Bhubaneswar: The sixth Indian language to be designated as classical, Odia needs the support of all stakeholders to blossom, speakers at a discourse on Odia language, literature and culture said on Sunday.
The two-day event is being held at the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA) in the backdrop of the first World Odia Language Conference organised by the department of Odia Language, Literature and Culture of the Odisha government which kicked off here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the event, Mr. Niranjan Pujari, Odisha’s minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, said Odia boasted of a rich heritage and legacy and Odisha was carved out as a state on the basis of language in 1936.
The minister said the state government had planned the three-day World Odia Language Conference to create ripples and generate consciousness among the Odia youth and those living outside the state or country about their own language for which they should feel proud.
“It speaks of the foresight of chief minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik who has been thinking about it,” Mr. Pujari said.
SOA’s Founder President Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak felicitated the minister on the occasion.
The inaugural session was also graced by literateur and former Odisha minister Mr. Rasbehari Behera, expert on culture, Prof. Jagannath Das and media expert and editor Dr. Umakanta Mishra. SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda presided over the program which was also addressed by Dr. Gayatribala Panda, Head of SOA Centre for Preservation, Propagation and Restoration of Ancient Culture and Heritage of India (PPRACHIN) and Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, Dean (Students’ Welfare).
Mr. Pujari, who quoted extensively from the works of two of Odisha’s celebrated poets Gangadhar Meher and Bhima Bhoi, said their poetry contained deep philosophical value which needed to be studied and researched.
Thanking SOA for joining hands with the administration to hold the discourse on the sidelines of the main three-day event, the minister said the government had set up an Odia University to further the cause of the language.
Mr. Behera, who was the chief guest, praised the government for showing its positive intent to promote Odia language. This program should have continuity, he said while pointing out that there was a need to create passion for Odia among the school and college students.
Dr. Mishra also lauded the efforts being made to promote Odia saying it was one of the oldest scripts as discovered at the Tarapur Buddhist relics near Jaraka in Jajpur district which dated back to the 6th century BC.
“It was necessary that the universities should take the lead in promoting Odia by popularizing it among students,” he said.
Prof. Das said Odia language had its genesis in the Jagannath culture saying language was the key to unity. He suggested that SOA should set up a museum on Odia literature which was a necessity.
The subjects of the first day’s discourses included ‘Jagannath Culture’, ‘Ancient Odia Literature’, ‘Medieval Odia Literature’ and ‘Puranic Literary Traditions in Medieval Odia Literature’. The subjects of the discourses on Monday will include ‘Odisha’s Tribal Culture’, ‘Odia Literature’, ‘Odia Culture’ and ‘Modern Odia Literature’.
Eminent Odia novelist, literary critic, columnist and educationist Mr. Bibhuti Patnaik will be felicitated in the concluding session of the program.