By Sandeep Sahu
By now, everyone who knows him knows his ways. Maverick former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju revels in offending people, communities, states and everything else that one can think of. So, aren’t we Odias falling into his trap and obliging him by giving him what he craves most – attention – by getting so worked up over what he says in his latest comment about Odias?
For the uninitiated, here is what he said in a typically disparaging post on Facebook about the Odia race:
“I was asked to write about the Oriyas (Odias). What is there to write about these poor chaps? Ever since they got a thrashing at the hands of Ashoka in the battle of Kalinga, they have been a dejected lot. Now all they have with them are a lot of pots (Patras), big pots (Mahapatras) and supposedly intelligent kings (Patnaiks).
And of course, they have Lord Jagannath to whom they pray every day for revenge on the abominable Biharis. Hari Om”
And he signs off with the disclaimer “Odias, this is just a joke, so don’t file a case against him” (as if that absolves him of his crime!)
If it was meant, as Katju claims in the disclaimer, as a joke, it was a poor and utterly tasteless joke indeed. After all, he didn’t have to rope in Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the state, if it was just a joke. That he felt the need to classify it as a joke even while pleading with Odias not to file a case against him proves that it was meant to be anything but a joke. But let us give him the benefit of doubt on that score.
Predictably, outrage has been pouring in thick and fast ever since he posted his abominable ‘joke’ with scores of offended Odias taking him to task (though a few Odia baiters appear to have quite relished his comments). Most Odias have disparaged him in the vilest possible terms while some have called him names. But then wasn’t this exactly what he had made the post for in the first place?
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Whatever else they may be accused of, Odias are certainly not a people without a sense of humour. In fact, no one makes as much fun of Odias as Odias themselves. So, why can’t we just laugh it off as the ranting of a habitual rabble-rouser who has craved attention like a petulant child ever since he laid down the exalted office as a judge of the apex court?