New life for Oriya classics

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By SUBRAT DAS in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 26.07.06

Bhubaneswar, July 26: The Orissa government will republish several Oriya literary classics in an effort to preserve the language and culture of the state.

As a beginning, the government has put Fakirmohan Senapati?s Chhamana Athaguntha on its portal, Senapati is considered a leading light in the field of modern Oriya literature.

School and mass education minister Bishnu Das, who chaired the first meeting of the executive committee of Oriya Language Institute today, said other Oriya classics like Ka and Matira Manisha, both penned by Kanhu Charan Mohanty, and Senapati?s Mamu would be republished.

The books, to be printed using high quality paper, would be sold at reasonable prices. The minister said a comprehensive bibliography of all old and new books written in Oriya would be compiled and posted on the government website.

The decision comes at a time when the Oriya language seems to be losing popularity, especially among the youth.

Last year, the state government decided to abolish Oriya as an elective subject in colleges because of a ?slide? in its popularity.

The decision was revoked following a public outcry.

The language institute was formed after last year?s fiasco involving Oriya. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, often criticised for his ?questionable? knowledge of Oriya, heads it.

Das said Oriya fonts would be refined and a standardised system, Unicode, would be adopted. Besides, the institute would develop its own website with help from the Orissa Computer Application Centre (Ocac).

The centre has already been approached for the job, the minister added.

The government agenda also includes compilation of a glossary of official and business terms in Oriya. The language institute would do the job with assistance from the law department.

Oriya would be taught as a compulsory subject from Class I in all English medium schools of the state, the meeting decided.

Also, offices, educational institutions and business establishments in the state would have hoardings and signboards written in Oriya from now on.

The other major decisions taken at the meeting included distribution of Oriya books worth Rs 1.4 crore in 3,500 high schools, compilation of a comprehensive Oriya grammar book, regular book fairs and seminars and revival of traditional Oriya culture.