Mind Your Language

 Why do politicians across the parties express reluctance to cross words with BJD veteran Damodar Rout? The strong man from Paradip is not at all a bad person, but when it comes to exchange of words, Rout forgets the limit and turns foul mouth. Therefore, politicians of both ruling and opposition parties avoid verbal duel with him.

It is not Dr.Rout alone who has an acid tongue in state politics, his cabinet colleague, Panchayatiraj Minister Pradeep Maharathy is also known for his “Jatra” party style language for which people are averse to having a verbal duel with him.
This is not all. Now some of the young leaders in the opposition BJP do not mind to make objectionable and toxic remarks against political opponents, thus creating a “war of words”, sometimes against all norms of decency.
The recent spat between Dr.Rout and BJP Spokesperson Lekhashree Samantasinghar has exposed the bad colour of politics in the state. It was Lekhashree first who called Rout a “Sikhandi” and BJD President Naveen Patnaik as “Dhrutarastra” of the Mahabharata.
She alleged that “Dhrutarastra” often brings “Sikhandi” to the forefront to face the attack made by political opponents. Though Naveen did not react over Lekhashree’s remarks, her words were intolerable for the Paradip strong man.
Dr.Rout was in search of an opportunity for a befitting reply to Lekhashree who allegedly called him “Sikhandi” (a eunuch in the Mahabharata).

Her words were sufficient to hurt the male ego of Dr.Rout, who found an opportune moment in a public meeting in Jajpur district to spit fire.
Dr.Rout, who is known for his deep knowledge in Odia colloquial language, said: “Swami Chhadi, Anaganwadi” (a divorcee like an Anganwadi worker). Rout’s statement has created a flutter across the state as she also referred to thousands of Anganwadi workers.

As women, mostly Anganwadi workers and members of the women self-help groups, are strong supporters of the ruling BJD, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took no time to summon Dr.Rout and ask him to mend the situation in order to pacify the Anganwadi workers.
However, the opposition BJP got an opportunity to take on Dr.Rout, who is also the Vice President of BJD. The saffron party went on spreading message that BJD has no respect for women, particularly for the Anganwadi workers.
Dr.Rout, meanwhile, expressed regret for making the comment referring to Anganwadi workers as they, with BJP’s support, burnt effigies of the Agriculture Minister and the Chief Minister.

The saffron party’s women wing also gheraoed the official residence of Minister Agriculture.
Earlier, Dr.Rout had also used objectionable words against Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan by referring to him as a “koila chor” (coal thief)  as he hailed from Talcher coal belt. Then also people had rejected Rout’s barb against Pradhan.
Personal attack in politics is not at all acceptable to people. Everybody should use words keeping in mind that those words do not disturb the social order.
However, who is responsible for the drama? Though Dr.Rout is put in the accused box, is it acceptable on the part of Lekhashree to call a 75-year-old minister a “Sikhandi”?

Ms.Samantasinghar who belongs to an eminent Gandhian family, is expected to be soft and suave. While Dr.Rout has so far regretted his statement, Lekhashree continued to use words like “Sikhandi” and “Dhrutarastra” against BJD leaders.
It is a fact that all political parties and even each individual should have adequate respect towards a woman, may be a political leader or a housewife. All men should respect women. At the same time, women should also use proper and decent words for their political opponents.
Politicians make allegations against opponents. This is natural and acceptable in civil society. But, none in Odisha accepts the words like “Swami Chhadi, Anganwadi” or “Sikhandi.” It will be decent politics if politicians refrain from using derogatory words, just to take political mileage against their opponents. Above all, politicians also live in this society.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, though remained in power for 17 long years, has never used any such word against rivals or political opponents except for once. Patnaik, after an alleged unsuccessful coup bid on his government in 2012, had called the then Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra a “Beiman” (betrayer).
However, Naveen at a recent literary function explained his stand on use of such objectionable words against any individual. “Such behaviour is unacceptable and uncalled for,” Naveen said while reacting to Rout’s statement.
It is not new in Indian politics where the parties call opposition “Kauravas” and themselves “Pandavas”. In a recent public meeting in Gujarat, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi dubbed BJP as a gang of “Kauravas”. Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election rally in Himachal Pradesh also called opposition Congress “a laughing club.” Such remarks are mostly acceptable to people in our society.
However, BJP President Amit Shah during his previous visit to Odisha directly taking name of Naveen Patnaik, dubbed the Chief Minister as a “Jala hua transformer” (a burnt down transformer). In Indian society, the term “Jala Hua” is unacceptable even though hundreds of effigies are burnt across the country by political activists over one issue or the other. But, the use of words “Jala Hua” is not accepted kindly by common people, at least against the most popular leader of the state.
It is said that Gods are pleased with utterance of “Mantra”, a combination of words. One can create good or bad impression for one’s utterances. If a person uses bad words, he certainly suffers and also makes other people suffer. Similarly, kind words also have a positive impact on the persons and the society. Using foul words may draw media attention, but at the same time, it pollutes social atmosphere.
Therefore, it is very essential to utter proper and nice words in public a forum, not like these leaders of BJD and BJP, which make politics toxic. This is not at all welcome. Mind your language, please.

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