Puri poet to head Sahitya Akademi

Puri-based poet Harihar Mishra was busy since this morning receiving wishes from friends, relatives and his readers both at home and on the phone.

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 5.05.16
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Harihar Mishra.
Telegraph picture 

Bhubaneswar, May 4: Puri-based poet Harihar Mishra was busy since this morning receiving wishes from friends, relatives and his readers both at home and on the phone.

The 76-year-old writer will head the Odisha Sahitya Akademi as its president and as much as he is thrilled with the news, he believes it is a great responsibility.

"It is a prestigious post to be at the helm of affairs of the highest literary body of the state. But there is so much to do. I can see myself getting very busy in the coming few days, working for the promotion of Odia literature through the development of all those who work for the language and Odia literature," said Mishra.

Born on January 20, 1940, the author, a retired principal of a Puri college, is known for his versatility as a dramatist as well as writer of prose and poetry. As a dramatist, he has worked on major works such as Chilika Tire for the radio and among his famous poetry books - Dibya Asantosh stands tall. He had won the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award way back in 1977 for his drama Ratira Duiti Dena.

"I am not a neglected writer and had been presented with all the major awards named after legendary writers such as Upendra Bhanja and Jayadev by the Odisha Sahitya Akademi as well as the Sahitya Akademi in Delhi. I am elated to learn that this revered post has also come my way now," said Mishra.

He said he would first explore what projects were lying midway and complete them first.

"The academy as well as the culture department has been doing a good work. But there is an immediate need of a fixed policy for publishers of Odia books. Due to limited funds, a lot of projects are still undone," said Mishra.

Mishra added that he would bring in total co-ordination among all the literary organisations and try to get them registered under the Odisha Sahitya Akademi during his tenure.

"Odia language is also in great danger because of heavy distortion in usage. I will try to take up as many issues as possible," Mishra said.