BHUBANESWAR: There could not have been a better way of offering tributes to Pranabandhu Kar in his birth centenary year. The celebrated playwright and story-writer will soon find his due place among India’s literary greats with the Sahitya Akademi announcing plans to publish a monograph on his life and contributions to literature.
The monograph, to be published under the ‘Makers of Indian Literature’ series, is likely to start early next year on the recommendations of the Akademi advisory board. The Akademi will also lead efforts for translation of his invaluable works, including plays, short stories and dramatic adaptations in Hindi, English and other languages.
The Akademi kicked off the birth centenary celebrations with a day-long seminar on Kar at the Utkal University PG Council hall here on Saturday in association with the Odia Department of the university.
Inaugurating the seminar, Utkal University Vice-Chancellor A K Das said Kar was a writer of extraordinary genre. He had the ability to delve deep into the minds of his characters, reflecting more on their thought processes and psychological reactions to situations and relating them to the surroundings.
As a result, the readers and audience are pulled deep into his stories and, in fact, become characters themselves, he said.
Akademi president Prof Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari hailed Kar as the pioneer of modern Odia literature bringing in a new style in writing which has since been adopted by succeeding generations of writers and playwrights in the State.
Akademi Secretary K Sreenivasa Rao termed him as one of the greatest creative geniuses that the State has produced. He was a humanist and existentialist first and it reflected in his stories.
Instead of focusing on events, he chose to portray the psyche of his protagonists within their existence in the physical world. “His life, works and legacy should be classified in the annals of world literature instead of the narrow Odia or Indian literature,” he said.
Gourahari Das, convenor, Odia Advisory Board of the Akademi, said each and every piece of work of Kar is a treatise in itself. However, he never bothered to publish his works which is why a few of his stories and many one-act plays still remain out of the reach. Attempts must be made to not only publish a monograph, but also translate his works into different languages, he emphasised.
Head of Odia Department Prof Narayan Sahoo called him an “agent of change in Odia literature and unparalleled creator of literary masterpieces. At the same time, he was an ideal human being, a family man, teacher and educationist.”
An unpublished play, ‘Eka Mati Aneka Akasha’, written around 1973-74, was also released on the occasion.
Among others, theatre veteran Ananta Mohapatra, noted critics Baishnav Samal, Hemanta Das , Santosh Tripathy, Sanghamitra Mishra, Khirod Behera, Narayan Sethi, Niladri Bhusan Harichandan and Banoj Tripathy also spoke.