Utkal Divas: Its Cries and a Crier

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As every Oriya is to celebrate the best and the finest day of his collective life – the Utkal Divas – the day of resurrection of Motherland Orissa, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been offending the people of this splendid soil by lack of his oracy in Oriya, has lastly vandalized today the ever cherished and celebrated name of “Utkal Divas”.

His greetings to people published in form of an advertisement in Oriya newspapers, for which the State Exchequer is to cough up huge money, has made a mockery of the name of the day that our founding fathers had handed over to us for celebration for ever.

Not only he, but also his Information Minister, who is by birth a genuine Oriya, has used the same term “Orissa Divas” in his Utkal Divas Greetings. These being Government advertisements, it is clear that these fellows have used our exchequer to vandalize our day of celebration.

Earlier an offense has already been done against classicism of our language by changing the English spelling of the names of our motherland and mother tongue.

Our founding fathers had evolved the English spelling of these two names by using the English alphabet ‘R’ to distinguish the two different pronunciation of our 13th consonant. In our alphabet, this consonant has two pronunciations reduced to two shapes – one plain and the other with a dot underneath. The dot is provided for distinguishing the phonetical difference. The plain form of this alphabet is used at the beginning of the word that starts with it, but the same alphabet is presented with a dot underneath when it is used at the second or later place in a word.

We Oriyas understand the difference and use the two different forms of pronunciation marked by the dot under the second avatar of 13th consonant in tune with the phonetical necessity.

But how the non-Oriyas, particularly the English-speaking foreigners are to utter the said alphabet used in the second or third or any later position in a word without violating our peculiar pronunciation?

This question had engaged our founding fathers in deep cogitation for quite a long period and eventually the approximate correct phonetic presentation was evolved for the second or later placement of the particular consonant in a word with addition of ‘R’ to ‘D’ as in ORDIA. The ‘RD’ was reduced to R without compromising the phonetic peculiarity.

So, in honoring the archaic uniqueness of our language, our founding fathers had evolved the English spelling of the name of our motherland as Orissa and of our mother-tongue as Oriya.

When Naveen Patnaik, who has no oracy in Oriya, in order only to divert public attention from his misrule, indulged in the luxury of imitating Bengali or Tamil people in changing the names of their states, tried to thrive on deceit over Oriya nationalism, and his non-Oriya acolytes in administration with a hidden agenda to demolish the potency of classicality of phonetic uniqueness of Oriya, advised him to change the English spelling of the name of the State and its language, I had strongly objected to that in these pages justifying why the English spelling of Orissa should not be changed to Odisha and of Oriya to Odia.

You may read it here again:

The cabinet must not muss up Orissa

Many eminent men of letters had supported my argument, but none of them had come forward to protest publicly.

The awards or appointments available to them by pleasing the power that be, was clearly a deterrent to their speaking out against the official mischief.

I would give some more links for perusal of the late comers, such as:

Replacement of R with D is a wrong against Oriya Language

Orissa in peril: Government plays havoc with her heritage

Message of Utkal Divas: Oriyas must defeat the conspiracy against classicism of their language

Bitchy politics over classical status of Oriya language

However, over and above the links, study of the excerpt from Purnachandra Bhashakosha inserted below may help to understand the different shapes of the alphabet in question.

two forms of one alphabet in Oriya

 

If you read it truly, you may know how by changing the English spelling of Orissa to Odisha and Oriya to Odia, the sophomoric politicians in power have perpetrated an irreparable damage to the classicality of our language.

Fortunately for us, the contributions of our scholars from Gopal Chandra Praharaj to Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, have not gone barren and the nation of modern India has recognized Oriya as a classical language.

But then, the chief minister has not changed.

To suit his nefarious design for political gain by generating a false nationalism over change of the English spelling of the name and language of the State, now the famous day in our collective life – Utkal Divas – has been changed to Odisha Divas in the advertised message of Naveen Patnaik and his information minister.

Patnaik had shamelessly tried to claim credit for national recognition of Oriya as a classical language, even though his government had no role in it. It was a nefarious political stunt. In reality, he has no real relationship with Oriya language. He has no allegiance to Oriya language. He has no mind to protect the utility of Oriya language. He has committed heinous offenses against Oriya language by doing away with its official use inasmuch as his government has contravened the Orissa Official language Act in every sphere of administration.

The classical status given to Oriya has been challenged in the Chennai High Court through a PIL. But Patnaik has not yet prepared his government to face the challenge. Even the scholars whose contributions have fetched the classical status for our mother tongue have not been consulted so far on how to defeat the PIL in Chennai High Court and neither the Chennai High Court has been approached to drop the unnecessary litigation over our language nor the Supreme Court of India has been moved to quash the PIL before the Chennai High Court.

He has no discernible allegiance even to our State. Hundreds of our villages have been threatened with claim of West Bengal on one side and Andhra on the other side. Patnaik has not taken any tangible step so far to save our boarder.

Against this backdrop, his attempt to eliminate “Utkal Divas” by his so-called greetings on “Orissa Divas” speaks volumes of his mischief against uniqueness of Orissa.

But, sycophancy has so crippled the collective conscience of our people, that, this mischief is going unnoticed.

A New Hope Emanates

However, from this dark cloud, a ray of hope is emanating. A lawyer by profession, poet Gajanan Mishra of Titilagarh, who has been campaigning for a few years for use of Oriya as the language of Courts in his area, has resorted to hunger strike at Bhubaneswar today with a demand for use of Oriya as the official language in all the courts of Orissa, belonging specifically to lower judiciary.

Orissa has given birth to a new political epoch of creation of provinces on language basis in India. It is also the first amongst the Indian provinces to frame and promulgate Official Language Act in 1954 laying down that Oriya shall be the language for all and any official work in Orissa. This Act requires entire administration to run only in Oriya.

When Gajanan babu’s lone voice has reached the State Capital from Titilagarh, we in ORISSA MATTERS would think it just and proper to underline that the demand of the people should be for implementation of the Act of 1954 in letter and spirit to save the State from the ignominy of being governed in English language. And, to make the implementation unfailing, it would be proper to insist that whosoever contravenes the Act, be punished.

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