One of the most popular Information Ministers India has ever had and former Chief MInister of Orissa late Nandini Satpathy was paid glowing tributes for her progressive contributions when her 82 birthday was observed with deliberations on “Social divisions in the society and the ways to overcome it” in the State Information Center (Jaya Dev Bhawan) on June 10.
CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat and Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury were the guests. Satpathy’s son and carrier of her legacy Tathagat, who, besides being a member of Indian Parliament in the Loksabha, is the editor of Dharitri of which she was the founder, presided.
Brinda focused on why, despite death, Nandini is alive.
She was in lifelong link with the people in the grassroots and had used her power to usher in progressive reforms with specific purpose to help the downtrodden proceed towards prosperity, which has kept her alive, she said.
She had joined politics, as a conscious revolutionary initiated into marxism, epitomizing the ideals of her famous elder father Bhagavati Panigrahi, and despite her metamorphosis into power politics under the canopy of the Congress party, she had not drifted away from her original revolutionary ideals while holding positions in the Central Council of Ministers and accepting Chief-ministerial responsibilities in Orissa,said Brinda.
It is she who had generated dreams for employment through industry in Orissa by establishing such employment generating undertaking in the public sector and in order to self employment in agriculture, she had not only used her chief-ministerial powers to formulate and promulgate a first of its kind Land Reforms Act, but also had made the most landmark contribution to progressive economy by promulgating land ceiling in Orissa, that was yet again a pioneering step towards liberating the most essential raw material of a agricultural society – the land – from concentration in the hands of a few people who do not cultivate.
A multi-dimensional personality, she was a colorful politician that epitomized elite manners but remained glued to expectation of the poor in right earnest which was reflected in her administration, addressed to pro-poor programs and in her literary works spangled with dreams and aspirations of the disadvantaged, she said.
With the petals of her observation on Nandini, Brinda dwelled on the topic of how to overcome social division. The traditional divisive factors like castes and communal identities apart, economic inequality has emerged as the divide that needs be effectively removed if social division is to be tackled, she said. Concentration of wealth in marginal few to the impoverishment of the majority is the problem that the conscious citizens everywhere are battling against. She was sure, mass resentment against social divide will succeed, because the people are increasingly getting more informed and meretricious assurances of pro-rich power-holders are reaching the last stage of reliability. Determined mass involvement in movements against the existing divide will expedite its end, she said.
Audience responded to Brinda’s observation with standing ovation.
Echoing Brinda, national Congress spokesperson Ms. Chowdhury, as the chief speaker, observed that change is inevitable, as Indian society, despite continuity of social divide, has changed from a stage of ‘Sati’ to women making their marks of success in public domains. That the governments, over the times, have framed various progressive laws such as Right to Education Act, is evidence of the change the society is marching towards. She stressed on mass awakening against factors of social division, as “the onus is on us to bring the changes”, she said.
Sri Satpathy told that the main aim behind having the debate on this revolutionary subject on the birthday of the late leader was to bring in new ideas, new thoughts, new people and a new visions into our thinking process that can refine the dreams and aspirations of intellectuals of Orissa, with the experience of others who have remarkable practical involvement in overcoming the hurdles social divide creates on the way to development and thanked both the speakers for the rich input they gave to the topic.
Ms. Adyasha Satpathy presented both the guests with their respective portraits drawn by eminent artist Manas Jena to resounding applaud from the audience.