Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

On June 11, 2008 my discussion on how wrong was the official attempt to change the spelling of Orissa to Odisha was captioned, “Orissa in Peril: Government Plays Havoc with Her heritage”. As the attempt has failed to succeed as yet in spite of the Bill in this regard having passed the Parliament, I urge upon every thinking mind, specifically of Orissa and amongst members of Indian Parliament where the said Bill is to be considered afresh on technical grounds, to please read again the same article, to cogitate the question raised therein and to stop the unconcerned government tampering with classicism of Orissa, which, the proposed change of its spelling to Odisha will certainly do.

To Orissa’s misfortune, she is under the grip of a man, who not only does not know Oriya, but also has no ability to know how unique is the classicism of Oriya language. He was not born and brought up in Orissa and has no natural concern for Orissa.

He heads the State Government in absence of an alternative. In fact, he came to power because of the Congress Party that acts as Opposition in Orissa. The Congress high command – remote controlled by American lobby – had paved the way for him to capture power so that foreign based mines mongers may grab Orissa’s mineral wealth, which any Congress leader, born and brought up in Orissa might never have so unconcernedly allowed. A look at the conduct of Congress high commands makes this clear.

Emergence of Naveen Patnaik

How the Congress High Command helped Naveen emerge as Orissa’s Chief Minister is discernible in how it ruined the party in this province.

An able and astute politician like J.B.Patnaik was willfully removed from power just before general elections with lightweights, one after another in quick succession replacing him by the Congress high command. Congress workers and supporters in Orissa were completely confused and under that climate of confusion, mismanagement of super-cyclone 1999 relief operation by the successors of JB having irritated the general public, Congress had lost to the new challenger BJD which was formed by shrewd sycophants of Biju Patnaik immediately after his death with Naveen Patnaik as its head.

Biju was thrown out of power because of rampant corruption in administration. The founders of BJD were his partners in corruption. They were so discredited that after Biju’s death, death of their political lives was imminent. No other political party, they were sure, would accept them. Even their own Party – the Janata Dal – was reluctant to retain them. Hence, they tried to stay united in the name of Biju. But none of them was willing to accept any of them as the chief of the new combine. Hence, strategists amongst them such as Ramakrishna Patnaik, Nalini Mohanty and Bijay Mohapatra had persuaded the rest of their colleagues to take refuge under a son of Biju, which, they had argued, may help them return to power by exploiting the sympathy of the simple-natured people of Orissa, who, by birth magnanimous, were expected to pardon him after his death.

Their expectation worked and with Congress high command having ruined the credibility of its provincial leadership, the newly formed Biju Janata Dal bagged the mandate under sympathy waves for his son, Naveen.

And, since then, Naveen has given Orissa the worst of administration in every sphere.

Yet, he is in power; because the Congress high command has always acted to demoralize the provincial leadership at the eve of every general election since then to the chagrin of Congress workers and sympathizers.

Naveen continues in power by help of Congress High Command

As for instance, Congress high command, overwhelmed by the feeling that it lost the State because it had jettisoned J.B.Patnaik (JB) in 1999, had appointed him as PCC President during Naveen’s first term in Office, following which the Party was rejuvenated to such speaking strength that the panicked Naveen had to jettison four of his cabinet colleagues including founder members of BJD, just to save his own skin and to assure the people that he stands for clean administration. Despite this comedy of cleansing, Naveen had no chance of gaining a fresh mandate as by that time Congress had regained its lost popularity and BJD had lost its credibility due to corruption and over dependance of officers in administration. When the situation was quite favorable for return of Congress to power, just before the general elections, JB was removed from the PCC stewardship and replaced by a lightweight. The Congress workers were too confused to campaign with confidence in the election and people were too shocked to support Congress candidates. In the circumstances, Naveen was not challenged and that helped him capture power for the second term. Jayadev Jena was leading the party when Naveen was set to seek mandate for the third term. There was no chance for him this time. Stench of corruption was suffocating the general public as use of state terror to suppress protests against misrule was generating public determination to oust him. Reading the public mind, his two-term ally BJP was also distancing from him. The situation was highly suggestive of end of the age of Naveen misrule. People of Orissa were waiting to show him the door. Congress high command rushed to his rescue. It changed the PCC leadership just before the elections and replaced Jayadev Jena with K.P.Singhdeo as PCC president. The appointment of Singhdeo who personifies the Dhenkanal legacy of brutal exploitation of the people and merciless oppression of freedom fighters including murder of Baji Raut for which the family has never repented, as President of the State unity of the Congress to lead the party in general election was too offensive for the general public to vote for the Congress. Naveen, as expected, was Orissa’s Hobson’s choice for the third term.

Thus Naveen is in power because the party which should have led the people to oust him has provoked the people to vote for him by demoralizing the PCC leadership at the verge of general elections. This man has no concern for Orissa. His love for POSCO and the likes has found natural ally in the Congress high command remote-controlled by deities of imperialism. Over and above the disguised help of the Congress high command, Naveen has always taken advantage of political stunts that he well equipped to play to false Oriya pride to grab power by misleading the public. Change of the spelling of Orissa to Odisha is one such stunt.

Classical aspect of Oriya language

The English spelling of Odisha stands as Orissa is an universally accepted recognition of the unique classicism of Oriya language. This was discussed in details in my article referred to supra. I insist that everybody interested in knowing the historicity of why the name of this splendid land was spelt as Orissa in English should read that article again and act to stop vandalization of classicism of Oriya which is not only the language of a “fine race” (Gandhiji in Young India) but also is a classic language, richer in vocabulary, as Linguistic Survey of India has noted, than Bengali, Hindi and Telugu.

It is not surprising that selfish elements are getting elected to legislatures both in state and central levels under machinations of plutocracy. For them to change the spelling of a province’s name to the detriment of her classical uniqueness is not unusual as more than patriotic conduct they depend on political acrobatics to grab and stay in power. For them change of Orissa to Odisha is no matter of qualm. But all the members of Indian Parliament are not idiots. When the Bill will go to them again, let them first try to know as to why the spelling of this State of classical heritage was Orissa in English. It is sad that before agreeing to change the spelling by way of constitutional amendment, not a single member of Parliament had tried to know as to why that spelling had evolved. By accepting and using Orissa as the English spelling of this State, its founders, who under the able leadership of Kulagaurav Madhusudan Das had made yeomen sacrifice to resurrect the motherland to her present shape and had given birth to the first linguistic State of India, have given their permanent stamp of approval to the British endeavor to honor the classical uniqueness of of this historic land. Agents of land-grabbers in power must not be allowed to tamper with this classical uniqueness.

Thanks, Tathagat Satpathy

I am happy that Parliamentarian Tathagat Satpathy has expressed support to stoppage of the spelling change through an editorial in his news daily Dharitri. He is late by almost two years from the date of my aforesaid discussion. But as the axiom says, it is better late than never.

It will be better for motherland Orissa if all her right-thinking children start protesting against the political stunt of spelling change, howsoever be they late, as this is more essentially urgent at this moment than never protesting, if safeguarding the classical uniqueness of the mother-tongue is felt to be the dearest duty of conscious human beings.

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