Posts filed under ‘Kosli language and literature’
Saket Sreebhushan Sahu
Medium of instruction of teaching means a language which is used inside the classroom to inform the student. And if a child is not acquainted with the medium of instruction before entering into the classroom then certainly that is a foreign language for the child. Resultantly the child failed to grasp the teaching or the course content. Teaching a child in an alien language is as if putting the child in deep water without swimming knowledge of the child. So, instruction in mother-tongue is indispensable for the child. Advantage of having a mother-tongue based education enable the child easily grasps the course content as they are used to the vocabulary. Research has shown that children’s first language is the optimal language for literacy and learning throughout primary school (UNESCO 2008 a). Most developed nations have medium of instruction in their mother-tongue. Education is the key to development of the nation and so accordingly the Government of India has enacted Right to Education Act (RTE) on 4th August 2009 keeping provision of compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under article 21 A. India become the 135th country to make education a fundamental right.
Further, the right to receive education in one’s own mother-tongue or native language is recognized by several international instruments. Under the provision of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging National or ethnic, Religious and Linguistic minorities (1992), States are required to take appropriate measures so that, whenever possible, persons belonging to minorities may have adequate opportunities to learn their mother-tongue or to have instructions in their mother-tongue.
But “Right to Education for All” is grossly violated in Odisha. At present Odia is the medium of instructions in the elementary level in Western Odisha. But Odia is not the mother-tongue of children of western Odisha, it is Kosali. No education in Kosali for the children of western Odisha. No education in mother-tongue; education denied. Kosali children are deprived of their fundamental rights. And development from this region has been hijacked.
Kosali is used in the day-to-day life by two crore (2,00,00,000) people of western Odisha out of the total 4.2 crore population of Odisha according to the census of 2011. Western Odisha encompasses ten contiguous districts forming a strong linguistic identity and cultural homogeneity. For the people of western Odisha it is not just a language but a way of life that propel progresses and harmony in the region.
Western Odisha contains 40 to 50 % of the state’s population. Odia language is not used in day-to-day communication in western Odisha. But medium of instruction is Odia in the schools that’s why dropout rate is very high in rural and Adivasi area. This is the main reason of low literacy rate in the region. Kosali is the dominant means of communication throughout western Odisha. Though there are a few tribal languages, but all tribal languages have functional capability in Kosali not in Odia. Odia medium instructions is throwing challenges for the students of western Odisha and blocking them in their progress like overall marks of students from western Odisha are lower than the students of coastal Odisha and students of western Odisha fail in both 10th and 10+2 examinations. Hence, education in Kosali language is the key to development of western Odisha.
On 30th July 2012 the then chief secretary of Odisha directed Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) a body of the Government of Odisha to start mother-tongue based primary education in 10 languages; Munda, Santhali, Kissan, Oraon, Kui, Koya, Bonda, Juanga and Saura; of the state but there is no Kosali.
Further, OPEPA published an advertisement on dated 25/5/2014 in Sambad daily about recruitment of total 295 Sikshyaa Sahaayak/Sahaayikaa for different languages of different districts like Binjhal (Bargarh), Santhali & Ho(Balasore), Kui(Gajpati), Dibai(Malkangiri), Bhunjia(Nuapada), Pahadi Bhunjia & Kharia(Sundergarh), but again there is no Kosali.
People of western Odisha have been deprived of their basic cultural right, right of mother-tongue which connects them with their economy, socio-cultural system and political right. Perhaps this is the same mentality where Sudras were checked by Kshyatriyas and Brahmins from education and Sambhu was killed by Ramachandra while reading Veda. For the same reason, Dronacharya asked for the thumb of Ekalavya; fearing he may challenge the prince.
Saket Sreebhushan Sahu
Kosali language as a separate language, and recognising its relevance and identity are opposed by coastal Odisha intellectuals. They are vehemently arguing about unilateral linguistic character of Odisha. Odisha is multi-lingual state, with two major languages, Odia and Kosali, and Odisha should provide education through the languages prevalent in the state. In a hypocritical step the Odisha government is providing instruction in elementary education through some of the Adivasi languages of the state. But it is mere a political gimmick to lure sympathy of Adivasi and their votes. In the Binjhal caste affluent Bargarh district, the state government has appointed 28 Binjhal language teachers; it is true, at a time Binjhal language was existing, but many a generations have passed and Binjhal tribes have adopted the mainstream Kosali language of the region; but no Binjhal language exists now.
When vigorous movement demanding recommendation of Kosali language is going on, to pacify the agitation tactically, the government t wrote letter to the centre government but to show-off the common folks and brutally made blunders, misrepresented about Kosali to the centre. The committee chaired by an Odia poet played with the sentiments of 2 crore Kosalis. The Coastal lobbies in a deliberate conspiracy with the full support of state machineries lauded with funds and power, one-by-one, step-by-step, hatch to butcher the Kosali movement; felicitated Kosalis poets as Odia poet, employed writers groups to Christianized Kosali to Odia, funded pro-Kosali organizations to hold Odia meetings, hired activist from Kosal region to stage fast unto death dharna and what not?
As to why Odisha government is reticent in recognition of Kosali as a language in its own right is beyond me. This as you can imagine has caused severe bitterness in Kosal or Western Odisha region.
As you know when in 1993 High level Commission was established, Indian government specifically asked the commission to exclude Bodo from deliberation because it had already promised Bodo people that Bodo would be included in the 8th schedule to quell the agitation of the students of the area. In the words of the Parliamentary committee, however, in the light of the Bodo Accord signed between the Government of India on the one hand and All Bodo Students Union and Bodo People’s Action Committee on the other on 20 February, 1993, the Government decided to delink the matter of inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule from the issue of setting up of High Powered Body for evolving criteria for inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule. Eventually Bodo along with Maithili, Dogri and Santhali were included in the 8th schedule. So what one expects the Kosalis to do ? Become militant ? Violent ? Rasta Roko, Rail Roko? Learn a few pointers from Naxalites ? Is that the only way ? In what way, claims of these languages are any better than Kosali ? Is not the government indirectly encouraging Kosalis to go the way Bodo people took?
So far Kosalis are going through all the civil channels, such as, writing memorandums, providing documents of authenticity of our claim, producing literature, making movies, conducting seminars, engaging in debates, launching newspapers and periodicals, presenting about Kosali at national platforms and everything imaginable but to no effect.
As it stands now, aggressive Odianisation with a missionary zeal has resulted in putting huge part of population in a disadvantage in education and consequent huge drop-out rate in schools. Many states have more than one recognised language, and such measure enhances the cultural mix because of mutual respect between the language groups. Behind the opposition to recognition of Kosali, there is an oft repeated assertion that Kosali is nothing but a dialect of Odia. This is patently not true, and worse, it is paternalistic. Most coastal Odishans can’t speak Kosali, nor are they familiar with any Kosali literature. They are much more familiar with Bengali in northern coastal area and with Telegu in southern area. So why this pretence? Why not celebrate the linguistic diversity in Odisha instead ?
Author Comments on Politics and Culture. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.
BHUBANESWAR: Ahead of the elections for two newly created municipal corporations—Sambalpur and Rourkela, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday urged the Centre to expedite inclusion of Sambalpuri/Kosali and Ho languages in the Eighth schedule of the Constitution.
In a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, the Odisha chief minister said on the basis of the recommendations of an expert panel, the state government had already submitted a proposal in this regard.
“It may be reiterated that Sambalpuri/Kosali is the mother tongue of more than 7.5 million people in Western Odisha and spoken for many centuries. It is used as a medium of teaching in non-formal schools now,” he noted.
Naveen also said Ho language is the mother tongue of more than one million tribal people living in bordering districts of Odisha and Jharkhand.
It also tried to woo the people of western parts of the state, the party had announced in its election manifesto during 2014 elections, to pressurize the Union government for inclusion of Koshali in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
It was a long standing demand from different quarters to accord constitutional status to the Sambalpuri/Kosali and Ho languages.
Following is a report from the Samaja:
BHUBANESWAR: After screening of Odia film ‘Aadim Vichar’ (The Ancient Justice) at the Indian Panorama Category of International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014) on Tuesday, audience and journalists asked Atal Bihari Panda, protagonist of the film, about his age. Panda, who is attending the IFFI for the second time in a row, gleefully replied, “It is just a number”. The 84-year-old actor, who portrayed the role of ‘Kondh Budha’ (an elderly man of Kondh tribal community) in the film, was appreciated by one and all at the biggest film festival that celebrates Indian cinema.
‘Aadim Vichar’, directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra, is the octogenarian actor’s second film, the first being ‘Sala Budha’ (The Stupid Oldman) that got the Best State Film Award – Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami Award – for 2013.
Even at this age, Panda’s exuberance was visible at last week’s State Film Awards where Panda danced on a Sambalpuri folk song to a houseful audience at the Utkal Mandap. He also bagged the Best Actor Award for playing the role of ‘Sala Budha’. “I do not let my age shadow my acting skills,” says the Sonepur-based actor. ‘Aadim Vichar’ is a sequel to Mohapatra’s ‘Sala Budha’, a Sambalpuri movie, that dealt with the plight of elderly people in villages of Western Odisha. ‘Aadim Vichar’ portrays the societal structure of Kondh community in Kandhamal. After IFFI, the film will be screened at three more national level film fests.
Panda who was a stage actor and script writer by profession, had never thought of acting in any Odia films. “I got into Sala Budha by chance. Sabyasachi Mohapatra during his youth had done a small role in one of my plays ‘Phata Mardala’, where I played the lead character. Besides, his father Kapileswar Mohapatra and I were classmates. Two years back, Sabyasachi approached me with an idea of converting some of the short stories that Kapileswar authored into a film script,” he recalls. Although the script was ready, Sabyasachi could not find any senior actor in Ollywood to play the lead role of ‘Sala Budha’. “After nearly three months, he came to me again and urged me to be the protagonist of the film. Though I was reluctant initially because of my age and lack of experience in films, Sabyasachi convinced me. I was 82 when shooting for the film started, but today I am extremely thankful to my director for giving me this opportunity. He has taught me how to face the camera,” he says. Prior to ‘Sala Budha’, he had done a 45-minute tele-film ‘Dangar Tale Dambaru Baba’ on tribal communities in Odisha for Doordarshan.
‘Aadim Vichar’, Panda says, is the most difficult role he has played so far. He has written the script, based on Kapileswar’s stories, for this film as well. “Aadim Vichar is a longer film compared to Sala Budha and was shot in the hilly terrains of Kandhamal during winter. Since, it is a much more intense movie compared to ‘Sala Budha’, a lot of research and practice went into it,” says Panda, who has acted in over 100 plays apart from writing 63 dramas and six operas, both in Odia and Koshali language.
Both Sabyasachi and Panda are making three more films based on the tribal culture of Odisha and they would begin shooting for their third venture next year. Given a choice, Panda says, he would chose art films over commercial cinema any day. “I want to die a death like Balai Banerjee did. A popular stage actor of Janata Rangamanch of Cuttack, he died while acting on the stage. I too want to breathe my last on the stage,” Panda smiles.