Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
As the Black Flag Movement of Bhasha Andolan for amendment of Orissa Official Language Act, 1954, hereinafter called The Act, to provide for punishment to whosoever fails to work in Oriya in offices within the jurisdiction of the State reached the 623rd day on December 26, the State Cabinet that met at Puri in an unprecedented manner, agreed with the demand and adopted resolution to to provide for “appropriate punishment” against any contravention thereof. The day was also the foundation day of BJD. Therefore its members and supporters from all over Orissa had gathered there. TV channels were live telecasting the event. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik calculatedly used the occasion to assure the people in general and the Bhasha Andolan activists spread through out the State in particular that, contraveners of The Act would no more go unpunished.
It is a great achievement of Bhasha Andolan, no doubt. But the decision of the Cabinet, is too vague and vitiated to be viewed as a desired development. Therefore, it has been decided to continue with the Black Flag campaign till all administrative dangers to Oriya Language are completely removed.
Let us first see the mischiefs that vitiate the Cabinet decisions.
Resolution No.11 speaks about translation of Oriya literary works into other languages and vice versa in PPP mode. This is nothing but playing to the tune of Bhasha Mafia groups that work under cover of certain Institutes, as in PPP mode the private party is necessarily an institute or industry. A Bhasha Mafia group headed by Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak styled Institute of Odia Studies and Research (IOSR) is already engaged in exploiting the State Exchequer in the guise of translation on the basis of MoU signed with the Centre for Modernizing Government Initiative (CMGI) in connivance with GA Department Officials. The Memorandum says, “Whereas the CMGI is in search of assistance of a body of experts in the endeavor to use Odia Language extensively in the State administration as well as in other activities / programs of the State Government; and whereas the IOSR is willing to provide necessary assistance and expertise in the field of usage of Odia Language in the State administration as well as in its other activities / programs extensively and the CMGI is willing to accept the same” the MOU is signed “for using Odia Language extensively in the administrative activities and programs of the State Government.” The document marked ‘A’ is copy of an accepted “quotation” that gives Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak Rs.6,500.00 for translation of 6,500 words at the rate of Rupee one per word. This Institute is under MOU for translation work in PPP mode and is set to immensely benefit if this particular Resolution is carried out. It will help the language mafia in looting the exchequer at the cost of Oriya literature. Orissa’s persons of letters are excellently serving the literature by translating important works on their own initiative and being regularly honored with State and Central Sahitya Academy awards for translation. The scenario will change if translation is taken up in PPP mode and Orissa’s world of letters will be reduced to a grazing ground of the mafia only.
It is pertinent to note that, the MoU mentioned above was cultivated by Dr. D.P.Pattanayak and his mafia gang that has corrupted the administration and literary sphere of Orissa. Memorandum of the MoU has noted that Dr. Pattanayak and his team being the persons that authored the document for classical status of Oriya language and brought the status for Oriya, are chosen for PPP by the CMGI. Obviously, Dr. Pattanayak has dazzled the CMGI authorities with the ‘Padmashree’ he is decorated with, to believe this claim, when in reality, entering into the scholars’ committee the State Government had appointed to conduct necessary research to justify its claim for Classical Status, he and his gang had stollen the official work that fetched the Status. The same false claim of Dr. Pattanayak and his gang has also misled the Utkal University to sign with their Institute a MoU for establishment of a Centre of Computational Linguistics. Taking into consideration the modus operandi of this gang, it can easily be assumed that hijacking the achievements of this PPP venture is the hidden agenda of this gang, that, may make Cabinet’s Resolution No.12 helpful to their design. Bhasha Andolan Chairman Subhas Chandra Pattanayak and Convener Pabitra Maharatha had moved the Chief Secretary of Orissa on 25.10.2017 (Document marked ‘B’) for blacklisting Dr. Pattanayak and his gang and for criminal investigation against their crime. The Director of Odia Bhasa Pratisthan, the copyrighted work of which has been stolen and used by the gang in creating a parallel copyright, has also reported on the suspected theft and recommended for investigation. The Government is yet to wake up.
Odia Bhasha Commission Mischief
Another sinister design is indiscernible in Resolution No. 17. It breaths a mischief, styled “Odia Bhasha Commission”.
Chief Minister’s political friend Baishnab Charan Parida, who was nominated by him to represent Orissa in the Rajya Sabha, has all along worked to obfuscate the movement for governance of Orissa in Oriya. When poet Gajanan Mishra of Titilagarh, a lawyer by profession, was insisting upon implementation of the Act in Courts, Parida had tried to dissuade him. Mishra says, he had gone even to Titilagarh to warn him that he should not dare to raise the agitation. As that did not click, Parida started demanding implementation of The Act in order only to eclipse the impact of Mishra. When this reporter, as a member of the Ministerial Committee on working of The Act submitted a set of draft legislation for insertion in the Act so that it may work, he stayed with the Official spectrum that ultimately derailed the ‘Term of Reference’ forcing the Committee die a premature death. He continued to confuse the public with intermittent praise for the Government till Bhasha Andolan completed 500 days in propounding the demand for amendment of the Act to ensure punishment to whosoever contravenes the same. And, thereafter, surprisingly, he supported the demand of the Bhasha Andolan and started saying that civil disobedience needs be used to achieve the goal. In saying this he acted a mere agent provocateur of the ruling party that had assured him Chairmanship of a Language Commission as and when the same would be constituted, if he succeeded in derailing the Bhasha Andolan. This Language Commission is what is termed ‘Odia Bhsha Commission’ in the resolution of The Council.
But the main mischief the Cabinet has breathed, mocks at the Nation of the Oriyas in the Resolution No.3 that has left the fate of the people to bureaucracy that is anti-Oriya and pro-English in administration. Fuzzy words like “appropriate punishment” , if The Act is violated, forms the crux of this resolution that also hints at rewarding the employees, who would profusely use Oriya Language in workplace. The Cabinet should have spelt out the nature and quantum of punishment it contemplated, or should have resolved to adopt the draft, which as a member of the Ministerial Committee I had given, which, in my opinion, was essential for working of the Act. It could have forced the bureaucracy to frame the proposed amendment with specific punishment. But the Cabinet has allowed itself to stay away from defining the punishment. Thereby it has given free hand yet again to the bureaucracy to foil the purpose of The Act, as is its wont and as it had done earlier.
Mischief of bureaucracy
Mischief of bureaucracy against Oriya Language is visible in what happened to the Ministerial Committee created for the specific purpose under Resolution No. GAD-CODE-CORDES-0013-2015-18715/GA on 31.7.2015.
All the Ministers in the Ministerial Committee as well as the Chief Minister had agreed to amend the Act and to frame the Rule as I had suggested in my draft referred to supra. The Law Secretary was asked to vet the same for placement before the Assembly. A non-Oriya officer G.V.V.Sharma, then the Principal Secretary in the GA department derailed the proposal and the file had to die a premature death.
This is the photocopy of the concerned page of the file placed here for perusal. It shows, the legislation proposed by me was put up in the file for approval. When it reached Sri Sharma, he raised objection to Rule 4 and Rule 10 of the Rules that I had submitted, placed in its entirety as official draft at page 10 of the file.
Let us first see, what these two Rules said.
Rule 4. All signboards, hoardings, advertisements, posters, pamphlets and nameplates in Odisha meant for public reading, public knowledge or public information shall be only in Odia, or in any other language along with Odia.
Rule 10. For the violation of any provision of the Act or these Rules, the person responsible for it in his personal capacity shall be punished with a fine of Rs.2,000/- and a person responsible in his official capacity shall be punished with a fine of Rs.10,000/-.
Provided that, for each subsequent violation, the amount of fine shall be double of that for the first violation.
Sharma in his nothing in the displayed document, on 19.11.2015, said, both these Rule appear impossible for implementation.
When the Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati ignored Sharma’s noting on Rule 4, he wanted the Law Department to opine if punishment could be imparted under Rule 10.
Then the bureaucracy took steps to obliterate the entire effort and misled the Chief Minister to drift away from his willingness to amend the Act as proposed by me.
Without calling the Ministerial Committee, in the name of the Committee, the Chief Minister was made to sign on the dotted lines on 17.12.2015 , pronouncing a 9-point program for “strict implementation of the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954” , which completely obliterated the idea of imposition of punishment for violation of the Act by amendment of the Act and framing of Rules.
That, the CM acted under the pressure of the non-Oriya officers was clear, when Sharma, on his own accord, expanded the CM’s 9-point program to a 14-point program the next day and sent the same to departmental Secretaries in his letter No. UOI 213/GA dated 18. 12.2015 behind back of the Ministerial Committee.
Ministerial Committee virtually killed
It de facto killed the Ministerial Committee.
When I strongly objected to this, Sharma who was the convener of the Committee, had to convey its meeting again 12.1.2016 with an agenda that required the same 14-point program arbitrarily created by him over the CM’s 9-point program, to be concurred by the Committee.
It was shocking to note that hand-in-glove with Sharma, Dr. D. P. Pattanayak and his gang in the Committee and Sri Baishnab Charan Parida, eager to keep the government pleased in order to exploit our mother tongue for their respective commercial and political purposes, did not oppose the agenda that excluded the proposal for amendment of the Act and the proposed Rules. That was enough for me to come out of the Committee and to initiate the Black Flag agitation, which my friends, Pabitra Maharatha and Pradyumna Satpathy et all fully endorsed and resultantly Bhasha Andolan, Orissa took birth.
After 39 days of the Black Flag campaign that had commenced on 13.4.2016, the Government announced on 21.5.2016 that, it would amend the Act as we had wanted. We wanted immediate amendment through Ordinance, and that was also complied with by the Government, which announced to promulgate the Rules by 15.8.2016. We kept the Black Flag Campaign postponed till that day as a mark of democratic faith in the Chief Minister.
But when the Rules were framed and promulgated with effect from 12.8.2016, we found the State blatantly cheated. Under Rule 3, only a Committee of 5 Secretaries headed by the Chief Secretary was constituted to “review” the implementation of the Act twice a year.
We had to resume the Black Flag movement which has reached, including the postponed phase, 623 days on the 26th and is being supported by the people through collaborative Black Flag campaign in various important places like Sambalpur, Rourkela, Phulbani, Brahmapur, Chhatrapur, Byasa Nagar, etc. The political Government is so very ashamed of its own subjugation to the scheming bureaucracy that it did not dare to place before the Assembly the details of the “circumstances which had necessitated immediate legislation by an Ordinance.” In the process it kept the Assembly in dark about the Rules framed after the Ordinance. We find the same bureaucratic mischief mingled with anglicized mentality of the Chief Minister sic passim the cabinet decision at Puri, which has failed to tell the people what sort of punishment is to be given to whosoever does not work in Oriya in offices/establishments.
Therefore, the Bhasha Andolan leadership has decided not to pay any heed to the Cabinet decision and has resolved to continue the Black Flag Movement till the actual amendment takes place and contents thereof accepted by the campaigners.