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Regional nationalism essential for federal India


Bhubaneswar: The regional nationalism is essential for a federal India which develops progressively into pan Indian nationalism, said eminent scholar Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri.

Addressing at a Memorial Lecture on the occasion of former Chief Minister JB Patnaik’s 92nd birth anniversary held by the Sambad Group at Hotel Swosti Premium on Thursday in Bhubaneswar, the distinguished Cultural Administrator of India and former Secretary to Sahitya Akademi Prof Choudhuri said, “Dharma is the essential ingredient of India’s nationalism. Moreover, federal India is a combination of many regions or kshetras and it is obvious that from kshetra one moves into desha and, therefore, regional nationalism is essential for federal India.”

He talked about the controversial issue of the crisis in nationalism recalling an incident in JNU two years ago where a large group of students arranged an illegal meeting to celebrate the birth anniversary of dreaded terrorist Afzal Guru, the mastermind behind Parliament attack.

He also focused on other issues including Muslim’s hesitation to utter Vande Mataram or sing the national anthem. He said that this sort of debate divided the society either into followers or so-called extreme Hindu nationalism without understanding the true meaning of Hinduism and the other group went opposite of it and followed a strange kind of socialism where visiting temples or performance of chatpuja are allowed.

“Both the campus suffer from their extreme radical views and draw a veil over their eyes,” the Professor said.

“India is not just monolithic but megalithic and hence pluralistic. The singular thing about India is that you can speak of it only in the plural. As a result, in place of monolithic western brand of nationalism based on the concept nation state India developed the notion of multifarious nationalism. Our nationalism is Indian in a syncretic manner. It is based on our pluralism, spiritual tradition, ideal of truth and tolerance,” he said.

Referring to an article by Alekha Chandra Padhihary, Prof Choudhuri said that Odia nationalism was based on certain important factors such as common religion with Lord Jagannath as the pivot or the Jagannathism and common language Odia.

The sufferings of people of Odisha during Muslim and British rules also forged unity among them centering around Lord Jagannath, who had touched the political, social and spiritual life of every individual.

Editor of Sambad and Rajya Sabha MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik presided over the function and said: “Janaki Ballabh Patnaik was a successful person of our time. He attained heights in literature, journalism and politics during his lifetime. While literature was his passion, journalism was his profession. He turned to politics to use it as a tool to do public good. A combination of politics, literature and journalism can shape a better Odisha.”

Realising the need for an exhaustive lexicon, ‘Sambad-Ama Odisha’ have come up with a lexicon –‘Sahityakosha’. The voluminous book has been compiled over a period of 10 years by over 120 eminent litterateurs from the state. The lexicon was unveiled during the ceremony. The unique aspect about this over 1500-page book is that it is first Odia lexicon based on literature.

While the price of the book is Rs 1800, it is being sold by Ama Odisha at a discounted price as a limited period offer.