I have something to say. A couple of months ago, I had written about the ethnocide in Western Odisha. This can be considered an extension of that idea.
Recently, the Govt. Of Odisha organised the Hockey World Cup in the state which was a proud moment for us all. We really support our state hosting an international event. All the pomp and show that came alongwith the event, however, have been concentrated in the East. I am not trying to foster a carnage between identities or anything. We all know what comes of it. But, let’s be honest here.
The majority of the mineral wealth of the state lies in the West. And contrary to the natural process of development, lady Luck has only smiled on the coast. Let’s say even this is not a problem.
How do you account for the cultural appropriation that is perpetrated day and again? In every procession, Sambalpuri songs are the mainstay but the lyric is conveniently changed to something in the dominant Odia language rather than the original being retained. If this is not an attempt to relegate our language and culture to the darkness of history, then I think it’s time to raise your head from the sand.
The coastals take pride in our Sambalpuri sarees but the reality is that the majority of our ablemen have no alley other than bonded labour to install themselves in.
Recently, I saw a video showing the Belgium National team visiting DAV Cspur. I am proud to belong to that place and consider it close to my heart. But, sadly, it broke my heart to see that the children were performing Rangabati with a lyrics unheard of. How does that help in promoting regional equality? Doesn’t it aim to show only the culture of Eastern Odisha by removing the Kosli paint from the Odia canvas? Sorry, but you cannot expect us to respect you while you stamp on our traditions.
I am not trying to create an us-versus-them conundrum here, but if you think you can try to hideout us and blind us and dumb us into submission, then I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that’s not gonna happen.
Anwesh Mishra comments on culture