Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Governance in Oriya language is birthright of the people of Orissa. But Orissa is under non-Oriya rule. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ignored the right of the people to be governed in their mother tongue for the last sixteen years, when, through manipulations he has kept the State under his grip. His party is notoriously named after his father Biju Patnaik and all the government programs are intentionally named after Biju, pushing the poor, illiterate people to confusion where official welfare programs are mistaken by the gullible voters as BJD programs, ensuring him victory in elections without any merit.
He considers the people of Orissa as spineless idiots who have tolerated the blatant violation of Orissa Official Language Act 1954 that has mandated that “Oriya shall be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.
Despite this offense against Orissa, he can rule as long as his sycophants are able to hijack elections, he feels.
He makes farce of Oriyas by forcing Oriya officers and ministers to stand like Ajnyabakas (Factotums) before his non-Oriya private secretary who has emerged the super chief minister in the eyes of all who have any function in the government.
He does not want Oriya to be a must for governance in Orissa as he himself does not know Oriya.
His father Biju Patnaik was the nastiest ever hypocrite to have ruled over Orissa. His sycophants shamelessly glorify him as an Oriya nationalist ignoring the fact that he was such a man who had not taught a single Oriya alphabet to his son Naveen. It is a national shame for the State that Naveen has not shown any ability to learn Oriya even. He does not understand intricacies of administration and lest his weakness be caught, he has been depending on bureaucratic notes in English.
Implementation of Orissa Official Language Act would throw him out of power within no time. So he and his sycophants in the cabinet never want Oriya to be the language of governance in Orissa.
But not all the people of Orissa are to be befooled. Gajanan Mishra of Titilagarh, Bolangir, certainly not.
He is a lawyer by profession. Since decades, he has been doing his practice in Oriya language. He is drafting his cases in Oriya, conducting his cases in Oriya, prevailing upon the courts to take depositions in Oriya, to record the depositions in Oriya, to hear the arguments in Oriya and to deliver the verdicts in Oriya. His sincerity and dedication to the people’s mother tongue had made a District Judge to instruct all lower Courts to conduct adjudication in Oriya.
This Gajanan Mishra, who is a poet also, has been continuously pressing for governance of the whole of Orissa in Oriya as per the Act of 1954. As all his prayers fell in the deaf ears of Naveen Patnaik, he staged a fasting protest at Bhubaneswar and gave a three months time to the Government for implementation of the Act, failing which he would resort to fast onto death in support of his demand.
And, accordingly, he sat in fast onto death on July 1, 2015. Ms. Madhumita Samal and Sanjib Parida also sat on fast on that day.
Relay fast commenced on the 2nd day with your Representative-in-Chief Subhas Chandra Pattanayak sitting in the strike. This encouraged continuous relay fasting by many luminaries from different walks of life and by 8th July, the whole State was woke up against non-Oriya rule over Orissa, with poets coming from all over the State offering their solidarity though inspiring recitation of their poetries in praise of the mother tongue.
Various organizations working for Oriya language that had decided to support Sri Gajanan Mishra in his fast onto death had amalgamated into a common platform called Oriya Bhasa Sangram Samiti (hereinafter called ‘Sangram Samiti) with poet Sankara Parida as its convener. Under his able stewardship, leaders of all political parties except the ruling BJD were frequenting the strike spot and expressing their solidarity with Sri Mishra.
Situation was going out of control for the Government which was in a deep quagmire over blatant mismanagement of Jagannatha’s Navakalevar.
In such circumstances, a team of ministers, in the name of the Chief Minister, proposed to implement Mishra’s demand and begged for breathing time to first finish the Navakalevar event and then to finalize the date for implementation of the Act of 1954 in a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to be notified on obtaining the list of representatives of the Sangram Samiti.
The date for this JAC with five ministers on one part and seven representatives of the Sangram Samiti on the other part was fixed to August 1 and accordingly Gajanan babu ended his fast on July 8 to the announcement of the above agenda by the Law Minister of the State on the fasting podium.
The Government created a legal instrument (SANKALPA) on the 31st July with a single TERM OF REFERENCE seeking direction on how to implement the Orissa official Language Act. But, surprisingly it brought in BJD MP Baishnab Parida to derail the scheduled discussion and Linguist Dr. Devi Prasanna Pattanayak under whose cover it was trying to escape. Under this instrument, it eliminated our status as Representatives of Bhasa Sangram Samiti by transforming all of us to “nominated members” of the Ministerial Committee, even though, de facto, it was to act the JAC.
On this Term of Reference only decisions were to be taken on August 1. There was no question of any discussion with Baishnab Parida, as MP of the ruling party, as suggested by his sitting amongst the ministers.
Instead of working on the Term of Reference, MP Parida raised uncalled for hubbubs and tried to derail the discussions.
The Government was and is free to discuss with him and any number of persons in matter of its role in Official Language Act. But, as far as its promise to Gajanan Mishra and fellow fasting strikers and the Sangram Samiti is concerned, bringing in Baishab Parida to make unnecessary noise to derail the discussion is a naked act of betrayal.
We doubt, as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is afraid that he cannot function if Oriya becomes the compulsory language of governance, and Officers who have been cheating the State by operating only in English, the Government have resorted to tricks to delay the implementation of the Official Language Act.
Sri Gajanan Mishra, in this context, has placed the facts before the people of Orissa in a detailed edit-page article in Samaja today. I am placing below his article.
Peruse it and rise to the cause, dear brothers and sisters.