Orissa Official Language Act enacted and enforced in 1954 stipulated that, without prejudice to Art.346 and 347 of the Constitution of India, “Oriya shall be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.
The cause of creation of this Act is inscribed in Orissa Gazette Extraordinary, dated the 3rd September, 1954. It reads:
“Whereas it is expedient for the adoption of Oriya as the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa;
It is hereby enacted by the Legislature of the State of Orissa in the Fifth year of the Republic of India as follows:-
1. (1) This Act may be called the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954.
(2) It extends to the whole of the State of Orissa.
(3) It shall come into force at once.”
But the officialdom of Orissa run by practitioners of non-Oriya language has been continuously contravening this Act and thereby denying the general people of Orissa their legitimate right to have the benefits for which they had revolted against British and their non-Oriya administration and had forced the British Government to call back their evil design against the Oriya people and recreate Orissa by uniting the Oriya speaking tracks.
BHASA ANDOLAN, a combine of unquestionable language activists, has demanded that the law be amended to punish whosoever contravenes the Official Language Act. When there is punishment against any contravener of any Act, there is no punishment prescribed for contraveners of the Orissa Official Act.
Journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, who heads the Andolan, as a member in the State level Committee created by the Chief Minister to suggest how the Act could be implemented, had located this lacuna and had submitted a draft legislation for suitable amendment of the Act to provide for punishment against the contraveners of the Act.
In answering UDAQ No. 2325 in the Orissa Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister had said on 14 Dec 2015 that, the necessary legislation for the purpose would soon be enacted.
But, the idea has been abandoned; as such legislation would make the CM vulnerable as he is a total contravener of the Act.
All endeavors of language activists having failed to make the Government refrained from contravention of the Official Language Act, the Bhasa Andolan organization submitted through its President Subhas Chandra Pattanayak and Convener Pabitra Maharatha to the Chief Secretary of Orissa an Ultimatum notifying therein that unless the Assembly is immediately moved for the promised legislation, from the Oriya New Year’s Day Pana Sankranti, their organization would resort to silent black-flag demonstration everyday in protest against official treachery. The protest march would commence from the Assembly gate at 5 PM and end at the sacred podium of Madhu babu, the founding father of Orissa State, everyday till punishment to whosoever contravenes the Orissa Official Language Act is provided for in the Act.
Accordingly, on the Pana Sankranti Day, leadership of the Andolan – Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, Sri Pradyumna Satpathy, and Sri Tusarkanta Satpathy, along with eminent Linguist and lexicologist Prof. Dr. Natabar Satpathy hit the streets with black-flags and placards depicting the Andolana’s demand for legal provision for punishment to whosoever contravenes the Official Language Act and thereby hinders governance of Orissa in Oriya.
As the entire root is constantly under the cloud of Sec.144, the Andolan leadership has decided to keep the black-flag demonstrators limited to four persons only.
The team started from the front gate of the Assembly and concluded the day’s agitation at the podium of Kulagourav Madhu Sudan Das, as scheduled.
Three members of the Andolan leadership, Media consultant Pabitra Maharatha, prominent online journalist Sagar Satpathy and activist Madhumita Samal coordinated the march.
Below are some of the pictures of the unique event.
This agitation against anti-people conduct of the Government is the first of its kind in Bhubaneswar. This pattern was first experimented by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak at Athgarh in the 1980s.