Orissa Assembly//Let History not be Misled

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“It is a pity that the Opposition continuously disturbed the proceedings of the House” for which adjournment sine die was necessary, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said.

The pictures would show how, under his leadership and instigation, the ruling party was creating disturbances to force the Speaker to adjourn the House except when Bills were needed to be passed under the cover of ruckus so created, avoiding Opposition gaze.

BJD MLAs in the Well 1BJD MLAs in the Well 2BJD MLAs in the Well 3BJD MLAs in the Well 4BJD MLAs instigated by the CM to disturb the House

Session put to premature death, Assembly adjourned sine die

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If passing of some Law Bills as well as the Appropriation Bill – in a condition where legislative wisdom of the Opposition is not honored as   the basic necessity – is counted as success of the Government, failure of democracy would stand synonymous with this success.

Failure of democracy needs no proof, as the winter session of the Assembly has been pushed into premature death today, when the House has been adjourned sine die.

Background

By the day the Assembly was to commence, the State was entirely in turmoil due to exposure that chit fund cheats have bilked thousands of crores of rupees from more than one-fourth of the population of Orissa. Some of the close associates of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were in judicial custody as under-trial offenders, when some more were in the investigation chamber of CBI under orders of the Supreme Court.Intriguing attempts of the State Government to use the Supreme Court to keep the CBI away from investigation into chit fund scams was not only rocking the minds of the people, but also was moving the needle of suspicion towards Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who was marked for his patronizing cooperation with a chit fund swindling outfit SeaShore. Advocate General of the Government was apprehended by CBI for his dubious deal with another chit fund cheat under the banner name: Artha Tattwa. Shockingly, another man who was lawyer of chit fund cheat Prasant Dash was appointed as the new Advocate General, when the State was expected to prosecute the chit fund swindler. Alok Jena’s case in the Supreme Court had pointed out who of Naveen’s ministerial and party colleagues had taken how many crores of rupees from the chit fund operators; but they were not daring to counter Jena’s allegation. In such a situation, the Chief Minister was sure to have feared that the Opposition may strip him layer by layer in the Assembly over the chit fund scams. He would have been happy if the session could have not been convened. But, that was not within his power, as the supplementary budget was to be adopted and a few Law Bills were to be passed.

Modus operandi 

The House had commenced with adjournment and call-attention notices from the Opposition and the Treasury benches on the chit fund issue.

That was most troublesome for the CM.

Treasury bench members were eager to protect him at any cost, because their survival in politics was linked to his clean image.

Deliberately, therefore, a minister – Pradeep Maharathy – hurled sexual slangs at a lady member of the BJP – Radharani Panda – in the hall of the Assembly in order to provoke acrid commotions that would make the Speaker adjourn the House. Almost three days were lost to this design.

Modus operandi of the Chief Minister became clear when the treasury bench engineered adjournments under pretense of State Interest, after the House had regained normalcy with Maharathy apologizing to Ms. Panda for the nasty words he had hurled.

Further stronger methods to keep the House adjourned were devised in the guise of advice of the aforesaid Advocate General that has culminated in adjournment sine die today.

The Irony

The irony is that when the CM had not opened his lips in the House to revive the climate for it to proceed, after declaration of sine die closure, he has come out with words of allegation that the Assembly had to be adjourned sine die; because, the Opposition did not allow it to proceed. What a farce Mr. Patnaik has made of democracy in Orisa! 

The Assembly Imbroglio: Loser is the Chief Minister

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Despite fabulous majority – 117 members in a 147 seater Assembly – Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik looks like a pathetic loser, as a mere 30 member strong multi-party Opposition has put him on the mat where he does not dare to open his mouth.

At the crux of this imbroglio lies the chit fund felony.

Significantly, the Opposition is not holding the Cabinet, as a whole, responsible for this, whereas it has unambiguously pointed out at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who seems to have acted God Father to at least one of the crooks – Prasant Dash of SeaShore.

It should have been proper for Naveen to explain his position; because he is not an individual alone, but a Chief Minister.

It is not becoming of a Chief Minister to use silence as the best method of defense.

On the 14th day of its commencement, Orissa Assembly collapsed again to adjournment till 3 PM today after less than a minute of beginning of the Question Hour.

At par with our views, the daily Sanchar, founded and guided by the most astute member of Naveen’s cabinet Dr. Damodar Raut, also has opined that, the Chief Minister shouldn’t shy at the Opposition in the chit fund matter and rather should put forth with honesty the details of the scam as has come out in course of investigation, so that denigration of the image of the Government in the eyes of the people may stop.

But, instead of correcting himself, the Chief Minister has taken refuge in the ruling of the Speaker that the chit fund matter being sub judice, cannot be subjected to debates of the House.

This plea is abysmally poor.

From what the Opposition is stressing upon, it is clear that, it wants accounts of the Chief Minister on his suspected link with chit fund crooks. The Chief Minister’s link with chit fund crooks is never before any court of law. So, it is not acceptable that the matter is sub judice. It would fit better to legislative magnanimity if the Speaker recalls his ruling and allows debates on chit fund felony without any prejudice to matters before the court. Assembly secretariat should be used to apprise the members of what exactly is su judice. Beyond that, free debate on chit fund should be allowed.

Bills in English are offenses against Orissa: Biju had designed the subterfuge, his son has given it the finality

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Sad, the Orissa Assembly is adjourned again due to the Government’s adamancy to impose English over the primacy of Oriya language in the Legislative Assembly.

After creating the cause for unrelenting ruckus in the House, the Government has architected passage of several Bill without discussion, even though they were blatantly violative of the Orissa Official Language Act.

In this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given a culminating effect to the act of subterfuge his father Biju Patnaik had devised to render the mother tongue of Orissa officially useless. It was one of the reasons of mass upsurge against Biju that had forced him out of power in 1963. After 50 years of Biju’s anti-Oriya foul play, his son Naveen has given Oriya language a deadly blow by bringing in Bills only in English, not in Oriya, and getting them passed beneath the whipped up hubbub.

The people of Orissa are the creators of the era of linguistic States in India and Orissa was the first State to have made administration to run in the mother tongue of the people – Oriya.

While celebrating the first Utkal Divas after independence, on 1st April, 1948, the Orissa Assembly, awaiting adoption of the Constitution, had resolved that, the First Assembly to be created by the people must make Oriya the Official language by enacting a Law to that extent and accordingly, the first Assembly enacted ‘The Orissa Official Language Act, 1954’. This Act stipulated that Oriya was “to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.

But, the administrative officers, in order to keep them as a separate distinguished class, ignored this Act and went on managing their files in English.

When a fellow like Biju Patnaik grabbed the Chief Minister chair, he pampered and patronized whosoever was priding in being elite.

In his vested interest administration wherein non-Oriya officers and favor-seekers were dazzling as the Chief Minister’s inner associates, the Official Language Act, 1954 was relegated to insignificance and English reemerged as the language of administration; and thus, Oriya language was rendered officially useless by Biju Patnaik. He even got the Act amended to make Oriya language bereft of its primacy in administration.

When the British had made non-Oriya languages the official languages in Oriya speaking tracks, the people of Orissa had woke up against the design and forced the British to amalgamate all the Oriya speaking areas to a separate province where they can use their mother tongue in offices.

But Biju Patnaik, the most hypocrite virus post-independence politics had ever produced, sabotaged this primacy of Oriya language by inserting a provision in the Official Language (Amendment) Act, 1963 to the effect that, English shall be used “in addition to Oriya for transaction of business in Legislature of the State of Orissa”.

This shrewd insertion subjected Orissa administration to predominance of English and ruined the utility of Oriya as a language.

By creating the Bills only in English language now, Naveen Patnaik has given finality to the act of subterfuge designed against Oriya language 50 years ago by his father Biju Patnaik. In his latest action, the concept “in addition to” penned in the 1963 amendment has also been discarded. It is a shame that there are sycophants who support non-framing of Bills in Oriya.

Orissa Assembly Mustn’t be made a Political Junkyard

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is not that the Orissa Assembly is so very busy that it has no time for debates on Law Bills and Demands. But it has passed certain Bills and the Demands without the desired debates thereon. The Assembly is reduced to a political junkyard.

This nasty situation could have been avoided had the Government been a bit responsible in its response to the Opposition demand for a just and necessary discussion on chit fund scam that has put around 25% of the State’s population in drastic financial loss and has put the Chief Minister and the ruling party in terrible loss of credibility.

None other than the Government is responsible for the loss of its credibility. When depositors found that they have been cheated by the chit fund swindlers, they knew that they had been tempted to make their trysts with the chit fund operators only because the Government of Naveen Patnaik had appeared as their patron and Sri Patnaik himself also had posed as promoter of the major ones of them like the SeaShore, even after being notified by the appropriate machinery of the Central Government about their dubious conduct. The second most spectacular reason of loss of the Government’s credibility is found in its opposition to CBI investigation into the chit fund felony. Naveen Patnaik’s Government had spent about half a crore of Rupees on lawyers to obstruct the Supreme Court from ordering for CBI enquiry, claiming that neither any minister and/or leader of the ruling party nor any functionary of the Government was involved with the chit funds; whereas the CBI has already put some of the close colleagues of the CM – both political and executive – under the grip of law, for their discernible and/or suspected Role in the chit fund scam.

When this loss of credibility of the Government was posing a threat to mana of democracy,  it was natural for the Opposition to demand a discussion on chit fund in supersession of all other businesses. It should have been the best for the Leader of the House – the Chief Minister himself – to come forward with how the Government looks at the issue, and with the details of the actions taken  by the Government in the matter so far, and proposed action, if any, it wants to take. The Chief Minister should have helped the Assembly with a proper, fair and honest debate that could have helped the affected people to understand where they really stand vis-a-vis the chit fund operators. But, sadly, that never happened. All nasty tricks were used to debar the House from having the accounts of the Government  in the matter. The result has paralyzed the Assembly in matters of accountability of the Government for eleven working days till today, whereas it is increasingly being felt that the ruling party is derailing the House in order only to help the Chief Minister escape public gaze.

Significantly, the Speaker has become a party to subjugation of the Assembly Members’ right to speak in the Assembly on matters of urgent public importance. In respect to desirability of debate on chit fund felony, he wanted advice of the Advocate General in the matter and the AG reportedly advised that, no debate, either through any motion or demand-discussion, should be allowed on chit fund. This has pushed the issue into a turn towards the worse.

In public perception, the Speaker of the Assembly, who owes his berth in the House to the ruling party, and has every reason to stay grateful to the Chief Minister for the position he is holding, has been helping the CM by subjugating the sovereignty of the House to overlordship of the Advocate General who has vested interest in blocking the debate on chit fund. The Leader of the Opposition has condemned the reliance put on the AG, as, before accepting the assignment, he was the advocate of the chit fund set-up SeaShore, which is a major object of CBI investigation.  Inability of the Speaker to remove the blockage on normal proceeding of the House has earned objurgation even from a senior member of the Cabinet Dr. Damodar Raut. Of course, after a day of putting on records his strong disapproval of the Speaker’s action, Raut has taken a U-turn.

In its history, the Orissa Assembly had never fallen in such a situation of abnormality. Nobody knows how its normalcy would be restored unless the government educates itself to be answerable.

The Proposed Women University should be named after Bharat Chandra Nayak and established in Sambalpur

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Today is the day of Sambalpur.

This forenoon, there is going to be held a discussion on Bharat Chandra Nayak’s matchless autobiography – MOR PURBASMRUTI KATHA – in a hotel at under the banner of ‘Think Literature Festival-2014’. Reprint of the rare book is slated to be released on the occasion.

And, today, Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the 150th anniversary celebration of Sambalpur’s famous seat of learning – Chandrasekhar Behera Zilla School.

Sambalpur’s contributions to Oriya mana is immeasurable and immense. Its Indrabhuti and his sister Laxminkara were the founders of Jagannatha cult that has given Orissa its distinction as a land of culture and peace. And to modern Orissa, it is Bharat Chandra Nayak of Sambalpur who has given its new era of Women Education.

But this truth has been covered up under the debris of time.

In this posting, I will recall only Bharat Chandra.

I will call him the father of modern women education in Orissa, because, none other than him has suffered so much loss in convincing the conservative people of Orissa that emancipation is not unachievable if girls are given modern education.

When he admitted his daughters in schools where english was being taught, he was subjected to social boycott. He was born in Bolangir, but had decided to reside in Sambalpur in professional pursuit. So, Sambalpur had no congenital bond with him, and hence, no emotional attachment.
In such a condition, having a life under the conservatives who were not at all in favor of English education for the girl children, he had dared to give his daughters modern education.

It had attracted social wrath that was, for a common man, impossible to tolerate. Obnoxious posters were pasted against his daughters, and all sorts of character assassination was used as instruments to force him abandon his zeal for imparting English education to his daughters. He never faltered. Even he had to harden his heart to tolerate the cruelty of time.

Social oppression and non-cooperation by his close relations over the issue of modern education to his daughters had given him such a deadly blow that no man sans dedicated determination for a noble cause can ever withstand.

He has given a detailed description of what situations he has to face over the issue in his book MOR PUBRASMRUTI KATHA. Fortunately its reprint will be now on available. Anybody may go through the book and study the matter.

I have not seen him in my life. He had spent some days as a royal guest in my birthplace Tigiria and because he was Assistant Dewan of Dhenkanal where the cousin brother of my grand father was the Dewan, he was well received in Tigiria. From my father I came to know that he had authored a book where the famous festival of Fireworks of Tigiria – Champakadwadashi – had been described.

I had known one of his daughters who to my wife Sabita and me was Shyama Nani and had known her husband Mr. Panigrahi in whom I had seen a humanitarian Judge when he was heading the Labor Court at Bhubaneswar. But, when I failed to get the book from them, Prof Shova Roy told me that when she was the Principal of Saambalpur Women’s College, she had seen the book in the College Library. Eager to go through the book, I rushed to Sambalpur. My sisterly Prof. Laxmi Gop was the Principal of Sambalpur Women’s College. She allowed me to browse through the book in the college library and helped me to have the rare work xeroxed. And, that xerox copy gave me the opportunity to read the book deeply.

During reading the book, I can’t say why, but I must say, I was crying.

I was sure, there was none, and sure that, there can’t be any, amongst the entire population of Orissa who could have suffered so much for women education.

I remember, after finishing the book, I took a bath and attired in fresh cloths, like someone worships a deity, I put the xeroxed copy of the book on a cleaned chair in the room of the PWD IB where a suite was allotted to me for two days and offered flowers picked from the IB campus and prostrated before it, as if I was seeing Bharat Chandra Nayak dazzling in satisfaction over all his sufferings. And, from there, I had gone to the Pantha Nivas standing nearby, typed a letter using the type-writer of its office, and personally presented the same to the Collector, Sambalpur, wherein I had made a request that in honor of the great man who suffered so much for women education, the Sambalpur Women’s College should be named after him.

In a system where contributions to society and sacrifices for a cause are not counted, my endeavors could not click.

However, when the State Government is thinking of creating a Women’s University, and, suggestions are afloat to transform the Rama Devi Women’s College of Bhubaneswar to this status, I want to point out that, the proposed University be named after the greatest sufferer for women education: Bharat Chandra Nayak.

When the Bhubaneswar College is named after Rama Devi, it would not be desirable to change its name. The Sambalpur Women’s College is not named after anybody, when, in fact, women education owes its spread in Sambalpur to the sacrifices and sufferings of Late Bharat Chandra Nayak.

The people of Sambalpur on their own accord had established the Government taken over Sambalpur Women’s College in the year 1959 when R.D.Women’s College, Bhubaneswar was not even in the womb of time. The State Government created R.D.Women’s College in 1964.

Though Shailabala Women’s College, Cuttack is senior to both of these two institutes, the College at Sambalpur is not to discard any name. So, the proposal advanced by the State Government to establish a Women University should be named after Bharat Chandra Nayak and should be established in Sambalpur, as Bharat Chandra Nayak University for Women.

Assembly in a blue funk: Shame should be caused to the Members

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The possibility of normalcy in running of the Assembly session, generated when the House took up its business after non-functioning for almost a week since its commencement, got aborted just a minute after its day began today, to total frustration of the people of the State.

Had the Chief Minister – the de facto owner of the ruling BJD – not been trying to escape exposure of his dubious deals in debates of the Assembly, the treasury benches would not have been seen stymying its proceedings in blatant violation of its Rules and Procedures.

Whosoever is not watching the Assembly from its inner galleries, not watching whatever little the television channels are displaying, cannot know how the dignity of the House is being destroyed by its members. Posterity cannot know how the dreams and sacrifices of their forefathers are being shattered by the fellows that boast of people’s support to them.

Debates are reduced to writing, compiled and printed by the Assembly, which the posterity may peruse some day. But the nasty manners in which the members destroy the dignity of the House and force the Assembly into doldrums is not noted on records with the names of the misusers of their privileges who drag the rampart of democracy to such a blue funk.

We therefore suggest, the Governor should step in and issue orders for digital preservation of whatever is happening in the Hall, with unedited video records and also make legal arrangements for collection and preservation of all bites and videos the TV channels are recording inside and outside of the Hall for honest preservation thereof for the posterity and current education of the Members on how shameful is their action. Shame should be caused to them by making them see their conduct in specially convened conferences,  as seeing the same may make them conscious of the political filth they are creating and help them have introspections and self-corrections.

I urge upon patriotic intellectuals to study this proposal and use their moral pressure in its favor, if they like, in order to save whatever iota of democracy we still possess, despite plutocracy having engulfed our land.

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