Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Naveen Patnaik government is certainly in offense against Orissa. It has committed such a diabolic crime that blood boils in agony. But before coming to that, let me look at a series of crimes perpetrated by his government against our people so far.
Ever since he has taken over as Chief Minister, numbers of offenses against the people of Orissa have increased.
As for example, displacement of indigenous people at the behest of industries from beyond the boundary of the State has increased.
Deleterious acquisition of the State’s natural resources by dubious industries, shunned even by foreigners, has increased.
Downright robbery of mines and minerals has increased.
Denudation of forests by timber mafia has increased.
Dissipation of funds both in plan and non-plan sectors by the blue-eyed boys of ministers concerned has increased.
Disproportionately high concentration of wealth in hands of employees dealing with industries, education, irrigation, works, urban as well as rural development, health care and welfare programs has increased.
Discernible but sudden shine of first generation richness amongst Ministers, MLAs and MPs has increased.
Dishonesty in administration has increased.
Discrimination against honest officers vis-a-vis crooked ones has increased.
Deliberate disobedience to just orders of judiciary by the executive has increased.
Disability of courts to punish criminals due to lack of diligent prosecution has increased.
Dirty tricks of implicating dissenters in false criminal cases has increased.
Death in mass scale due to diarrhea and cholera under condition of continuous slow starvation and want of drinking water has increased.
Deliberately cultivated disquiet in academic campuses has increased.
Degradation of democratic practices in the Assembly marked in the government’s determined efforts to evade answerability has increased.
Disrespect to Orissa’s mother-tongue in administration has increased.
Dilapidation of cultural heritages has increased.
Deplorable communalization of the two most revered universal icons of Orissa: Sri Jagannatha (Buddha) and Sri Jay Dev has increased.
Despotic attack on media has increased.
Distress sale of paddy by helpless farmers has increased as has increased the number of their suicide.
Distress sale of body by poor girls has increased.
Distress sale of baby by wretchedly poor parents has increased.
These and many other serious crimes have increased in Orissa as the number of years of incumbency of Naveen Patnaik has increased.
But these are small crimes compared with the most diabolic crime that Naveen Patnaik’s government has committed through its Police in the midnight of 7 February 2011 at Gada Rodanga under Brahmagiri Police Station, Puri.
In the midnight, a pack of around 20 police personnel led by Bhubaneswar DCP Himansu Lal reached there and stormed into the house of the most venerated Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar, where his descendants are living. They hurled abusive words sans any qualm at them and robbed his sword and armor while whisking away a guest of the family, Ramesh Jena, MLA of Sanakhemindi, who is known as quite a strong political antagonist of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in his district of Ganjam, proven by the fact that despite the CM’s sway in the district, he, as a Congress candidate, has been elected to the Assembly. Jena says Police is framing him up in false cases at the behest of the CM.
According to Police, the raid was necessitated to drag Jena back to books as he had jumped the condition of bail in a prosecution case that had restricted his movement beyond Bhubaneswar without knowledge of the DCP. Besides, in a recent case of firing at his flat where a police constable, officially in charge of his security, had shot at other police personnel during a raid to apprehend anti-socials allegedly harbored there, Police was to pick him up.
Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, a descendant of the venerated Buxi, also a working President of Orissa Pradesh Congress, who was Jena’s host in Gada Rodanga, says with utmost emphasis that DCP Lal was duly informed of the MLA’s stay at his place. On 2nd February 2011, Jena had informed the DCP in writing that he would stay in Gada Rodanga till 7 February and from there he had also requested the DCP to allow him to extend his stay by three more days till the 10th. Thus when Jena was not an absconder, he was also guarded by three police constables officially engaged for his security. Therefore there was no necessity of raiding his house in the midnight of February 7, Lalatendu says.
The legality or illegality of the midnight raid is a matter to be determined by law. But to me, any irreverence shown to Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar is certainly an offense against Orissa. Sad, Orissa Government is guilty of this offense.
Unrecognized Father of Indian Fight for Freedom
Though yet unrecognized, Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar was the real father of Indian fight for freedom. The first people’s movement for freedom from British yoke was conceived and led by him.
Orissa was the last land to be annexed by the British in India. But, yet, she was the first land in whole of India to battle against the British for freedom. This truth is recorded in British historian G.Toynbee’s ‘A Sketch of the History of Orissa’ where he says, “It was not long, however, before we had to encounter a storm which burst with so sudden fury as to threaten our expulsion, if not from the whole of Orissa, at least from the territory of Khurda”. Matchless militia of Khurda had raised this “storm” of “fury” in support of Buxi Jagabandhu after his estate was treacherously encroached upon and Buxi expanded it for protection of his emperor’s sovereignty to free motherland Orissa from foreign yoke.
Earlier in 1804, the violent resistance raised by Jayee Rajguru had failed. Buxi had deeply cogitated on that failure and had developed a new technique to battle against the British. This technique was unique and his own. He had taken to his confidence many muslims thereby both the major religious networks were united for freedom of the motherland. He then had drafted his unique strategy of non-violent non-cooperation with the British. The sacrifice of Buxi’s intimate associate, the Dalabehera of Tapanga is a classic instance of non-violence adopted by the Paiks of valor under the leadership of Buxi.
The Report of the Joint Magistrate of Khurda, W, Forrester, dated 9 September 1818 to Commissioner Robert Ker admits that the non-cooperation movement had “completely put a stop to the collection (of revenue) etc”. The people, led by Dalabeheras (group or clan heads) under Buxi Jagabandhu had deserted their beloved habitats in order not to cooperate with the British in collection of revenue. In his Report, Forrester had to say, “It has all along appeared to me extremely desirable that the Dalabeheras and their followers should be induced to return by …….. the prospect of a moderate settlement and a liberal consideration of their claim to jageers in future”. He had clearly confessed, “Since the breaking out of the insurrection, very few men of any consequence have ever been apprehended and it is to be feared that the nature of the country and disposition of the inhabitants will always present formidable obstacle to the suppression of these disturbances either by military or by police”.
This was British field administration’s clear admission of defeat. Therefore, thereafter, they had to bring about a truce with Buxi Jagabandhu on 25 May 1825.
After this truce with Buxi Jagabandhu, the British trespassers could gain recognition of Oriyas as a government. That, thereafter, in the name of administration they divided Orissa into four parts and tell tied each part with neighboring rival provinces to reduce the Oriyas to linguistic minorities in those provinces so as to destroy their mana and to stay safe from the furious disposition of united Oriyas is a different story that was not unbecoming of the treacherous British,
But the fact remains that the British had to admit defeat before Buxi Jagabandhu on 9 September 1818 and to take about seven years to draft its truce with him that was given effect to on 25 May 1825.
This splendid victory of Orissa, particularly of Buxi Jagabandhu over the British empire has not been projected in history because of the envious motive of non-Oriya history writers. But Jagabandhu’s method of defeating the British has shaped the victorious phase of Indian struggle for freedom under Gandhiji’s leadership.
Gandhiji’s Non-cooperation Movement Owes Its Origin to Buxi Jagabandhu
Gandhiji has not said that Buxi Jagabandhu had shaped his movement of non-cooperation. Because he had not known of this. The idea of non-coperation first hit his ears in the All India Khilafat Conference on 24 November 1919 when he was presiding over it. In the preceding night, the Khilafat Committee had resolved not to cooperate with the British government. It was sure, if the people do not cooperate with the government it would collapse. The idea had gone to them from Muslims from Orissa. As said supra, Buxi Jagabandhu had made his movement an united movement of Hindus and Muslims against the British. Many of his Muslim comrades had sent shock waves into British administration. Many Muslims had been incarcerated and some had sacrificed their lives in Orissa’s battle against the British. As for example, Mir Haidar Ali was declared a fugitive rebel when in that condition he died (Commissioner Robert Ker’s report to W.B.Bayley, Secretary to Government in Judicial department, 14 december 1818). Buxi’s Muslim associates were so devoted to Orissa’s freedom that the Governor general of India had to put pressure on the Court to execute the punishment awarded to freedom fighters like Sardar Khan and Nasirulla ( Letter dated 1 january 1819 from Secretary to Government W.B.Bayley to W.Dorin, Registrar of the Nizamut Adalat). Such repressive steps of the British against the Muslims that had joined Buxi Jagabandhu as his associates in fight against the foreigners had taken the unprecedented tactics of non-cooperation to the greater horizon of Muslim brotherhood and the victory of the non-cooperation movement was taken note of with much interest. This unique experience therefore had inspired the Khilafat revolutionaries to resolve not to cooperate with the British as a new weapon of revolution.
When this resolution of the Khilafat committee came to attention of Gandhiji, the proposers could not explain in what name the idea could be propelled. Gandhiji was also not sure of how to express the idea, though, as transpires, he was inclined to accept the idea sans the violent part of the original. Originally, Buxi Jagabandhu had not discarded use of violence in his non-cooperation movement. But Gandhiji, by then an epitome of non-violence, had to discard the violence part. D.G.Tendulkar, the almost accurate biographer of Gandhiji has written, “ Gandhi (after grasping the idea while chairing the All India Khilafat Conference) was handicapped for want of suitable Hindi or Urdu words for the new idea. At last he described it by the word ‘non-cooperation’, an expression that he used for the first time on this occasion” (Mahatma, Vol.1, p.274). But, Tendulkar says, he took time up to 10 March 1920 to use non-cooperation as a weapon against the British. In a statement on this day he said, “Non-cooperation is, therefore, the only remedy left to us. It is the clearest remedy, as it is the most effective, when it is absolutely free from all violence” (Ibid. p.284)
Hence, notwithstanding how silent is history on Orissa’s unique contribution to freedom of India, it is a historical reality that Buxi Jagabandhu is the father of non-cooperation movement, which adopted and used by Gandhiji, has helped us obtain our freedom from foreign yoke.
But the present leadership of Orissa has not only desecrated the sacred house that bears the sacred memories of Buxi Jagabandhu, but also has robbed it of its most precious possession: his sword and armor.
The Chief Minister must take to task his DCP and retrieve Buxi’s revered sword and armor and put them back on the place they were stolen from with due respect and honor.
Naveen babu is clearly in offense against Orissa, but irreverence to Buxi Jagabandhu would be the last thing to be tolerated.