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Interview with BJD Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Charan Parida
Socialism and secularism are the main mantras of this person of Srirampur from his childhood; he worked relentlessly for these philosophies throughout his life. The long and grueling voyage from a nondescript village Srirampur to Moscow is a lifetime triumph for common man like him.
He is Biju Janta Dal (BJD) Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Charan Parida. His fascination for social service starts from early childhood from 5th class, when he walked 25KMs and urged health department doctors to fight epidemic cholera in his village. Having experienced poverty in its cruelest form and being challenged by every day ordeals this boy rose to become one of the best ambassadors for his state and the country. He is the force behind organizing Odia community everywhere from Kolkata to Moscow.
In one and half-an-hour long interaction with Rashmi Ranjan Parida, Editor of Orissadiary.com, in New Delhi, BJD Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Charan Parida spoke on the state of Odisha politics, Marxist ideology, Gandhian philosophies development of Odisha and centre -state relationship .
Orissadiary: Sir please tells us about your child hood?
Baishnab Charan Parida: I was born in 15th February 1941 at Srirampur of undivided Cuttack district of Orissa. My father Jagbandhu Parida was a worker in jute mill in Kolkatta and mother Sulochana Parida was a house wife. My early School education was in Mangalpur primary School. I got admitted to Mahtab High School at Mangalpur for high school education. Interestingly during the class 10 in 1954 I organised a student strike for 7 days in my school to change the inefficient management. The school did not get government recognition due to non fulfillment of government criteria.
Orissadiary: After that why you decided to move Kolkata?
Baishnab Charan Parida: After my matriculation, I moved to Kolkata to continue my higher studies as my father was working there. I completed my Graduation in Kolkata from Banga Basi College and MA In Political Science from Calcutta University. Later I completed my M.Phil from Moscow University.
Orissadiary: We heard that during your stay in Kolkata you were involved in Communist Movement?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Yes it was. I was a member of CPI from 1960 to 1992. I was a great follower of Karl Marx and his ideology. Slowly and steadily I was involved in trade union and labour movement in West-Bengal. In 1964 I was elected as member of Executive Committee of West Bengal Students Federation. Before that in 1963 I established West Bengal Oriya Students Association and in 1965 established West Bengal Oriya Citizen Council at Kolkata. In 1965 I formed Soviet Land (Oriya Editor) as a member of its editorial board. I continued as a member till 1975.
Orissadiary: What was the condition of Odia people in that time in West Bengal and what did you do for the protection of Odia?
Baishnab Charan Parida: In that time 12 lakhs Odia people were working in West Bengal. Majority of people are labourers. I try my best to protect their interest through trade union and labour movement. As my involvement in Communist party also help me to protect my community people's interest there. To protect Odia community interest and raise Odia community voices in West Bengal I formed Odia Student Association and Oriya Citizen Council there. In 1963 I along with some of my friends published a fortnightly Odia magazine Pratinidhi from Kolkata for Odia people. Even during that time I was involved in peasant movement, share coppers movement and movement against untouchability in Orissa.
Orissadiary: When and why you moved to Moscow?
Baishnab Charan Parida: In 1974 I moved to Moscow for a special assignment to Indo-Soviet coordination. I was stayed there till 1989. During my stay in Russia I held several positions. I was the correspondent of Novosti Press Agency from 1984 to 89. I was elected as General Secretary of Indian Association in 1988. In that time I was special correspondent of the Samaja [Odia Daily] and Eastern Media for East European countries. I was also busy in political activities there and carried out the responsibilities as representative of the Communist Party of India.
Orissadiary: You are a multifaceted personality. People called you as activist, academicians, social worker, politician and great literaturist. Now you are active in politics so your writing activities shadowed due to tight schedule, so can you describe your literature work?
Baishnab Charan Parida: I translated 31 Russian classics including Maxim Gorkey's Mother, Leo Tolstoy's Father Sergei and other novels, Puskin's 'Captain Daughter' and four volumes of Karl Marx, Engels works, theoretical and political treaties of Plekhanov and Lenin and many Children books in Oriya. I translated prominent Oriya writers writing including the 'Matir Manish' of Kalindi Charan Panigrahi and other 28 best Oriya stories into Russian as co-translator.
Orissadiary: After your return from Russia to India in 1989 why you are settled in Odisha despite several bright offers?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Today what I am is because of my mother land Odisha. So I choose to settle down in Odisha after my return from Russia. I have great desire to serve my state and want to bring socio-economic change there. So I started my activities there.
Orissadiary: You are grown up in leftist ideology but why leave that ideology and enter into Congress and later into Biju Janata Dal?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Still I am a Marxist and socialist in thought but due to some differences with CPI on application of Marxist ideology in India reality I left the CPI. During my stay in Moscow I read literature on Gandhi and Ambedkar, slowly and steadily I was attracted towards Gandhian Philosophy and Lohia' s ideology. And eventually in 1993 I joined Congress. Until 1998 I was in Congress but due to it's miss rule and high corruption rule in Orissa I left congress and joined Samajwadi Party in 1999 AS ITS PRESIDENT. I was in Samajwadi party till 2008.
Orissadiary: But why you decide to join Biju Janata Dal?
Baishnab Charan Parida: In 2008 I resigned from Samajwadi Party due to its national leadership's wrong political decision. I was quite impressed by the leadership of Naveen Patnaik and development agenda of BJD. In 2008 BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and senior leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra invited me to join BJD, so I joined the party.
Orissadiary: Do you think in the age of bargaining federalism, does BJD succeed to bargain like other regional parties in India?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Due to the centre and national parties' apathetic attitude towards Odisha, Biju Babu once upon a time floats his own party. Congress rules Odisha for most number of years, but did nothing for the development Odisha. Their party leaders looted the government funds. Look at the growth rate of Odisha after the BJD coming into power, our growth rate is higher than the national growth rate. In investment scenario we attracted highest investment after Gujarat. These are only happening due to clean, effective leadership of Naveen Patnaik.
Orissadiary: What is your view over Union Environment Ministry blockade to Vedanta, POSCO, and other projects in Odisha?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Jairam Ramesh is running the propaganda against Orissa while despite mangrove and 3 rivers course change, he and his UPA Government cleared Navi Mumbai Airport project. They are just blocking the sustainable development of Odisha in the name of environment. Even our Odisha MPs from Congress party support UPA Government's conspiracy to blockade massive industrialization of state.Orissadiary: What is your view on the success of BJD Government in Odisha?
Baishnab Charan Parida: People of Odisha have trust on the clean and effective leadership of Navin Pattnaik in Odisha. They support industrialization, economic development agenda of our government. Social engineering agenda of BJD is the main success of our government. Naveen Patnaik lead government giving due importance to every sections of the society. Our government in Odisha gives special importance to farmers, tribals, schedule caste, women, under privileged sections. The government achieved great success in poverty reduction, education, health and infrastructure sectors. Naveen Patnaik administration's zero tolerance on corruption and transparency in administration impresses every one. Due to this Odisha is the favorite destination for foreign industrialists and domestic investors. The investors not only attracted to mining related industries but to set up ports, SEZ, manufacturing industries, auto based industries and others.
Orissadiary: Naveen Patnaik continues as Chief Minister for third term. So what is your thought who will lead BJD after Naveen?
Baishnab Charan Parida: Naveen Babu is still a young leader. He has many years to serve the state and our party. Unlike Congress Our party is a very disciplined party. So it is too early to think who will succeed him.
Orissadiary: What is your message to Orissadiary users and Odia youth?
Baishnab Charan Parida: The Oriya readers should adopt new ideas and outlook to build a modern Odisha. They should get rid of the narrow feudal attitude towards life and society.