BHUBANESWAR: Eminent Odia writer, former president of Odisha Sahitya Akademi and politician Hussain Rabi Gandhi passed away at Cuttack on Saturday. He was 75 and undergoing treatment for old age-related ailments at SCB Medical College and Hospital.
Author of several Odia books including ‘Mukta Purbasa’, ‘Hajijaithiba Manisa’ and ‘Punsacha Salabega’, Hussain had also translated the Hindi novel ‘Rani Laxmi Bai’ into Odia which was later published by the National Book Trust in 2012. His story ‘Galpa Samaraha’ was included in the Odia syllabus of Plus II.
At the Odisha Sahitya Akademi, he served as the vice-president from 2005 to 2008 and then as the president of Akademi from 2008 to 2010. Hussain was also the former editor of the state government’s ‘Utkal Prasanga’.
Inspired by the legendary Biju Patnaik, Hussain had joined the undivided Janata Dal in 1988 and was appointed its general secretary. He served as the general secretary of Biju Janata Dal from 1998 till 2005 and the ruling party’s observer for Deogarh and Sambalpur elections.
He was conferred the title of Biplabi Loka Kabi by the mayor of Cuttack in 1994. He was also awarded Utkala Jyoti and Gangadhar Meher Kabita awards for his notable contributions to the field of Odia poetry.
People from all walks of life condoled his death. Expressing grief at Husain’s demise, Governor of Odisha Prof Ganeshi Lal said Odia literature will forever be in debt for his contributions.
Mourning his death, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Gandhi had a long association with Biju Patnaik and later with BJD. “He has contributed immensely in strengthening the Biju Janata Dal and promoted the values of Biju Babu and BJD.” An established writer, who contributed immensely to Odia literature, his death is a great loss to the state, Naveen added.
“I am saddened to hear the news of the passing away of Hussain Ravi Gandhi, a prominent literary figure of Odisha and former president of the Odisha Sahitya Akademi. May the immortal soul rest in peace,” Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted.