In a first-of-its-kind incident in Odisha, around thirty members of the premiere Odia language movement in the state “Bhasha Andolan, Odisha” on Wednesday offered floral tribute on the statue of Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das and Utklalmani Gopabandhu Das in the capital city of Bhubaneswar to mark the Odia New Year, and appealed the Naveen government as well as people of the state to use Odia language as the official language at every level of governance in Odisha.
To garner the support for their demand to use Odia language as the official language in the state governance, the members of “Bhasha Andolan” also called on prominent personalities of the state including Excise Minister Damodar Rout, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Narashingha Mishra, Editor of Odia daily Sambad Saumyaranjan Patnaik, Senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan Former Vice Chancellor of Utkal University Prof Acharya and many other dignitaries who have been raising voice for the cause of Odia language.
The Bhasha Andolan has now decided to begin a relay protest march from PMG square to Governor square in the heart of the capital city for at least fifteen days starting from today evening in order to put pressure on the state government for their linguistic demand.
Addressing to a press meet on Tuesday, President of Bhasa Andolan Subash ch Patnaik said, Nabakrushna Chaudhary Government had made a regulation to use Odia language as the official language of the state in1954. Unfortunately, the rule has not been implemented in a true letter and spirit. He observed that the objective of the regulation has failed mainly because, “there is no punishment for violation of the rule”.
Therefore the Bhasa Andolon, Patnaik says, demands the Govt to announce a quantum of punishment for the officials who don’t use Odia language in case of governance of the state.
Patnaik also said that he had once presented an Odia learning book to CM Naveen Patnaik that is mostly used by non-Odia bureaucrats at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. However, he has not received at least an acknowledgment from the Chief Minister.
Another speaker Pradyumna Satapathy pointed out that Odia is the first language in the country on the basis of which, a language based agitation was born and later turned into a political agitation to form a new state on the basis of language. He reminded how the efforts of Dinabandhu Patnaik, a journalist of Utkal Dipika, triggered the sentiments of Odia speaking people to unite for the cause of their mother tongue; and the rest is history.
Satapathy vehemently criticized the Naveen Government for poor treatment to Odia language. He pointed out how the Government had planned to close down the Odia department in the academic institutions. He also criticized the Govt for the large scale vacancies of Odia teachers in the educational institutions.
So far, numerous attempts were made in recent past by Bhasa Andolon to ask the Govt for implementing Odia language as the Official language but the government turned into deaf ears. Hence, the members of Bhasa Andolan have decided to begin a relay protest march from PMG square to Governor square in every evening at 5.00pm from 13th -April. Since the area comes under CrPC 144, three to four members of the Bhasa Andolon will march silently having with their placards wearing black badges.
Their demand includes, strictly use of Odia language as the official language of the state; declaration of punishment for the violation of 1954 ruling in this regard; making Odia language as the mandatory during the examination for employment purpose of government officials.
Social Activist Kanhu charan Behera, Editor of The News Insight Sagar Satapathy, journalist Pabitra Maharatha, Madhumita Samal, Nityananda Patnaik, Tusharkanti Satapathy and other members of Bhasa Andolan were present on the occasion.