The two-day Odisha Literary Festival, hosted by the “New Indian Express Group” here on Friday, got off to a flying start with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stating that it will be a path-breaking event in many ways.
Besides focusing on traditional forms of literature, the festival will also cover new, emerging and unconventional fields such as yoga literature, ideological literature and film scripts, the Chief Minister said, inaugurating the two-day mega event, the first of its kind in Odisha.
Most of the literary festivals promote Indian writing in English. Indian literature is not confined to Indian writing in English which is read and appreciated only by English educated people.
“Literature produced in our regional languages represents a wide spectrum of our social life and presents an authentic and faithful account of life lived by our people in remote parts of the country,” Naveen said.
Even though volumes of creative literature are produced in the regional languages every year and are read, enjoyed and appreciated by millions, these hardly get the publicity they deserve. Not many institutions and organisations come forward to promote these writers, Naveen said and added, “against this background, the effort of the TNIE in organising this festival is laudable.”
Praising the significance attached to translation of Odia works in the festival, Naveen said through translation, a literary text can reach readers beyond the boundaries of the language in which it is written.
Literary Fete Will Be Path-Breaking: CM
The Odisha Government, he said, is committed to the development of art, culture and literature of the State. The Chief Minister said this year, the 150th birth anniversary of Kabi Gangadhar Meher is being observed. Hindi version of “Sarala Mahabharat” is going to be published soon and printing of the latest edition of “Odia Bhagabat” is under process.
Odisha has a glorious tradition of art and literature. The Chief Minister referred to the works of Adi Kabi Sarala Das, Jagannath Das and Balaram Das and also talented poets such as Kabisamrat Upendra Bhanja, Kabisurjya Baladeva Rath, Dinakrushna Das and others. In his introductory remarks, Editorial Director of the TNIE group Prabhu Chawla said regional writers are lauded by the Government in their home States, but rarely are they granted the national recognition they deserve. The TNIE is trying to change that by providing the regional writers with larger platforms and wider constituency. Odia literature deserves both national and global recognition and exposure. The Odisha Literary Festival is the first step in that direction, he said.
Chawla said there could not have been better day in starting the literary festival on the death anniversary of Ramnath Goenka, the founder of the newspaper. “On this day, we have decided to take forward his fight for freedom of Press and freedom of expression,” he said.
Describing Naveen as one of the best performing and record-breaking chief ministers of the country, Chawla said he has steered the State towards the path of progress and economic development.
Chawla also touched upon Naveen Patnaik, the author. Apart from being a politician of unflinching honesty and integrity, Naveen is a man of letters and culture, Chawla said and listed out his three critically acclaimed books, ‘A Second Paradise: Indian Country Life 1590-1947’, ‘A Desert Kingdom: The People of Bikaner’ and ‘The Garden of Life: An Introduction to the Healing Plants of India’.
A galaxy of top writers, poets, film-makers, politicians, administrators, students, youths and eminent personalities from all walks of life attended the inaugural function.