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Celebration of Matribhasha Diwas at Gopabandhu Hostel
– Eshitha Dey, B.Ed. 2nd Year (2017-2019 batch)
Gopabandhu Hostel has always been a hub of various activities whenever it comes to celebrations of different kinds of festivals or memorable days. Likewise, on the occasion of Matri Bhasa Diwas or International Mother Language Day, the Hostel Warden Prof. I P Gowramma ma’am had asked for participation and engagement from the hostel boarders to come forward with various cultural activities. For this purpose, the responsibility of organizing and managing the programme was handed over to the B.Ed. 2nd year girls, who happen to be the senior-most and the outgoing batch of the hostel. The B.Ed. cultural in-charge, Sohini Das accordingly had called a meeting of their batch to have preliminary discussions first regarding the organization of the programme. After the collection of the names of participants from the entire hostel who were interested to perform different kinds of activities in different languages, the cultural in-charge handed it over to the slated anchor of the programme, Eshita Dey from B.Ed. (Humanities) 2nd year to take the programme forward in her own manner.
On 21st February, the day of Matri Bhasa Diwas, all the hostel boarders assembled in the Hostel Common Room by 8:10 p.m and after the arrival of the Warden Ma’am, the programme started sharp at 8:15 p.m. The anchor of the programme, Eshita welcomed all the hostel boarders to the celebration of the International Mother Language Day by recitating the first para of the iconic Bengali song “Ekusher Gaan” (Song of the 21st) penned by Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, the song which led the Language Movement of Bangladesh. She went on to explain how today’s generation knows very little about the legendary language movement which made the international community to not only sit up and take notice, but also accord the movement the well-deserved honor as International Mother Language Day by UNESCO. There is no nation in the world which fought and sacrificed their life for their mother tongue. She further added that after the liberation of Bangladesh in 16th December 1971, this language movement has since being observed as Language Movement Day or Shaheed Dibosh or Martyrs’ Day. She informed the audience that the theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day is indigenous languages as a factor in development, peace and reconciliation.
Eshita went on to proffer that the day was an important day, especially for our country given that literally no other nation of this world has so much diversity in languages, which in fact enriches the culture manifold. She explained through examples the several spoken and written dialects within a single language. Like in Bengali, there are literary variants like Shadhubhasha & Choltibhasha and spoken variants in the form of Bongali, Rajbangshi, Raribangla, etc. In Odia, there are dialects like Sambhalpuri, Mugalbandi, Bauda Bhatri, Kosli, Bodo Praja, Reli, Kupia etc. In Hindi, numerous dialects like Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Garhwali, Haryanvi and so on can be found.
After such an informative session, she went on to take the programme forward by inviting Smrutiparna Majhi from B.Sc. B.Ed. 3rd year to start the evening with an Odia Song. She took it a step further by singing a slew of melodious Odia songs to lend a musical ambience to the evening. After such a start to the evening, Eshita opened the recitation segment of the evening with the first performance by Jyoti Pragya, B.Ed (Science) 2nd year. Much to the loud appraises from the audience, she recitated some meaningful Hindi two-liners, drawing huge cheers from the audience.
Kuntala Sabat. The poetess happens to be the first female medical student of Odisha, who unfortunately passed away at a very young age. The poem recounts her struggles in the form of a metaphor of a flower, which has a lifespan of just a day but has a mesmerizing fragrance. The poem meant to put across the message that whatever be one’s lifespan, it should be meaningful and significant enough to be remembered. (Later, after a quick prompt from one member of the audience, everyone got to know that the flower is cinchona flower. Cinchona, as fact would have it, is the flower which is used in the treatment for malaria)
Next up for performance was a Bengali poem recitation by Soniya from B.Ed (Humanities) 1st year. She recitated the poem, “Ekushe February” by Aal Mahmud. The poem succinctly tells us about the 21st February which has been the witness of the sacrifice by hundreds, for their mother language. The sacrifice being made, must not be seen as just for the protection of their identity, but as their duty to their Mother, the land where they were born, to lay down their lives if needed to save Her, her language. After the goosebumps-inducing recitation, she thanked the anchor (Eshita) for providing her with the epic poem in the first place for the recitation.
The last poem recitation of the evening was performed by Ekata Mandal, B.Ed (Science) 2nd year. She received a Bengali poem “Tyaaj” (Zeal) by Debobrata Singha. She recitated the poem in Bankri, rural sub-dialect of the Bankura district of West Bengal. Drawing gasps from the audience for her meticulous pronunciation of the dialect and an emotive recitation, Ekata made the evening more terrific by choosing the very poem itself. The poem talks about a girl who belongs to be kameenkhata (household slave) family, who has stood first in her 10th standard exams. She could do it for the inspiration provided by her father, who repeatedly told her to not be submissive, even if you’re born in a low-caste family. He persuaded her to win always, even when her mother and her grandmother had a regressive and submissive mindset. When the reporters praised the girl telling her, girls like you make the nation proud, she made the statement saying, rising against all the struggles, creating one’s own path isn’t that easy. It takes a lot of zeal (and thus, the title of the poem).
And with that, ended the poem recitation segment of the programme. The musical part of the programme, especially presented by the B.Ed 2nd year girls, now began with the first performance by Namita Pradhan from Science, who beautifully sang an Odia song “Tate Na Dekhile Kemiti Bachibi Maa”. On further request, she related the meaning of the song to her personal experience of this hostel. When she first came, despite being an Odia, she didn’t know the alphabets and didn’t know how to speak in Odia as well. On the persistence of her friends, now she has not only got the hang of it, but also recently passed a competitive exam in Odia, drawing a round of applause from the audience. Even while she was singing, her Odia friends could be seem getting emotional, given that not much time is left for the batch to return where they have come from.
The next song was presented by Aditi Maiti from B. Ed. (Humanities), who sang a Bengali song, “Bhenge More Ghorer Chaabi”, written by Rabindranath Tagore which literally means, freedom should not be in cages. Everyone has the right to freedom to live as they want and it is the duty of the humanity to free people from any kind of societal bondages. Since the song she had selected is a popular Bengali song, many Bengali boarders could be seen lip-syncing the lyrics of the song along with Aditi, which made it sound more like a chorus, much to the delight of the Hostel Warden.
The last song was sung by Santoshini Pradhan, who is a visually-challenged yet musically talented girl from Humanities. She sang an Odia song, “Jayadevi Janmabhoomi”, which praises the beauty of the nature that is the gift of motherland. It speaks of the martyrs who have sacrificed their life and seeking love and power from the motherland. The song also speaks of the ray of hope to protect and to be the winner against all kinds of adversities.
Just when the anchor (Eshita) was going to request the Warden to say a few words regarding the programme, the cultural in-charge, Sohini asked Eshita to present her Marathi cupsong, for which she is famous for, in their batch. Before performing, Eshita explained the origin of the cupsong, of how it had originally been a part of an English movie, but later incorporated with Indian languages led by Mithila Palkar, an actress. Performing before an audience for the first time, she used a cup for providing beats to the Marathi song “Hi Chal Turu Turu” which refers to the movements and activities of a cat. Amidst pin-drop silence, with only the beats and the song being heard softly, her performance drew huge round of applause from the audience.
On inviting Hostel Warden ma’am to speak a few words on the programme, she talked and praised each and every performances by the participants, eager to know more about the recitations and the songs which were presented. On being requested and further coaxing from the Cultural Secretary, Anshu and the anchor, Eshita, to sing a song in her mother language, Warden ma’am finally gave in and before singing, gave us an introduction to her mother language. She informed how her mother language, Kodava, a language belonging to the Dravidian Family and based in Coorg, is a fast extinguishing language and has been listed as an endangered language, with only 1 lakh speakers in India. She further explained the language structure and what makes it one of the most difficult languages to learn. She related her personal memorable experience of singing a Kannada song in one of the workshops in Hindi dominated belt, she had attended and how she had been stumped when someone from the audience picked up the song from where she had left. She actually had goosebumps while recollecting the incident, while the boarders were waiting with bated breath on the privilege of hearing the Warden sing for the first time. She sang the Kannada song, “Nityotsava” and the tone so soft and melodious that when she stopped singing, the applause went for quite some time. Amidst cheers from the audience, one of the rare moments of the history could be witnessed when the Warden ma’am could actually be seen blushing and reeling from the responses from her boarders.
And with that, the programme of International Mother Language Day celebration in Gopabandhu Hostel came to an end which oversaw a milieu of languages being spoken and talked about together, in the same platform, truly bringing justice to the day.
Written by Ms. Eshitha Dey.
She is student of B.Ed. 2nd year (2017-2019 batch) at Regional Institute of Education, Bhubaneswar. This batch had taken reponsibility of organising “Matribhasha Diwas” in Gopabandhu Hostel.
Dear outgoing 2018 Gopabandhuans
Reminiscing the past years is indeed fruitful and fulfilling. But hardly get time to go back on nostalgic memory lane in a busy schedule. The ups and downs experienced in day to day life is a wonderful way to explore ourselves. Living closely with variety of students came as a duty and lived it through thick and thin. Many instances of pleasure, fun, warmth, despair, pain, passed through the pages of life. But each one added to my bag of learning. As it is time to bid farewell to yet another precious bundle of Gopaabandhu, my heart mellows down, deep within me I hear a prayer to you all constantly ‘wherever you are, have a blissful life’. Make your life pleasant and make your surrounding vibrant. Let there be an aura radiating from you to create a school that is happy, a home that is peaceful. I am sure the learning in the Institute and hostel will have an impact in your professional as well as personal life that you will not miss to recognise as you ascend the ladder of success.
The outcome of bitter experience is always sweet, if at all we reflect on it, if at all we own it. Negativism is an impulse, an outburst that spring from us, but positivism is innate, natural for us. Positivism is alive in every one by virtue of our existence in this universe. We need to cultivate our positive inner qualities reflecting on every outburst, with each impulsive expression that creep up on occasions without demand. Destructive emotions can be managed effectively with awareness and regulation. As a parting message let me give you one simple art of developing this awareness and regulation – self discipline.
Self discipline is one of the key human values. Following a routine is the simplest way to achieve this. All the body cells, the organs are at peace with this self regulatory behaviour. Orderliness oozes out creating balance within and around us if we can stick to routine. With this we can hold our head high always; no need of searching for lame excuses troubling the brain and body with frequent slip from the track. Discipline when imposed from outside is usually counterproductive. Regulation from fear never gives enthusiasm. But self regulation gives contentment, saves from inner turmoil. Embrace this simple value; it is not only for self, but also for others as well as for humanity at large.
Love you all, wish you the best every moment.
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A slice from the pages of a warden’s diary – 2
Chenni is a woman of my age or little younger to me who comes to work in my home, cleans the floor, washes vessels, clothes daily. She is Odiya speaking not even a single word from any other language she is aware of. Initially I was a bit concerned as to how will I get my work done without common language. Still I hired her as I was looking for a help in order to concentrate on my other roles and responsibilities with little more extra time devoted to it. Swift in her body movement and highly predictable with her sequence of work and words used, and extremely committed and loyal; this is a profile of the tiny woman who is taller and larger than “Trivikrama”, as for me avataras of Vishnu is just a story reminding expression among lives around.
She knows her work before I could spell, nothing extra either in movement or words. Enter the door with a broom, sweep, bring a bucket of water and mop the floor, walk straight to the sink with vessels, clean, dump on the kitchen slab enter the bathroom to wash clothes hang them to dry, inform that she is leaving and vanish into the space.
I said through my action the first day of her work that kitchen waste to be emptied daily to a small garbage pit I dug in the corner of the yard and to put the non degradable like plastics in a dustbin firmly tied. It is an year since she is working with me not even a single day has mixed biodegradable and non degradable and religiously puts the waste in its respective place as per first days’ instruction.
From three years as warden in the hostel whenever I go on rounds in the corridor I see dogs pulling bread, crows and cats eating rice and other food waste thrown in the dustbin along with plastic bags and several other garbage, not to mention what. Repeated requests, instructions, insults on decent management of sanitary napkins fallen on deaf ears and all blind to the garbage created around due to throwing of shampoo sachets or the soaps covers, napkin covers wet and coloured thrown out of bathroom windows irrespective of the place it falls on. It may be the front yard of the warden’s residence or on the head, back or shoulders of the gardeners working. I was reading a news item of a school warden force stripping a bunch of girls to see who is menstruating as she found the blood strained bathroom, drawing parent and public wrath. Alas, I understand the woes of the warden, at times when a fresh pad fell on her head or shoulder while setting out to work for the day. Repeated instructions and requests made by the warden is unknown to the parents and public who are highly sensitive to the issues of girls ( In no way I am supporting the action of the warden but just analysing the situation from her perspective)
I have grown a handy kitchen garden to save my time of rushing to market for want of curry leaves, coriander, pudina and green chilli along with few easily growing vegetables. There are few fruit trees and a drumstick tree which someone has nurtured so that it yields for the posterity. A neem tree standing high and mighty testimonial to the ‘n’ number of batches of students and wardens staying there. The neem tree flowers profusely during summer. Chenni asks me politely if she can take a handful of neem flower, or drumstick leaves. (Never she has asked for drumsticks, mangoes or even the tomatoes and chillies growing in the yard). When I don’t understand her language she will call me near the window show the plant, walk there to touch the flowers or leaves she is asking for. Only after my nod she picks as little as she needs, keeps a small portion for me and says how to cook it and it is good for health. I prepare all that she says probably because of the warmth and concern with which she says. She climbs on the gate, gently bends the branch, plucks the flowers/ leaves without wasting or harming the tree. My students walk into my yard usually when I am away in the institute, or sometimes when I am inside silently without my TV on during the weekends. They hit the tree for fruit, leaves and flowers from the first or second floor where they stay. The fully grown, not fully grown drumsticks are hit mercilessly to collect. The broken branches, fallen leaves and unwanted fruits are left scattered in the yard without even a thought given to it. They have never bothered to keep few for me either in the tree or after removing from the tree. Without discrimination the young and the old, the budding and blooming chillies, tomatoes and custard apples are hit hard and collected by the students not caring for their bearer or the carer. Till I saw the cruelty meted on them on a silent Sunday afternoon, I was under the impression that the workers or some outsiders pluck them when I am away!!!
I wonder on my role as a teacher educator, how am I preparing the future teachers? We need the likes of Chenni more for the country than the students studying physics, chemistry, biology, math, and many more subjects as part of their curriculum. The hope of the country is on them to shape its future. But how many Chennis who are humane, humble and conscious of the environment are we caring for? They are the real strength to our nation, but fade into the oblivion, unnoticed. Lest we learn from them!!
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A slice from the pages of a warden’s diary – 1
After a late night of tackling girls missing at the hostel, the harsh door bell of the warden rings to wake me up at 6:00 AM. The pleasantries and the prayers of the morning are left behind in the mattress, blanket, pillow and bed sheets as I rush for the door. A well dressed, well groomed final year student at the door demanded permission to go to the hospital for a scan. She insisted that the appointment with the doctor could not be ignored and there would be problem if not permitted. All the right kind of thoughts and virtues that had been inculcated through the night to deal with the perennial issues of the students got pushed down the drain. The reaction was spontaneous and heated: “why didn’t you come in the evening? Why no letter requesting permission for a visit to the doctor early in the morning at 6:00”? Like a piercing arrow came the reply “You don’t deny outing for hospitals?” A single syllable answer “go” was the only thing I could do to save me from the morning blues, closed the door and looked around for positive thinking recalling all the positive WhatsApp posts and posters that are read day in and out. I throw myself to the small challenges of daily chores to clear the dirty thought of perennial student problems. The bed is made, a warm cup of water with honey goes down the husky throat. A visit to the toilet….. O’ dear the door bell rings again. Three times consecutively even before I manage to reach the door again to see the same face. An application is promptly handed with the phrase “sign please”. “Bhaiya gate se jane nahin de rahe hain without permission letter.” At least the gate keeper is scared after the night blast and is following orders . Well when people have a salaried job they are bound to follow orders. The care taker will be held responsible if any girl goes out without a warden’s written permission accompanying her. Self talk, early morning resolutions failed to stay calm. Unlike the self that the warden is she is transformed into hot burning coal and shouts back” how many of you have decided to disturb in the morning by ringing my bell constantly…………………..blah blah blah……sign……blah blah blah…….sign……blah blah….blah sign. All the anger vented into that one signature. Sitting with a cup of coffee and talking to family members over the phone recomposed the self. Finished cooking lunch and started to dressing up for the office………..comes a phone call………a first year student wanting some time to talk. She was bluntly told the hostel office timings. By this time the warden started wondering whether wardenship and its perennial issues had made her a completely different person. Again the bell rings. A brigade stands at the door. Mess Members of the republic day asking for money for additional eatables on that day which has not been provided by the caretaker because of financial crunch. Evaded them by telling them to come in the evening in spite of their requests to deal with the problem there and then as the next day itself was republic day. But what could one do. At the end of the day one also had to perform the primary duty of the faculty of an institute. The warden now grabbed her laptop, bag and keys and rushed for the door. Locking the gate I was again attacked by a housekeeping staff who always borrowed money from me. The housekeeping staff was also sharply told that I was late and could not hear to any more problems. The wild blooms, the sun rays, the chirping birds couldn’t soothe my owes. At the back of the mind the thoughts lingered that all whom I had avoided will be there to meet me at the doorsteps in the evening. And there awaited the herculean task of explaining the difference between “appointment with a doctor and doctor visit on emergency”. As I entered the institute to take my 9 am class, deeply desired that sister BK and Sri Sri Sri, Sadguru, and Swamy ‘X’ spend at least one year as a warden in the girls hostel and then move into the world to spread their wisdom.
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