Meher among stalwarts who saved Odia

The students of Odisha at the preliminary stage tend to forget their mother tongue Odia since most of the parents now prefer English medium schools. This is no doubt a challenge for the State as well as the entire Odia community. Hence, everyone must contribute to strengthen Odia language and Odisha, said Assam Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik on the 150th birth anniversary of the famous poet Gangadhar Meher here at Sambalpur.

ISCOF and Odisha Sahitya Academy (OSA) jointly organised the function here at the Dr Radhanath Rath community hall where Patnaik was the chief guest. When the very existence of the Odia language was at the crossroads due to the conspiracy of the British Government, there came Radhanath, Fakirmohan, Madhusudan and Gangadhar. “The people of the State would never forget their efforts to preserve the language,” said Patnaik. Patnaik also compared the literary creations of Gangadhar Meher with that of Rabindranath Tagore. “What Tagore did for the Bengali literature, Gangadhar exactly did the same for Odia,” he said further.

Speaking broadly on his literary works, Patnaik further said that narrowness never touched him. He was above any constriction in his creation. He even accepted the virtues from western culture and gave up the awful qualities from it, Patnaik maintained. “Literary works apart, Gangadhar also made mention about the governance in the Panchayat level and the social customs in the society,” said Patnaik. He also reiterated the contribution of Sambalpur for enriching Odia language.

“Gangadhar’s literary creations are very practical and shows the way as to making a better world for the human being,” said another speaker Sambalpur University VC Prof Bishnu Charan Barik.

A host of dignitaries from the State were also present on the occasion who lauded the literary works of the poet and urged its translation in Hindi and English. The national general secretary of ISCOF Ghanshyam Patnaik, vice president Sriballav Panigrahi, VSSUT VC Prof Bijay Kumar Panda, Odisha Sahitya Academy president Dr Ramachandra Behera, MCL CMD AN Sahaya and former VC of Sambalpur University Prof DR Nayak, among others spoke.

On this occasion, Dr Nilamadhab Panigrahi, Poet Brajanath Rath, Prof DR Nayak, Prof Madhusudan Pati, Prof Debendra Kumar Dash, Dr Manindra Meher and photo journalist Hrudaynath Dash were felicitated. At the outset, Odisha Sahitya Academy member poet Surya Mishra welcomed the guests.

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