Buddhism originated in Odisha, not that Ashok brought it with him

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Buddhism originated in Odisha, not that Ashok brought it with him

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 | PNS

Interview of the week

Dr Ajit Kumar Tripathy, former Chief Secretary of Odisha, is a multifaceted personality with a knack for creative endeavours. He held key positions like Development Commissioner, CS and State Election Commissioner.  After having had his Post Graduation in Political Science from the Utkal University, he had earned a PhD on “Empowerment of Tribals through Education”. Later, he was conferred with a D.Lit. from the North Odisha University. His creative ensembles include short story collections like ‘Adrushya Posaka’, ‘Sakala Nischaya Asiba’, ‘Akuha Itihaas’ and ‘Satya Ardhasatya’. Another popular book ‘Gotie Nadi ra Duiti Dhara’ is co-authored by popular writer Saroj Mishra. The dramatic rendering of his short stories ‘Octopus’ and ‘Parajita Kalidas’ were widely telecasted and broadcasted by Doordarshan and AIR. His spiritual creations comprise ‘Jayadeva ‘O’ Srichaitanya’, ‘Srimad Bhagabat Geeta Bani’ in five volumes. His contributions in English include ‘Meghadootam of Kalidas’ (verse), ‘Gita Govindam of Sri Jayadev’, ‘Gautam Buddha and Kalinga’, ‘The Real Birth Place of Gautam Buddha’ and ‘New Horizons of Buddhism in Odisha’. He has also authored the entire Ramayana in ‘Ramayana Katha’ in two volumes, which has been widely acclaimed by readers. He has struggled, hoped and endured the struggle to prove that Jayadev of Gita Govindam fame and Gautam Buddha belong to the Odishan soil. He has also continued his epic struggle to rename the Soochana Bhawan as Jayadev Bhawan and to make Balipatna as ‘Jayadev Constituency’. Immortalising the faded memory of Jayadev and making him a household name in Odisha is the singular contribution of Dr Tripathy besides conducting State-level celebrations on ‘Akhaya Tritiya’ on the very birthday of Jayadev that culminates after a memorable itinerary commencing from the Ananta Basudev temple to Puri via Kenduli, Kakatpur and Konark. He still follows writing and reading, which are his principal occupations now besides contributing articles regularly to various local news dailies and periodicals.

In an interview to The Pioneer, Dr Tripathy spoke to Sugyan Choudhury from his residence at Bhubaneswar.

How could you combine your literary pursuits with that of the hazards of your chequered administrative career?

Honestly speaking, I cannot be called as a prolific writer. I have only a few literary creations and not achievements. From the beginning, I was interested in writing short stories as it is my cup of tea. I have five collections of short stories during my entire career. I am not writing short stories now and have shifted to writing on philosophy and metaphysics, religion and on culture as these things will be useful for the younger generations. You should know that I have never compromised my service career for writing. Writing came to me when I was inspired by real life situations with the spontaneity to writing as and when the occasions arrived.

Could you tell us some major evidence by which you proved beyond doubt that Jayadev belongs to Odisha?

The first and foremost evidence is that Jayadev has mentioned in his book written by himself that the village where he was born is Kenduvilwa. That Kenduvilwa is none other than the village Kenduli of Balianta Balipatna area of Khordha district. Secondly, Jayadev’s birthplace is beside the river Prachi with descriptions of nature which is depicted in the lyrical outburst in his book ‘Geetagovindam’. Legends lace the lands of the Prachi valley and temples dot her landscape. The innumerable references and allusions to these temples like Niali Madhab temple unmistakably point out that Jayadev’s ‘Geetagovindam’ was composed by the poet here at present-day Kenduli. Besides the above, we have invited prominent Bengali scholars and historians like Dr Satyakanta Sengupta and others who visited Kenduli of Odisha and the so-called claimed birthplace of Jayadev in West Bengal. Ultimately, the scholars of West Bengal along with the scholars of Dr Ashutosh Mukherjee museum candidly admitted at a New Delhi national seminar that Jayadev belongs to Odisha.

How could you prove that Gautam Buddha was born in Odisha?

There was no name of any place called Kapilavastu either in India or in Nepal before 1890. A man who was serving as a surveyor, who was neither an archaeologist nor a historian could manipulate things to create a name called Kapilavastu which came into vogue in books and records since those days after 1890. A German scholar who knew Brahmilipi could point out the mistake committed earlier. In reality, Kapileswar, a village near Bhubaneswar, is termed as Kapilavastu in later times. From old revenue records, it is revealed that Bhubaneswar, Balipatna, Balianta were called as LIMBAYAT PRAGANA, from which the word Lumbini was derived later on. Hence, Kapilavastu, i.e., Kapileswar and Limbayat Pragana, i.e., Lumbini are the real birthplace of Gautam Buddha which is very much adjacent to Bhubaneswar. Moreover, the Radhanagar excavations and such other excavations point out to the fact that Gautam Buddha was not born in Nepal and was born in Odisha. My books co-authored by historian Prafulla Tripathy and archaeologists Late Chandrabhanu Patel unmistakably proves beyond doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Odisha. These books are ‘Goutam Buddha and Kalinga’, ‘The Real Birth Place of Goutam Buddha’ and ‘New Horizons of Buddhism in Odisha’. Buddhism originated from Odisha and not that Ashok brought Buddhism with him.

Restoration of 3,000 acres of land at Sipasarubali in Puri was a resounding success in your administrative career. What is your opinion about it?

I was Settlement Commissioner, Commissioner of Consolidation and finally the Chief Secretary of the State. I had a thorough knowledge of the details of the land and was aware of the conundrums of Sipasarubali perpetuated by land grabbers and influential officers. I have taken it personally to rescue the land from the land grabbers and eventually succeeded without yielding to pressure and temptations and did my job to my fullest satisfaction without fear or favour, which resulted in restoration of 3,000 acres of land to the State Government. I should say this was all possible owing to the providence, power and sanction of the divine.

What is your message to the young generations of IAS officers?

I should say that they must keep their backbones straight. They must not bend or crawl. Here is only a service, the dismissal of which can only be done by the President of India. Hence, the service conditions and the rules provide all that is needed to maintain one’s integrity without choosing to crawl when asked to bend. They should value integrity and honesty as the sinequanone for an ideal civil servant.

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