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Meet hails classical tag

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: The big shots of the state’s literary world were today seen discussing various aspects of the present day Odia literature, celebrating the creative spirit of the state.

The who’s who assembled at the daylong Kalinga Literary Festival organised today at Jayadev Bhavan.

The jubilant Odia authors and writers appeared to be more than glad to put their views forward on the classical tag that Odia language received last week.

President of the Odisha Sahitya Akademi and veteran author Satakadi Hota said the akademi will now include regular discussions in schools on Odia ancient and modern prose and poetry, so that the younger generation reaps the benefits of the classical status acknowledged for Odia now.

“We are also drafting a broad plan to initiate research on Odia language and literature,” he said during the discussion based on “Classical Language Status to Odia — Challenges and Road Ahead”.

Linguist Debiprasanna Pattanayak, who was felicitated with the Kalinga Sahitya Samman at the event by Padma Vibhushan recipient Sitakanta Mahapatra for his efforts in preparing the requisite proposal to claim the classical status, said the tag should be the beginning leading to bigger things for the state’s literature.

Among other highlights of the literary meet were discussions on contemporary Odia short stories, Renaissance in Odia poetry, Odia journalism and literature and so on. Six new books, namely Radha Ra Bansi, Antarctica Diary, Kandhei, Tamanna – A Wish, Saphalata Ra Abhibyakti and Reporting – Kichhi Akuha Katha were released on the occasion.

Eminent litterateurs such as Nilamani Sahoo, Fani Mohanty, Prativa Ray, Adhyapak Biswaranjan and Manorama Mohapatra as well as established names such as Manu Das, Gourahari Das, Paramita Satpathy and many others were present on the occasion. However, the turnout of readers was disappointing.

“I am glad I dropped in at the event. Not only could I meet the famous authors, but I also interacted and asked many questions to them that I always had wished to. I wish there were more readers, who attended the literary festival,” said Biplab, a young bibliophile.

The festival aspires to be an annual flagship event in the cultural calendar of Odisha and would focus on rekindling the romance with literature and foster reading and writing, especially among the youth, said convener Ashok Palit. “It offers a national platform with a global appeal and bridges the gap between literature in English and other Indian regional languages,” he said.