At a time when the plight of modern women is hardly getting space in Odia literature, Paramita Satpathy's book Prapti' that has been selected for the Central Sahitya Akademi Award holds relevance. It is a collection of 10 novellas in Odia and women in many hues are the protagonists.
Paramita is happy that the jury selected her book based on the theme of womanhood. "It started with a long story in the title name Prapti and was published in a magazine. The story, based on conviction of a woman for an emotional relationship, received considerable appreciation. This inspired me to write a few other stories about the experiences, psyche and inspiration of women. All the 10 stories in the book narrate that, "says the author, who is a Commissioner at the Income Tax Department. Some of the stories in Prapti include 'Mukti' that deals with inclination of a woman in power to denounce worldly attraction;
'Kshyama', story of a woman forgiving her absconding husband who comes back to her after 45 years and 'Punah' that portrays the life of a lonely woman. In fact, the plight of the modern women has been delineated with utmost perfection by Paramita in her writings.
"Growth by women over the past 100 years has been the sharpest, the swiftest and the most meaningful of all kinds. From Sati, child marriage, widowhood, limitless childbirths, domestic subjugation, women have worked a long path towards self-realisation. But I feel that the growth of women has far exceeded the preparedness of society to accept such assertion. This is probably the biggest challenge
women of this time are facing. As a writer I have an undying faith that this gap will be bridged by all and the world would experience a time when men and women will be treated as equals,"says the
author, whose works have also been translated in other Indian languages.
She attributes much of her affinity to creativity to her mother Pratibha Satpathy, a noted writer and also a Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award winner. Her short stories are ridden with reality, novelties and pathos spreading over a wide canvas, dealing with almost every sphere of human life and living. Her first literary work was published in 1984-85 when she was a student.
Although in a literary field that is largely dominated by male writers, Paramita says she has never felt that being a woman and a writer has in any way limited her. "I believe, as a writer, if you have substance in your work, you will definitely be noticed. Some of her popular short story collections include Bibidha Aswopna (1997), Bhashakshara (2000), Birala Rupaka (2003), Antaranga Chhala (2006), Kurei Phula (2009) and Nari Kabi O Anyamane (2015).
On the present literary scene in Odisha, Paramita said there has been a general shift of perception of people from literature. "Different genres of writing have evolved. Earlier, books were the only media to feed the imagination and sensitivity of people. However, now, the domain has been shared and invaded by many other forms. There is a sizable amount of restlessness buzzing around everywhere.
Getting addicted to literature requires patience and consumes time. Perhaps men in general are reluctant to go through this experience of both writing and reading. But, I feel that there is still a craving in people to read a good book and savour it," says the author. Paramita has completed writing her next novel,
which will be printed soon.
She will get the award on February 22 in Delhi during the Festival of Letters organised by the Central Sahitya Akademi.