Posts filed under ‘Athmallik’

Drought threat looms large over western Odisha

Following is a report from OTV

Bhubaneswar: While Odisha may have registered a healthy 12.9 percent surplus rainfall this monsoon season, drought threat looms large over a significant portion of western Odisha.

Bargarh, which is also known as the ‘Rice bowl of Odisha,’ along with areas of Sambalpur, Nuapada and Sundergarh have been badly affected by deficit rainfall this monsoon season.

It is to be noted that this is the third consecutive year that western Odisha is facing a drought situation.

In the beginning of the monsoon this year, farmers were quite optimistic after good spells of rain, however as the paddy crops began to ripen, rain subsided.

The situation is quite severe in Sohela and Bijepur block of Bargarh, sources said.

Farmer outfits have urged the government to take necessary steps to provide water pumps and pipe connection to sustain cultivation.

In Nuapada district, after three consecutive seasons of drought-like condition, farmers had hoped that this year would be a silver lining. On the contrary rainfall was not as expected.

The condition is no less grim in Sambalpur district where hundreds of farmers and other locals led by BJP MLA Rabi Naik stormed to the streets demanding drought-hit status for Kuchinda sub-division.

Cultivators have warned that if the government does not take any proactive steps to mitigate the condition and provide adequate compensation, they would intensify their agitation.

“If the government does not ensure quick disbursement of crop insurance and compensation, we will launch protests,” farmer leader, Vimal Joshi said.

Meanwhile, the administration has assured to assist the farmers in tackling the situation.

“We have already begun arrangements to provide diesel pump sets at subsidised prices. This apart, we are also providing water connection from canals and other water sources to affected farmlands at subsidised rates,” said deputy director of Agriculture department in Bargarh, Dinabandhu Gandhi.

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October 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Ganda Baja – a musical tradition of western Odisha

 Following article is from EPW:

Ganda Baja is a prominent folk musical tradition of western Odisha. The players of this art form belong to the Ganda community (a Dalit community, largely from parts of western Odisha that border Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh). Generally, the Ganda are landless people mainly dependent on Ganda Baja and weaving for their livelihood. Since their traditional occupation of weaving has been failing with mill-made clothes flooding the market, they have been reduced to landless agricultural labourers. Some among them have also migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Baja” is a collective of musical instruments, including membranophones (the dhol, nisan, and tasa or timkidi), an aerophone (muhuri), and an idiophone (jhumka). This Baja is traditionally played during marriages, childbirth ceremonies, idol immersion processions, some administrative occasions, funeral processions, etc. Each occasion’s music has a distinct beat and tenor. For example, the “Jhi Bahar Par” (music for daughter’s departure to her in-laws’ place) is played when a bride is escorted out of the village by friends and relatives as she leaves for her marital home. The “Dargad Par” is played when a wife wails and mourns her husband’s death. Songs are specifically learnt for the occasion. The composition of “Dargad Par” evokes fear and awe in the listener.

The Ganda Baja is a way of living, a cultural manifestation of life in western Odisha. These days, the traditional genre has undergone tremendous change. A Ganda Baja troop consists of a minimum of five members in different capacities. They are Muhuria (the person who operates the muhuri), Dhulia (the person who operates the dhol), Taslia (the person who operates the tasa), Nisnia (the person who operates the nisan), and Jhumkia (the person who operates the jhumka). Five members is the minimum strength of the troop, but six members is considered a sound quorum for the group, with one dhol, one muhuri, one jhumka, one tasa and two nisan. The group has the flexibility of extending it to eight members, if there is a demand for dancers (a man in the outfit of a woman) from their clients. It is believed that a troop is stronger with a larger number of members in varying capacities. The members have learnt this art form from their forefathers, having travelled together and performed with them since childhood. Due to the stigma associated with the community and the practice of untouchability, they learn this art form from their family members as a livelihood skill.

The members of the community mainly earn during the marriage season. Earlier, they used to perform for three to five days. Now, it has reduced to a maximum of two days. Earlier, the agreements between the patron and the Ganda Baja troop were through the jajmani system in these areas and were usually oral contracts. The wage rates offered to them were very low and they had to accept whatever amount was offered. Once they entered into an agreement, sometimes their patrons had exclusive and absolute rights over their services for a particular period of time (usually three or five days). For this stipulated time they were like bonded labourers. In some instances, the party engaging them would pressurise the troop to beat drums all night so they could drink and dance. Sometimes they would even have to walk for hours and cover long distances carrying heavy instruments to reach their destination. And, at times, they would have to wait for long hours for food, once they reached there.

Things, however, are changing. Currently, a contract is completely based on mutual agreement. Slowly, the community is demanding market-negotiated wage rates. Income encompasses payments in both cash and kind. The minimum rate is ₹ 5,000 per performance, and the maximum is ₹ 15,000, shared by the members of the troop. They have around 30 performances for different occasions over seven to eight months in a year.

Ganda Baja is still a major source of livelihood for this community in a large part of western Odisha. Modern music has seriously affected the livelihood of the Baja troops, resulting in the gradual disappearance of this age-old traditional art form. In 2014, folk artists from western Odisha had staged a protest in front of the legislative assembly demanding the status of Adikala (primitive art) for Ganda Baja. On that occasion, they tried to foreground two issues: their strong attachment to their culture, and their earnings from their occupation. They vociferously argued that their culture was their occupation too, which is why there is an urgent need for the revival and promotion of Ganda Baja.

Sujit Kumar Mishra (sujitkumar72@gmail.com) teaches economics at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

October 21, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Rethinking Kosli Identity: Language, literature and culture of western Odisha

Down load a PDF copy here: Rethinking Kosli Identity- Language, Literature and Culture of Western Odisha

September 23, 2018 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

Jharsuguda airport expected to usher in economic development in western Odisha

Following is a report from the TNIE:

By Express News Service; JHARSUGUDA: The second major airport of Odisha at Jharsuguda is expected to open up new avenues for economic development in the mining belt of the State. Former Jharsuguda Chartered Accountant Association member Mukesh Shah said the airport will not only benefit the residents of the town but also those from the adjacent mining district of Sundargarh.  “As per history, the airport was initially set up by the Royal Airport during the British rule in 1942 and was used by war planes during World War II. Similarly, during the Indo-Pak war in 1971, the same facility was used by war planes”, he said.

If everything goes as per plan, then flight operations from the airport will start from the last week of July. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate it even as the process is underway to secure category 4C licence for the airport to make it eligible for landing and take-off of A-320 Airbus aircraft. Sources said the airport was accorded category-B licence in May qualifying it for flight operations. Subsequently, efforts have been made to equip it with category 4C licence for landing and take-off of bigger aircraft.

Recently, a team of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), led by Mumbai-based Deputy Director S Saxena and a team of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had conducted separate inspections of the ancillary facilities and security measures at the airport. Sources said the airport has been equipped with surface lighting and ancillary instruments making the runway capable of ensuring safe landing of planes even during inclement weather and night hours.

“After getting 4C licence from DGCA, A- 320 Airbus-type aircraft can land and take off from this airport”, said Jharsuguda Airport Director S K Chouhan, adding that the airport is equipped with an ATS tower, a runway with required length and electrification, emergency health and other associated facilities.

As per the MoU signed between the Central and the State governments, the security arrangements will be looked after by Airports Authority of India (AAI). Sources said spread over a sprawling 909 .22 acres, Jharsuguda airport is ready to become a reality after financial contribution of Rs 175 crore by the Centre and Rs 50 crore by the State Government. Besides, an additional 275.55-acre land has been acquired for the airport.

Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das said the economy of the coal-belt and industrial Jharsuguda district has been in doldrums for long and regular flight operation entails huge prospects to open up new economic vistas for the region.

Flight operations likely from July last week If everything goes as per plan, then flight operations from the airport will start from the last week of July
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate it. The security arrangements will be looked after by Airports Authority of India.

Following is a report from the Sambad:

JSG

July 25, 2018 at 4:25 am Leave a comment

Kosali language movement

TNN | Amava.Bhattacharya

With the elections about a year away, western Odisha finds itself in conflict with the rest of the state. Part of the issue is Kosali, a language yet to find a place in the Eighth Schedule. Amava Bhattacharya traces its genesis

Labour minister Susanta Singh on Tuesday sought the replacement of the word ‘Utkala’ in ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ with ‘Odisha’. By proposing this change in the de facto state anthem, the BJD leader from Bhatli in Bargarh has turned the lens on the aspirations of western Odisha, a region that is markedly different from northern and coastal Odisha that were part of the historical Utkala kingdom.

Western Odisha’s aspirations have ranged from better infrastructure to a demand for more political attention, to even a separate Kosal state. Central to its identity is the Kosali Language Movement, a socio-political and literary movement. While its literary goal – to prove that Kosali is a language and not a dialect of Odia – has more or less been achieved, its political goal – inclusion of Kosali in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution – is yet to be realized. With elections scheduled for early next year, political parties are expected to raise the emotive language issue to target each other and gain votes in a region that comprises almost half of Odisha’s population.

Kosali (also referred to as Sambalpuri or Kosali-Sambalpuri) is spoken in 10 districts of western Odisha – Bargarh, Boudh, Subarnapur, Jharsuguda, Balangir, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Nuapada, Sundargarh, Kalahandi and the Athamalik subdivision of Angul, besides Raigarh, Mahasamund and Raipur districts of Chattisgarh. For a long time, the language spoken in this vast region, part of the ancient kingdom of Dakshin Kosal, was considered to be a dialect of Odia, but the language movement led by writers, historians, politicians and linguists has punched holes in this theory.

Proponents of the Kosali Language Movement say it is a direct derivative of Sanskrit and belongs to the Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit group of languages as opposed to Magadhi-Prakrit to which Odia belongs. There is significant difference between Kosali and Odia in terms of morphology, semantics, syntax and phonology, they add.

“Kosali is a separate language. It bears as much resemblance to Hindi as it does to Odia,” says Tila Kumar, professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics. A frequent traveller to western Odisha, Kumar says he has seen first-hand the difficulties faced by students in government schools in the region.

“Odia-speaking teachers find it hard to communicate with students here. Certain words have different meanings. For example, ‘ghuri’ means kite in Odia but it refers to the village deity’s altar in Kosali,” he adds, attributing the lower exam success rate in this region, particularly in the Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput zone, to Odia and not Kosali being the medium of instruction in schools. In a memorandum submitted in 2011 to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Kosali Development and Discussion Forum, an organization working for the cause of Kosali, had listed education and administrative efficiency as a reason to seek official recognition of Kosali. “Civil servants from other areas who do not have rudimentary knowledge of Kosli language cannot communicate with citizens, resulting in miscommunication,” the memorandum says.

The Kosali Language Movement is a relatively young phenomenon that gained momentum in the 1970s and 80s. It brings to the fore questions such as what constitutes a language, what differentiates it from a dialect and how important language is to political aspiration, explains Pritish Acharya, a professor of history at the Regional Institute of Education in Bhubaneswar.

“A language gains from the number of works written in it and there has been an explosion of writing, drama and films in Kosali,” says Acharya, a native of Bargarh.

The literary journey for Kosali authors has been both fulfilling and rewarding. While it has always had a strong oral repertoire, the first written work in the language is a poem by one Madhusudan published in the magazine ‘Sambalpur Hitaisini’ in 1891. Verses were composed by a number of poets like Chaitana Das, Balaji Meher, Laxman Pati and Kapila Mohapatra in the early years of the 20th century. The poems were characteristic of Kosali works at the time in that they dealt mainly with rural life. A leading light in Kosali is Khageswar Seth, a dalit fisherman who wrote prolifically in both Sambalpuri and Odia. Caste equations coloured the Odia-Kosali binary as those working in the ‘dialect’ were looked down upon for primarily belonging to the ‘lower’ castes.

A major boost to the language was given by the All India Radio station in Sambalpur, commissioned in 1963. It broadcast programmes, especially music, in Sambalpuri and helped it gain greater acceptance. The following decades saw a flowering of works in Kosali. ‘Rangabati’ written by Mitrabhanu Gauntia become a household name. Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s award-winning ‘Bhukha’ (1989) became the first full-length feature in Kosali; the language got its first novel – ‘Bilasini’ by Dhanpati Mohapatra – in 1990 and Prayagdutta Joshi wrote his seminal ‘Koshali Bhasar Sankshipta Parichaya’ in 1991. Poet Haldar Nag emerged as an icon with his unique style and inspired the emergence of ‘Haldardhara’, a brand of poetry paying tribute to him. In 2012, the Registrar for Newspapers for India enlisted Kosali in its language list. Today, Sambalpur University offers a diploma course in Sambalpuri studies.

Despite being the second-most popular language in a state that is itself the first to be formed on the basis of language in 1936, Kosali has found it harder to notch up political victories. The year 2003 was a watershed moment for language movements as the Centre passed the 93rd Constitutional Amendment to enable the possibility of inclusion of other languages in the 8th Schedule. In the same year, it set up a committee led by Odia littérateur and IAS officer Sitakanta Mohapatra to determine the criteria for inclusion of more languages in the 8th Schedule. The committee submitted its report in 2004 and recommended the inclusion of 38 languages. Kosali/Sambalpuri is one of them. Eighteen years later, the fate of these languages remains unclear.

“The report of the committee is under consideration. No time frame can be fixed for the inclusion of more languages in the 8th Schedule,” reads the government’s official line.

While central recognition has proved to be elusive, state recognition, too, has been lukewarm. In 2014, days after the Centre declared Odia as the sixth classical language of India, the Naveen Patnaik government threw its weight behind Kosali and recommended its inclusion in the 8th Schedule.

Naveen has time and again pushed for the inclusion of Kosali in the 8th Schedule, most recently while campaigning for the Bijepur byelection in Bargarh district. But Odisha remains one of the few states to have only one official language. The Orissa Official Language Act of 1954 recognizes Odia as the official language of the state even though Kosali is estimated to have around 2 crore speakers.

July 14, 2018 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

Khurda-Balangir rail line in 2 years after Odisha allots land: Dharmendra Pradhan

KB

June 9, 2018 at 5:09 am Leave a comment

What happened to the center for Kosli language research?

KL

April 7, 2018 at 4:07 am Leave a comment

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