Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa State Government has played its nastiest trick against the people.

When classicality of the lovely and archaically rich Oriya language needs be recognized in the same yardstick as used for Tamil, the higher education department under a minister and a secretary belonging by birth to the Bengali speaking community known to history for their envy and conspiracy against the Oriya language, has initiated steps to disallow Oriya to be taught in as many as 14 Government Colleges and 125 aided Colleges at degree level, to begin with, when they resume after the ensuing summer vacation.

Major Colleges to be devoid of Oriya as a course of study include Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, Fakir Mohan College, Balasore, Bhadrak College, Bhadrak, MPC College, Baripada, Shailabala Women’s College, Cuttack, and the women’s colleges at Bhawanipatna, Dhenkanal, Balasore, Baripada and Keonjhar,Maharshi College of Natural Law and Kamala Nehru Women’s college, Bhubaneswar etc. The reason: lack of sufficient students!

We had broken this news editorially.

A section of the Print media has carried this information today.

This nasty offence against the people of Orissa is being carried out in the name of educational reform. Had anybody other than Naveen Patnaik been in power, nobody would ever have dared to think of this. But to the ill luck of Orissa, the reign of the State is in his hands.

Naveen Patnaik is a Chief Minister who hates the mother tongue of the people. Otherwise what is the reason of his reluctance to learn Oriya? Look at any IAS or IPS or IFS or any other officer of central civil service, who is not an Oriya, but is in the Orissa cadre. You can mark that he or she speaks in Oriya and has no difficulty in communication with the people. Oriya is so sweet and scientific that it could be learnt within a couple of months.

When during the British Raj, the southern part of Orissa was annexed to Madras Presidency, Mr. T.J. Mathey of Madras Civil Service had authored a ‘Handbook of Uriya or Odiya Language’ for use by the non-Oriya officers in the Oriya speaking track. Mathey was not an Oriya. He was charmed with the archaic beauty of Oriya language and as a language, it was so scientifically developed that he found no difficulty in mastering it. The State Government has published this book with the avowed aim that a functionary who does not know Oriya, but is engaged in Orissa administration, could easily learn Oriya with the aid of this book. Who debars Naveen Patnaik to take help of this book? Nobody. But Naveen shall not learn. Even Mathey’s book in his hand could not make him learn the language. He knows, as long as there are sycophants to support him, he shall manage. Who cares for the language?

Self-centered sycophants of Late Biju Patnaik, who knew that the people to lead the state could accept none of them, had picked him up. They had tried to see if a rubber-stamp chief minister could be created by use of the name of Biju Patnaik following his demise. The idea clicked and Naveen could win sympathy votes in the name of his father. For six years he is heading the government. He has been used by more crocked elements in his party in eliminating their rivals. He has not been able to know ABC of this foul game simply because he has no ability to know what really happens under his nose. This is because he has no knowledge in Oriya, the language, the rank and file of BJD speak. He has no interest in knowing this language.

Taking advantage of this, a Bangali by birth, Samir De, who holds the higher education portfolio under Naveen, has played the trick. We have editorially commented and we have no hesitation in saying that there are Bangalis who are traditional antagonists of Oriya language. Out of this antagonism, the new ploy against Oriya in the Colleges under control of Dey has been used.

As we have mentioned earlier, Oriya is a classical language with monumental archaic properties spanning sic passim its vast vocabulary, that offers immense scope for research in Indian philology. According to Sir George Abraham Grierson, the famous Irish Orientalist, “The Oriya language can boast of a rich vocabulary in which respect neither Bengali nor Hindi nor Telugu can vie with it”(Linguistic Survey of India, Vol.IV)

Even the famous Bengali scholar Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee admits that Oriya is unambiguously superior to Bengali. To quote him, “of the three speeches-Oriya, Bengali and Assamees- Oriya has preserved a great many archaic features in both grammar and pronunciation; and it may be said without travesty of linguistic truth that Oriya is the eldest of the three sisters, when we consider the archaic character of the language”. (I.H.Q. Vol.XXIII, 1947, p.337)

So any scholar, who wants to study Indian linguistics, shall have to study the archaically richest language ‘Oriya’. In the world arena, linguistics attracts best of minds in study of human civilization. Stoppage of study in this beautiful and historically important language in the higher education institutions of its own soil is nothing but a blatant crime against the people of Orissa as well as the history of human civilization.

The thinking minds must speak now.