Sixteenth Assembly commences with foreign language mocking at the Mana of Oriyas

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the first Assembly, while replying to the debate on Orissa Official Language Act, the first Chief Minister of Orissa Nabakrushna Choudhuri had said, “A Government cannot promulgate a Language. It can replace a foreign language with the language of the people in administration”( Orissa Assembly debates, 7.9.1954).

Sad, the 16th Assembly commenced today with the foreign Language English reverberating through the House, as the Governor continued to deliver his speech in English.

English no Language of Governance

In the last Assembly, member from Junagarh, as he then was, Capt. Dibyashankar Mishra had supported the cause of Black Flag Campaign (Kalapataka Abhijan-Bhasha Andolan) by saying that, in Orissa as much as 93%of the population use Oriya Language, whereas only 7% people of the State know English. Hence English should not continue as language of governance, he had said. With the blessings of Mother Orissa, he has become a minister in the present government. The Governor’s speech in English was an affront to these 93% people of Orissa.

Shouldn’t have happened

The Governor’s speech shouldn’t have been delivered in English. It should have been prepared in Oriya and read in Oriya. We understand, the Governor is a non-Oriya person. There was no problem for him to utter the first word of his speech and remain seated when recitation of his entire speech should have continued in Oriya through a prerecorded device. Thereby, the Governor could have paid his respect to our language and Law.

Notwithstanding Biju’s mischief

When Biju Patnaik had pierced the Orissa Official Language Act with the devised knife of amendment in 1963, inserting in the said Act a new section called Sec. 3-A, that provision had also declared, “for the transaction of business in Legislature of the State of Orissa”, English Language “may” be used “in addition to Oriya.” Despite our repeated requests for deletion of this notorious section 3-A, it is yet in force. And, it says that, in the matter of any business including the Governor’s speech, Oriya shall be the basic and primary language, not and never English, which may be used in addition to Oriya. This being the position, the Governor should not have delivered his speech in English. We hope, the MLAs would rise to the occasion and put their views on this on records.

Govt has no guts to showcase its acts on Oriya

The Governor’s speech is a customary showcase of laudable activities, which the Government wants the Assembly as well as the general public to know. We find included therein activities like KALIA, Mission Shakti, and scheme concerning educational loans, MSME welfare etc. But we do not find any mention about the two amendments brought in to Orissa Official Language Act last year in the last Assembly.

Has the government no guts to show what it has done to the Language of the State? It seems so.

Orissa was created in the British Raj at the summit of an unprecedented mass movement as a province with the sole purpose of its governance in Oriya Language.

Biju and Naveen, both father and son, have destroyed the scope and spirit of the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 by vitiating the same with malignant insertion of Sections 3-A and 4-A respectively in their respective times, causing severe atrophy to our mother tongue.

Cabinet Scam

And, to enact the notorious Sec.4-A, the Chief Minister had even indulged in a Cabinet Scam, unprecedented in the history of legislation, on 1.5.2018.

The Assembly is the rampart of our sovereignty and the most revered guardian of our democratic pride. If any transaction of its businesses plays havoc upon our mana, nothing could be more disastrous for us than that.

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