Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The word Bethi is not available in English lexicons though the officials then posted as Political Agents of the British Crown for Princely States were well acquainted with this word in context of the Kingdom of Dhenkanal in Orissa.

In Orissa’s unique Encyclopedic Dictionary, Purnachandra Bhashakosha, its author Gopal Chandra Praharaj has created its English synonym. According to this authority, the word Bethi means, “Forced labour”. (Purnachandra Ordia Bhashakosha, p.5875).

Before independence, Bethi was the method of measuring the subjects’ loyalty in the kingdom of Dhenkanal.

Subjects were being forced to work for the King without any remuneration; even without any expectation.

Whosoever was reluctant to perform Bethi was termed a traitor and consequently tortured by the King.

During the reign of King Shankar Pratap Bethi becoming unbearable, peoples had woke up against the tyranny under leadership of Baishnav Charan Pattanayak, addressed respectfully as Veer Baishnav.

Though the Communist Party of India guided the movement, the Congress Party had also supported it.

Eventually known as Praja Mandal Andolan, the movement had grown massive on Veer Baishnav’s clarion call for extermination of Kingship and had spread to all the Princely States and had ultimately succeeded.

Kings were forced to merge their States in India to escape wrath of the commons.

Had it not happened, the India that was independent in the night of August 14, 1947 could never have had the geographic shape that the world is now able to see.

But the tricks of Time have subjected the son of the same King to Bethi this time in a different pattern.

Self-proclaimed “sainik” of Sonia Gandhi, K.P.Singhdeo has to make propaganda for contesting candidates of the Congress Party in Orissa in Election 2009 without being rewarded with any constituency for himself or for his son and even without any expectation.

He is to do this not as a politician wedded to a political economy; but as a “sainik” of Sonia Gandhi to show that he is loyal to the lady autocrat of Congress!

What a trick Time has played!

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