Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Only those Indians, whom the Central Government views as paragons of virtues, are decorated with civilian awards like Padmashree. Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayk is decorated with Padmashree.
In a recent post in these pages, I had written,
“Like most people of Orissa I had also believed that linguist Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak and his protégé Subrat Kumar Prusti, with Congress leader Rama Chandra Khuntia have fetched for us the “classical status” of our mother tongue Oriya.
But, as I peruse the official records, I am convinced that both Pattanayak and Prusti have committed gross irregularity and serious impropriety, which may land them in the jail if investigated into by an outside agency like the CBI”.
Orissa’s highly popular news channel – News7 – interviewed me on the topic I had depicted in my portal – orissamatters.com – and wanted Dr. Pattanayak’s views thereon. It has thus posted the interview :
Dr. Pattanayak has asserted here that, he was approached by the Minister as well as the Secretary of the Department of Culture, Govt. of Orissa to help the Oriya Bhasha Pratisthan in producing a convincing paper to claim classical status for Oriya language. To this request of both the top authorities of the department, Dr. Pattanayak said, he had responded with a revelation that he had already authored the required paper and if they agree to adopt the same for this purpose, then only he may help.
Let me, at this point, make a personal statement that, I stoutly reject the wrong notion of this channel that Dr. Pattanayak and I, once a team under the banner of Bhasa Sangram Samiti, are now in rivalry in pursuit of credit for governance of Orissa in Oriya, if it becomes a reality. With due respect to my friend who conducted the interview and the channel desk that editorialized it, I would like to say that I had never, and have no such thirst for fame. I have, all through my life, rendered selfless service to my motherland and stood unperturbed on my ground in espousing a public cause. The Government run by fellows of anglicized aptitude and mentality has dragged my majestic mother tongue into atrophy and exactly as I could have done in my mother’s case, I have been trying to stand with my mother tongue. No personal rivalry, no personal motive, at least on my part.
Thus saying, let me say that, on watching the clarification Dr. Pattanayak has given to the NEWS7, I tried to verify the fact from the person that was then the Minister of Culture. But for reasons to be stated later, the idea was abandoned. The then Secretary also remained beyond my reach.
Dr. Harihar Kanungo was at that time the Director of Odia Bhasha Pratisthan. He had initiated the project. So, I asked him to tell if Dr. Pattanayak was telling the truth.
He told, “The statement made by Dr. D. P Pattnayak is fabricated and afterthought. When he joined as Language Expert in the Odia Bhasa Pratisthan at that time, no Secretary or Minister in School & Mass Education Department was involved in this context”.
Dr. Kanungo has no prejudice against Dr. Pattanayak, as his version is full of praise for him. “During my tenure at Odia Bhasa Pratisthan, his involvement and activities were very nice & fruitful”, he has said.
When thus, he has no prejudice against Dr. Pattanayak, his unambiguous statement that Dr. Pattanayak’s statement to NEWS7 “is fabricated and afterthought” makes the point clear that Dr. Pattanayak has not told the truth to the TV channel, which is mostly the preferred channel of conscious viewers.
This is no virtue. The Padmashree holder ought to understand this.
The way a gang of language-mafia has given birth to a new climate of exploitation of Orissa’s properties such as official buildings, land and funds for personal benefit in the name of Oriya Language, Dr. D. P. Pattanayak’s conduct in the instant case needs be investigated into by competent sleuths with penal action in mind, because only that may save our mother tongue from the quagmire she has been thrown into by anti-Oriya administrators.