Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 21:
Around a dozen students of the Odia department of the Visva Bharati, who had embarked on a cycle rally from Shantiniketan to Satyabadi in Puri district to register their protest and sensitise people about the negligence of Odia language in Odisha, reached Lakshmannath in Baleswar district this morning.
The male students were accorded a warm welcome at Lakshmannath in Baleswar district, their first stopover in Odisha, by historians, poets, Odia scholars, members of cultural organisations, academicians, litterateurs and other eminent persons.
These students will organise as many as 30 meetings and stage street shows to sensitise and build public opinion in favour of appointment of Oriya teachers in academic institutions and emphasis on Odia language.
The youths criticised the state government for not recruiting Odia teachers in schools, colleges and universities to fill up vacant posts for years.
“It is surprising that the Odisha government is appointing teachers for Telugu, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Santhali and Kui subject but not filling up the teaching posts in Odia subject,” said a member of the team.
Despite 150 years of introduction of modern education and 80 years of establishment of states on linguistic basis, recruitment of Odia teachers is still not done in the state. There needs to be a mass revolution led by youths as they are the victims of government apathy. Though resentment has been brewing among them, they are not able to channelize their anger due to lack of organisation, they said.
Their demands are: recruitment of Odia teachers in all schools and colleges, compulsory Odia education up to intermediate, official communication in Odia and recruitment tests to be conducted in Odia language and 95 percent reservation for Odia candidates in private sector companies.
The cycle rally would move across cities like Jaleswar, Baleswar, Soro, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Satyabhamapur, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Pipili before ending in Satyabadi.
The members of All Utkal Odia Graduate Honours Students’ Association started the jouney with a three-point charter of demand on May 16 and will tour six districts in Odisha before reaching Satyabadi on May 31.
Odia Professors, lecturers and students and other Odia staff of the Visva Bharati University had flagged off the rally from the university campus last Saturday.