by Ashok Kumar
It is an old adage that ´speech is picture of the mind´. And going by that adage, Navin Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa, while addressing election rallies in the state, presents ´the picture of the mind´ in bilingualism. Although Patnaik may not be fluent enough in speaking Oriya, he is quite adept in the art of overcoming this shortcoming. So, at his public meetings, Shri Patnaik begins his speech in Oriya and then switches over to Hindi. Thus his speech can be described as a mixture of Oriya-Hindi. Milking this issue to the best of their advantage, the state Congressmen are seeking to put a spoke in Patnaik´s wheel so as to take the wind out of his sails. They are straining every nerve to convince the state electorate that when their CM is not acquainted with their mother tongue, then how can he comprehend their problems?
But their tirade failed to yield the desired fruits and the Congressmen had to eat crow. It so happened that at an election meeting in Jagannath prasad assembly constituency, which falls in Ganjam district-the ancestral home of Patnaik-speaker after speaker and the audience hailed Patnaik in unison as the ´son of the soil´. And amid sloganeering, Patnaik started his speech in Oriya and midway through the speech sought permission to speak in Hindi, which was, undoubtedly, acquiesced to instantly by the audience. So while the audience enjoyed the speech in Oriya-Hindi, it gave a reason to the Congressmen to pull a long face.