Subhas Chandra Pattanayak’s poetic work, Smrutirekha, is an excellent depiction of magnificent imagery and portiere drawn on love, observed India’s celebrated poet, former Chief Secretary of Orissa and former President of Central Sahitya Akademi and its present Fellow, Sri Ramakant Rath while launching it as the Chief Guest of the function held for the purpose in the conference hall of Orissa Red Cross at Bhubaneswar on December 6, 2009. Vidypatinka Prema Geet was the other book of SCP that he simultaneously inaugurated.
He thanked SCP for having given the opportunity to Orissa’s readers to read Vidyapati for the first time by translating a section of his lovely songs in equally lucid verses in Oriya.
Chaired by distinguished author and editor of mainstream news daily, Khabar, Prof. Biswaranjan, the lunching ceremony, attended by eminent persons of letters and intelligentsia, was graced by three prominent scholars who dwelt on the distinction the two books deserve.
When Prof. Sneha Das and Prof. Pramod Kumar Mohanty discussed on Smrutirekha and Vidyapatinka Prema Geet respectively as the Speakers of Honour, Prof. Hara Prasad Paricha Patnaik gave his views as the Guest of Honor.
Smrutirekha: a magic chest of romantic poetry
Describing Smrutirekha as the best amongst ardent works of contemporary times that she has gone through, Dr. Das said that launching of this book is opening up to the public a magic chest of romantic poetry wherein lively, loyal and guileless love is lusciously inscribed with splendid stiches.
Vidyapatinka Prema Geet: a masterpiece of translation
Dr. Mohanty, winner of Sahitya Akademi of India Award for poetry in 2008, described Vidyapatinka Prema Geet as a masterpiece of translation. “I am charmed by the beauty of translation in this book. The pieces rendered here are so superb that even Dr. Mansingh, the famous author of Dhoopa, might have felt inferior had he ever gone through these poems, he opined. Before dwelling on life of Vidyapati, Dr. Mohanty thanked Sri Pattanayak for having given Orissa the opportunity to read Vidyapati, which was not available so far in the State and made a cogent appeal that henceforth whenever one is invited to a wedding festival in Orissa, he or she should give a gift of this book to the newly weds as a mark of respect for love in life.
Superb style of versification and faithful translation
Dr. Paricha Patnaik, Secretary of Orissa Sahitya Akademi, praised the superb style of versification used in Smrutirekha as well as in translation of Vidyapati’s love songs. Subhas Babu had started translating from an English translation of Vidyapati’s songs in 1972 and taking all these years to refine his work on the basis of original Maithili verses, has rendered a faithful translation, which is sure to help Oriya readers know of the literary treasure of Mithila, he said.
Both of the books were launched, as mentioned supra, by the Chief Guest Sri Rath. But authentication thereof was done in a novel way. Founder of Book Fair Movement in Orissa, Journalist Barendra Krushna Dhal, received the symbolic presentation of the books. Acknowledging the offer, he said that he was marveled by flow of poetries in from the pen of Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, whom for forty years he knew only as a ruthless, hard-hitting journalist. It would not at all be surprising if he presents more poems to Orissa in future in addition to the three books of poetry already published in succession, he said.
Supplementing excellently the speakers with his scholarly elaborations, President of the event, Prof. Biswaranjan, an intimate friend of the author, compared him with a coconut that outwardly looks hard but inwardly is absolutely soft and sweet.
Beneath the impregnable layer of prosaic journalism, lives a passionate poet in Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, he said.
He threw light on how he has seen poetic trance translated into instant translation of the songs of Vidyapati on the very pages of a book containing those songs during a journey from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi and back by train in 1972, after Sri Pattanayak had chance acquired an English translation of the Maithili poems from a hawker of old books at Kharagpur. He subsequently obtained the original songs in Maithili language and studied Vidyapati and refined his translations juxtaposing them with the original ones and the result is the book now released, he informed.
At the beginning of the evening event, the congregation paid a standing ovation to the Chief Guest Sri Rath, as on the same day in the forenoon, he was decorated for the second time with D.Lit. Prof. Narayan Panda, on behalf of the audience, offered glowing tributes to Sri Rath.
Sri Rath, who despite having fever had devoted the evening to launch the two books, praised Sri Pattanayak for his remarkable style of versification and ability to blend imagery and reality of emotion.
Major Dr. Kumudini Barai, former Principal of Rama Devi Women’s College and authoress of many books, proposed vote of thanks.
Publisher Bharata Bharati, through proprietor Umesh Prasad Sahoo, organized the event.