Afgan Jalebi, the latest Bollywood hit, was loud and hoarse enough to subdue the purpose of the Utkal Dibas theme, the Patha Utsav this Sunday was dedicated to. When what was expected was a tribute to the motherland Odisha with the incantations of a Bande Utkal Janani or something related to Odia pride, it was as much disturbing as shameful to celebrate an Odisha government initiative, to play Hindi chart busters!
For the uninitiated or those with faint idea, Odisha was formed into a separate state in 1936 with a motto of protecting the Odia language. And this is how we celebrate the day!
The Assembly has been witnessing uproarious scenes about implementing Odia as the mode of communication in all government offices since quite some time. There have been demands from the opposition as well as self proclaimed protectors of Odia language to make Odia mandatory for the Chief Minister and his team of bureaucrats, who rarely use it for official purposes. There has also been a constant march from Secretariat to the Governor’s house daily by four members of some Bhasa Suraksha Manch with black flag to express solidarity with the cause as much as demand implementation of the use of Odia for all official purposes. Irrespective of the importance of the subject, veterans like Soumya Ranjan Patnaik have gone out of the way, in any platform whatsoever, to lay emphasis on giving Odia language its due. But all these voices have fallen silent today.
The Patha Utsav that has been a melting point of today’s youths who congregate to celebrate togetherness for a cause. For these youngsters who are shifting away from their language identity, such platforms could go a long way inculcating a sense of belongingness to the state, at least through the programmes being planned.
Remember the outrage Sona Mohapatra’s Rangabati had created a few months back just because she recreated the Sambalpuri folk to reach maximum people from all corners. And lets agree, she succeeded. Her YouTube video has so far reached 15, 777,023 views! As many people swung with the beats to an Odia tune! What was the furore about?
If the government sponsored programme like PathaUtsav that has the strength of bringing in children, youngsters and elders alike on one platform to celebrate a cause, isn’t it important for the government officials to uphold the importance of the day – Utkal Dibas – and dedicate it to the cause of the motherland?More than anything, it was disturbing to be a part of 81st Odisha formation day with cacophonic Hindi Bollywood numbers .God save Odisha and Odia.