MPs of Orissa Should Follow Tathagat

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When as the Chief Minister, Biju Patnaik had gained over the Opposition to support him in his conspiracy to handover vast areas of precious land under reserved forest used as sanctuary of rare blackbucks on the Puri-Konark marine drive to his preferred land-hunters acting under cover of unspecific Hotel projects touted to cater to international tourists and as a result, on 9 November 1993, Basant Biswal led the Congress MLAs to support him by saying that development must not be obstructed in the name of Forest conservation, the strongest voice of opposition to Biju Patnaik’s nefarious design had come only from his own party – then the Janata Dal.

Three of its frontbenchers: Tathagat Satapathy, Umesh Swain and Amar Shatpathy strongly opposed the proposal. “It is sad that the State Government is conspiring to handover the rare eco-system on the Puri-Konark sea-beach by doing away with the reserved status of the forest where rare blackbucks dwell”, said Tathagat when Umesh declared, “I will oppose with all the strength I command the State Government’s nasty plan for deforestation of the reserved forest to handover precious marine land to private industries” and Amar said, “It would be better for the State Government not to rush ahead with the proposal to deforest the lands by the marine drive under pressure from private industrial lobby”.

Tathagat did not stop there. He used his highly circulated daily ‘Dharitri’ to educate the general public against Biju’s harmful plan. On 15 November 1993, in his editorial column he raised the issue. He said, “The State Government’s proposal to handover the precious forest land on the Puri-Konark marine drive was attracting criticism from many leading persons of Orissa. Members of the ruling Janata Dal have also opposed the proposal in the Assembly. But sadly, the Chief Minister is not paying any heed to such opposition”.

Tathagat’s principled stand had unnerved Biju Patnaik so much that, lest the behind-the-screen land-hunters get exposed baring thereby Biju’s practice of corruption, the Government staggered and the eco-system was safe till his son Naveen Patnaik entered into Anil Agrawal’s trap called Vedant University (VU).

It is to be noted that out of the above named three colleagues of Biju Patnaik that had opposed his move to handover the seashore land to undisclosed land-hunters on 9 November 1993 in the Assembly, two have changed their allegiance. They are Umesh Swain and Amar Shatpathy. When Umesh has joined the Congress party, Amar is in the NCP. But Tathagat continues in the party, named after Biju, mastered by his son Naveen, styled BJD. Yet when Naveen’s motive to handover the seashore land – his father had tried to deforest in favor of undisclosed land-hunters – to Anil Agrawal in the name of VU, it is only Tathagat, who questioned the motive behind the land allocation to Agrawal when that would not only shatter the eco-system, but also displace indigenous people from their living environment. Naveen’s sycophants in local politics, collaborators in the central power corridor, a pack of self-proclaimed formulators of Orissa’s future progress from amongst Non-Resident Oriyas trying to ingratiate with the Chief Minister and a pet section of the Press were marked intensifying their respective and collective lobby for Agrawal in the guise of campaigning for IIT in Orissa; but despite being a BJD parliamentarian, Tathagat ventured a signed editorial on 11 May 2007 emphasizing on the need for shift of administrative priority from so-called world-class techno-education to irrigation and cultivation.

I am happy to note that Tathagat has come up yet again to stand with the real Orissa against a misconceived euphoria amongst the State’s ruling leaders over adoption by Parliament of India of the the Constitution (113th) Amendment Bill that aims at paving the way for the Orissa (Alteration of the Name) Bill to become a Law after the President’s consent after which Orissa shall be prohibited to be spelt as Orissa. Held “historic” by uninformed members of the Parliament, who never know the history of Orissa to understand as to why the English spelling of the State was thus fixed, in fact, who never have discussed on why the name of the State was thus spelt, the adoption of the Bill is a historic blunder committed against Orissa inasmuch as it will ruin the unique archaic richness of Oriya language after becoming a law.

In an editorial in Dharitri he has clearly disapproved the confused frenzy of happiness over the change of the spelling of the name of Orissa through legislative instruments. He has not only pointed out how the concerned Bill has been passed sans proper application of legislative wisdom, but also has come down heavily on rulers of the State who have tried to divert attention of the people from their economic peril through the mischief of the “alteration of name’ of Orissa.

Ever since Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has adopted this mischievous method to mislead the people and to satisfy certain elements that are envious of classicism of Oriya language and therefore, time and again have tried to use their method of subterfuge against Orissa, I have been placing my views on correctness of the existing spelling in these pages.

In fact, Orissa is the correct spelling of the name of the State developed and settled by the protectors of Oriya language from the non-Oriya regional chauvinists during the subdued days of Orissa and hence, is unquestionable.

It is sad that the MPs, who have not yet thought it necessary to ban the use of the word ‘India’ as the name of Bharat, even though the word India owes its origin to fellows that had invaded and captured our country, have not hesitated to support and adopt a Bill styled ‘Alternation of the NAME of Orissa Bill, though thereby historicity of State’s name is set to be shattered in transliteration level.

Even as I strongly condemn Naveen Patnaik’s conspiracy against my motherland, I thank Sri Tathagat Satapathy for his timely comment on the spelling change vis-a-vis unseen lack of legislative wisdom in adopting the name alteration Bill.

All the members of Parliament representing Orissa should peruse the Dharitri editorial referred to supra along with my last discussion and follow Tathagat for protection of Orissa’s archaic richness.

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