Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part II)

July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am 12 comments

Following are the responses to an article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik.  The responses are taken from different e-forums.

Before I wrote this part, I read and reread Dr.Patnaik’s piece , and it seems we are in déjà vu all over again. In later half of 19thcentury, people of Orissa division of Bengal Presidency were fighting for the very survival of Oriya as a language against stiff opposition from a strong Bengali lobby. On March 12,1869 Rajendra Lal Mitra, an eminent historiographer of Bengal who had come to Cuttack in order to compile a book on the antiquities of Orissa’s art and sculpture, said in a meeting held at Cuttack that as long as Oriya was not removed as a language it was impossible to think in terms of progress of Orissa. About the same time, Uma Charan Halder, the then Deputy Inspector of Schools claimed that Oriya people would stand to benefit if only Oriya were written in Bengali script. Again in 1870,Kantilal Bose, Head Master of Balasore School, brought out a book ”Oriya Swatantra Bhasha Nai” and sent it to R.L.Martin, Inspector of Schools. A signature campaign started under the direction of Sibdas Bhattacharya, Deputy Inspector of Schools at Balasore, for continuation of Bengali as the medium of instruction in the schools of Orissa. This was a time when Bengalis dominated in all spheres of civil service including education in Orissa. However, though many Bengalis were supportive of this stand, a good portion of them joined their hands with their Oriya brethren in their demand for Oriya to be the medium of instruction, such as Baikuntha Nath De, Gauri Shankar Ray and Radhanath Roy among others.For an exhaustive summary of the struggle, please read THE RAJ:NTIONALSTS AND REFOMS- LAND,LAW AND GOVERNMENT ,ORISSA:1912-1939 by Amal Kumar Mishra.

Is not the struggle the same between Koshali  and Oriya ? Now the Oriya pundits are using the unwise tactics against Koshali, and blocking at every turn any chance of getting into 8 th schedule. Probably they are afraid that recognition of Koshali as a separate language somehow diminishes the viability of Oriya in some way. History does not support such fears. After the struggle, Bengali rose from strength to strength, eventually Rabi Tagore getting Nobel prize in literature. And look at Oriya. Oriya has blossomed when Oriya speaking people had mastery over their own destiny. Oriya writers have embellished their literature in to great heights. Sitakant Mahapatra recently became awardee of Bharatabhusan, the highest award of the nation. Future will tell how Koshali will fare in coming years, but if the record of last few years is any indication, future looks very bright. So Dr. Patnaik need not fear on the account of recognition of Koshali. For blooming and blossoming of Oriya depends on the creative imagination of Oriya writers, and that is where he and other ardent lovers of Oriya should focus rather than indulging in trying to block Koshali from getting recognition as a language. If at all there would be any danger to Oriya as a language, it may come from Oriyas themselves. Just look at his own back yard inBhubaneswar. Oriya kids are leaving Oriya schools in droves opting for English medium schools even though it costs a king’s ransom for the option.

I am a little intrigued with the tone of the Sambad piece under scrutiny. Perhaps Dr.Patnaik did not mean convey such tone, but it comes across as paternalistic. It is as if

Koshalis by asking for recognition of our Matrubhsha, the language we learnt on our mother’s lap, we are somehow are hostile to Oriya as a language. Nothing of the sort. He graciously acknowledged contribution to Oriya literature by quite a few Koshalis. I can name even a dozen more. And I hope Koshalis  will continue to do so. During my recent trip to Sambalpur, my friend Uma Shankar Panda presented me his latest anthology of Oriya poems. I presume it is probably his 83 rd ! So what we need is not lecture/soliloquy but dialogue, not paternalism but equivalence/partnership, and not indifference/hostility but friendship. This way both Kowhai and Oriya will be winners.

Finally, who do you think solved the conflict between Oriya and Bengali ? It was T.Ravenshaw ultimately. My sincere plea to Dr.Patanaik and other lovers of Oriya is to  rise up to their moral responsibility to do the right thing by unblocking our access to 8 the schedule. This is what brothers do for each other. Longer this impasse festers, more bitter will be the relationship between our two communities. This will be cited as another instance of deliberate blockage of our progress. If this does not happen, then it will serve as a lesson  to be learnt for Koshalis.. Do not go toBhubaneswarfor getting  recognition for Koshali because Oriyas are playing the same game as Bengalis did against Oriya in 19 th century, just as an abused child becomes abusive parent. Campaign inNew Delhiin stead.

To be continued


Arjun Purohit,Canada, E mail:
PS: Forgive my typos as usual


The script of marathi and Hindi are same, both are flourishing,no issue, bengali and asameese language have same script,both are maintaining their Identity, the script of existing Odiya language and koshali are almost same, Nothing wrong in recognising that as a language also..Its very much possible inIndiaand why some one will object ???

Durga Misra,


 I completely agree with Shri Durga Misraji. During this discussion following points comes to my mind.

-There are many languages in the world with similar script. Most of the European languages use Roman script. They are still different. Each language is successful.

-German thinks that Dutch is a mixture of English and German language. So what? Dutch language is still alive and it has its own literature, heritage and culture. But, if you read and learn, Dutch is very different from German; it has its own grammar. One will realize the difference if she/he has mastered both the languages, that is German and Dutch. I would like to ask my fellow Odia friends to learn Kosli first, and then they will realize the difference.

-Late respected Shri Gangadhar Meher wrote his literary creations like Indumati, Arghyathali, Kichaka Badha, Pranaya ballari, Tapaswini etc. in Odia. Had he committed a crime? No! Was he opposed to Kosli as a language? We do not know for sure. As a Kosli I would like to see my fellow Koslites to snatch all the literay awards whether it is in Hindi, Bengali, Odia, English, Tamil, Telugu etc. If a Kosli person writes in other languages we should be proud of him. By writing novels in English Prof. Manoj Das is still recognized as an eminent Odia. By writing and speaking English, and drinking English wine a person will not be a Brit. Everyone is bound to their root-culture and languages. Therefore, I do not see any point how late Gangadhar Meher or any other persons deciding on our mother tongue.

-Matrubhasa is what my mother speaks. My mother speaks Kosli.

-A true language lover will never try to suppress a language. There are hundreds and thousands of languages in the world. While I was a children I use to read many English short stories translated from Russian language. I really love those short stories. Languages always compliment each other; they are not competitive.

Therefore, I do not see any fight between Kosli and Odia language. But some Odias fear that what will happen to Odia language, if Kosli will be a separate language. Nothing will happen to Odia language. It will flourish along with Kosli.

Best regards,


Sanjib Kumar Karmee,
The Netherlands,


 Sanjib Babu,

I read the entire article and all the responses as posted at your blog site. There is absolutely no doubt that Kosli (as you have named the language) has its uniqueness. Although, anyone of us can say it sounds like oDiA and looks like oDiA, but when one reads through and thinks through, there are many identifiable differences, especially in the grammar and usage. If I write Hindi using oDiA akhsyaras, then it will also sound like oDiA and look like oDiA. But the fact is, it is Hindi. Assamese and Bengali use the same script, but they do have a distinction between the two languages. I see oDiA and Kosli in those lights. I believe that Kosli should be given its due status as a language, whether anyone likes it or not.

Having said that, I do agree to some extend with Debi Babu’s suspicion that there are elements who will be motivated in using this as a tool to create a separate state. While, personally, I have no problem with the creation of a separate Kosala state, but I am afraid of the selfish motive of some elements, which might be a burden on true activists like you in the future, i.e. after the state is formed. At this point, we cannot do much about it.

I also loved the sentiments of your poem. Please do keep up the good work. You all remind me of our oDiA language activists of the past.


Debasmita Misra,


Mother language is the most powerful medium for any child to learn things quickly and efficiently. There are many countries in the world like that of Japan, China, Russia, Korea and even many European countries also where from education including Engineering & Medical to running the administration of the country is all in mother tongue.

Separation ofBangladesh from the unitedPakistan was the result of forceful implementation of URDU as the first language on the thenEast Pakistan.  Students of Dhaka University of the then East Pakistan had defied government orders and took protest march on the streets of Dhaka even at the cost of risking their lives to face dictatorial administration who were not in any mood to listen. Live bullets fired on them killed many students on that fateful 21st February. Struggle intensified which ultimately resulted in birth of a new country. 21st February is celebrated in a very big way as “AMAR EKUSE”. Now that date is  celebrated all over the world as Mother Tongue day.

Coming back to Odisha, it is up to the government, how  they deal with the demand of Koshali language or deal with the genuine sentiments of the Koshali speaking people. The neglect of western Odisha all these years in itself spills the beans. What is wrong in the demand to do justice with people of Western Odisha to do justice to their mother tongue! Why we should see politics in it?

Now, it is up to the Government of Odisha to do justice with the people speaking Koshali language in Western Odisha or else, tomorrow, if people take to the streets to demand Koshali as the main language in that area, it will be wrong to say they are doing politics.

Pravin Patel,

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After sixty-five years Hirakud land oustees to get land pattas A picture of Jitendriya Haripal, Krishna Patel, Mitrabhanu Gountia, and Prabhudutta Pradhan

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. P.HARAMOHAN  |  July 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Dear All,
    I sincerely believe that all languages thrive in their own right and through the continuing effort of people who indulge in it from the bottom of their heart .
    The only thing required to fondly foster a new language to have a good grounding is to circulate it among like minded fellowmen and create events that are memorable for all time to come .
    Finally , the finesse of a language gets reflected not only from original creations but also from adopting interesting nuances from writings in other languages.

  • 2. narendra kumar mohanty  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    On the writing of Dr. Debiprasanna pattnaik, in the Sambad the views of Dr.Nilakahtna Ratha is praiseworthy.He comments that there is no harm in including koshli language in 8th schedule .Rather it will be beneficial that there will be two official languages in orissa.thanks to Dr.nilamadhaba rath.

  • 3. sanjibkarmee  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

    There is no harm in having multiple languages in a state. If India can have many recognized languages, why can’t the states. Therefore, there is no harm in including Kosli language in 8th schedule.

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  • 8. Dr. Pradip Kumar Nath  |  July 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    • Dr. Pradip Kumar Nath | July 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I was shocked to read the reaction of a man (in the op-ed of Sambad on 22nd,July 2011) in his 80′s that too of the stature of Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattnaik.

    Poor fellow, yet to learn the techniques of linguistics so adopted in the recent times.
    Sometime 50 or 60 years back he had done research and produced some good works in linguistics there after.
    Poor fellow did not do enough ground work in the last four decades to keep pace with the modern technology assisting the work of Linguists. That is the same reason for which Linguiss like Panchanan Mohanty or Bijoy Prasad Mohapatra come to the wrong conclusion of proximity of Sambalpuri-Koshakli to Oriya rather than Hindi, Chhatisgarhi or Laria.
    This wrong conclusion is basically due to scant field study by all the three linguists mentioned above.
    Coming to the Odia chauvinism of the Odias residing in a few coastal districts there has been a sense inferiority, deliberate & systematic negligence, carelessness, ignominy expressed in their behavioural pattern towards the people of rest of Odisa.
    Forget about Sambalpuri-Koshali language.
    The sense of ignominy and misdemeanour shown to some of the best writers in Odia from western Odisa may a shocking revelation to many.
    Giving some instance only.
    (1) None of the writers from western Orissa could make themselves eligible for prescribed course of Civil Services Exam in India (Oriya Language and Literature).
    Dear readers, not even Gangadhar, Bheema Bhoi, Rajendra Panda or Binod Nayak.
    Neither in 1979 nor in 2000 with the revised course of civil Service Exam Gangadhar or Bheema Bhoi could qualify themselves for inclusion of their creation in the syllabus.

    The same is true about the Orissa Civil service where you donot find a piece of Gangadhar in the course.

    (2) At least four times (as far the documentary evidence this writer has in his possession) Gangadhar has been dubbed as a Minor Talent.
    (a) In a little magazine named “Kavita” — edited by Rabindra Prasad Panda in 1964 (Essay written by Jatindra Mohan Mohanty)
    (b) Again the same thing was in a book published in 1982 (Adhunika Samalochana by the same writer)
    (c) Antarjali Iswara o Kabir Antyesti- by Rabindra Prasad Panda (Published by Bharat-Bharati)
    (d) Surjyasnata — by Jatindra Mohan Mohamty (– Writing about Gangadhar as a Minor talent in one of the essay in evaluating the much quoted 4th cantos — Chaturtha Sarga of Tapaswani i.e Mangale Aiela Usha)–the same book got Kendra Sahitya Academy award in 2003.
    I still remember how very ignominiously we, the group hailing from Western Orissa were called very derogatively as the DALKHAI Group during our Training in Gopabandhu Academy of Administration (in 1991 batch of OAS) in 1995 and this thing was known to our the then Director General, Sri Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, IAS.
    The question is — in the name of Oriya language this class of people hailing from Eastern Orissa has been misbehaving by telling others that they are inferior to them.
    Language is just a weapon in the hands of these people.
    Going by the concept of Language neutrality, Language per se do not play havoc in the life of a community.
    But once it is utilized by a group of people as a weapon to exploit others to pursue their selfish interest, then it becomes very very dangerous. That has exactly happened in Odisa by the Coastal people.
    No one should have any doubt that Odia has been utilized as a Language of colonial exploitation by the people of Eastern Orissa to systematically loot the resource-rich Western and Southern Orissa.
    Odia has been proved to be the Language of Colonial Capitalistic Exploitation by Cuttackias in Odisa.
    Readers are requested to go through my series of article titled
    “Aau Kete Dina Gaba Patara Khuaib He” — wherein I had defined the term Cuttackia.
    These articles are going to be published in book form very soon.
    I had a lead essay on “The process of Cuttackisation and related evils”– I had dealt these issues at length and evolved the Concepts of Cuttackisation, Re-cuttackisation, De-cuttackisation in the light of Sociologist M.N.Srinivasan’s concept of Sanskritisation, Re-Sanskririsation, & De-sanskritisation.
    “Cuttackia” is not a Proper or Common noun. It is an Abstract Noun.
    “It symbolises the distinctive features of the people of Coastal Odisa.
    Cuttackisation is process whereby there seems to be an involuntary tendency by the people of rest of Odisa to emulate these typical characteristics.”
    Another feature of “Odia Bhasa Charcha” (Language Discourse) by Cuttackia Linguistics (as quoted above) is linking Samalpuri-Koshali (S-K)language movement with demand for a separate state.
    Bijaya Prasad Mohapatra has gone to the extent of alleging the S-K language movement as one of the prime reason for the imminent death of Oriya Language in near future.
    Readers are requested to go through these books as mentioned below.
    (1)Bruti a Mo Pose Kutumba– Odia Bhasa- Baigyanika Charchara Nutana Diganta– By Panchanan Mohanty — Page 62

    (2) Odia Bhasa Bibhaba– By Bijaya Prasad Mohapatra– page :- 381
    The tertiary sector of Book publishing is in Balubazar controlled by Cuttackias and necessarily we the Koshalis never get our things published like the PhD thesis of Dr. Ashok Dash which demystifies the myth of Samalpuri-Koshgali as a dialect (Upa-bhasa) of Odia.
    As a linguist he has proved the same. And to our misfortune this book is not a published work of art for wider circulation.
    For that matter the writings by Dr.Neelamadhab Panigrahi, Dr. Prafulla Tripathi, Prayag Dutta Joshi are yet to be disseminated in different parts of the country to have the awareness among others about the distinctive characteristics of Samalpuri-Koshali language.
    Lastly Persons like Debi Prasanna et al need not engage in politics of language.
    We know the reason why they want the subservient characteristics of S-K language & to serve which ends of who.
    Your Excellency — Dr. Devi Prasannajee, persons like you have done enough politics using Odia language as a means of parasitic survival for the people of Eastern Orissa.
    Dear Sirs,
    No more. It will be better for the future of Odia language & literature if you desist from such venomous remarks.
    By this kind of your attitude you will compel writers of the stature of Neelamadhab Panigrai or Mangalu Charan Biswal not to pen any more in Odia.
    It is pertinent that the present writer has also taken the vow not to contribute in Odia as profusely as he was doing during 80′s or 90′s.
    With regards to all and expressing my sincere gratitude who have taken keen interest in this discourse of Samalpuri-Koshali language, I remain.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Pradip Kumar Nath

  • 10. Surjit Singh maharatha  |  June 4, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Mor maatru bhasaa Kosli. Itaake inglish bhaasaa ne naai lekhi kari kosli ne lekhle entaa hebaa. I astonished why people don’t innovative in nature. Why they reluctant to accept new things in our country? So far the script of Kosli is concerned Oriya script is not suitable due to its difference in pronunciation although the Oriya script is inventented in Kosal region i.e. from Dumer bahal village of Sinapali Block under Nuapada District . Only Debnagri and Roman pronunciation is fit for Kosli language.So far my knowledge is concerned we all are habituated in using of roman script wring the the names of persons and places of Indian sub-continent.But people are protesting at the time of using this script in Kosli language saying it as a foreign script.Npw a days roman script is always require to express our thinking in computer net. If we use Oriya script as per the prevailing tradition then the Oriya spoken people says that Kosli language is the dialect of Oriya language.I discussed in this matter with Rajya Bardhan Dhal Mahapatra an Oriya writer. He said it as the dilect of Oriya Language. I strongly protest him in this matter.The Tense and Verb of Kosli is different from the Tense and Verb of Oriya Language. So how can it will be a dialect of Oriya? If we inscribe Kosli language in Oriya script then we have to insert “Halant” in each and every word for its proper Kosli pronunciation. One can make Oriya in to Kosli inserting “halant” in every word of Oriya language.
    Thanks. Jae Kosal.

  • 11. Surjit Singh maharatha  |  June 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm
    facebook group-jaekosal
    Be proud to be a Kosliaa

  • 12. N. C. Kar  |  July 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

    The thing is as simple as this: All the modern Indian languages have been derived from Sanskrit (exceptions are Dravidian group of languages, though Malayalam is heavily influenced by Sanskrit). The journey from Sanskrit to the present day modern Indian languages is long and so is the differences. Now we have to see where to fit the Kosali- as a separate language or dialect? There is very thin difference between language and dialect:- Muscle power, money power and so called soft power. Hindi was a dialect few years ago now is a language and we know why. Recognizing a language or not does not serve any purpose one day or other all the languages of ours will die on there own way. India is the most venerable country in terms of language extinction. The oriya has been greatly influenced by other languages and oriya people are adopting different language so is the case with other languages. It is natural as river turns it course so will the language do owing to the social prosperity.

    i will be back to this debate, please remind me in my mail


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