Sambeet Dash Writes :
The other day in a Facebook group, couple of Odias were chatting in Hindi. “YEH PHOTO DIKHAI NAHI DETA”, said one Ms. Pati. ” ZOOM KARKE DEKHO, AAPKO SAHI DIKHAI DEGA”, responded Mr. Mohanty. Unable to resists my inherent temptation of trespassing with unsolicited satirical remarks, I wanted to play a bit with them. So I interspersed their tete a tete with my remark – “It’s interesting to see two pure Odias talking amongst themselves in chaste Hindi.”
Weird is this latest inferiority complex prevalent in the new generation, especially in the Twin City of Cuttack – Bhubaneswar. It wasn’t so during my growing up days, though an angry, agiated Odia would occasionally switch to SAALE KO DEKH LENGE in Hindi ( SAALA means wife’s brother, but in this context means, I am the seducer of your sister). But non-agitated Odias, under normal conditions of temperature and pressure, are talking in Hindi these days.
My sandwiched opinion put a break in their conversation, raising a red flag, hitting their nerve. As usual they resorted to instant GALUAMI, (the Odia term for stubbornly defending oneself, even aware of being wrong). Came their defense in fortified Nationalism, “Hindi is our national language, so we are chatting in Hindi”. One of them I presume a fake Id (many facebook groups are flooded with males masquerading as females, only to gain companion of the fairer sex).
Sure, everyone is entitled to converse in any language, whether in Hindi or anything else. And it’s non of other’s business. But that’s besides the point, as both being Odia from Twin City, they didn’t have. I lived in many places outside Odisha, where the natives love and adore their mother tongue. No idea, why the present generation of Odias (usual disclaimers apply) want to talk in Hindi, when the closest non-Odia would be miles away. Doesn’t make sense.
Ashok invaded Kalinga in 261 BC and earned a Pyrrhic victory after a lot of bloodshed. But no bloodshed was necessary when outside cultural invasion slowly conquered the Twin City’ when the current generation youth invited the influence in open arms. CHHENA (cheese) has become Paneer, often pronounced as “Paneeyari” in local accent. Sangeet ceremony and Punjabi dance has taken over the marriage celebrations, not to mention the greasy out of state food flooding the menu.
Many TV anchors and youngsters now a days prefer to speak in a fake, accented Odia liberally interspersed with Hindi and English. Odia movies have a sizable amount of Hindi laced dialogues, delivered with a fair share of South Indian voluptuous dance movements. We have become a net importer of alien culture, hardly exporting our’s, running a net deficit. No wonder we Odias are a fast changing breed, brooding over other’s culture and traditions.
The eminent writer Khushwant Singh once wrote that the way the Sikhs are getting rid of their facial hair and turbans soon they would cease to be a separate identify, eventually melting with Hindus. Won’t be surprised if the same fate awaits the Odias, their culture and traditions could very much face an extinction in the next quarter of century.
A nice response to that by Soumendu :
A nation(read a state) needs history..its own glorified history…Now the question comes have we done enough to make our next generation aware of our history….Personally being a CBSE student feeding on some history books published by an inept CON(CERT) written by some God damn Soviets(aka Thappars), i read only a line about Odisha being defeated by a marauding Ashoka in a bloody battle… nowhere i could find Kharavela though who restored our pride after 350 years…Nor i could find Odisha as cradle of Buddhism…I never read about Odisha and its rich tradition from history books, but came to know about it from our festivals…like Balijatra, Laxmi puja, Ratha yatra etc. I did my own personal research and came to know about the valour of Odia kings who saved us from the uncivilized morons who invaded India to loot its wealth in medieval times. I came to know about the contribution of Gopabandhu Dash, Madhusudan Das, Vira surendra rai, gangadhar meher, chatrapati parla maharaj not from any book but from my own personal interest to know about the region i call my janmabhumi….But if i see the present now, who is there to carry this long tradition forward??…All upper strata intelellctual Odias right from my generation(-10 years to present and definitely beyond) have become Non-Residents. We frequent Odisha just to see our ageing parents and to reminiscence about our innocent childhood….Nothing else we are doing for the language, culture apart from celebrating it in our family. For a culture to flourish, it needs icons. We need to buy the time in national media..by being rich. People need to appreciate our culture…We have achieved a lot in selling Odissi..we need to do it in other aspects as well….This is exactly what Gujjus do …What Bengalis used to do…Someone tried to do it..but she was termed anti Odia, a sham Odia and rejected by the hypocrites..To be rich we need to be entrepreneurs, businessmen, travel out and invest back in state. Without being rich and without intellectual presence or interest in the culture, its hard to stem the rot..We cant escape by blaming our next generation…In this age of market, we need to make our culture the in-thing, sell it more aggressively… it needs to be attractive to be an Odia..just like its to be an Yankee…Only then we can expect our culture to survive and flourish..not in its 1980s/1990s form what we know but in some or other form keeping the basic sanctity intact.