Report by Chakradhar Behera; New Delhi: It is hard to believe that Government of Orissa is forcing Oriya people living in Andhra Pradesh not to learn Oriya as mother tongue language. Students studying in Andhra Pradesh Oriya outlaying areas are facing severe problems in getting Oriya MIL text books as well as subject books in Oriya language complaints Mandasa based Andhra Pradesh Oriya Teachers’ Association (APOTA). “As per the agreement between Govt of Orissa and AP in 1996, the language text books are supposed to be supplied in the beginning of each academic year by the concerned departments in both states. AP govt is regularly supplying Telugu Language Text books for Telugu students studying in Orissa, whereas Govt of Orissa failed to do so”, claims Ananta Mohapatra, Secretary, APOTA. “We are not getting Oriya language books for class 8th to 10th for last four years”, says Mohapatra.
Under that agreement, the Govt of Orissa is entitled to supply class I to X Oriya language text books as per the requirement suggested by the school education department of AP. In Orissa, the Director Text Books Printing and Marketing (DTBM), Bhubaneswar is entitled to supply books for class I to VII and the Board of Secondary Education (BSE), Cuttack is for class VIII to X. “Although a bit late but DTBM supplies text book every year, however BSE didn’t supply text books to AP since 2005”, says Mohapatra.
The district Deputy School Inspector (Oriya) in Srikakulam had already communicated the District Education Officer to request Govt of Orissa to supply Oriya text books for the current session. DSI Sri M C Samant in his letter (Rc No 43/2008 Dated: 12-05-2009) to District Education Officer had mentioned total number of required Oriya Language books for the current session.
Meanwhile a delegation from Srikakulam district toured Bhubaneswar in July to meet the state School & Mass Education Minister Sri Pratap Jena; however the minister didn’t have much time to spare out of his busy schedule. The delegation could manage to hand over a memorandum to him after a long wait. “We had left with empty hand but wish to continue our struggle to save Oriya language in AP”, says Niranjan Moharana, a B.Ed graduate and young entrepreneur of Ichhapuram, who has taken up an initiation to translate and publish school books in Oriya.
When contacted, School Education Secretary of the Govt of Orissa, she declined to discuss this matter over telephone but assured to look after the whole issue.
It is an irony that Utkal Sammilani, which once spearheaded successful movement for a linguistic based state, is now inactive to take up this issue with the Orissa government. “We had approached Utkal Sammilani many times, but unfortunately, it showed less interest in this matter”, avers advocate Satyanarayan Padhi, president, Srikakulam District Minority Oriya Association. He says, “around 1.5 lakh Oriya living in Srikakulam only and if such problem persists, then our children would be compelled to study Telugu instead of Oriya”
Recently, the AP Govt has issued an order to repeal Hindi as third language for Oriya students and made clear the way to introduce Telugu as third language, which Oriya people describes as an exception and doesn’t apply in case of Urdu students.
If Orissa government doesn’t act promptly then in future it will be a though task to restore the legacy of Oriya language as well as culture outside Orissa. APOTA urges all Oriya to come forward and pressurize the Orissa Government to keep its promise to safeguard Oriya interest any where in India.
The Asahi Shimbun, B-1/1,Vasant Vihar, New Delhi