Regional language literature portray wide spectrum: Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Noting that literatures in regional languages get little publicity, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said these writings portray a wide spectrum and authentic account of social life and Indian literature is not confined to works in English.

“Indian literature is certainly not confined to Indian writings in English, which is read and appreciated only by English-educated people,” Patnaik said inaugurating a literary festival here today.

“Literature produced in regional languages represents a wide spectrum of our social life and presents an authentic account of life lived by our people in remote parts of the country,” he said at the two-day conference organised by the New Indian Express group.

Volumes of creative literature is produced in these languages every year and read, enjoyed and appreciated by millions, Patnaik said adding “Unfortunately, these literatures hardly get the publicity they deserve and not many institutions and organisations come forward to promote the writers”.

Describing Odia as one of the most ancient languages of India, the chief minister said in the past, scholars such as John Beames, G A Grierson, LSS O’Malley, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, Satya Narayan Rajguru, John Boulton and many others have proved the antiquity of the language.

Pointing out that Odia language has gained classical status, Patnaik said Odia has joined the exclusive club, of which the other members are Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.

Odisha has a glorious tradition of art and literature.

The beginnings of Odia poetry may be traced to mystical poems of tantric tradition, written about a thousand years ago.

However, it was the great Sarala Das in the 15th century, who wrote Odia Mahabharata and came to be known as ‘Aadi Kabi’ or the first Odia poet, he said adding towards the end of the 19th century, western influence became perceptible in the works of Odia poets and writers.

The conference is being attended by a host of distinguished personalities including eminent journalist and editorial director of The New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla, Jnanapith Award winner Pratibha Ray and Odissi dancer Kumkum Mohanty.