Bhubaneswar: During a discourse on Odia language, literature, and culture held at the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA), speakers emphasized the need for all stakeholders to support Odia, the sixth Indian language designated as classical, in order for it to thrive. The event, spanning two days, coincides with the inaugural World Odia Language Conference organized by the Odisha government’s department of Odia Language, Literature, and Culture, commencing on Saturday.
Mr. Niranjan Pujari, Odisha’s minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Health, and Family Welfare, inaugurated the event, highlighting Odia’s rich heritage and the pivotal role of language in the formation of Odisha as a state in 1936. He underscored Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik’s foresight in championing Odia awareness.
The session was graced by esteemed individuals including literateur Mr. Rasbehari Behera, cultural expert Prof. Jagannath Das, and media editor Dr. Umakanta Mishra. SOA’s Founder President, Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak, felicitated the minister, and SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda presided over the program.
Mr. Pujari highlighted the philosophical depth in the works of poets Gangadhar Meher and Bhima Bhoi, stressing the importance of their study. He expressed gratitude to SOA for collaborating with the government in hosting the discourse alongside the main conference and mentioned the establishment of an Odia University by the government to further promote the language.
Mr. Behera commended the government’s initiative to promote Odia and stressed the need for sustained efforts, especially in instilling a passion for Odia among students. Dr. Mishra praised Odia’s antiquity, citing discoveries dating back to the 6th century BC, and urged universities to play a leading role in popularizing the language.
Prof. Das emphasized Odia’s connection to Jagannath culture and proposed the establishment of a museum on Odia literature. The first day’s discussions covered topics such as ‘Jagannath Culture’, ‘Ancient Odia Literature’, ‘Medieval Odia Literature’, and ‘Puranic Literary Traditions in Medieval Odia Literature’. The following day’s discussions will explore ‘Odisha’s Tribal Culture’, ‘Odia Literature’, ‘Odia Culture’, and ‘Modern Odia Literature’.
The program concludes with the felicitation of renowned Odia novelist, literary critic, columnist, and educationist Mr. Bibhuti Patnaik.