Taking Odia literature to international level was once rare incident, but thanks to Paramaita Satpathy whose literary works have brought laurels to the state of Odisha and people of this tiny land have all the reasons to celebrate her works. Recently, she has been selected for Kendra Sahitya Akademi award for her novella ‘Prapti’.
In an exclusive interview with Dillip Kumar Pradhan, she shares the nitty-gritty of Odia literature within and beyond the state of Odisha.
OTV: Many odia writers are being awarded in state and national level. But, the international winners are few in Odisha. What is the reason? Where is the place of Odia literature in international arena?
Paramita: It is a fact that few Indian languages’ writers have got recognition at the international level, though some Indian writers writing in English have been awarded. It is probably because great works of Indian Languages have not been properly translated into English or other languages and the translated works have not been properly distributed. I don’t think in India the authors/translators of languages get access to agents for such kind of facilitation. Moreover it cannot be the look out of authors to try to claim a pie from the arena of international literature.
OTV: Where is the place of Odia literature in national level?
Paramita: Odia literature is considerably recognized at the national level. I have had occasions to participate in literature festivals and literary discourses in different parts of the country and have noticed that writers of other languages discuss Odia litterateurs with respect. Still, I feel that Odia Literature needs to be more aggressively campaigned.
OTV: You have been named for Kendra Sahitya Akademi for your novella ‘Prapti’. Novela has become a current trend. Will it inspire the budding writers?
Paramita: Novella as a genre of writing may be synonymous with long stories. It is probably the urge to express in a broader canvas, encompassing more numbers of characters spreading over a longer period that prompts one to write a novella. Writing long stories have always been the preferred mode for some writers. There is such a trend in Odia Literature too. It should not be a worry. It is, after all, what you want to write and how you want to pen it.
OTV: Will the trend Novella pose hindrance for the novel?
Paramita: I don’t think so. Rather, writing in a longer canvas may become an inspiration for planning a novel.
OTV: Do you think the digital era (internet, mobile, social media-whatsapp, FB,youtube, google+, instagram etc) will pose hindrance for the publication in future. (Elaborate)
Paramita: Actually I don’t think wise to comment on it with finality. I believe that there is no alternate to a good book-with letters printed on papers. All other modes are there to facilitate a book only.
OTV: You are from a family of litterateurs. What was the first reaction of your mother- eminent writer Pratibha Satpathy- when she received the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award? Was it an inspiration for you that time?
Paramita: I remember her being happy. But I distinctly remember that I was happier. I have seen her going through the process of rising and rising as a poet. And I have also seen her overcoming many hurdles, balancing literary work and life. I had accompanied her to the prize ceremony. I remember being awestruck to meet Mahashweta Devi, a writer and a personality I always coveted.
OTV: At what age, you started writing? What was your first write-up. Where it was published first? What was your feeling after your first piece got published?
Paramita: I was scribbling as child in school. But my first story got published in ‘Jhankar’ in 1985, when I was a student of Utkal University. It was appreciated by many readers and revered writers. I felt very encouraged. I was in euphoria for quite some time.
OTV: Tell something about your family. How can you save time for literature from your hectic schedule as a top rank government employee- Income tax commissioner.
Paramita: I belong to such a family which has been always giving priority to literature. I grew up with books, hero-worshipping writers, eavesdropping serious discussion on literature. I was tremendously encouraged by my parents for writing. Years later, my daughter too became very caring about my passion. Since I was writing much before I got into the service, it never occurred to me to give up writing for my profession. Yes, sometimes I am hard pressed for time. But the varieties of experiences I come across because of my job compensate for that.