Posts filed under ‘Letter to the Koshal Discussion and Development Forum (KDDF)’

No education in mother tongue; education denied

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.

November 12, 2015 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

Farmer suicide in western Odisha and the callous state

Saket Sreebhushan Sahu

Suicides reports of fourteen farmers from Western Odisha within a fortnight have gripped the whole region in shock and grief. Politician donot bothered about it because it is not an election time. Neither had we heard any sympathetic words from the agriculture minister in any media.

The culture, economy and society of Western Odisha have evolved by build-up with a cohesive bonding affiliating to agriculture since time immemorial. Western Odisha is based on an agrarian economy. If harvesting of crop is good, farming community thinks about marriages in the family. If crop harvesting is not as per expectation, they postponed marriages. All the major festivals like Nuankhai and Phuspuni are agrarian. While Nuankhai is the festival of first crop cutting and offering it to the God/Godess, Phuspuni is the harvesting festival. Today, Nuankhai is celebrated even in foreign countries and major metros of India by the non-residents. But the man behind the Nuankhai and Phuspuni festival, the farmers, is living in an unspeakable pathos and insurmountable grief.

The state government has all kind of schemes for all categories of people but none are in use; all government schemes are as if meant for the thekadar and chamcha of the ruling political party.

The Government collects huge revenue from this region, almost 75 per cent. But never works for the tax payer. The farming community who filled the state treasury is abandoned like anything. Farmers are deprived of their basic rights. They are neglected. If a state is not meant for its subjects then the subjects have to introspect about the state. Time has arrived.

Author Comments on Politics and Culture. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

October 21, 2015 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Reawakening Kosali and Coastal Conspiracy

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.

October 2, 2015 at 4:33 am 1 comment

Bargarh hospital- a symbol of corruption; Municipality – breeding ground of mosquitoes

Dear all,

Bargarh is the home of the present state health minister Prasanna Acharya. He has been in the power since a long time and elected many times.

When he became the health minister people had a lot of hope that he will take care of the rotten health system of the district by paying more attention to the health system. On normal days even bed-sheets are not supplied to the beds; but today – all the beds were neatly covered with white bedsheets. People were talking of this every where in the hospital.

Also there have been confirmatory news from people that the in-charge doctors in maternity ward have been asking for money – the amount varies from 1500 to 5000 on case to case basis. Also the agent working as the middle men asks the attendants not to disclose this matter to any one. Leave apart other corruptions those prevail – from medicine companies bribing the doctors to prescribe their medicines which may not be available in the Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

Besides the ASHA workers do not do their work, instead they try how to trap the patients into the medical trap.

Also instead of writing the chemical composition of the medicines by their generic name they ask specific company medicines to be bought. There is a big price gap between generic medicine price and specific company product – ranges from 2 to 20 times higher for the specific treatment. Many necessary and emergency medicines are not stocked in the hospital for the general free distribution.

Besides few exceptions, the hospitals are very good business centres for the doctors and medical companies. Doctors, medicine companies, and netas hand in had are danging tango.


Bargarh is one of the most dirty town ofOdisha. As the dengue fever spreads across mining industrial zones of Odisha, this town has till now not recieved any case. But -Municipality of Bargarh is so effective that they have made the police station a nice mosquito breeding ground, so also the Dist. Govt. Hospital.

The visual is of the Police Station at the centre of the town and how mosquito are happily breeding. On asking the IIC of the PS, he said that he has nothing to do with that, it is not his duty, and it is the dept. of Collector. The municipality officials never listen to them.

How is that possible ?


Amitabh Patra
M: +91-8763324299

August 15, 2011 at 10:07 am 2 comments

Nitish Kumar vs Naveen Patnaik and Bihar vs Orissa

Following letter was sent by Prof. Arjun Purohit to different e-groups during a discussion on development in Orissa and Bihar:

Development means different things in Orissa and Bihar. In Orissa development means ushering in mega mining projects, no matter what net benefit is to the state, socially, economically, environmentally, and what not and the cost in the same measures. Costs have been enormous. Laws have been violated to suit the purpose of the mining barons. It has created an unsettling hostile ambiance between segments of citizenry.

Pollution has reached toxic levels in the air. Orissa produces six per cent of total toxicity in the air in India though it has only 4 per cent of the population. That too is concentrated in select places, not diluted over the entire state, making it even more lethal. The prevailing mantra, in the words of a promoter of last Investment Bhubaneswar symposium, is “top down” development. Thus the inter-regional disparity is increasing and will continue to increase, thus creating even more discontent and social unrest across the state. This mantra basically means that if you look after of big things, benefits will trickle down to lower rungs in the society eventually. It also means that the population in the lower rungs, especially those affected by these mega projects, are not knowledgeable as to what is good for them, and therefore need not be consulted or the projects need not be explained to them; only “experts in BBSR know and so projects can be implemented against their will. This of course leads to elitism, which leads to feudalism, which ultimately leads to authoritarianism.

In Orissa, development in education means trying to garner as many centrally funded institutions of higher learning, and even the private institutions, such as Vedanta and SRI Sri universities, and locate them in extreme concentration in a small strip. How IIT,IISER,AIMS,Sri Sri or Vedanta will have a dent on illiteracy, the hall mark of Orissa, is known only to the “experts”. Development in healthcare ? I can not understand how the current obsession of massing 10 or more medical colleges in the vicinity of BBSR will do any good to cholera stricken folks in Kashipur and Lanjigarh. To put it bluntly, there is a disconnect between mega concentrated “development” projects and real developmental needs of Orissa.

From my scant knowledge of what regime of Nitish Kumar for the last five years, development mantra is different: “Ground Up”, that is, take care of small problems and big problems will be resolved. It also means that trust must be earned by the government from population of all sectors, even the most vulnerable and not very educated. Thus small farms which employ a large section of the populace are strengthened and enabled. Nitish Kumar provided bicycles to school kids to go school.

The news report says that this has increased enrolment of kids in schools in rural areas by fivefold. Not many mega mining industries any more because with Jharkhand separated out, not much mineral deposits left. I had an opportunity to visit Patna about six years ago. The main roads were filthy with foul smell all over. Law and order situation was very bad. My host Dr.Sinha, retired director of A.N.Sinha Institute warned me not to be out in the city past 6 P.M.. He used to use five locks on the front door of his house even though he lived in a gated community. During my very brief stay, I found in the local newspaper that one of my old contemporaries,a  retired prof in English, was shot dead while reading his newspaper in front veranda of his house. I spent couple of hours in the Pali institute in Nalanda  on my way to Rajgir. There they told me that a few days ago, a Mongolian Buddhist monk was kidnapped for ransom ! I was told in Patna that when Lalu’s daughter got married, the new cars in the showroom of car dealers across the city were taken away at night breaking the glass windows so that they could be used by the groom’s marriage party in Barat ! The dealers were threatening that if such things persisted they would close the dealerships forever ! Recently I talked to my friend Dr.Sinha, who assured me that things have improved beyond imagination, and I was invited to come back and see. Before I vouch for the improvement in Patna, I really have to see and believe what I was told.

There seems to be a new optimism in the air. It seems Nitish Kumar has managed to earn trust from all segments of the population,intelligentsia and ordinary citizens. That by itself is a great accomplishment. It seems Sarvodaya movement of J.P.Narayan is rising again from the grave. I hope and pray that Bihar continues to be on the mend, and be an example for the neighbouring states.

Prof. Arjun Purohit, Canada,

December 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm 3 comments

At places like Balangir, Odisha govt. should invest more on renewable energy production

Dear honorable CM of Odisha,
It is reported in The Samaj that Jharsuguda will be the highest electrical power producing town of India:
Is this a good thing for Jharsuguda which has already high concentration of heavy industries? The western Orissa will be full of thermal powerplants as many are coming up at Birmaharajpur of Sonepur, Titlagarh of Balangir, one at Kalahandi and one at Sundergarh. The temp of western Orissa will increase many fold.
Titlagarh is known in the country for recording highest temperature during summer. Places like Titlagarh needs more non-polluting industries like solar power plants. I belive in such places the govt. should invest more on solar power units.
Also, putting all the industries in the western Orissa and establishing most of the HRD institutes in the coastal belt is not at all a good idea. It is surprising that various places of western Odisha like Balangir do not have any state govt. technical institutes viz. engg/medical college or central govt. instituts.
This needs to corrected.
Best regards,

Dr.Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands

August 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm 2 comments

Supporting the demand for establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city


Honorable HRD Minister Shri Kapil Sibal


Mr. Naveen Patnaik, honorable Chief Minister, Odisha
Honorable MPs, Odisha
Journalists and Intelligentsia  

Sub: Supporting the demand of establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city
Dear honorable Shri Sibalji,

MHRD and other central Govt. ministries have been establishing various centrally funded institutions in Odisha to make it a developed state. However, most of the centrally funded institution viz. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and railway medical college are located in Bhubaneswar. So far, the state govt. has not established any centrally funded Institutes in the western part of Odisha.

From decades the people of western Odisha have been demanding the establishment of centrally funded institutes. But nothing is happening as Orissa govt. is continuing to be capital-centric by proposing new central governments institutes in the capital region. However, in principle, it should happen like it is happening in various developed states of India (viz. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, etc). I wish Odisha should follow the example of developed states of our country.
As reported by media Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP has raised the issue of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lok Sabha and demanded its establishment in Sambalpur city [1].  This demand is genuine. I wholeheartedly support the demand of Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP.

Kindly, consider the proposal for establishing an IIM at Sambalpur city; which is well connected to all districts of Orissa and all  cities of India.
The Sambalpur city of western Odisha is sandwiched between Burla and Jharsuguda. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region is emerging as a knowledge hub and establishing such an institute will help in cross-fertilization of ideas among the scientists, economists and scholars of humanities and social sciences.
Beside that Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has many advantages viz.
· Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area is well connected to most of the regions in the state and emerging as a central location for on going industrial activities in Odisha such as Sambalpur – Angul – Cuttack – Bhubaneswar belt, Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela belt, Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Lanjigarh – Rayagada – Koraput belt, and Sambalpur – Jharsuguda – Korba – Bilaspur-Raipur belt. Apart from the existing Industries, several major industries are coming up in this region including Vedanta Aluminum in Jharsuguda. These Industries will provide an extremely good environment to the students and staffs of Indian Institute of Management for carrying out various management related consulting projects and student internships. 
· Sambalpur and Rourkela city area are two major metropolitan areas of the state. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda is more accessible for students from all the districts of western Orissa.

· The AAI is taking initiatives to establish an airport in Jharsuguda ( Moreover, this area is well connected to Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Nagpur, Ranchi, and Mumbai by rail.
· The Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has all the necessary amenities like road connectivity, hotels, malls, restaurants, bookshops and parks which will definitely attract world class faculties for this Institute.
Therefore, the central govt should establish the Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city of western Odisha.
Thank you and best regards,

Dr. Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands

August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

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