Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Prof. Nilakantha Rath has sponsored his father’s forgery in a new book related to Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das by publishing therein a document purported to be his Will “to prevent unnecessary speculations about it”.
He hereby admits that there are “speculations” about the Will, which means, he knows, there are people who do not accept the Will as genuine. He has termed the speculations “unnecessary”; but he has not explained as to why the “speculations” are “unnecessary”.
In course of discussions in this write-up, we will deal with the Will in details and show how it is a forged Will, in production of which, we have reasons to apprehend, Prof. Rath’s father late Radhanath Rath (Padma Bhusana) was involved.
Let us look at the matter
When making a further research into ‘Contribution of Oriya Media to reconstitution of Orissa as a State’, part of which is already published, I stumbled upon a displayed document in ‘The Samaja’ with Oriya caption “Pandita Gopanandhu Das mrutyu shajyare lekhi jaithiba “Will” ba Sesha Icchapatrara Abikala photochitra” (The exact photocopy of the Wlll that Pandit Gopabandhu Das had written in the death bed), though the same was topped with an all cap caption in English that read, “LAST WILL DICTATED BY PUNDIT GOPABANDHU DAS”. Radhanath babu was the editor of the paper. It had tremendous historic value in my view. Therefore, I perused it deeply. To my shock I found, it was not signed by Gopabandhu Das. Written by Lingaraj Misra, on this document, there were three names under sub-heading “witnesses” looking as if they had signed as witnesses to what Lingaraaj Mishra had written. Below their supposed signature, the date was mentioned “17.6.28” – the day of demise of Gopabandhu. The letters of the names of these witnesses tallied with the handwriting of Lingaraj Mishra, if he had written the document.
When it was the “Exact Photocopy” of the will dictated by Gopabandhu and witnessed by these fellows, why had they not signed it? A doubt crept up in mind on genuineness of the “unsigned” Will published in the Samaja.
Gopabandhu had died immediately after giving the alleged dictation. He was very very seriously ill and the civil surgeon on his visit a few hours ago had predicted his death within a very short span. But the flawless language used in the so-called Will was so superb and mindful of every details of his property, that it seemed very unnatural. It was not easy to accept that a man at the nearest verge of death could have retained his composure to dictate his Will so meticulously and in such flawless language. I consulted some very eminent physicians, forensic experts and psychologists, without telling them that I was querying on Gopabandhu, and rather reading them the text of the published Will with substituted names, as to whether in such a condition, specifically when a senior and expert civil surgeon called on emergency from a district headquarters hospital had declared that death was sharply approaching, a man could have the composure to give dictation of such a brilliant Will without being perturbed at all? All of them said, it was not normally possible.
Formation of Save the Samaja Forum
In that peculiar situation, I decided to attract public attention to this issue and published my views in ORISSA MATTERS on August 8, 2012. A group of journalists shocked over the absence of Gopabandhu’s signature in what was published by ‘The Samaja’ as the “Exact Photocopy” of his Will, studied the matter and formed a forum called ‘Save the Samaja Forum’ (SSF) to seek clarification from the publishers of the paper/Servants of the People Society (SoPS).
Unethical reaction of Samaja publishers
SSF held a press conference and issued a press note. Though the press note as well as a copy of the published Will purported to be of Gopabandhu were collected by the reporter of the paper in the press conference, the news was not published by it. On the other hand, its editor published a display ad in its following edition savagely attacking the office bearers of SSF.
SSF had given them a call to clarify on the issue raised and publish the genuine Will, if any, authored by Gopabandhu. The matter could have ended on publication of the real Will, if any, and publication of reasons of absence of Gopabandhu’s signature and signature of the witnesses on the the Will if what was published in ‘The Samaja’ was the “Exact Copy” thereof.
As “The Samaja’ did not publish the real Will, if any, we investigated into what could have happened to it.
And, our investigation leads us to documents that make us apprehend that the Will of Gopabandhu, which SoPS has been using to claim ownership over The Samaja, is a forged Will.
SSF informed the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) about this and demanded action against publication of the newspaper under illegitimate ownership. We are yet to hear from the RNI.
Radhanath Rath involved with forgery
Now as our investigation proceeds, we have come across documents that make it clear that Gopabandhu’s Will, by using which SoPS has grabbed ‘The Samaja’, is a product of forgery and Prof. Nilakantha Rath’s father Radhanath Rath was involved with this forgery. His partner in this forgery was another acolyte of Gopabandhu, Lingaraj Mishra. Both of them had immensely benefited from the forgery, as occupation of Assembly and Parliament seats and Cabinet berths by both of them was easy by use of Gopabandhu’s name and fame and the media power of ‘The Samaja’. Both of them were Education Ministers of Orissa; and so antagonists were they in real terms to Gopabandhu in their minds, that the famous National Bana Vidyalaya, which Gopabandhu had established in the Bakula Bana of Satyavadi was obliterated without any of them paying any attention to its salvaging.
The social media – FaceBook has a page dedicated to ‘save the samaja’ campaign, where the subjects published in the above two sites are being posted.
Till date, neither ‘The Samaja’ nor the SoPS has shown that the Will used by SoPS is genuine.Eminent journalist and joint convener of SSF Sri Prasanta Patnaik has presented the shock of Orissa over the silence of SoPS/ The Samaja publishers in this calling matter.
But instead of clarification, attempts have been made to mislead the authorities as well as the public by projecting the forged will as genuine.
Prof. Rath sponsors the forgery
Sadly, an eminent Professor like Nilakanth Rath has tried to mislead the public by publishing the same forged Will as “the probated Will of Gopabandhu”, in a notorious attempt to add authenticity to the forged Will. The Will he has published as the probated Will of Gopabandhu has never been probated. So his projection of the forged Will as probated Will is a punishable mischief and a calculated endeavor to hide his father’s crime. He has used a crude technique in his endeavor to hide his father’s crime. Lest people seek the original Will to compare with the same the one he has published, he has declared that he has published the “probated copy” of the Will “since Pandit Gopabandhu’s original Will was already missing from the store room”.
When the “original” Will “was already missing” and when he admittedly knows that there are “speculations” about Gopabandhu’s Will, how could he ascertain that the the Will he has published is genuine enough to stop the speculations?
His book is styled as ‘Dasa Apanenka Chithipatra’ with the English caption: ‘Correspondence of Pandit Gopabandhu’ which he has released in a public meeting at Cuttack, claiming that, thereby he has “discharged a debt (his) father owed to his Guru (Gopabandhu Das), to the Samaja and to the Odisha society at large”. When the purpose of the book was to publish the letters of Gopabandhu, why has he published the purported Will though the same never belongs to the category of ‘Chithipatra’ (Correspondence)?
It seems he has a hidden motive. And, that motive is discernible in his declaration that the original Will of Gopabandhu, which he had seen in his father’s possession, is missing. He might have seen the real Will that his father Radhanath had taken dictation of from Gopabandhu and suppressed. He might have, despite this reality, felt that if the same be brought to records, the crime of his father in suppressing the real Will and promulgating a forged Will in its place, would be exposed, exposing his father to posthumous condemnation for his crime. So, obviously, he has used this technique to hoodwink the people in matter of the Will.
We have reasons to suspect that by publishing the forged Will of Gopabandhu in circulation by the Samaja publishers, Prof. Rath has sponsored the forgery committed by his father in collaboration with Lingaraj Mishra.
Dissimilarity between the two documents
There is vast, basic, and clear dissimilarity between the “Exact photocopy” published in the Samaja and the one published by Prof. Rath in his book.
The “Exact Photocopy” of the Will is handwritten and has 10 paragraphs with margin notes at the end of which it is noted “Sd/ Gopabandhu Das without any date. Below that is written “Written by Lingaraj Mishra” without any date. To the left side thereof, it is written, “Witnesses” below which it is written, “D.V.R.Patnaik Basudev Mohapatra Ramachandra Raut” in descending order without any coma or serial number and without their identity; and below that, a date – 17.6.28 – has been mentioned.
But the so-called Will, which Prof. Rath has published in his book, has the date – 17.5.28 – written to the right of “Sd/- Gopabandhu Das” in one line. Then the words “written by me to his dictation” has been prefixed to “Sd/- Lingaraj Mishra. 17.6.28”. Thereafter it is typed, “Sd/- Ramachandra Raut, President, Satyabadi U. Board, 17.6.28″ and next, “Sd/- Basudeva Mohapatra, Biramchandrapur. 17.6.28”. Below these depictions, it is written, “I testify that the contents of this will were dictated by Pandit Gopabandhu Das, while in his full senses, and was read over to him and he signed in our presence and we signed in his presence at 5 P.M.” Below this testimony, it is written, “Sd/- D.V.R. Patnaik, L.M.P. 17.6.28” and below that, “Attending Doctor”.
A comparison between the two above documents shows that they are not the copies of the same document and there is speaking difference between the both. The document published by Prof. Rath seems to be improvisation done to the document, the “exact photocopy” of which was published in the Samaja on 7.7.1986, which was not also the real Will that Prof. Rath had seen in possession of his father; but, according to him, “was already missing from the store room”. Prof. Rath has not explained the phenomenon.
The document produced by Prof. Rath not only does suffer from dissimilarity with the document, an “exact photocopy” of which was published in the Samaja, but also is indicative of foul game his father had played.
Eye-witnessed accounts of Pt. Nilakantha Das
If Gopabandhu Das was Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das, that was because of the strongest support and affectionate patronage of Pandit Nilakantha Das. The Vana Vidyalaya had attracted national attention because of the masterly and matchless academic input Pandit Nilakantha had been giving it. Samaja was collectively created by Gopabandhu and Nilakantha with all necessary support from other teachers of the Vana Vidyalaya, collectively known as Panchasakha.
Nilakantha had procured the Satyabadi Press for generating funds for the Vidyalaya in 1918. He had also purchased a house for Gopabandhu from where about a year later ‘The Samaja’ was published in 1919. Satyabadi Press was handed over to the Samaja for its printing.
Pandit Nilakantha was Gopabandhu’s closest comrade. He has given eye-witness accounts of the time of Gopabandhu’s death. In his Atma-Jivani (auto-biography) he has written that when he was standing speechless looking at Gopabandhu degenerating into death, Radhanath Rath was taking dictation of his Will. He has written, at p.115 of his autobiography,”I stood speechless for 10/15 minutes while watching him dying. Before breathing his last he dictated his last Will. Radhanath Rath was taking the dictation. He sobbed as he informed his elder son-in-law Ratnakar Pati that he was dictating his last Will and testament. At the end, he threw away the Will after putting his signature thereon. He donated the Press to SoPS”.
There is no better evidence than the eye-witness accounts of Pandit Nilakantha Das to prove that the Will produced by Prof. Nilakantha Rath is a forged one. Prof. Rath has published the forged Will, by using which, SoPS has grabbed the Samaja. When the Will published by Prof. Nilakantha and used by SoPS says that Lingaraj Mishra had taken the dictation, it is proved by eye-witness accounts of Pandit Nilakantha that it was Radhanath Rath to whom Gopabandhu had dictated his Will.
Where has that Will gone? That has gone certainly into the wastepaper basket by Radhanath Rath as none but him could have destroyed the same.Prof. Rath has admitted that he had seen the real Will in his father’s possession. It was never probated. Had it been probated, it would never have remained in the possession of Radhanath Rath, because, he was neither the executor nor the heir of Gopabandhu and furthermore, it should have been preserved in the strong room of the District Judge of Cuttack, who had granted the probate.So, definitely Radhanath Rath, who had taken the dictation of the Will, had hidden the same and used Lingaraj Mishra in manufacturing a forged Will to his own advantage as already has been discussed in these pages.As we have already seen, the draft Will taken dictation of by RadhanathRath was reduced to fair/final copy by Lingaraj Mishra and was probated. But, as the same did not suit the evil intention of Radhanath and Lingaraj, in nexus with Radhanath, Lingaraj made a new draft which they got authenticated by a sheristadar of the District Judge, Cuttack and used to grab the Samaja. But as their produced document was not a stamped “certified copy” of the Will, its authenticity, despite being authenticated by the Sheristadar, was always questionable.So, attempts were made to obtained a “certified copy” whereupon at the copy-typing stage, tampering was done to match the forged Will made by the duo and authenticated by the Sheristadar. We have documents in our possession that shows how tampering was attempted to on the typed copy of the Will preserved in the office of the District Judge, Cuttack. Radhanath Rath was Editor of the Samaja at that time and was the greatest beneficiary of the forgery and was to stay safe for ever had that tampering in the typed “cerified copy” could have escaped the comparer’s attention. Prof. Nilakantha Rath has reproduced in his book the last forged avatar of the Will, when, according to him, his father Radhanath Rath had kept the real Will in his store, which he had seen, yet unable to retrieve, because it “was already missing from the store room”.
The heinous crime
Radhanath Rath had clearly played the mischief. In collaboration with Lingaraj Mishra, he had suppressed or destroyed the Will that he had written to dictation of Gopabandhu and cunningly replaced the same with another document where Lingaraj Mishra has been shown as the writer. Obviously, the Will that is shown as written by Lingaraj Mishra and in use by SoPS/ occupiers of the Samaja, is a forged Will manufactured by both Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra. It is a heinous crime that requires criminal punishment for the both of them even if it be posthumous.
The mens rea
By gaining over or by being associated himself with Radhanath Rath, Lingaraj Mishra has forged the Will, as he has written to have written the same “to Gopabandhu’s dictation”. The two fellows who are shown to have signed the forged will as witnesses to Gopabandhu’s dictation and Dr. Rao who is shown to have given the testimony are all part of this heinous crime.
This forged Will was certainly written much after Gopabandhu’s demise and there was certainly no signature of Gopabandhu thereon. Dr. Rao’s testimony inscribed in the so-called Will does not have an iota of factuality, in view of the eye-witness accounts of Pandit Nilakantha Das, that clearly says that Gopabandhu had dictated the Will to Radhanath Rath (not Lingaraj Mishra).
The mens rea behind this forgery is very clear.
As per eye-witness accounts of Pandit Nilakantha Das, Gopabandhu had given to SoPS the Satyabadi Press only, not the Samaja. Mishra and Rath knew that the press shall not help them much in achieving their political ambitions. The Samaja being known by the name of Pt.Gopabandhu, Pt.Nilakantha, Pt.Godavarish, Acharya Harihar and other founders of the ‘Satybadi Era, had tremendous media and political power that they could use to rise in political ladder. Therefore, they willfully suppressed or destroyed the original will of Gopabandhu dictated to Radhanath Rath and later manufactured the forged Will to convince the public that Gopabandhu had gifted away the Satyabadi Press and ‘The Samaja’ to SoPS, under the cover of which, it was only they, who were to become the real beneficiaries.
Pandit Nilakantha who inherited Gopabandhu as editor of ‘The Samaja’ as co-founder thereof, had, as per Udayanath Sarangi’s accounts, vehemently opposed this foul game of Radhanath Rath. But after capturing the Samaja thus fraudulently, the forger duo had rudely thrown him out of the Samaja after a few months of Gopabandhu’s death. Obviously, he had to pay the price by not accepting the forged Will.
We have more documents in our possession that will further expose the felony of forgery perpetrated by Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra.
Let Prof. Rath accept a challenge
Let Prof. Rath reveal as to why he has accepted (in the absence of the original Will) the document he has published in his book as “the probated copy of Pandit Gopabandhu’s Will”. And, say, on what ground he believed that this is the “probated copy” of the Will. On the basis of documents in our possession, we have no doubt that Prof. Rath has sponsored his father’s forgery to hoodwink the people of Orissa.
Let him say if he has anything else to say.