Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Selfish politicians, crabby neorich and bon vivant bureaucrats formed the galaxy of guests to witness commencement of the 15th National Youth Festival at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar; but the real objects of pride of Orissa were left unwanted for reasons not yet known.

Of course the Government has no guts to show how the State looks in her reality. In reality, ever since Navin Patnaik has occupied power, she is trembling under continuous starvation deaths, distress sale of paddy, suicide of farmers, baby selling by mothers, female feticide, spurious drugs, displacement of children of the soil for allotment thereof to foreign land grabbers, internecine quarrels amongst the people deliberately ignited by the authorities to help industry take advantage of disunity in the grassroots, spread of mafia tentacles around every official projects, rudderless condition of youth, premature termination of Assembly sessions by the government to gag peoples’ right to obtain answers of administration to issues of misrule and over and above every possible malpractice, administrative atrocities on individual journalists to intimidate the Press.

But despite such darkness, Mother Orissa has in her lap many a self-lit lamps of light that she could have been happy to show to the Youth of India.

She has Kalpana Das who made India taller than Mount Everest by hoisting her National Flag on this highest peak of the world on May 21, 2008. Orissa should have liked to make the youth of India get inspiration from her presence on this august occasion. The state government did not allow this to happen.

She has Dillip Tirkey, Torch Bearer of the Commonwealth Games India is to host this year. She has Olympian Lazarus Barla. She has Olympian Anuradha Biswal. She has Prabodh Tirkey, former captain of Indan Hokey Team. She has Shradhanjali Samantray, former captain of Indian Women (senior) Football Team. She has Padmini Rout, the World under-14 Girls’ Chess Champion. She has Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak, the young violinist who was the only one to win National Scholarship in the stream in 2007 and a galaxy of brilliant young achievers – artists and culture-scholars – whom Orissa should have been happy to make the youth of India know. But none of them were even invited to attend the festival.

No wonder, students of Utkal University of Culture, the only one of this genre in India, staged a protest demonstration, which was the only way available to them to give vent to their dismay.

How can one overlook this if he loves his home State?

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