Sambalpur, Jan.1: The Sambalpur University today celebrated its 46th foundation day and conferred the Gangadhar Meher National Award for Poetry - 2011 on noted Urdu poet Balraj Komal.
In the past, eminent poets such as Ali Sardar Zafri, Kedar Nath Singh, Ayyapa Panikar, Shakti Chottopadhyaya, K. Sachidanandan, Jayanta Mohapatra, Gulzar, Nabakanta Barua, A. M. K. Shahryar, Nirupama Kaur, Ramakant Rath and Rajendra Kishore Panda had received the award for their contribution to poetry.
Balraj Komal, however, could not turn up to receive the award. Gracing the occasion as chief guest, former director of the Tata Institute of Social sciences and the present president of the Indian Sociological Society Partha Nath Mukherji said: “Sambalpur University is not merely an institution where knowledge is produced and disseminated, it is a catalyst for social change and progress.”
Emphasising on “Empowerment, Enlightenment and Emancipation”, Mukherji said: “The knowledge produced and disseminated has to empower individuals, groups and communities. Such knowledge should provide value additions to students so that they are able to confidently face the challenges looming ahead in life.”
“Knowledge is a double-edged power that can serve both fair and foul ends. Self-less service, love, truth, harmony and peace have to be part of the overall goal of aiming at creating a just society. In particular, the strengthening of democratic ethos is necessary and desirable. This is the goal of enlightenment,” he said.
Litterateur Gopabandhu Rath was also felicitated on this occasion.