Orissa shall not become Odisha

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I appreciate the deep love for the motherland that I mark in some of my friends when they appeal me to adopt Odisha in place of Orissa, specifically as the constitution has been amended to this effect and accordingly to change the name of orissamatters.com to odishamatters.com. Sri Pramod Chandra Pattanaik, my nephew, a highly patriotic intellectual and a retired IAS officer, whom I love and rely upon, represents this class of friends. I therefore, think it proper to post my views again in the matter.

A margin note in our Home page declares as to why shall we not adopt ‘Odisha’ in place of Orissa. There is a link therein that finally spells out as to why we will not change the English spelling of the name of our motherland and mother tongue despite the constitutional amendment. If any law asks a child to change the spelling of the name of his/her mother, it is proper to ignore that law; we maintain.

When Orissa’s Kera Oriya Chief Minister initiated this mischief, I had appealed him and his ministers not to adopt the proposal in the Cabinet as it would go against archaic uniqueness of Oriya language and damage its classical character. Stage by stage, in every stage, ORISSA MATTERS had argued as to why the proposed change was unnecessary, unwanted, uncalled for and injurious to uniqueness of Oriya language.

In the final stage, when the Parliament was to finally take up the issue, we, as a sentinel of Orissa, had also elaborated as to why this proposal should be rejected. But as the stupid politicians have no real concern for the motherland, the Constitution got amended. As my reaction thereto has been linked to the margin note on our Main page, I think, our views before its adoption, may help my friends getting the crux of the issue.

In answering as to why Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, whose aversion to Oriya is so deep that despite being in power for so many years he has not learned the language, is so very adamant to change the spelling of its name, I had, on June 11, 2008, written,

“Perhaps, after pushing Orissa into the labyrinth of chaos, he is in very much want of ways to hoodwink the people. So, he wants to create a confusing aura of Oriya nationalism in the guise of spelling of the name of the State and to use it as a camouflage to get people off their guard during elections that are not far away.

But why some others, specifically amongst e-mailers, are raising the chorus for change of Orissa into Odisha?

Perhaps, they may change on perusal of this posting or on further research at their respective levels. But if one is unable to understand the intricacies of Oriya language, it would be better for him or she to appreciate that motherland Orissa has many names like Odra, Udra, Uddiyana, Oddiyana, Utkal, Kalinga, Kosala, Tosala, Orissa, Udisa, Udishya etc. Call in any of these names, only she will thereby be addressed. There is no necessity to change or drop any of them.

Lord Vishu has a thousand names. So also Devi Durga. So also many of major Deities. So also mother Earth. If we have the liberty to call any of them in any of their names, we should have no problem in retaining every name of our motherland including Orissa.

What is that to us if Bombay became Mumbai or Calcutta became Kolkata or Madras became Chennai? Why should we belittle ourselves to be affected by that? Our motherland has many names with glowing history of heritage behind all of them. We have a place of pride under the Sun as an ancient nation of matchless creative people who are second to none in uprightness and valour.

If we have any reason to feel dejected and want to be extricated from that, we are not to imitate name changers of Bombay or Calcutta or Madras; we are to reject the name changers of Orissa, who have contrived this mischief to divert public attention from the damage they have done to this splendid soil”.

The entire article may be perused here.

Read with the article linked to the margin note in the home page of ORISSA MATTERS, this article, I believe, may make the background of why we continue to write Orissa and Oriya instead of Odisha and Odia clear to my friends.

I repeat, if any law is created to force a child to change the spelling of the name of his/her mother, that law deserves to be disobeyed with utmost contempt.

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