Orissa is world famous for its wealth of arts. It is known as Utkala, the land of artistic excellence. But, in the present phase of her life, artist are perishing in absence of avenues of livelihood and due to exploitation by the State administered by Naveen Patnaik who is in power for about 15 years.
The State has an unique University called the Utkal University of Culture. It had selected through a selection committee qualified persons to teach in PG classes, several years ago. Instead of appointing them permanently, as they were selected against permanent vacancies, the state owned university had appointed them as ‘casual’ faculties on ad hoc basis, terminating their services before completion of 90 days and reappointing them immediately thereafter. This design was meant to exploit the faculties without granting them regular service benefits. When they have already worked for several years as such, a temporary VC, just before the end of his tenure, terminated them permanently by manipulating hand-picked members of the board of its management and took in new hands in the same temporary design. Whether or not sumptuous bribes from aspirants for the assignments was the fountainhead of this design is not known, but the illogical action has been challenged as illegal in many cases in legal forums. Notwithstanding what would be the fate of litigations, the hard reality is that artists are perishing because of exploitive design of the State.
Orissa Sangeet Mahavidyalaya is another center of exploitation of performing artists. Faculties are kept on temporary basis against permanent posts and tenterhook of hope for regularization keeps them afloat on slow starvation.
When teachers as thus are perishing, their pupils who have graduated from such institutions are seeking employment. The State is exploiting them by appointing them under Sarva Siksha Abhijan on a day per week basis where they have no hope of acquiring regular status. The performing and visual artists are suffering beyond endurance. In December, thousands of artist had gathered in Bhubaneswar to attract attention of the Assembly as well as administration to their plight. L.P.Pattanayak had captured some of their action in his camera. They are of continuing relevance; and so we place them here as a token of our recognition of undying agony of the artists despite passing away of the year 2013. (Editor)
But the artists, despite their scornful agitation have given a hopeful message. The two pictures at the bottom indicate, an artist is caricaturing chief minister Naveen Patnaik where Sri Patnaik is trying to pacify the aggrieved artists by visiting them on the street and by patiently hearing them in their meeting.
We earnestly hope, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will stop exploitation of of artists in 2014 before relinquishing his post in 2014.