OTV Foresight 2019: Social, economic & political justice are interlinked, says Justice Dipak Misra

Bhubaneswar: The ninth edition of Odisha Television Limited’s annual convention, ‘Foresight 2019’ saw brainstorming sessions and discussions on several topics relevant to political, social, economic and cultural scenario of the State and country.

Gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest, former Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra said social justice, economic justice and political justice are all interlinked and should be integrated.

Delivering his keynote address on ‘The Constitutional Perspective of Social Justice: Empowerment of the Powerless’, Misra said there should be a synthesis of social justice, economic justice and political justice but there should be no regressive constitutionality.

Talking about inclusiveness in governance, Justice Misra said, “The fundamental grammar of Indian constitution is I, You and We all come together. That is when the constitution moves into an elevated pedestal and individuals also realise its benefits.”

Speaking for political justice, Justice Misra highlighted that every individual has his own right to choose his representatives and also has the power to not to exercise his choice; and NOTA is the legal system which helps him in this case.

On Freedom of Speech, Misra noted that it may not be absolute but a cherished right. “That is why when I was in office, I never gagged the press. But there is a limitation and responsibility both are to be followed. Do not feel for a moment that you do not have the right to say I can’t express, he said.

Extending his support to the issue of gender justice, Misra said, “When equality prevails in a family, that indicates social justice.”

Second Session: Speaking Truth to Power 

The second session featured a panel discussion on ‘Speaking truth to power’ addressed by Editor of Outlook India magazine Ruben Banerjee and Consulting Editor of Swarajya magazine Anand Ranganathan.

While both the panelists stressed on the Freedom of Speech, Ruben Banerjee vouched for a Swachh media campaign just like the Swachh Bharat. He said, “We live in society which is dishonest and very intolerant. The rulers have been exercising far beyond what has been stipulated to them. Rulers will come and go, but we will survive. I am a great believer in the fact that truth at the end of the day will always prevail. We as journalists should be at the forefront of protecting the freedom of speech.”

 

Similarly, Anand Ranganathan said, “There is absolute truth and the people who believe there cannot be absolute truth are the peddlers of the gray. Sometimes when they don’t like the truth, they will ignore it.

“Just like Abhijit Iyer Mitra, the State can pick out anything and file an FIR saying they are offended; and there is nothing you can do,” said Ranganathan.

Third Session: Inclusive Government or Majoritarian Politics

The third session of the annual convention witnessed discussion on Inclusive Government or Majoritarian Politics among panelists like Go News Founder and Editor-in-Chief Pankaj Pachauri, News X Senior Executive Editor Priya Sehgal and The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy Senior Fellow Smita Gupta.

During the occasion, Smita Gupta said, “We do not need a majoritarian government but require an inclusive government which will protect everybody’s right.”

On the political narrative ahead of the general polls, Gupta said, “Pakistan despite being a small country may have already played a key role in determining who our next PM will be. The poll narrative will be dominated by the India-Pakistan tensions and the focus has shifted from key issues.”

The rise of regional parties, which is a natural corollary to the kind of country we are, is because of the failure of Congress to accommodate all shades of opinion of various people

-Smita Gupta, Senior Fellow, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.

On the political scenario of Odisha, Pankaj Pachauri stated, “Odisha is at the crossroads and it is ripe for a revolution. It looks very tired and all the ideas tried by CM Naveen also look very tired, so it needs a new thought and new leadership. But the BJP and Congress are not fast enough to catch up with the ruling-BJD, so there is a gap between them making Odisha to stay at the threshold of a new political revolution.”

Similarly, Priya Sahgal narrated how allies in a coalition government should be considered as friends and not followers. “I am not seeing that happening in the present situation.

Fourth Session: The Elected Versus the Experts

During the fourth session, Yamini Aiyar, President & Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research, Priyabrata Patnaik, IAS (Retd), Rajesh Mahapatra, Former editor Hindustan Times took part in the panel discussion.

Discussing the consequences of the Executive intruding the political space, Yamini Iyer said as a government bureaucrat, to toe a particular line is deeply problematic.

There should be safeguards to prevent the bureaucracy from getting into politics to the extent that they lose their sense of objective. Administrators are supposed to function at the will of their political master. That’s the nature of democracy. But it’s worrying when bureaucrats become the mouthpiece of politicians

-Yamini Iyer, President & Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research.

On the same line, Priyabrata Patnaik said Bureaucracy as a group is not inclined to usurp the space of the politicians, but there are some officers who have been the Rasputins.

Fifth Session: Is it time for Odisha to look for a new regional party?

Noted political leaders from various parties including former BJD minister Damodar Rout, former Union ministers Srikant Jena and Brajakishore Tripathy along with senior leader Kharavela Swain discussed on whether it is time for Odisha to look for a new regional party during the fifth session of the event.

While founder of Samata Kranti Dal Brajakishore Tripathy said, the Odisha government has done nothing in Polavaram and Mahanadi issues, Utkal Bharat Party chief Kharbela Swain said the only hindrance for a successful alliance in Odisha is that most of the parties and leaders are power hungry.

Swain also said, it is the people who are the real rulers, let them decide if they want an alternative in Odisha or not.

Similarly, Srikant Jena alleged that bigger parties like Congress and BJP want to kill smaller parties to monopolise politics.

Criticizing Odisha government, Jena said, “Naveen Patnaik is being supported by both Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and both the national parties are using him to kill the smaller parties in Odisha.

Likewise, senior leader Damodar Rout said, “The cabinet ministers in Odisha are helpless and nothing gets discussed in the Assembly since CM Naveen and his advisors are ruling the roost & corruption is rampant.”

In the last session, Noted filmmaker Madhur Bhandakar and Ollywood actress Elina Samantray discuss ‘Bollywood’s Social Mandate’.

Speaking to the gathering, Bhadarkar said, “The audience has evolved, mindset of filmmakers is changing and even actors are pushing the envelope for cinema with a social message.”

The Bollywood filmmaker added that audience has become very ruthless and is playing a significant role in the kind of movies that everyone is seeing today.

Asked about why Odia films are not on the radar, Bhandarkar said, “More efforts should be put into its marketing and promotion. Filmmakers should come together to promote their work as much as possible.