Poet Pramod Mohanty Felicitated with Bishuba Samman

Famous poet, Prof. Pramod Mohanty has been felicitated with the 63rd annual Bishuba Samman, founded by Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab and Prajatantra Prachar Samiti, Cuttack.

Author of many works of poetry, such as Kramash, Debipada, Alagakuha et cetera, Prof. Mohanty has got national award from Indian Academy of Letters for his book ‘Asaranti Anasara’.

We feel proud in congratulating him for Orissa’s oldest eminent award for literature of highest order.

Sahitya Award 2011: A Happening That Should Not Have Happened

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Achihna Basabhumi, which should not have got the Central Sahitya Akademi Award, has got it on the strength of a decision of Orissa High Court on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that had challenged the selection of the book for the Award.

But a perusal of the order of the High Court that helped this book receive the Sahitya Award 2011 gives the feeling that had the PIL petitioner conducted the prosecution in right earnest, the result could have been different.

The Court has held that the petitioner’s case was not maintainable as a PIL by accepting the version of the award winner that the petitioner being a writer and publisher himself, had a private interest in challenging the Award.

Had the petitioner properly pleaded his case, he could have pointed out that no book either written by him or published by his firm was contesting for selection. So he had no private interest in challenging the selection and therefore the description of the case as a private interest litigation was not correct.

Fundamental Duty is a Public Interest Duty

He could have pleaded that, as a dutiful citizen, it was his fundamental duty to challenge the wrong selection, which was made in violation of the Annual Sahitya Akademi Awards Rules, hereinafter called the Rules.

He could have cited Article 51A of the Constitution of India that has laid down the fundamental duties, which every citizen should perform as a part of the general public, in public interest.

Under clause (e) thereof it has been stipulated that, it shall be the fundamental duty of every member of the general public – a citizen – “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women”.

The PIL petitioner should have convinced the Court that when these tenets are in jeopardy, it should be the duty of any member of the public to try every method, including judicial, to remove that jeopardy.

The book in question bears ingredients against harmony and goes against the spirit of common brotherhood as contemplated under the constitutional provision cited above. As for example, in page 515, Mrs. Indira Gandhi is castigated for having married to a Pathan in spite of being the daughter of Pt. Nehru, a Brahmin. In page 53, it has declared that it cannot be countenanced if a Brahmin child is made to sit on the same floor to study with a child of Kandara caste.

It uses terms that encourages the practice of using words and epithets absolutely derogatory to the dignity of women. As for example, in page 33, insulting and offensive words like Randi and Jarata are used against a woman. On the basis of meaning spelt out in Purnnachandra Ordia Bhashakosha, when Randi is an abusive Oriya word that equates a widow with a whore, Jarata stands for a woman who till old age remains a harlot. As such, the expression in this page – Randira Jarata Dosa Katigala – Randi is absolved from becoming a Jarata, is pregnant with the suggestion that, if a woman is a widow, she must be thriving on prostitution.

Words in this book are offensively used against people of schedule castes. As for example, in page 55, people of Keuta caste are depicted as harebrained and insultingly called ‘Shala” in the sense of being one, whose sister is fucked. Kandara caste people are called scavengers (Hedakhia) in page 260.

Muslims are also not spared. They are described as untouchables. As for example, in page 256, it is said that an untouchable person shall be doubly untouchable by touching a Muslim. In page 300, it is stated that Muslims are untouchable like all of the untouchable castes, rather baser than the untouchables because of being eaters of beef.

In view of such sample expressions and samples cited in saubhasya.com and placed as above, Achihna Basabhumi is a book that goes against the tenets of Article 51A(e) of the Constitution and carries ingredients that are injurious to promotion of “harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities” and are contributory to “practices derogatory to the dignity of women”.

It also contravenes Article 51A(f) that calls upon the citizens “to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture” by, as shown supra, depicting hatred for scheduled caste people, hatred for dignity of women, hatred for Muslims.

What should be the duty of a dutiful member of the general public -a citizen – in this case? He should expose the mischief, should try to make the general public aware of this mischief, should adopt all methods, including judicial, to defeat this mischief.

So, any step including legal step taken in this respect must be construed as a step in public interest.

Had the PIL petitioner convinced the Court of this, the verdict could have been different. And, the PIL might not have appeared as a private interest litigation.

A fit case for PIL

At Para 10 of the Judgment, the Court has rightly said, “Public Interest Litigation is not in the nature of adversary litigation. The purpose of PIL is to promote the public interest which mandates that violence of legal or constitutional rights of a large number of persons, poor, down-trodden, ignorant, socially or economically disadvantaged should not go unredressed. The Court can take cognizance in PIL when there are complaints which shocks the judicial conscience. PIL is pro bono publico and should not smack of any ulterior motive and no person has a right to achieve any ulterior purpose through such litigations”.

The petitioner had every opportunity to convince the Court that neither any book authored by him nor published by his firm being in the fray, the PIL he had filed was “not in the nature of adversary litigation” too.

He could have told the Court that “large number of persons” – the scheduled caste people, who are “poor, down-trodden, ignorant, socially or economically challenged” as well as the women and the Muslims, have the “legal or constitutional rights” not to be depicted in insulting and derogative terms in permanent ink in any book. But they have been so depicted – as samples given supra prove – in Achihna Basabhumi.

He could have pointed out that in honoring this despicable book with the national Sahitya Award 2011, meant for the “most outstanding book”, the “legal or constitutional rights of a large number of persons” – belonging to the scheduled castes as well as women and Muslims – not to be offended by insulting and derogatory depictions, are severely “violated”.

In moving the Court against this “violation”, the petitioner could have said that he had no “ulterior motive” and had no aim “to achieve any ulterior purpose” through the litigation.

Had he pleaded his case in this light, the “violation” of “legal or constitutional rights of large number of persons” – the members of scheduled castes, women and Muslims – not to be depicted in “insulting and derogatory” terms, could have “shocked” the “judicial conscience” of the bench and the case could have been taken cognizance of as a fit case for PIL and the order of the Court could have been different.

Acquiescence under pressure does not make a decision fair

The Court has relied upon a jury member Chandrasekhar Rath’s reported version in The Telegraph that reads, “At times, many factors for the selection of a work for an award remain unknown to the public. But, since the Akademi has entrusted us with the responsibility, we carried out the job to the best of our ability”. And, by accepting this version of Rath as genuine, the Court has held that the selection of the book for the award was genuine.

Had the petitioner sincerely pursued his case, he could have unfold before the Bench what Sri Rath really meant by saying, “many factors for the selection of a work for an award remain unknown to the public”.

The Rules and Procedure are the known factors that govern the selection of a work for an Award. And, they are available and known to the public. So, what really remains unknown?

The contravention of the Rules remains unknown.

The shenanigans in promoting a particular book for the Award in virtual nullification of the “ground list of eligible books” prepared by “the expert(s) appointed by the Akademi for for the specific purpose remains unknown.

The corruption in selection remains unknown.

The tricks of favoritism/nepotism used for selection of a particular book for the Award remains unknown.

The design to select a particular book for the Award by rejecting better books remains unknown.

The tricks of making the juries surrender to pressure for selecting a particular book for the Award remains unknown.

And many such nefarious activities of any office-bearer of the Akademi to obtain by any means the Award for a book of his/her preferred person, notwithstanding how despicable might be that book, remains unknown.

When Rath told the Telegram that “many factors for the selection of a work for the award remain unknown to the public”, he had kept these factors in his mind.

This is clear from Rath’s another interview given to a very well-known editor of literary journals and a national Sahitya Akademi prize winner Asit Mohanty, published in Orissa’s top circulated daily, The Sambad on January 03, 2012.

In this interview he has made the public know that selection of Achihna Basabhumi for the Award was predetermined and was imposed upon the Jury by convener Bibhuti Patnaik on the basis of extra-jurisdictional strength purposefully bestowed upon him for the day by the regional secretary of Sahitya Akademi, Ramkumar Mukhopadhyaya when the meeting of the Jury had commenced.

Rath has stated that, contrary to Rules and Procedures in vogue, before the Jury started its business, Mukhopadhyaya, had imposed Patnaik on the Jury to “preside over its meeting” and to “participate in its business”. As such, the Jury, which is a three member body de jure, became a four member body de facto and, Patnaik not only presided over the Jury without any legal right, but also “dominated” over its deliberations arbitrarily and created situations for selection of this particular book for the Award, Rath has said.

The Annual Sahitya Akademi Award Rules on the ‘Jury and its function’ has made it clear that the “Convener shall act as the link between the Jury and the Akademi”. But instead of acting as a link, he presided over the Jury and dominated over its deliberations, controlled its decision making, blocked other books from being considered and ensured the selection of this particular book – Achihna Basabhumi – for the Award.

So, the same Chandrasekhar Rath, whose version in The Telegraph has been relied upon by the Court in holding that, “selection of book was entirely made by a three member jury committee consisting of eminent Odiya scholars”, has in reality shown in his interview taken by Mohanty how illegal was the selection and how he had acquiesced in to put his signature on dotted lines against his conscience.

But the Court could not know of this. Had the petitioner produced Rath’s interview published in the Sambad before the Court and insisted upon taking cognizance thereof, and argued that acquiescence under pressure does not make a decision fair, perhaps the order could have been different.

Shenanigans expose Hobson’s choice

Rath’s interview to Mohanty has exposed the shenanigans in selection of Achihna Basabhumi.

Even though books from four sectors of literature – novel, poem, short story and critique – were placed before the Jury, convener Bibhuti Patnaik, who illegally presided over it, did not allow the Jury members to select any book other than a novel. Rath had proposed that one book each from the four categories be shortlisted first, and then, out of the four shortlisted books the best one be selected. But Sri Patnaik rejected that proposal and directed the Jury to select a novel only, though the Procedure laid down by the Akademi never gives him any carte blanche to do this.

Freedom of the Jury members to use their wisdom to select the best one from the books placed before them thus being illegally denied and scope of selection thus being arbitrarily restricted by Sri Patnaik, there was no way other than discarding all eligible books except the novels.

Rath has clearly stated, had it been possible to prepare the shortlist with one book each from of the four categories for final selection, he had the doubts if Achihna Basabhumi,brought to the consideration zone of the Jury through manipulation over the list of eligible books prepared by the “Expert”, could have qualified for a place in the said shortlist. But, Patnaik not only rejected the proposal for the shortlist, but also used tricks to ensure selection of this particular book from the novels, the only category available to the Jury.

He has given a picture of this trick. After members of the Jury were browbeaten to discard the eligible books belonging to other categories, only books in the novel category remained for consideration. There were four novels.

One of the Jury members, Srinibas Mishra, had declared from the very beginning that he shall not support any book other than Achihna Basabhumi for the Award. This man was included in the Juri purposefully because, as a caste supremacist he was expected to support Achihna Basabhumi – not nominated by the “expert” that prepared the original list of eligible books, but by tricks brought before the Jury – because sic passim in this book are abusive words hurled at scheduled cast people and Muslims whom the caste supremacists hold as untouchables. The parochial creed of this man is discernible in the fact that only he was chosen by convener-cum-unauthorized President as to why he does not support Satakadi Hota’s novel Mukti Yuddha, to which he had the reply that Naxalites being eulogized by Hota as fighters for emancipation, he does not think it proper to select this novel for the national Sahitya Award. To this man, no other book than Achihna Basabhum merited consideration, even though the book, as shown supra, is interlaced with insulting and derogatory expressions against schedule caste people, women and Muslims in a pattern that sneers at social harmony, spirit of common brotherhood and our composite culture.

When another member the Jury (Debdas Chhotray) said that he prefers another book (Paunshagadare Sunara Dhuli Mo Dhanamali) to Achihna Basabhumi for the purpose of the award, that book was declared a non-novel. A book was rejected on the ground that it was the only novel published in a particular year and the rest one was rejected under the plea that its author being younger in age can wait for the Award, Rath has informed.

Thus by highhandedly eliminating three of the four novels from the list of four, the Convener, who illegally presided over the meeting and interfered in and controlled the deliberations of the Jury from beginning to end, finally projected Achihna Basabhumi as the book of his choice and the only eligible book for the Award and stressed on its acceptance.

The PIL petitioner could have apprised the Court of this illegality in selection of this book as exposed by Rath.

He could have challenged how a first preferred book was declared a non-novel. He could have challenged how an eligible book was wiped out from consideration zone not because of any deficiency in the book, but simply because of the younger age of its author, despite there being no provision in the Akademi’s procedure for consideration of any book on the basis of age of its author. He could have challenged the illegality of rejection of an eligible book under the plea that it was the only book published in a particular year, though the rules are specific that not any single year but “the three years prior to the year, immediately preceding the year of the award”, must be the basis of consideration for selecting a book for the Award.

But the petitioner did not apprise the Court of these illegalities that were enforced upon the Jury to choose Achihna Basabhumi as the only book available.

He could have told the court that Hobson’s choice might have been a matter in selection of a horse, but cannot be and must not be countenanced in selection of a book for the nation’s highest official award in literature. But he did not do it. Had he attracted the Court’s attention to these blatant illegalities, the order could have been different.

The Convener acted ultra vires

That, instead of acting as “the link between the Jury and the Akademi” as stipulated under the Procedure, the convener was interfering with the Jury work and shepherding the jury members into a situation to select Achihna Basabhumi, is corroborated, though unwittingly, by the convener himself.

As for example, he has said that he had raised objection, when jury member Debadas Chhotroy expressed his choice for the novel Paunshagadare Sunara Dhuli Mo Dhanamali.

“I objected to acceptance of this book of Debraj Lenka as a complete novel, because it was a book of only 98 pages”, he has said.

Is there any definition that stipulates that in order to be accepted as a novel a book must be containing more than 98 pages?

Where from the convener got such a definition?

And, who was the convener to intervene in Jury work and raise objection to a jury member’s choice?

The PIL petitioner could have raised these questions to show the Court how the selection procedure was affected by arbitrariness of the convener, who acted ultra vires through and through.

He could have shown to the Court that the convener’s role. under the Rules and Procedure of the Akademi, was limited to acting as “the link between the Jury and the Akademi” and to ensure that the meeting of the Jury was conducted in proper environment and to the satisfaction of the jury members. But, as admitted by him, he intervened in the meeting, interfered with the proceedings, objected to evaluation of books by jury members, blocked the expression of their wisdom in selection of the best book by unauthorizedly vetoing a member’s rightful choice, imposed on the Jury that a novel cannot be accepted as a complete novel because its page numbers were 98 even though no where a novel is defined to be a book of large number of pages and obstructed proper application of mind by the jury members to the business in their hand, over and above restricting the selection for the book for award only to the sector of Novels.

Had the petitioner been able to do this, the order could have been different.

To the Court, the wrong has appeared right

To the Court it has appeared that “not only the eminent Jury Members, but also the Executive Board” has examined “in every respect as to whether the book is worthy to get the Award or not” (Para 11 of the Order). But to have the Court form this view, it has been fed with the wrong data in absence of proper prosecution by the petitioner.

The petitioner could have told the Court that the Executive Boards of the Akademi has not at all examined “in every respect as to whether the Book is worthy to get the award or not”. It has just formally approved the Jury recommendations and announced the Award. The Rules under the heading ‘Declaration of Award’ has limited the scope of the Executive Body in this respect by laying down that, “The recommendation of the Jury shall be placed before the Executive Board for formal approval and announcement of the Award” Rule 6 (1).

On the other hand, from what the convener of Akademi’s Language Advisory Board has said in his written statement that he has published in Sambad in reaction to Rath’s interview published in the same paper, it transpires that the Jury did not function in normal condition and had to acquiesce in machinations to select Achihna Basabhumi.

From what the convener in his statement has said, it is clear that, the Jury decision was severely affected by his personal participation, vetoing and vetting. Thus it was not a fair, proper and legal decision.

Besides, the strength of the Jury was also tampered with behind back of the Akademi in order to cow down dissent voice, if any, against selection of Achihna Basabhumi.

With the convener imposed upon the Jury to preside over it with participation in its decision making, the Jury no more remained a committee of three members as stipulated under the Rules, but became a body of four.

Yet, from a different angle, it was made de facto a body of five, inasmuch as, besides Patnaik, Mukhopadhyaya was the one, who, sans any provision, declared that Achihna Basabhumi was the book that was selected by the Jury, a fact, which Patnaik himself has disclosed in his statement.

Under the Rules, it is the three members (and three members only) of the Jury that should “examine in every respect” (to quote the High Court words as noted supra) the books for selection, and come to the conclusion; and handover their recommendation for the Award to the convener (he being the link between the Jury and the Akademi) after signing thereon in his presence, who then would merely countersign the signatures and submit the same it to the Akademi for formal approval and announcement under Rule 6(1) accordingly.

The Rules provide that, if the Jury finds that there is no book worthy of selection for the Award, it can, under Rule 1 (2) refuse to select any book from the list before it and sign the result sheet accordingly, which the convener is to merely countersign and submit.

So, wherefrom this Mukhopadhyaya got the power to conclude and declare that Achihna Basabhumi was selected by the Jury, if not this selection was stage-managed under his supervision and monitoring?

The petitioner could have raised this question and proved that the decision of the Jury was stage-managed under Mukhopadhyaya’s supervision and monitoring and the Convener’s ultra vires activities and hence was improper and illegal. Had he done so, the order might have been different.

Rath’s objections corroborated

Rath’s claim that he had objected against imposition of Achihna basabhumi is corroborated even by the convener.

He has clearly stated that, after Mukhopadhyaya declared Achihna Basabhumi as the book selected, Rath had vehemently objected thereto and had opposed the selection, already, by then, declared by Mukhopadhyaya.

But ultimately Rath had succumbed to his pressure and signed on the dotted lines, for which, the convener has thanked him, though in his interview published in Sambad, he has condemned himself,

and vowed not to agree to be a Jury member of the Akademi in future.

Relevant objections to illegalities galore

Not only Rath from the Jury, but also eminent persons of letters associated with the Akademi have put on records their objection to illegalities galore in this selection.

As for example, Satakadi Hota, the most known gentle face amongst men of letters in Orissa, who has tremendous experience in matters of Indian Sahitya Award, having had two terms of incumbency in the Akademi’s Language Advisory Board for Oriya, besides being a current member of its General Council, has put it on records that like mines are being looted by mafia, in Sahitya Akademi, the mafias are also looting the Awards. And, he has added force to this statement in an exclusive interview to a highly esteemed literary journal, ‘Chandan’ in its January 2012 issue (Issue-1, Vol.V).

A close friend of Convener Bibhuti Patnaik, literature activist Barendra Krushna Dhal, also a central Sahitya Akademi Prize winner and the founder secretary of Bhubaneswar Book Fair that has revolutionized bibliophilism in Orissa, has resigned, on records, from Oriya Language Advisory Board of the Akademi after selection of Achihna Basabhumi in protest against discernible malpractice in this selection.

The PIL petitioner could have placed all these instances before the Court to counter the opposite party assertions that the selection was fairly done by the entire three member Jury. Had he done so, the order might have been different.

Incompetent members in the Jury

At Para 15 of the order, the Court has taken it that the Jury committee that selected Achihna Basabhumi as “worthy to get the Award for the year 2011” was constituted with “eminent experts”. It looks like a wrong assumption.

Far from being “eminent”, the members of the Jury were incompetent to evaluate the Novels.

None of them was an “expert” on Novels.

When the selection was arbitrarily limited to Novels, “eminent experts” on Novels should have evaluated the books in the list.

But no member of the Jury has any visibility in the field of evaluation of Novels.

None of the Jury has ever noticeably criticized a Novel or brought out any critique on Novels.

None of them has any published work on Novels.

None of them is either a scholar on Novels or has ever been referred to as such by any scholar.

None of them is recognized as an “expert” in the field of Novels.

After so many scathing attacks on the wrong selection in public, in the media, in TV panels and even in editorials in prominent newspapers, none of the so-called scholar members of the Jury has defended the selection, when the only member of the Jury to have opened his lips on the selection, Chandrasekhar Rath, has given enough indication that the selection was stage-managed, improper and unfair. It is worth mention that Rath is the only member in the Jury who, to his credit, has two novels,for which, although he is not any expert in evaluation of novels, he may be taken as an author endowed with a novel-sense. And, to him, Achihna Basabhumi was not worthy of consideration for the national award and he, even admitted by the Convener, had vehemently opposed the selection of this book for the award.

The PIL petitioner should have brought to the attention of the Court these instances of deficiency in the Jury members and argued that none of them was competent for evaluation of Novels and had he done so, the order could have been different.

Maneuvering in enlistment of eligible books

Two prerequisites are essential for Sahitya Award. They are: enlistment of a book as eligible for the Award and recommendation of the book as selected for the Award.

Sub-Rule (1) and (2) of Rule 3 of the Rules provide for preparation of the ground list of eligible books by “an expert” or at best “two” appointed by the President of the Akademi from panels of maximum five names sent by each of the members of the Language Advisory Board. On contact, many of these members have told me that they had not submitted any panel, when only one member has informed that he had signed on a pre-prepared panel in the regional office of the Akademi at Kolkata. It indicates that the Expert, if any really appointed, was appointed illegally sans a valid panel in contravention of Rule 3(2).

There is reason to apprehend that no real expert was appointed to prepare the ground list; as otherwise, 11 books out of 16 in the ground list could not have been of a single publisher, from whose stable, another one – the Achihna Basabhumi – could enter later to the list of eligible books.

To get the correct information in this regard, on January 27, 2012 I had sent the following mail to the Akademi, wherein I had written:

“selection of achihna basabhumi for sahitya akademi award, 2011 has generated such resentment amongst oriya authors that it is necessary to find out where from the mischief emerged.

to my query, many members of the advisory board have revealed that they had not recommended any person for appointment as expert for preparing the ground list of books. curiously, 11 out of the 16 books in the ground list are of a single publisher known to every author of orissa worth the name.

on the other hand, the book in question was not in the ground list.

so, we want to know: (1) who was or were the expert or experts that prepared the ground list? and (2) on whose recommendation achihna basabhumi was placed in the shortlist before the jury?

as stink of manipulation is thick in the air in this respect, please favor me with the answer to these two questions.

i am accredited to govt. of orissa and professionally entitled to the information sought for”.

Shockingly, the Akademi did not dare to answer my queries. Therefore, it is suspected that no real expert was appointed as required under Rule 3(2) and the ground list was stage-managed by obtaining somehow the signature(s) of some obliging person(s) on the said list.

However, not accepting but acceding for the purpose of discussion that an expert or two experts were appointed, who prepared the ground list of books eligible for the award, it is worth noting that in this list, Achihna Basabhumi was not included as eligible for the Award.

This means, it was not found eligible for the Award under the criteria fixed under Rule 2(1).

It is also possible that, by the time the ground list of eligible books was to reach the members of Language Advisory Board under Rule 3 (3), the publisher, from whose stable 11 out of 16 books had entered the ground list, had not published this book. We shall look into this aspect at a later stage. Let us first see what the Rules say about preparation of the ground list.

Sub-Rule (3) of Rule 3 is the provision that says of this.

It stipulates that, “in preparation of the ground list, the Expert or Experts shall strictly conform to the criteria of eligibility laid down in these Rules”.

Criteria of eligibility for the Award is fixed under Rule 2.

Sub-Rule (1) thereof stipulates that, “in order to be eligible for the Award, the book must be an outstanding contribution to the language and literature to which it belongs.”

This makes it clear that Achihna Basabhumi, in order to meet the criteria of eligibility, was to have been found to “be an outstanding contribution to the language and literature” of Orissa.

It has nowhere been found to be so.

It came to the list placed before the Jury only by way of maneuvering in stark contravention of the criteria fixed under Rule 2(1), because contribution of this book to language and literature of Orissa is nil.

No scholar or critique has uttered a single word depicting its contribution to Oriya language and literature till and after it was enlisted for selection, whereas after its selection, the sky of Orissa’s language and literature has been shrouded under objections from eminent authors and language lovers of the State.

We have exposed supra how obnoxious words and derogatory expressions used freely and profusely in this book have made it despicable for whosoever has respect for “harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India” and to “the dignity of women” and to “our rich heritage of composite culture”.

Such a despicable book can have no contribution to language and literature, as contribution is a word that connotes positiveness.

Therefore, instead of being “an outstanding contribution” this book is an outrageous embarrassment to Orissa.

And, hence, placement of this book in the list before the Jury as eligible for the award was an act of annihilation of the criteria of eligibility as laid down under Rule 2(1).

If the Akademi has not acted illegally in promoting this book for the Award, it should have come forward to disclose who annihilated Rule 2(1) and at what stage, specifically as it was originally not found eligible for the Award on the basis of criteria of eligibility.

Silence of the Akademi shows that it has succumbed to manipulation in awarding Achihna Basabhumi.

The PIL petitioner should have raised these points before the Bench to help the Court reach at the mala fide modus operandi behind selection of this book and Orissa could have been saved from being embarrassed over a despicable book getting the highest official national award as the most outstanding book of its language and literature; because, the Court could not have approved the annihilation of Rule 2(1) and other relevant Rules and then the order could have been different.

Time frame shattered

Selection of the book for Award is subjected to a particular time frame.

Under Sub-Rule 1of Rule 1 of the Annual Sahitya Akademi Awards Rules, it has been made specific that, “there shall be an award every year for the most outstanding book by an Indian author, first published in any of the languages recognized by the Sahitya Akademi during the three years prior to the year immediately preceding the year of the award”

By way of illustration, it has been laid down therein thus: For the award of 2004, books published between 2000 and 2002 would be considered.

Thus, for the award, two unavoidable prerequisites are prescribed. One, publication of the book within the stipulated time frame and two, the book becoming the most outstanding book within the period under the time frame.

Therefore, for the Award 2011, Achihna Basabhumi was to have been published between 2007 and 2009 and to must have emerged as “the most outstanding book” in those three years amongst all the other books published in the same period.

But the book was neither published within the time frame nor was established within the time frame as “the most outstanding book”.

First we will look into the time frame.

The publisher claims that it was published in 2009, in the last leg of the time frame, in November.

But it does not match with the version of the authoress.

In an interview to Dr. Binapani Debata in January 2010, the authoress of Achihna Basabhumi had stated that she had just starting to write a novel, although since 1986 she had written only the short stories. (Jugashree Juganaree: February 2010, p.7).

Her version “just started” (Ebe Arambha Karichhi) makes it clear that she had started her first Novel writing since 1986 at the time she had given the interview.

Admittedly, she having not written any Novel before that, and Achihna Basabhumi having not been published before 1986, it is clear that, this is the book she she had started writing in January 2010.

This being the fact from the mouth of the authoress, it is absolutely impossible that it was published by November 2009.

The publisher, obviously has backdated its publication after being assured by the Akademi convener Bibhuti Patnaik that if so backdated, he may help the book bag the Sahitya Award. This is why, it was absent in the ground list of eligible books submitted by the Expert or created in the name of the Expert.

From another interview to Chandan January 2012, the authoress has stated that she was informed by a contemporary friend that this time the Sahitya Award was going to be given to her (Tate Ethara Kendra Sahitya Akademi Puraskara Dia Heuchhi). She refused to divulge the name of her friend; but it was clear that he must be Bibhuti Patnaik as no other friend of her was privy to the decision before its announcement. So, it generates suspicion that Bibhuti Patnaik must have arranged the Award for this book and sure of his prowess to arrange it, he could have asked the publisher to backdate its publication to 2009, which he has done.

After the controversy over the selection of this book rocked the state, the Sambad on January 13 reported how there was reason to suspect that publication of the book was backdated. Extremely irritated over this report, the publisher hurled a statement against the same at the Sambad.

In this statement, he said that the authoress of Achihna Basabhumi had sent the book to him in 2008 for publication. The book was printed and published by November 2009, but was immediately freezed as he was tormented to see that the book was full of mistakes. He was so tormented that he had to reprint the entire book containing so many pages at a huge cost.”

If this is true, the book was not in active life in 2009, because published in November it was freezed immediately for a total correction and reprint.

But this statement of the publisher smacks of falseness when compared with the version of the authoress. In the interview to Chandan cited earlier, the authoress of the book has stated that she had finished the novel in December of 2008 and as the publisher wanted to publish it, she had given him the book in 2009. So the publisher’s claim that she had “sent the book to him in 2008 for publication” is false.

Both the publisher and the authoress seem to have been in worries over the authoress’ interview published in Jugashree Juganari as that was indicating that the book was not published within the fixed time frame.

So both of them were trying to bring in 2008 and 2009 into the publication of the book.

And, as the axiom goes, to suppress the lie that the book was published in 2009, different lies are uttered by both of them.

But, despite that, in this interview, the authoress has inadvertently disclosed that the book was not published till December 2011.

The authoress was asked: When 2009 is mentioned as the year of publication of Achihna Basabhumi in the inner page of the book, why was it that readers could see the book for the first time only in the Rajdhani Book Fair held from 1 to 12 December 2011? She answered, “After i completed the book when bedridden in December 2008, Girija kumar Baliarsingh had expressed interest to publish it through his publishing conern: Kahani. In January 2009 he had taken the manuscript from me. The delay is done by him. So, ask him for the answer to to this question”.

Thus, the authoress of the book has admitted that the book was not published till the Rajdhani Book Fair held in December 2011, because the publisher was responsible for the delay in publication.

Undoubtedly it establishes that the book was not published in 2009 as has been shown.

That the book was not published by November 2009 as claimed by the publisher is also established by another important source.

The Rajdhani Book Fair has brought out a revised edition of its index of Oriya authors and their books published up to 2009.

Books published by Baliarsingh up to November 2009 are placed in this index and to our query, the Book Fair secretary informed that the data published in the index are supplied by the publishers.

In this index there is no trace of Achihna Basabhumi.

Had it been published by November 2009 as claimed by Baliarsingh, it must have been placed in the index as other books published by him by November 2009 have been placed in this volume.

There are more such evidences that prove that the book Achihna Basabhumi was not published in 2009.

Hence, it had no eligibility to be considered for the Sahitya Award 2011.

In selecting this book for the Award, the time frame fixed by the Rules has been shattered.

It is illegal.

The PIL petitioner should have brought these facts to the attention of the Court and had he done this, I believe, the order could have been different.

Not outstanding, but outrageous

It deserves note that in providing “Criteria of eligibility for the Award”, the Rules Stipulate, that, “the book must be AN OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION to the language and literature to which it belongs”, but in specifying which book should be given the Award, it has been laid down that it must be “THE MOST OUTSTANDING BOOK”.

We have discussed supra the first part of the above phenomenon and shown that the instead of being an outstanding contribution, the book is an outrageous embarrassment to people of Orissa who pride on and love the magnificence of their language.

Now, therefore, we should see, if the book is the most outstanding book of the relevant period.

There is no definition of the word ‘outstanding’ in the Rules of the Akademi. So we will have to depend on the Dictionary meaning. The Dictionary relied upon by many, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, defines the word ‘outstanding’ as:
(a) standing out from a group: Conspicuous,
(b) marked by eminence and distinction noticeable.

In view of this meaning, in order to be the most outstanding book published during the period from 2007 to 2009, Achihna Basabhumi was to must have stood out from all books published in the same period as most conspicuous and must have been most noticeable for eminence and distinction.

It had never happened.

Firstly, for not been published in the period from 2007 to 2009 and secondly, for not having earned noticeable eminence and distinction in valid comparison with other novels published in the relevant period and thirdly, for being a despicable book on the ground of use of obnoxious, vulgar, insulting and derogatory words against majority of people belonging to schedule castes, against women and against Muslims in stark disregard to harmony and spirit of common brotherhood of our people and our composite culture.

So, the book is never the most outstanding book of Oriya language and literature.

The PIL petitioner should have placed before the Court this aspect of the book. And, had he done so, the order could have been different.

The real issue was not the issue before the Court

From the Rules discussed heretofore, it is clear that the only basis on which Sahitya Award is given to a book is that the book must have been the most outstanding book of the language and literature to which it belongs, subject to its publication within the prescribed timeframe.

When a dispute arises on selection, whether or not the book is the most outstanding book published within the prescribed timeframe should be the crux of the issue before the Court.

But as we mark, it was not at all the issue before the Orissa High Court.

Under Para 8 of the order we find only three issues framed by the Court for consideration. They are: (i) whether this writ petition in the nature of Public Interest Litigation is maintainable? (ii) whether the petitioner is entitled for the relief as sought for in the writ petition? (iii) what order?

So the question – whether the book was the most outstanding book published within the prescribed timeframe? – which really connotes public interest, was not at all the issue before the High Court.

The case craved for inclusion of this question as the core question for consideration, specifically as the Court, under Para 2 of the order, has noted that, this was briefly the case. Why the judicial conscience could not rise to this question is a conundrum.

Premature Dismissal

But it seems that the Court has not taken up this question under grounds mentioned under Para 13 and Para 14 of the order, wherefrom it has gone to dismiss the case.

Therefore, it would be better to look at these two Paras. They are as hereunder.

13. It is further well settled principle laid down by the Supreme Court in a catena of decisions that undoubtedly, the Court does not have the expertise in all subjects. Therefore, it has to be slow in disturbing the decision taken by the Committee of experts, working in the field, have day to day experience, and which has acquired special skill and special knowledge in the subject and the field.

14. In this regard a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in the case of The University of Mysore & Anr. Vs. C. D. Govindrao & Anr., AIR 1965 SC 491, held that in academic matters where the decisions under challenge has been taken by the Committee of Experts, “normally the Court should be slow to interfere with the opinion expressed by the experts”.

When Para 13 projects a “settled principle” according to which the Court “has to be slow in disturbing the decision taken by a committee of experts”, under Para 14, the Court has cited a Supreme Court decision “in this regard” that says, “normally the Court should be slow to interfere with the opinion expressed by the experts”.

In view of this, if the Court was not able to immediately arrive at a decision on whether or not the book Achihna Basabhumi was the most outstanding book of Oriya language and literature, published during the stipulated period within 2007 and 2009, it should have gone slow in disposal of the case as ordained by the Supreme Court, quoted by it, instead of dismissing the case before arriving at a correct answer to this question through its own process.

Hence, the dismissal of the case is a premature dismissal. And, thereby Oriya language and literature, as discussed supra, are left to be infested with a despicable book, honored with the highest official award of the nation meant for the most outstanding book.

This is a happening, which should not have happened.

The Art and Craft of Cartoon in Odisha

By Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee

A cartoon is any of several forms of illustrations with varied meanings that evolved from its original meaning. In modern print media, a cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent . This usage dates from 1843 when Punch magazine applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, particularly sketches by John Leech.

Odisha has had a long history of caricature. Humour and satire occupy an important place in Odia literature. But unfortunately, there is no documental evidence as to when cartoons first appeared in media in Odisha. It appeared that Niankhunta (Editor: Godavarish Mohapatra, 1898-1965), a satirical magazine in the line of Shankar’s Weekly first started to publish cartoons regularly. Niankhunta (The Firefling) was first published in 1938 and continued till 1964. After decades, it again started publishing from 2009 with almost the same content mix- including political and social cartoons. Samaja and Prajatantra also used to publish political cartoons occasionally in 1950s. Omkar Nath Panigrahi of Bolangir used to draw fine cartoons in 1940s.

Faturananda (Ramchandra Mishra, 1915-1995) the well-known satirist was a fine cartoonist too. He used to draw cartoons in his college magazine, when he was a student of the Medical College in Cuttack. These cartoons were published in the name of R.C.Mishra. Later he drew cartoons for his literary magazine Dagara. His cartoons were published in National Front and other newspapers. He continued to draw cartoons till his eyesight failed.

Dibakar Mishra of Talcher (founder of daily Khabar) used to draw cartoons in the Samaja in 70s and 80s. He used a penname: DKM. Satirical magazines like Niankhunta and Durmukha used to print several cartoons. In fact socio-political cartoons with highly satirical content were its major attraction. Niankhunta ceased publication long back. Durmukha continues to publish and cartoons are still its major attraction.

Though Odisha has had a long history and tradition of caricature, and cartoons have been used in newspapers and periodicals, yet cartoonists have never got the kind of opportunity to work and credit and acclaim they deserve. It is only after 1980s that cartoonists got recognition. Some of them became household names. There is a practical reason for this. Offset printing came to Odisha only in mid-80s. Before that metal blocks had to be made to print any kind of visuals. It was expensive and time taking. Hence visuals were avoided unless it was absolutely necessary. Cartoonists did not have much opportunity to get published. After the introduction of off set printing system printing visuals- both photographs and graphics (halftone and line) became easier. It required little extra cost to print ‘halftone’ photographs and no extra cost to print ‘line’ graphics. Newspapers started printing cartoons in greater number. Sambad was one of the first mainstream Odia newspapers to have introduced daily pocket cartoon. It was also one of first daily Odia newspaper to have appointed a cartoonist as its regular staff, a trend promptly followed by other major newspapers. It was in late 80s and early 90s that a bunch of young and talented cartoonists like Sudhansu Deo, Gyan Rath, Kishore Rath, Shilpi Ashok and Kesu Das emerged in the media world of Odisha. Almost all newspapers carried stand alone and daily pocket cartoons. Kishore’s daily pocket cartoon ‘Katakha’ published in Sambad became very popular. The craze for cartoons waned a bit in the next decade. One of the reasons for that could be that newspapers preferred to print photographs instead of cartoons.

It could be said that cartooning in Odisha came of age in 80s. As Sudhansu Deo, a leading cartoonist of 80s said, “Earlier there used to be mostly illustrations with exaggerated features of known figures to evoke laughter”. The emphasis was more on illustration than on the theme. It was only after the 80s that cartooning was regarded as a separate art form in Odisha.

Late 80s and 90s saw some young cartoonists maturing into excellent artists. However, the new millennium saw a decline in the quantity and quality of cartoons in mainstream print media in Odisha. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Odisha. It has been witnessed in other states too. Priya Pande writes about this : … There is also the aspect of changing habits of readers. In the earlier days, papers used to be crammed with news matter particularly on the front page, with the pocket cartoon providing the only visual relief. Today, not only has colour entered the front pages, the pictorial presentation and design gimmicks have completely edged the cartoon out to total insignificance. However, recent years have seen resurgence in cartooning, especially in new media platform.

Contemporary Cartoonists of Odisha:

Sudhansu Deo is probably the first regularly appointed cartoonist in Odia media. Before joining Sambad in 1984 he worked briefly in Prajatantra and then Samaja. He drew excellent pocket cartoons. In fact he was the first cartoonist in Odisha to draw pocket cartoons regularly. He also drew stand alone cartoons on burning issues of the time. He had a lyrical style of drawing like R.K.Laxman. Very soon, Deo became a household name. In late 1988 he left Sambad and went to Delhi and worked for several English newspapers and audio visual media. He also worked as an animation cartoonist for a Doordarshan cartoon serial project. He returned to Odisha and joined Khabar in 2007. He left Khabar in end 2009 to start an animation school. Presently he works as the principal of JBC Academy of Art and Animation.

Kishore Rath, (born 1963), is a very talented cartoonist. He is working in Sambad since late 80s. A graduate in fine arts from Khalikote Art College, Kishore has set the trend of writing short rhyming verse with pocket cartoon. Kishore has his own unique style of drawing and a sharp sense of humour. A talented satirist, he also composes humourous poems.

Shilpi Ashok (born 1958) has been drawing cartoons for the last twenty years. He used to work in Prajatantra. Since 2005 he has been drawing cartoons in the Samaja. He publishes a cartoon magazine titled Silpi Ashokanka Cartoon Saptahiki. He has also published a compilation of cartoons of noted litterateurs of Odisha, titled Lekhaka Lati.

Balasore based Kesu Das (born 1965) did his graduation in fine art from Khalikote Government Art College and masters from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapitha, Benaras. He draws cartoons for newspapers and periodicals like Sambad, Dwani Pratidhwani, Samaja, Haribol, Durmukha. He is also an acclaimed sand artist and runs his art teaching school. As an artist he has won several awards like Odisha Lalit Kala Academy award as young artist (1987) and Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (2000). He has published a work book on how to draw cartoons using Odia alphabets: Barnamala Saha Sahaja Cartoon Shiksha (1998). He is also actively involved in preserving the languishing folk lacquer art of Balasore, in Odisha through Baleswari Kala Kendra, of which he is the executive director.

Kamalakanta Rath drew cartoons for several mainstream newspapers and periodicals in early 90s. But gradually he shifted his focus to social issues. He is now active in drawing cartoons and illustrations in development magazines in alternate media domain.

Chudamani Das, from Balasore began to draw cartoons for newspapers and periodicals like Durmukha, Dhawni Pratidhawini from 2000 after he completed his fine arts degree from Bhadrak Art College. He joined daily Prajatantra in 2003.

Aswini Kumar Rath and Abani Kumar Rath are brothers who work together. In fact they call themselves ‘the only cartoonist brother duo in the world’. Aswini has a PhD in botany. He is working as a Lecturer in Botany in Bolangir. Abani did his M.Sc in Chemistry. He is working as an officer in insurance sector. Their first cartoon was published in 1989. Since then their cartoons have been published in several local, national and international newspapers, periodicals and web sites. They have won many awards and honours. Their cartoons have been exhibited in the prestigious ‘First International Saloon of Graphic Humor-Lima-2008, Peru’, and won Honourable Mention prize in the 15th, 16th and 17th ‘Daejeon International Cartoon Contest in Seoul, Korea in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and Special Mention prize in the ’2nd Free Cartoons Web International Cartoonist Festival’, China, 2003.

Paresh Nath (born 1970) did his masters in English literature from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. He had a knack for drawing and illustration from his school days. His cartoons and illustrations were being published in newspapers during his college days. He started his professional career as a cartoonist with Samaja. Later, he worked as a freelance cartoonist for The Indian Express, Delhi before joining National Herald in early 1990s as the Chief Cartoonist. Currently, Paresh Nath’s works are reproduced in publications like Bombay Samachar , the oldest Asian daily published from Mumbai, newsletters of United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), CO-OP HORIZON- a fortnightly periodical by National Co-Op Union of India, Neighbourhood Flash – published from Delhi in five different editions covering urban, metropolitan and political issues and UT Independent – a political publication from Delhi and other union territories. His funny, incisively wise, informative and never malicious cartoon pieces have touched millions of readers and have been reproduced in various newspapers and periodicals such as Financial Express, India Today, Illustrated Weekly of India, The SunZero Hour, Samayukta Karnataka, The Eastern Times, etc. He has also been associated to various online projects. Paresh has earned worldwide recognition for his work as the winner of the United Nations Correspondents Association Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award for the year 2000 in cartoon competition. He was invited to participate in the contest among the professional political cartoonists throughout the world. He has also won the Youth Federation Award and Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in 1987 and 1991 respectively for his cartoons. He is a member of the panel of jurors for international poster contest of UNFPA in year 1992 and 2000. He is also an empanelled cartoonist of DAVP of information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. Besides drawing cartoons, he writes humour columns. He is also planning to write books on yoga and mysticism in near future.

Bijayananda Biswal is not a professional cartoonist. He works as an executive in Indian Railways. Drawing cartoons is a hobby for him. However, he has won several cartoon competition including an international competition organized in November 2009 by Bangalore based Cartoon Academy.

Bichitrananda Swain (born 1987), a trained journalist is a self taught cartoonist. Besides drawing cartoons in the Odia daily Suryaprava he draws illustrations for books.

Soumyadev along with Sarashi and Santosh started a cartoonist’s group: AaltuFaltu in around 2005. They started drawing and exhibiting cartoons on political and social issues. Their cartoons appear regularly in Samadrusti from 2006.

The author is a journalist turned media academician, who presently heads the Dhenkanal campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Odisha.

This article forms a part of his forthcoming book: ‘History of Journalism in Odisha’. He is available at:
http://www.mrinalchatterjee.in | mrinaliimc@yahoo.in


By Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee

February 21 is observed as International Mother Language Day every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh. This was probably first time in history people laid their lives for their mother language.

A brief run down the pages of history will be pertinent here.

Pakistan got independence in two parts: West Pakistan (present Pakistan) and East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) on the basis of religion. As the two parts of Pakistan were far away from each other not only geographically but also culturally and linguistically, differences and disputes cropped up. The differences rose to a critical level when Pakistani government adopted a resolution in 1947 that Urdu would be the State language, even as most of the people of East Pakistan were only used to Bangla. The Pakistani Government also decided that Bangla would be abolished from all government stationeries including postage stamps. This infuriated people of East Pakistan and a movement to safeguard their language began. The movement grew in intensity with every passing year even as the West Pakistani government did not relent. Situation reached a boiling point in early 1952 and on February 21, several people including students of Dhaka University and Dhaka Medical College died in Police firing. Finally people of East Pakistan, mostly Bengalis got the right of their mother language. Historians believe that the language movement not only gave the people of East Pakistan the right to their mother language, but paved the way of liberation in 1971.

Languages are not only the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing the tangible and intangible heritage, it also forges emotional attachment among people who use them. Educationists opine that mother language is the best medium of education for the children.

Considering the importance of mother language in education Unesco has declared theme of this year’s Mother Language day as “Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education”.

All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

In a message International Mother Language Day 2012 Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO says, “The language of our thoughts and our emotions is our most valuable asset. Multilingualism is our ally in ensuring quality education for all, in promoting inclusion and in combating discrimination. ”

The author, Prof.Mrinal Chatterjee heads the Indian Institute of Mass Communications at Dhenkanal. It is his contribution on occasion of the International Mother Language Day.

People of Orissa Should be Allowed to Know What the High Court has Ordered on Sahitya Award

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Mother tongue and motherland are in Oriya concept equated with the mother. “ମାତୃଭାଷା ମାତୃଭୁମି ଉଭୟ ଜନନୀ”.

Therefore, it is natural on part of every Oriya to know of what exactly the Orissa High Court has said while allowing the presentation of Sahitya Award 2011 by India’s National Academy of Letters to ‘Achihna Basabhumi’ (ଅଚିହ୍ନା ବାସଭୁମି) despite the book being a displayer of nasty words and expression of hatred against lower castes, women and muslims.

On the plea that selection of this book as the best book in Oriya language for the national award was obtained through manipulation, a man of letters – Sricharan Pratap ‘Kaniska’ – had preferred a writ case before the High Court of Orissa, which was registered as W.P.(C) 1871 OF 2012 with a Misc Case numbering 1876/2012 that had resulted in a stay on the award. But subsequently on 14 February 2012, the Court lifted the stay and dismissed the case as not maintainable as a PIL, on the basis of which, the Academy has already presented the award to the writer of this book.

As the people of Orissa – including the NROs – are also anxious to know what the High Court has really said, currently in a foreign tour, I tried to get it for my readers through the judgment site in the internet; but it was not available. I contacted the petitioner and from him I got the information that though he has applied for an urgent copy of the order, he has not yet got it, because the members of the bench – Chief Justice V. Gpal Gowda and Justice B.N.Mohapatra – have not yet signed the verdict.

This position worsens the predicament.

Presentation of the award by the Academy of Letters on 15 February following the rejection of the petition in the High Court, when the petitioner has not even got a copy of the order because the same is not signed by the judges, has given birth to a phenomenon that makes one see how eager was the Academy to give away the award, exposed in public platforms as manufactured through manipulations.

To us, presentation of the national award to this book as the best one amongst Oriya books published in a given period of three years from 2007 to 2009 is an affront to the dignity of our language. We do not know, whether the judges have read this book or not; but we know the book is vitiated with so much obnoxious words and expression against the women, lower caste people and muslims that no sane society can vouch for it.

A few samples of filth from the book are viewable in saubhasya.com. We are not producing the same here as that should be requiring translation thereof into English and if done, that may be very embarrassing to any Oriya who prides over majestic beauty of his mother tongue.

This book in normal circumstances could never have earned national award as the most outstanding book in Oriya. But what for the High Court has cleared the book for the national award is not known to any in details as yet. Therefore the sooner the order is published or made available to the public, is better.

Orissa High Court Steps In: Sahitya Award 2011 Stayed on Allegation of Manipulation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa High Court has stayed the Sahitya Award, 2011 to Kahani published Achihna Basabhumi in Oriya language, seemingly fixed through corrupt process.

The new dimensions of danger that the book posed to societal unity of Orissa were first discussed in these pages that gave birth to hot debates in print and tele-media, leading to complaints against its authoress before different police stations and Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the High Court.

Credit goes to Barendra Krushna Dhal for having resigned from membership of the Akademi’s Language Advisory Board (LAB) in protest against manipulation in selection of the book for the Award; to Asit Mohanty for having tactfully eliciting from Jury member Chandra Sekhar Rath the inner picture of manipulation by the Akademi top brass and the convener; to Mukta Sahitya Manch for organized protests against the manipulation; to Sambad and its editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik as well as to The Samaja and its editor Gopal Krishna Mohapatra for print media strength given to opposers of the manipulation; to Kanak TV and Kamyab TV for having educated the relevant public through panel discussions on the manipulation; to persons of letters of Orissa, who, personal relationship notwithstanding, came down heavily – individually and collectively – upon the nasty conduct of Jury members and Akademi officials in execution of the manipulation; and to Sricharan Pratap (Kanisk) for having preferred the PIL before the HC.

The book being the corpus delicti of the crime against Oriya language, it surely is a matter of solace for everybody affected by the offense against the mother tongue to see that the High Court has stepped in to stay the Award announced in its favor by the National Academy of Letters through manipulation.

New Light on Sri Jaya Dev’s Use of Ancient Oriya in His Lyrics

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I will present a person, who is trying to improve upon what I have said on Sri Jaya Dev’s language.

HE is an active participant in painting competitions and science exhibitions. He is a B.Tech degree holder in Electronics and Telecommunications; yet has mastered in Journalism and Mass Communication. And, has worked as a Copy Editor in Naxatra News and contributed to Odia Wikipedia. He is presently an Associated Editor in Institute of Odia Studies and Research. But, nowhere in these pursuits has he ever stopped. He simply cannot stop; because quest cannot stop at any point.

During around the last last two years, ever since he has read my work on Sri Jaya Dev – Sri Jaya Dev’nka Baisi Pahacha – we have, in each of our mind, met umpteen times with a few appointments for personal interaction sidetracked by situational exigencies.

And, when day before yesterday we met at my place in the afternoon, I have reason to curse the time, because it passed away so soon so deep into the densifying night, that, I had to bear with seeing him off as he was to start for Puri, where he resides.

Not always in life one meets a young person whose life is dedicated to knowledge. To my highest happiness, he is now after ancient Odia language, and therefore, he is studying Pali, ancient Oriya’s mother tongue, in which the greatest ever Oriya – Gurudev Buddha, whom we worship as Jagannatha – had given his sermons, giving birth to what we call Buddhism.

HE is Sambit Mohapatra, born 2nd December 1987, residing at Daitapara Sahi of Puri.

In my book I had shown how Sri Jaya Dev, whose lyrics are wrongfully forced into the edited format called ‘Gita Govinda’ with profuse purposeful interpolations, had sanskritized Oriya in depicting his emphasis on female factor of life’s advancement in terms with the tenets of Buddhist Sahajayana. Sambit moves a step forward and convinces me that, ancient Oriya, i.e. Pali is what Sri Jaya Dev had transformed into the language of his lyrics.

He has sent me a comparative chat that shows how the words used by Sri Jaya Dev in the Mangalacharan to his Astapadis were Pali, the ancient Oriya language.

You may please peruse it here and enjoy the pleasure.

Offense Against Oriya Language: India’s National Academy of Letters Collaborates with Hijackers of Sahitya Award,2011

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Climate of corruption has so severely affected India that even the National Academy of Letters – the Kendra Sahitya Akademi – is being looked at askance as the breeding center of clandestine deals and favoritism in selection of books for annual awards that the nation offers to the best of works in Indian languages .

Selection of Achihna Basabhumi, authored by Kolkata based Kalpana Kumari Devi, with a dubious dateline of 2009 for its annual award in Oriya language for the year 2011 has regenerated this suspicion.

It is seen that the book was not in the ground list prepared for the purpose of selection. Therefore, it is clear that it was inserted into the short list placed before the Juri from beyond the ground list prepared by the expert appointed by the Akademi.

Whosoever had made this book included in the list before the Jury, can certainly be held as the main manipulator of the award. The Akademi is not disclosing the name of whosoever has clamped this book on the Jury beyond the ground list.

The Jury was legally bound to reject this book on two grounds: firstly, for use of derogatory words against lower caste people as shown in these pages earlier and secondly, for absence of materials that should have shown the book as the “most outstanding” one to merit the national award. An attempt to evaluate how far it was the “most outstanding” could have revealed that its claim to have been published in 2009 to qualify for consideration for the award was dubious. But no such attempt was made, because, the Jury was either gained over by whosoever had lobbied for this book or was too pusillanimous to use its wisdom against pressure from the Akademi to recommend this book for the award.

So, surely the Jury has failed to perform its assigned duty in the manner stipulated in the Rules of the Akademi and, as subsequent discussion would show, has done the worst possible damage to the dignity of Oriya language by dancing to the tune of award hijackers.

Unless, its recommendation in favor of Achihna Basabhumi is rejected by the Akademi, its credibility and the dignity of the award would remain impaired, to the chagrin of all who love their language.

Rules of the Akademi raped

At least 50 % of the members of the Akademi’s Oriya Advisory Board (LAB) have told me that they had not suggested any name for appointment as expert to prepare a ground list for the award.

All of them have told me that they do not know the name of the expert who prepared the ground list with books that were not to be considered “most outstanding” on the matrix of the Rules.

Rules stipulate that, from amongst the persons recommended by the Board members, one or at best two would be appointed by the Academy President as expert or experts, to prepare the ground list of books eligible for the award.

When Board members had not recommended any person for appointment as expert, where from the Academy President got a man to prepare the ground list?

It is apprehended that the so-called expert was either a ghost expert or was appointed by manipulation; because, it is discernible that the ground list was prepared by a sophomore, not an expert on Oriya literature inasmuch as 11 books out of the 16 in the ground list belonged to a single publisher, which also included two of his own titles and one of his wife. Had an expert or a team of two experts, as provided for under the Rules, prepared the ground list, then 11 out of 16 books could never have come into that list from a single publisher.

Mafias in Academy loot the awards

The selection of Achihna Basabhumi, also of the same publisher of the afore said 11 books, inserted into the shortlist from beyond the ground list, for the national literature award 2011, as the most outstanding book published in Oriya language during the relevant period has provoked even the superbly polite and gentle face in Oriya literature, Sri Satakadi Hota to say before TV cameras that Sahitya Akademi Awards are being looted like mafias loot the mines. Sri Hota is a member of the General Council of the Akademi with enough experience in its functionalities. In an interview, (Chhota Srustira Samahar Chandan: Vol-V, Issue 1) he has not only corroborated his telecasted version, but also has put it on records that for the last few years he has been consciously watching how the Sahitya Awards are being fixed in contravention of the Rules, willfully carried out.

Another noted activist in the area of Oriya literature, Journalist Barendra Krushna Dhal, has even resigned from the Akademi’s LAB in protest against favoritism resorted to in selection of this book, specifically as, to his observation, the Akademi is incorrigibly corrupt in such selections.

Noted poet Rajendra K. Panda, also a member of the LAB was so shocked by selection of this book that on 22 December 2011, he had to share his feelings on his facebook wall in these words: “I woke up with a surprise. Kalpana Kumari Devi has been selected to receive this year’s award of Sahitya Akademi for Odia. I confess, I have not read any of her books; it shows my ignorance. Of course, I had seen some of her short stories years back; they were lackluster; may be, she grew in her dimensions later, about which I didn’t know”.

Deceitfulness of Chandra Sekhar Rath

These reactions had provoked author-cum-journalist Asit Mohanty, who also leads the Mukta Sahitya Manch, to meet one of the selectors of this book, Jury member Chandra Sekhar Rath to find out how and why this book was selected for the coveted award. The text of the interview is published in Orissa’s top circulated daily, the Sambad, on 3 January 2012. Here, in answering to Mohanty, Rath has vomited that he succumbed to the pressure from the convener of the Advisory Board, Bibhuti Patnaik in selection of this book.

More shocking than the allegation against Bibhuti Patnaik is the dastardly deceitfulness of Rath as revealed in this interview. He has no qualms in saying that, though reluctant to chose this book for the award, he was morally bound to select the book. “I am aware of the dissatisfaction in the public over selection of this book and I have no hesitation in saying that I am also not satisfied. But, by this, I am not trying to disown my responsibility. Coincidentally I had to be a part of this decision and I am dissatisfied with myself for what I had to morally do”, he has said.

Hypocrisy! could there be a different name of thine?

Rath was asked: Have you any objection to reveal the names of the books that were before the Jury for selection? Instead of revealing the names of the books, he has rushed into saying how the award was fixed.

Pointing out that the kingpin in award fixation was the regional secretary of Sahitya Akademi, Ramkumar Mukhopadhyaya, Rath has said, it is this official, who, beyond known provisions of the Rules, imposed upon the Jury Sri Bibhuti Patnaik to preside over and participate in final selection of the book for the award.

“To my knowledge, role of the convener is limited to organize the session of the Jury and to provide the Jury with unrestrained opportunity to take the decision. Participation of the convener in decision making was an unknown proposition. But as the regional secretary of the Akademi himself gave this direction, even though surprised, I did not feel it necessary to seek clarification on the new rule and kept quite. As such, in place of three members in the Juri, we became four. Then voice of the convener remained predominant from start to end of the session”, has said Sri Rath.

Is it expected of Sri Rath, a man of seniority and fame as a writer, to indulge in such acrobatics that clearly is designed to mislead the people?

If the Akademi secretary had wrongfully instructed that the session of the Jury was to be controlled by the convener and the convener was jumping his jurisdiction and imposing himself upon the Jury, why had he not objected to that in the meeting on records?

If it was a foul play against our literature, why did he not try to foil it on the spot?

Is it not an afterthought to divert public attention from the farce, he, as a member of the Jury, has made of the award?

Is it not a design shrewdly contrived to escape exposure by throwing the mud to someone else?

If he has any honesty, he should answer these questions.

However, as Rath has alleged that the decision of the Jury was influenced, we would like to go further into what he has said. Because history of offense against our mother tongue needs be kept on records.

He has said, “From amongst us, a member at the start of the session stated that there was no book in the list that could be considered as outstanding to qualify for the award. I politely differed. Because, to my impression, all most all the authors under consideration were eminent and accordingly, all the books were fit for the award”.

To him, all of the books placed before the Jury were so superb that it was difficult to reject any of them. “The problem with me was not in selecting one of the books; it was in rejecting the rest ten titles”, he has said.

If he is true in his this statement, why has he, as quoted supra, declared, “I have no hesitation in saying that I am also not satisfied” with selection of Achihna Basabhumi for the award?

Let him clarify, if he likes.

But let us proceed to see what further he has said.

He has said, “I had proposed that one book each from the four segments of literature be chosen first and from those four books, in the second stage, the best book be recommended for award. But the convener declared that there was no necessity of a second shortlist and insisted upon selection from the novel segment alone.I cannot say if the book now selected could have come into the list if the second shortlist should have been prepared. Yet, as because the proposal for the second shortlist was harped on, two or three books were discarded in a haste. Difference of opinion also had arisen. When a particular novel was influential to a Jury member, it was discarded because of views that the same was not at all a novel. Another novel was kept out of consideration, because its author was considered young enough to wait for awards. The third one being the only one of that year, besides being a compilation of published materials, was considered unfit for the award. In all such decisions, the tone of the convener was the dominant tone. Then, he placed the (now selected) book with his supportive opinion thereon”.

Thus saying, he has further said, “My personal predicament was that, if I was not supporting him, then difference of opinion was a must. But, adoption of his proposal by majority support was a certainty. The second predicament was, failure to take an unanimous decision in favor of a book would not be worthwhile in national arena. And, works of letters of this area would not be free from controversy. So, without going into any argument, I put my signature of approval thereon. This is for me, a defeat on moral ground. May be, I do not possess the required courage and ability for impartial evaluation needed for a clear, fearless decision”.

If Rath was really addressed to dignity of Oriya language, he should not have bared the Jury proceedings in such a style. And, if what he has divulged is factually correct, why has he not tendered his resignation as yet, specifically as he now confesses that he does not possess the required courage and ability for impartial evaluation of a literary work needed for delivering a clear fearless decision in matter of awards?

Convener’s clarification

Convener Bibhuti Pattanaik issued a clarification in print media, from which it transpires that out of the 11 books placed before the Jury, only six books somewhat had got mention in the discussion. They were, besides Achihna Basabhumi of Kalpanakumari Devi, Aranyare Yetedin of poet Hara Prasad Parcha Patnaik, Kanta O Anyanya Galpa of Gourahari Das, Chitra Turaga of Padmaja Pal, Mukti Yuddha of Satakadi Hota and Paunshagadara Sunara Dhuli, Mo Dhanamali of Debraj Lenka.

Out of these six books, three books – Kanta O Anyanya Galpa, Chitra Turaga and Mukti Yuddha – were from three different publishers and the rest three books were from the same publisher who was favored with 11 of his published titles in the ground list of 16 books.

When, to Jury member Debdas Chhotray, as informed by Sri Pattanaik, none of these books were “outstanding” to merit the national award, Chandra Sekhar Rath had put his preference on Parichha Patnaik’s Aranyare Yetedin and Pal’s Chitra Turaga. The other Jury member Shrinibas Mishra had declared from the beginning that none of the books except Kalpanakumari’s Achihna Basabhumi had any merit for the national award.

As the agenda of selection was shepherded into the limits of novels alone, Parichha Patnaik’s as well as Pal’s works were kept out of purview of the Jury.

In such circumstances, both Chhotray and Rath were prevailed upon to expand their views, whereupon, Chhotray announced his first preference for Debraj Lenka’s Paunshagadara Sunars Dhuli, Mo Dhanamali and second preference for Achihna Basabhumi.

When Rath was reluctant to prefer Lenka’s book on the ground of some indecent expressions depicted therein, Mishra had found Hota’s Mukti Yuddha unfit for the award on the ground of projection of Naxalites therein as freedom fighters.

So, taking into accounts the first preference of Mishra and second preference of Chhotray for Achihna Basabhumi, this book was selected for the award whereto Rath also subscribed his endorsement in the meeting itself, Pattanaik has said.

Wrongs rampant

But this clarification issued by the convener has bared how wrongs are rampant in selection, exposing inter alia his own wrongful participation therein.

Even as he has not countered Rath’s allegation that the Akademi’s regional secretary Ramkumar Mukhopadhyaya had clamped him on the Jury to preside over its session, he has, on his own accord, said that he has intervened in proceedings of the Jury. As for instance, he has said, “I had first stressed upon limiting the selection to novels only as from this segment more numbers of books had come into zone of final consideration” and when consideration was thus shepherded into the arena novels only, “I objected to taking cognizance of Debraj Lenka’s 98 page book as a complete novel”.

Had the convener thus not steered the selection process, Parichha Patnai’s beautiful poems compiled in Aranyare Yetedina (I have read this book so may times, every time feeling its freshness) or Gourahari’s stories in Kanta O Anyanya Galpa or Pal’s Chitra Turaga might have been chosen for the award beyond the segment of novel.

In the segment of novel, the only segment adopted for award, the selection seems to have been fixed.

Hota’s Mukti Yuddha was discarded, as to perception of Mishra, it equated Naxals with freedom fighters. Is quality of literature to be weighed on whether or not the author supports economy of inequality? Nonsense.

Lenka’s Paunshagadara Sunara Dhuli, Mo Dhanamali was rejected as the convener refused to accept it as a complete novel and Rath found in its pages certain expression that did not commensurate with standard language.

It is surprising that this Rath did not find any objectionable expression in Achihna Basabhumi though derogatory words are used against people of lower castes many a times in the book. Is it upper caste class design?

The convener may throw necessary light on this aspect.

Like Hota’s powerful novel Mukti Yuddha was discarded because it eulogized the revolutionaries, Paricha Patnaik’s Aranyare Yetedina was kept out of consideration, because it had also certain poems therein like Mukti Yatra that despite putting premium on patience, eulogized the Naxal activities in an environment of exploitation.

Was it because it was necessary to keep every iota of progressive expression out Sahitya Award to please the government run by right viruses?

The convener may throw necessary light on this aspect.

But who will be responsible for the gang rape on the Akademi’s reigning Procedure that govern the award?

Gang rape of Akademi’s reigning Procedure

Akademi’s reigning Procedure lays down under the head of “The Jury and its Functions” that:

The recommendations of Referees in the Preliminary Panel shall be considered by a three member Jury. The Jury members shall be selected by the President after considering the recommendations in this behalf by the members of the Language Advisory Board concerned.

The Akademi shall purchase the books recommended by the Referees in the Preliminary Panel and send them to the Jury members and to the Convener.

The Convener shall act as the link between the Jury and the Akademi. He/she will ensure that the meeting of the Jury is conducted properly and satisfactorily and will countersign the report of the Jury.

The Jury members shall, either by consensus or by majority, recommend a book for the award. They may also recommend that, in their opinion, no book is eligible for the award during the year. In the event of a member not being able to attend the meeting, he/she may convey his/her view in writing.

In view of these stipulations, there should have been only a three member Jury to examine the Oriya books placed before it and to select one of them for the award. The convener having admittedly participated to the extent of intervention in the proceeding of the Juri had de facto turned it into a four member body in contravention of the Procedure even in the presence of the regional secretary of the Akademi, who according to what Rath has stated, had clamped him on the Jury to chair over it.

According to the procedure noted above, the role of the Convener was limited to acting as the link between the Jury and the Akademi. He was to ensure that the meeting of the Jury was conducted properly and satisfactorily; but not to intervene in proceedings thereof. But as he, on his own accord, has disclosed, he intervened to the extent of capturing the award by his close friend Kalpanakumari for her novel Achihna Basabhumi with all the three members of the Jury accepting his intervention under the very eyes of Mukhopadhyaya, the Akademi official. I do not know if there is any precedence of such a gang rape of Akademi’s Rules and Procedure in process of facilitating award hijacking.

Selection through sharp practice

To which book the award should be given? To the “most outstanding” book of a recognized language.

The procedure for selecting a book laid down under the head of Sahitya Akademi Award says:

Subject to the provision of rule 1(2), there shall be an award every year for the most outstanding book by an Indian author, first published in any of the languages recognized by the Sahitya Akademi during the three years prior to the year, immediately preceding the year of the award.

By way of Illustration, it is said, that, “for the award of 2004, books published between 2000 and 2002 would be considered”.

This means, for the award of 2011, the selected book was to have been published during the period covering 2007 to 2009. But the selection was done through sharp practice and in contravention of this time tag and in contempt against stipulation on “most outstanding” status of the book.

Backdated publication

The final year of the qualifying period fitting into the zone of consideration for Sahitya Award 2011 was 2009.

But the book Achihna Basabhumi was not even written by this year.

This is clear from the interview its authoress had given to Yugashree Yuganaree as is published in its edition of February 2010.

To the query as to why she had no published work since 1986, she had said in the interview, “For intervening 20 year, I had given up writing. All the responsibilities of the household were on my shoulder. Children were in their demanding childhood. Novel writing is taxing and time-consuming. (Therefore) In the intervening period I my writing was limited to short stories only. Now again I have started writing novel” (Yugashree Yuganaree, February 2010, p.7)

So, according to her own statement, she had not written novel during 20 years up to 2010. And, hence, the book Achihna Basabhumi was not written before 2010.

There is reason to apprehend that the book was not published even before 2011. This is because, the book was not found in any of the book fairs either in 2010 or in 2011.

Had it been really published in 2009, its publisher who could flood the ground list of 16 books with as many as 11 from his publications alone as against 5 from other publishers, could not have kept away the book from the book fairs.

There is no review of the book in media worth the name in 2009, the claimed year of its publication.

There was no media review of the book even in 2010 and 2011.

On the other hand, when its publisher (the owner of the publishing brands Kahani and Akshara) Girija Kumar Baliarsingh has claimed that this book was published befor November 2009, there is no trace of this book in the 6th final edition, 2009 of Odia Pustak Prakasahan Suchi (Index of Oriya published works) that has covered all the books published till end of November, 2009. It is noteworthy that this index has, in its body, as many as 28 novels published by this publisher by end of November 2009 on the basis of data supplied by Baliarsingh, the publisher. But Achihna Basabhumi does not find a place in it, because the publisher did not submit its name as it was not published by then.

The ISBN records do not show that this book was published in 2009.

But before the ink of the convener’s signature on the Jury minutes dried up on blind acceptance of 2009 as its publication year, the book has come out with its second edition, 2012. so immensely popular is this book!

If the book is so immensely popular that its first edition is sold away so quickly, how is it that no writer worth the name has seen this book as yet?

How could its first edition got sold so soon sans media review and away from book fairs? It is a conundrum to whosoever has any interest in the history of book-selling in Orissa.

Its selection for 2011 award has generated unprecedented protests in this State. It is hard to believe that there must be any amongst book lovers of Orissa to whose attention the news of its selection and protests on its claimed age has not come as yet. But none of them has given any indication so far that he or she has seen the book in 2009 or even 2010 or even 2011.

On the other hand, in trying to pooh-pooh the questions on its publication dateline, its publisher Girija Baliarsingh has, in a statement asserted that he had published the book by November, 2009, but had not marketed it, as mistakes sic passim, a complete overhaul thereof was essential. The overhauling was certainly not completed before its manipulated insertion into the final list, as otherwise, it could have been placed in the ground list obviously by a paid agent attired as expert. However, by taking refuge in the necessity of overhauling, the publisher has admitted that the book had not reached the market by the relevant year of 2009.

So the book was not really published in 2009 and hence had no qualification for consideration for the Sahitya Award, 2011.

Whosoever had enlisted this book for consideration had certainly placed a backdated publication and the Jury has certainly erred against Oriya language as well as the Akademi by entertaining this backdated edition.

Paid agent(s) in the attire of expert

In the scheme of Sahitya Award given to the “most outstanding” book in every Indian language, the role of the expert is primordial. Rules require that preparation of the ground list of “most outstanding” books must be assigned to an expert or at best two experts as the President of the Akademi would prefer.

Rules further require that members of the LAB would each recommend up to five persons for appointment as “expert” out of which the President of the Akademi will have to chose one expert, or “at his discretion” two experts to prepare the ground list “strictly” conforming “to the criteria of eligibility laid down under these rules”.

The catch word here is “members”. The Akademi must have to collect from each of the LAB member the names for appointment of the “expert(s) and unless there is a vacancy by way of death, no LAB member can be granted the liberty of abstaining from submitting his/her preferred names for appointment of the “expert”.

But the Akademi is now being used by literature “mafia” (as Satakadi Hota, quoted supra, has used the term) to hijack the Sahitya Award. This hijacking would not be possible if the Akademi appoints real “expert(s)” for preparation of the ground list. And, therefore submission of names for appointment as “expert(s) is not being stressed upon. This facilitates preparation of the ground list of “most outstanding” books by paid agents of aspirant authors and/or publishers, attired as “experts”, bagging the appointment.

This is discernible in the matter of Oriya language in 2011 award context.

As 50 % of the LAB members had told me (noted supra) so also Barendra Krushna Dhal, another member of LAB, has revealed in writing that he had not recommended any name for appointment as “expert” (The Samaja: 18 January 2012).

Thus the Akademi had no names from “members” of the LAB and hence, appointment of “expert”, if any, was improper, farcical and arbitrary.

To this so-called “expert” it did not appear prudent to pick up the “most outstanding” books from Orissa’s vast numbers of publishers/authors for the ground list by conforming strictly “to the criteria of eligibility laid down under these rules” .

The “expert” is so expert in Oriya language that the list it prepared was limited to only 16 books out of which as many as 11 books came from the stable of a single publisher!

In the circumstances, therefore, it is suspected that the “expert” was not a real expert, but a paid agent attired as expert, appointed to prepare a ground list of any books under the guise of choosing the “most outstanding” ones.

Rightly, therefore, Chhoray, as noted supra, considered none of those books as “most outstanding”.

It would not be out of context to say that when the final list for placement before the Jury was prepared, as many as 12 books constituting 75 % of the books in the ground list prepared by the so-called “expert” were thrown out as unworthy of consideration.

It shows that from the very start, the most aggressive award hijacker had inserted his tentacles into the selection system.

Labyrinth of manipulation

In the labyrinth of manipulation, selection of the “most outstanding” book did not stay a prerequisite for the Sahitya Award, as, besides the sophomore(s) attired as expert(s), a member of the Jury – Shrinibas Mishra – was, from the beginning, harping on selection of Achihna Basabhumi for the award, despite it being in noway the “most outstanding” book published during the stipulated period.

Chhotray had given his second preference to it, that shows that in his view this book was not the “most outstanding”.

And Rath, the other Jury member, who ultimately had to succumb to pressure, was, till the last moment against choice of this book. So, to him also, this book was not the “most outstanding”.

Besides, none of these three members of the Jury had taken any step to determine that this book was surely the “most outstanding” and published in 2009.

What does “most outstanding” mean?

The plain meaning of the word “outstanding” means, standing out from a group : conspicuous; and marked by eminence and distinction noticeable.

Therefore, to mark a book as “most outstanding” its comparison with other books of the group is essential. This was neither done by the “expert” while preparing the ground list, nor by the person who referred it to Jury and not by the Jury that ultimately recommended it.

A plain reading of the book vis-a-vis others in the group should also not have sufficed to show the book as the “most outstanding” even if in scheme of sequences, structure of language, style of expression, purpose of presentation and other literary properties, it would have looked sounder than its contestants in the perceptions of the Jury members; because, it had to stand the test of marketing with “noticeable distinction” and also “eminence” to come out as the “most outstanding” book of the relevant period. Exceeding others in sale is the second prerequisite on which determination of the book as the “most outstanding” rests.

Spirit of the time tag killed

The Jury members have not understood this, or if they have understood, they have not given importance to the unavoidable prerequisite that, the book chosen for the award must have exceeded other books in sale and acceptability by the readers.

The Rule requires this and therefore it has provided for selecting a book published “during the three years prior to the year, immediately preceding the year of the award”.

The sole purpose of this time tag is addressed to market study to determine as to which of the book is “most sold” to decide which one of the books under zone of consideration is the “most outstanding” book on the basis of its acceptability to the readers.

This market study was never conducted and the books were never compared on the basis of sale either by the “expert” or by the Jury and more shockingly, the Akademi has never studied the sale status of the books in run for the award to assess as to whether in readers’ view the book so selected was the “most outstanding”.

It is sad that the spirit of the time tag is killed and Rules of the Akademi are raped and rendered inconsequential as its functionaries have collaborated with award hijackers.

Give up Hypocrisy With Respect To Surendra Sai, Give Sambalpur Its Due Importance

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government behaves hypocritically in many respects. But it should give up hypocrisy with respect to Veer Surendra Sai.

Our discussion on Surendra Sai being well read in these pages, we do not now prefer a new discussion on his life and sacrifice. But, we can certainly say that he had made the greatest and the most inspiring sacrifice for restoration of the distinct dignity of Sambalpur, the place that has the most monumental contribution to culture of Orissa.

Orissa owes its name to Uddiyan Tantra founded by the founder of Vajrayana of Buddhism, Indrabhuti, the light of Udradesh, Sambalpur.

Indrabhuti was the man who coined the name Jagannatha for Gurudev Buddha and established him as such amalgamating the tribal matriarchy with Buddhist tenets that are yet in vogue in the Jagannatha temple system.

So, it is Indrabhuti of Uddiyan Sambalpur who gave birth to Jagannath culture on which Orissa’s unique world outlook is based.

When this Jagannatha has been converted from Buddha to Vishnu and thereby into a deity controlled by the caste supremacists, it may depend on argument and counter argument to arrive at this truth that Jagannath of Puri owes his origin to Indrabhuti of present day Sambalpur. But, no argument is needed to show that Surendra Sai had made supreme sacrifice for restoration of the distinct position of Sambalpur.

I have in these pages as well as in my columns in Oriya language harped several times on transfer of a portion of the State Secretariat comprising departments having more relevance to western Orissa and high lands to Sambalpur as well as for establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court in this place without wastage of time. The people of the western region are also agitating for availability of executive and judicial government at their door step.

These essential facilities are not being available to people of Western Orissa simply because the State Government is not rising above timidness and hypocrisy.

If Surendra Sai is really to be honored, the unique contribution of Sambalpur region to Orissa should be unreservedly recognized and the offices of executive and judicial government must be established in Sambalpur.

So, politico-administrative hypocrisy should be given up with respect to Surendra Sai and he should be given due respect by establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court at and by transfer of a part of the State Secretariat comprising departments more relevant to Western Orissa to Sambalpur without wastage of time.

May We Celebrate Many Happy Returns of the Day


Written in Oriya by Smt. Chandraprava Pattanayak
Translated into English by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I am not the young age that goes away not to return,
No Shephali flower am I to fall down when rises the Sun.

Not am I the gloom of the new-moon day
Storms come and storms go, love’s white bloom I stay.

In the realm of my mind along ecstasy of creation
I am the rhythm of creativity, the paradise of affection.

By setting new tunes to the flute of life,
By infusing abundance thereinto,
I will refurbish and keep alive
My world for all times to come in situ.

This is my rendition of Chandraprava’s MAMATA that I present as a token of my best wishes to her on the 45th anniversary of her happy marriage with my dearest friend Prasanta Patnaik. I have picked up this poem from SWARAMAYA, the compilation of her Oriya poems, brought out by Associated Media Foundation, Bhubaneswar, on 23 January 2010.

As I share this pleasure with you all, I would like to thank Chandraprava and Prasanta for the very fact that they have made their togetherness exemplary for our society. Both of them constitute a remarkable couple that devotes its might to the common cause of Orissa.

May we celebrate many happy returns of the day.


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