On October 10, Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju wrote a Facebook on people from Odisha which didn’t go down well with many from the state and otherwise. Though, he cracks ‘jokes’ on people from almost every state but this escalated into a controversy as people called it offensive.
Here’s what he wrote:
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 Jaggannath, to whom they pray every day for revenge on the abominable Biharis.
P.S. Odias, this is just a joke, so dont file a case against me.
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But people didn’t take it as a joke and many on social media hurled abuses at him. “Respected Sir, I’m sure you know more than financial status the mentality of a person also determines his/her level. Yes we have Lord Jagannath. What do you have? Well, just a joke Sir. So don’t file a case against me,” wrote a user.
As the post went viral reaching thousands, Katju apologised to the people of Odisha. He took to Facebook to share his apology.
Two Odia T.V. channels came to interview me at my residence just now—OTV and Prameya News7.
The interviewers said that there was a lot of anger in Odisha against me over my fb post.
I said that I had written my post in lighter vein. However, if Odia people are feeling hurt I apologize. I had no intention to hurt their feelings, and was only joking, just as I had joked about Biharis, Tamilians, etc..
I have great respect for Odia people and of their great achievements. When I went to Odisha, where I have been many times, I marvelled at the sight of the Konarak and Lingaraj temples.
My grandfather, Dr. K.N. Katju had been Governor of Odisha in 1947, and I have strong ties with the state. On my last visit, I met the Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik, who gave me a lot of respect.
So I apologize again if anyone’s feelings have been hurt.
Jai Lord Jagannath
I hope after this apology people of Odisha will be large hearted enough to let me enter the state, and indeed will invite me
However, in another post, Katju wrote that he will never visit Odisha again because people from the state continued to abuse him despite his apology.
On my last fb post I apologized to Odias if I had hurt anyone’s feelings, though my earlier post had been in lighter vein, which indeed I had clarified at the end of the post.
However, a large number of comments were made on the post containing my apology by several Odias which were so horribly abusive ( I have deleted most of them though they are still pouring in ) that I have decided to never go to Odisha in my life.
Let Odias be happy in their home, and I will be happy in mine.
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