The Assembly Session died, but the danger prowls

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The winter session of Orissa Legislative Assembly died an organized death on Thursday. But a danger to the legally Official Language of the State has not been over.

People of Orissa are to fight now a new danger to their mother tongue. When they are fighting for governance of Orissa in Oriya, the new danger is prowling under the cover of a proposed project called the ‘University of Odia Language and Literature’ that wants to kill the priority of Oriya nation on punishment to whosoever functionary foils or tries to foil the paramountcy of Oriya language in his/her office administration in Orissa.

I have earlier discussed how the Orissa Official Language Rules, 2016 defeats the purpose of the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954.

Now let us see how Bhasha Mafia is officially being patronized by Naveen Patnaik’s government to kill the pro-language climate created by our movement. Role of Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak in this context needs deep investigation, which the writers of Orissa who benefit from Oriya Language should start in right earnest.

The Government has entered into an agreement with a private firm headed by Dr. Pattanayak styled ‘Institute of Odia Studies and Research’ (IOSR) with components of commercial interest. Yet it has made the same Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak its language policy maker. Is it ethically correct? Dr. Pattanayak should explain his position, because he is a renowned man, decorated with Padmashree and supposed to be a paragon of virtues to justify the distinct civilian decoration.

However, this mischief has given birth to an environment where the government has informed the Assembly about bringing a Bill styled the ‘University of Odia Language and Literature Bill, 2016’, with all the necessary ingredients to help the same private institute earn profits, when the University becomes functional. The Bill, according to sources, was prepared and handed over to the Secretary of Higher Education by Dr. Pattanayak himself in company of Dr. Omkar Mohanty and Dr. Subrat Prusty. Let the Secretary of Higher Education deny this information, if he can.
Sub-sections XIII, XIV, XV and XVIII of Section 5 of this Bill carry such ingredients that, if the University funds will be used to provide bonanza to Dr. Pattanayak’s private institute, there shall be no illegality in that. Here are they:

(xiii) to make contract for the purpose of transfer of technology either in whole or in part with any other institution or organization, on such terms and conditions as may be required, from time to time, to raise funds for the University;
(xiv) to co-operate or associate with any other university, authority, body, in or outside the University area which may have been formed for advancement of learning, research for the dissemination of knowledge, or for the physical and moral welfare of students, in such manner and for such purpose as the University may prescribe from time to time;
(xv) to enter into any agreement with any other institution or organization to transfer knowledge through distance mode; and
(xviii) to make provision for research and advisory services and for that purpose to enter into such arrangements with other institutions or bodies as the University may deem necessary; (emphasis added).

Dr. Pattanayak’s institute fits into this mischief of “any other” institute or body envisaged in this draft Bill.

To cultivate this congeniality, Dr. Pattanayak has always tried to keep the Chief Minister pleased. He has condemned us, who have been fighting for permanent solution to the problem of non-implementation of Orissa Official Language Act, as in his article in Samaja, 25 June 2016; and has tried to mislead the people, as in his assertion in Samaja, 22 August 2016; and has given protection to the Chief Minister, as in his statement in Nitidin, 12 December 2016.

Fortunately for Orissa, the atrophied session of the Assembly has ended. Had it continued, with anti-Oriya elements galore both in the Treasury and Opposition benches – with even the Opposition Leader making obituary mention of distinguished Oriyas in English – the University of Odia Language and Literature Bill, 2016 could have been passed like the notoriously deficient Orissa Official Language Bill was passed in the last session.

But this is a temporary relief. The Bill shall come in the next session. Unless we Oriyas foil this lurking danger, our mother tongue will perish, as Dr. Pattanayak’s cry for the new University is designed to divert people’s priority from the Bhasha Andolan demand for punishment to whosoever doesn’t work in Oriya in Offices of Orissa to unnecessary projects.

Demands must be raised to stop creation of new greasing grounds for the Bhasa Mafia in the shape of the University of Odia Language and Literature. Instead of the proposed University, the Government needs be asked to strengthen the existing Odia Bhasha Pratithan, Orissa Sahitya Academy, Utkal University of Culture and all the other institutes of higher learning and research. My discussion in Oriya print media (Sarbasadharan, 11 December 2016) focuses on this phenomenon.

Mother tongue Oriya needs be saved from the prowling Bhasha Mafia, the greatest danger to her primacy and paramountcy in the State she has created.

Wake up dear brothers and sisters, wake up.

5 comments » Write a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.