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Disuse of Oriya language in administration of Orissa is nothing but denial of democratic rights to its people, declared eminent mathematician and socio-development researcher Prof.Birendra Nayak, speaking live from the digital platform of Bhasha Andolan on Monday.
Dwelling on the topic ‘Manishi Nabakrushna and Orisha Official Language Act”, Prof. Nayak informed that, revolt against imposition of English on democratic life of the people was the fountainhead of this Act framed and promulgated by the great freedom fighter and epitome of emancipating politics, Nabakrushna Choudhury.
Focusing on the mindset of the late lamented leader, Prof. Nayak said, his revolt against English Language was not per se any opposition to the same language as a vehicle of knowledge, as he was also a known voice against linguistic chauvinism and an advocate of adoption of speaking words of any language into Oriya language for expansion of its vocabulary. That, he was describing the zeal for creating clumsy vernacular synonyms of clearly comprehensible English words as “unscientific” , is a pointer to his liberal approach to use of language as a vehicle of knowledge. Yet he had never used English Language in the English era in the legislative house. This peculiarity of Choudhury was so very spectacular that, Maulavi Latifur Rahman, a minister in the first ever government of Orissa after formation of the State under the Government of India Act, 1935, from the Opposition as he was then in, had to ask the Speaker, “Sir, is he entitled to speak in Oriya when he knows English?” and the Speaker had to reply instantly, “He has never spoken in English in the House”, informed Prof. Nayak.
Had he any aversion to English?
Then why was he not speaking in English?
Prof. Nayak said, it was his protest against imposition of English language in legislative business of the people under Section 39 of the India Act framed by the British Parliament, which had mandated, “all proceedings in the Federal Legislature shall be conducted in the English language”. Nabakrushna Choudhury was never to support this imposition, as it was against the very ethics of governance of the people by themselves, which the Act of 35 was pretending to promote.
His protest against imposition of English in administration was so very stoutly ethical that he had even placed the State budget in the Assembly on February 21, 1951 in Oriya language, informed Prof. Nayak.
So, he said, creation of the Orissa Official Language Act by Choudhury in 1954 was an outcome of his protest against continuance of English as medium of administration in free India.
The attempt to make Oriya the official language of Orissa was first made by Pt. Laxminarayan Mishra of Sambalpur (Bargarh East) in the Assembly on Arril 1, 1948, which was withdrawn under compulsion of politico-administrative situation then prevalent. But, had it been then possible to adopt Laxminarayan’s Motion, it would have been the best, Nabakrushna had said at the time of passing of the language Act in 1954. Sans any ambiguity he had told the Assembly that, had Laxminarayan’s Motion been adopted and Oriya been made the official language, “the people of this soil could certainly have got the elixir of independence to the satisfaction of their national necessity.” This national necessity was the main cause of creation of Orissa Official language Act by Nabakrushna Choudhury, he pointed out.
It is sad and shocking that the same Act is not being allowed to act, as the Government of Orissa is running in English, despite the celebrated Black-Flag-Campaign (Bhasha Andolan) having reached the 1699th day, reminding the Government every day that it is their duty to implement, not to disdain, the Official Language Act.
The incumbent government of the State has not only pushed the Language Act to atrophy, but also has been subjugating the future generation of Oriyas to English language by creating English medium schools at the cost of vernacular schools in all the geographical nerve centers of Orissa and by naming same as ‘Adarsha Vidyalaya’, which is meant to make people accept that, not their own language, but English is the language of their emancipation, thundered Prof. Nayak.
His enlightening speech shared ‘live’ in face book is put in YouTube for the Oriyas of the world to watch.
On behalf of Bhasha Andolan, the event was coordinated by media scholar and Chartard Accountant Ranjan Kumar Sahoo, whose contribution to the movement is monumental.