Litterateurs honoured as 2nd SOA Literary Festival comes to an end

Bhubaneswar: The three-day 2nd SOA Literary Festival concluded on Sunday with eminent Punjabi litterateur Dr. Surjit Patar describing literature as a bridge that kept the society together.

“Concrete bridges only span the river, but the bridge of words keeps the society united and together,” Dr. Patar said while addressing the valedictory session of the SOA Lit-Fest which was attended by around 250 writers, poets, critics, thinkers and artistes from across the country.
Pointing out that poetry leads to self-introspection, he said grief and poetry had a strange connection. “The poorest countries of the world have the richest poetry,” he said.
India was one of the countries with the largest number of scripts, he said adding the absence of words leads to darkness.

Dr. Patar said poets were like trees who absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but released oxygen for the benefit of society.

Nine of Odisha’s eminent writers, poets and critics were presented the ‘SOA Sahitya Samman’ on the occasion. They included eminent storyteller Mr. Achyutananda Pati, eminent writer Mr. Satakadi Hota, eminent linguist Dr. Debi Prasanna Patnaik, eminent novelist and writer Prof. Santanu Kumar Acharya, eminent poet and writer Mr. Ramakanta Rath, eminent translator and poet Mr. Srinivas Udgata, eminent critic Prof. Dasarathi Das, eminent poet and critic Dr. Sitakanta Mahapatra and eminent novelist Mr. Bibhuti Patnaik. Eminent litterateur Dr. Jagannath Prasad Das and noted theatre personality Mr. Anant Mahapatra, also chosen for the honour, could not be present.

The awardees were presented with a citation, an uttariya, a statuette of goddess Saraswati and a cash component of Rs. one lakh. It was announced on the inaugural day of the festival that the ‘SOA Sahitya Samman’ would be presented at the national level from next year with a cash component of Rs. seven lakh.
Prof. Kumud Sharma, Vice-President of Kendra Sahitya Akademi also addressed the gathering.

Felicitating the awardees, Prof. Sharma said that these literary greats had spent their lives to serve literature which ignites hope in the society immersed in gloom. “While exposing the contradictions in the society, literature also acts as the glue to keep it together,” she said.
Prof. Sharma said the writer had the responsibility to speak up for the ‘dumb masses’ who had none to represent them.

The SOA Lit-Fest was organised by the SOA Centre for Preservation, Propagation and Restoration of Ancient Culture and Heritage of India (PPRACHIN), the conservation arm of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University.

Welcoming the awardees, Dr. Gayatribala Panda, Head of PPRACHIN, said it was a dream to have the legends of Odia literature, who were of the highest calibre, on the same platform. She hoped that the participants had benefitted by attending the festival. Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, SOA’s Dean (Students’ Welfare), proposed the vote of thanks.
Responding to the felicitation, several of the famous awardees complimented SOA for organizing the event with Prof. Santanu Kumar Acharya thanking SOA Founder Prof. Manojranjan Nayak for making it possible for all the ageing litterateurs to come together on the occasion of the literary festival.

Mr. Ramakanta Rath said there was need to publish ancient timeless texts which were no longer available while stating that the state government should attempt to do it. Another recipient of the award, Prof. Dasarathi Das thanked PPRACHIN for publishing the critical edition of the original ‘Sarola Mahabharatha’ written by the 15th century Odia poet Sarala Das.
“The availability of an alternative pure edition of an ancient text is the basis for any literary criticism,” he said.