Pictorial input: Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak
Journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak’s two historic books – (1) Orissa Pradesh Srustire Ganamadhyam and (2) Nabakalebara: Legends and Reality – were released in the evening of December 29 in the jampacked auditorium of Red Cross Bhavan, Bhubaneswar by eminent author Dash Benhur.
Addressing the event chaired by Prof. Jayant Kumar Biswal, editor of Orissa’s largest circulated daily ‘The Sambad’ and Chief Guest of the event, Sri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said that, had the book – Nabakalebara: Legends and reality been published at the time of Nabakalebara, it could have become best-seller. Yet, written in English, it is well set to help the world understand SriJagannatha in the perspective of history and social evolution. It is a speaking endeavor to bring out the reality from beneath the heaps of legends; and hence, as much a book of reference, it opens gateway to in-depth research on the topic, he said.
Discussing the book, Chief Speaker Prof. Biswaranjan strongly endorsed Sri Pattanayak’s deeply researched determination that Sri Jagannatha is a deity of agro-magic, originally conceived as the torso of a mother in consonance with Bouddha Tantra, which the practitioners of Brahmanya Dharma have changed into a male deity Vishnu of Hindu pantheon to wipe out the Buddhist tenets in Cult of Jagannatha. Sri Pattanayak’s work is of utmost relevance to study of Jagannath in proper perspective, he said, citing profusely from the book and comparing the same with observations of various scholars.
Famous orator and editor of Subartta, Pradyumna Satpathy gave a scholarly analysis on Pattanayak’s other book – Orissa Pradesh Srustire Ganamadhyama (Role of Mass media in creation of Orissa). Contextualizing the book with the ongoing movement for governance of Orissa in Oriya, he strongly stressed upon use of this book as a backgrounder to the current language movement.
Both the books were offered respectively to Surjyaprava editor and author Rabi Kanungo and to Columnist and thinker Tusarkanta Satpathy by the author Sri Pattanayak as a token of Lokarpana (presentation to public). In reply to the offering, both of them spoke of the relevance the books for Orissa.
Guest of Honor, eminent poet Dash Benhur held both the books as thought-provokingly relevant, when editor of the daily newspaper Sanchar Prasanta Patnaik lauded the focus the books have laid upon Orissa’s cultural excellence in advancing the zeal for governance of Orissa in Oriya and in projecting the unseen facets the cult of SriJagannatha.
In his Presidential address, Prof. Jayanta Kumar Biswal lauded the scholarly pursuit behind both the books and their value of reference.
Political Scientist Dr. Netaji Abhinandan (Ravenshaw University), quite close to the author as his son’s intimate friend, welcomed the guests, with Chief Executive of Shabdasparsha Pabitra Mohan Maharatha initiating the event. Major Dr. Kumudini Barai proposed the vote of thanks.
Leaders of Orissa Bhasa Sangram Samiti and language activists – poet Sankarshan Parida, poet Umakant Raut and Dr. Subrat Kumar Prusty were felicitated by the Chief Guest Sri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik on behalf of Shabdasparsha. Felicitations were also given to poet Gajanan Mishra and to Prof. Natabar Satpathy in absentia for their role in the language movement.
Poet Saroj Bal graced the event by reciting his poem on magnificence of Oriya language.