Sambalpur, Sep 12:
While people have got used to critics and leaders of opposition political parties criticising chief minister Naveen Patnaik for his refusal to learn Odia, the statement of senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Baishnab Parida advising his party supremo to learn the language has created a flutter in the party.
“Language is the soul and identity of a nation. A nation dies with the death of its language”, Parida said while replying to a question from newsmen at the minor irrigation department’s dak bungalow here on Wednesday.
Citing instances, he said the sons of the soil, led by Madhu Babu, had waged a prolonged fight for the formation of an independent state of Odisha on the basis of language to safeguard the Odia identity.
After the formation of Odisha, the then chief minister Nabakrushna Choudhury in 1954 had enacted the Orissa Official Languages Act to be used for all official purposes of the state.
“It is a matter of great regret that while other states have been using their mother tongue as the official language, Odisha has become an exception”, said Parida, who is the convener of Odia Bhasha Suraksha Sammilani.
The Sammilani, which had organised a state level convention at Bhubaneswar on July 21 this year for the protection of Odia language, is going to organize a similar programme at Sambalpur in October for the dissemination and development of the regional language.
“The Sammilani has decided to organize such programmes in all districts of the state in a phased manner”, Parida informed.