Post mortem tests on bodies of the martyrs were conducted at Cuttack medical. Eminent leaders of freedom movement like Sarangadhar Das, Nabakrshna Chowdhury, Bhagabati Panigrahi, Gouranga Charan Das, Sudhir Ghosh, Surendra Dwivedy and Gurucharan Pattanayak discussed with Veer Baisnav Pattanayak and it was decided to lead the last journey of Baji Raut and his co-martyrs to Khannagar crematorium through the lanes of the town so that everybody in Cuttack including the women and children could have glimpses of the immortal sons of Orissa, who sacrificed their lives to emancipate their people from tyranny in the dark State (Andhari Mulaka) of Dhenkanal.
Then such a thing happened which has no parallel in our history. You can take it as the rarest of the rare events of our freedom movement. People volunteered to carry the bodies of the martyrs in their bullock carts in a procession to the cremation ground. Quite unusual it was. The peoples of Orissa worship bullocks. One cannot imagine that a person of Orissa can allow his bullocks to carry a corpse. But this happened. Such a thing had never happened earlier and has never happened thereafter. Patriotic fervor was so high. Ah! How it pains to feel that we have now become a different people altogether!
Sachi Rautray, Anant Pattnaik, Govind Ch Mohanty, Bishwanath Pashayat, Rabi Ghosh and Motilal Tripathy drove bullock carts carrying the martyrs’ bodies. Thousands and thousands of people thronged the streets to join that unheard of obituary march led by Veer Baisnav Pattanayak and other luminaries of our freedom struggle like Bhagavati Panigrahi, Prana Nath Pattanayak, Guru Charan Pattanayak, Nabakrushna Chowdhury, Surendranath Dwivedy, Pranakrushna Padhiari, Sarangadhara Das, Gouranga Charan Das and Sudhir Ghosh etc. Excepting only the occasion of cremation of Kulabruddha Madhusudan Das, (the immortal Madhubabu) Cuttack had never, and has never, witnessed such an obituary procession.
Sachi Rautroy took several days to regain his composure to finish his poem Baji Raut that he had started on the cremation ground itself in the light of the pyre.
When, after elapse of long sixty-seven years, this episode strikes the mind, somebody from within cries helplessly at the ghastly fall of our society where the supreme sacrifice of this splendid boy has been lost in the labyrinth of vested interests that has taken over
our beloved motherland.
Time has changed. Our democracy has changed into plutocracy. Shankar Pratap, the very person under whose tyrannical grip Baji Raut had lost his life has been immortalized as a man on whose “sad” demise, the Parliament of India had to rise in respect.
I must make you note that the people of Dhenkanal had not sent him to the Parliament. But he had become a member of our Parliament by the help of his old collaborators in crime, R.N.Singhdeo and P.K.Deo, who had formed a political outfit of their own and by corrupting election process had succeeded in capturing so much seats in the State Assembly that they could send tyrants like Shankar Pratap to the upper chamber of Parliament. What more disrespect to the memory of Baji Raut could have been committed in this Country?
We have, as a people, failed. Therefore, not only the tyrant Shankar Pratap, but also his wife and son have occupied seats in the ramparts of our democracy many a times!
We have, as a people, measurably failed. Therefore, history has witnessed that those, who were sabotaging our freedom struggle, have befooled us to the extent of becoming Prime and Deputy Prime Ministers of our country.
Those who have redefined our independence to be dependant on foreign powers have grabbed the highest political posts in our Country. And, those who should have opposed this mischief have allied with them in the style of safeguarding secularity! Those who should have remained unfazed on the issue of political economy of capitalism vrs socialism, have, only in order to remain in close proximity to power, been parading new ideas of political philosophy of secularism versus communalism! All the traitors!
Commission agents have basked in various top positions. Even in the very State of Orissa where boys like Baji Raut had never hesitated to lay down life for benefit of fellow beings, commission agents have occupied Chief Minister Gadi many a times.
Time has taken a turn towards the worse. Our brilliant boys have been leaving our Country in search of better living avenues in foreign lands.
In such a situation, when Baji Raut comes to mind, if every iota of patriotism is not extinguished, how can one suppress his agony?
Before parting, I would like you to know the following three aspects of Baji, which the history has not yet noted. They are:
(a) He is the youngest martyr of India in the in the struggle for her freedom.
(b) History did not create him. He created history. And,
(c) It is he, for whom alone the India we see now has been able to take this form.
Let me elaborate.
(a) Born in 1925, he was killed on October 10, 1938. (Who’s Who of Indian Martyrs, compiled and published by Government of India, Vol.2, p.271) He was 13 then. No Indian patriot has sacrificed life at more a tender age in the way Baji did. I have searched the Who’s Who of Indian Martyrs in its entirety and found none to compare with Baji. Hence he is the youngest martyr of India of his genre. The world should be made aware of this unique position.
(b) Many martyrs have been made by history. The two villagers of Bhuban who succumbed to firing by police as noted above were martyrs created by history. There are many such instances. But Baji was different. He obstructed the royal troops to protect the Prajamandal leader. He could have saved his life by complying with the orders of the troop. But he bravely refused to heed to them, even though he knew that the bloody bruits were capable of killing him. He stood loyal to his people till he breathed his last and although injured beyond endurance, he never forgot to make people aware of the arrival of police so that they could hide their leader in a safer place. He dared death to defeat the evil design of the tyrant king. Therefore, he was a martyr whom history did not make but who made history.
(c) All of us know that there were 618 Princely States in India when we gained our independence. All of us know that the British Crown had restored sovereignty in all of them at the time we got our freedom. But none of us acknowledge that Baji Raut was the basic factor behind merger of all those States with the new independent India. Had he not been born, the India of now might never have taken this geographical form.
His heroic sacrifice inspired all the people of Princely States who, being highlanders, once provoked, were beyond control of the kings. The tyranny of the king of Dhenkanal having been convincingly exposed by Veer Baishnav Pattanayak and exposure of oppressions let loose in other Princely States having come to lime light by the Praja Mandal organizations of those States, the National Congress also formed a fact finding committee headed by Harekrushna Mahtab in Orissa. This Committee was convinced that unless the Princely States are taken over, plight of the majority people of Orissa (because most of Orissa was under Princely rule) would not end. With independent patches of land having their own sovereign rulers at various parts of Orissa, and for that matter, of the country, shall also play havoc with administration when India becomes independent, the committee concluded.
The Kings of Orissa met in a conference in July 1946 at Alipore and resolved to form a Feudal Union. It was clear that they shall not allow their people to be free from their rule.
In sharp reaction to this evil design of the kings, Veer Baishnav Pattanayak took the first militant steps against Shankar Pratap, the King of Dhenkanal. He transformed the passive Praja Mandal movement to armed revolution. It is to be noted that people of Nilagiri where a brother of Shankar Pratap of Dhenkanal was also the king, heightened their militant attack on the Palace under leadership of famous Marxist leader Banamali Das, compelling the King to flee. In most of the Princely States of Orissa, militant attacks were made by Praja Mandal activists on the Kings and their cronies causing panicky in them. The kings felt that if they do not merge their States with India, the Praja Mandal activists will eliminate them, their protector, the British, having left the Country. Hence under that extraordinary situation, they agreed to surrender their kingship and to merge their respective State with independent India. Kings of Dhenkanal and Nilagiri were the first persons to agree. On watching this development, Mahtab prevailed upon Sardar Patel to come to Orissa finalize merger terms. He came along with V.P.Menon, the then Secretary in the Department of States to Cuttack on December 13 and on the next day held a detail discussion with the Kings. Finalization of the terms and conditions of merger took a fortnight and On January 01, 1948 all the Princely States except Mayurbhanj merged in Orissa. The later volunteered to merge on January 1st in the following year. The Orissa experience prompted all the Kings in all other provinces to merge their respective States with Independent India to escape violent uprising of their people. And thus, with merger of all the 618 Feudal States, left as Sovereigns by the British, the modern India became able to take this new form.
If the people of Orissa had the English Media at their command, and had the historians been able to interpret events without fear, martyrdom of Baji Raut could have been recognized as the main factor behind elimination of Kingdoms and creation of the new geographical shape of the modern India. The Peoples Movement in Dhenkanal being basically lunched and led by a Communist revolutionary was never to be given its due importance by post-independence intelligentsia. In consequence, Baji Raut has not yet been properly evaluated, even though he is mentioned in the Who’s Who of Indian Martyrs, published by Government of India.
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