Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 29:
Children’s literature is grossly neglected in Odisha, eminent litterateur and Jnanapeeth awardee Dr Ramakant Rath has said.
“‘The publication of Sishu Lekha’, a popular monthly Odia children’s magazine brought out by the state government, has been stopped for a long time. Though the Odia daily ‘Sambad’ has filled up the void to a great extent with its independent publication of ‘Pilanka Sambad’, it is a matter of utter regret that the government is not keen on reviving Sishu Lekha,” Rath said while felicitating eminent child litterateur and editor of ‘Pilanka Sambad’, Das Benhur at a function organised by ‘Sambad’ and ‘Ama Odisha’ here on Thursday.
“I am not surprised by the Bal Sahitya Puraskar to Das Benhur by the Kendra Sahitya Akademi. I was rather surprised that he had not been presented with the award so far since no one else deserves this prestigious award more,” Rath said.
In his address, well-known storyteller Shantanu Acharya said there detailing and imagination play a much bigger role in children’s literature.
“The element of imagination is more in children’s literature. It tells us everything—right from science and philosophy to history, mythology and socio-cultural life—in great detail. Children’s literature does not interest only children, it also fascinates the elders,” he said.
He, however, expressed his anguish over the neglect of children’s litterateurs in the state.
Speaking on the occasion, Das Benhur expressed his profound gratitude and thanks to ‘Sambad’ and its editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik for their unstinted support to children’s literature for such a long time.
“The award is not a recognition for me. It is rather a recognition and support to children’s literature”, he added.
Presiding over the function, ‘Sambad’ editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said the responsibility of newspapers is to encourage literature and the litterateurs.
Stating that no effort has been made at the individual level to meet the threat on literature, he said now-a-days, there is a lack of command over the language and lack of thought in literature.
“As the present generation has developed an antipathy for literature, the time has come to involve children with literature”, Patnaik said.
A book titled “Bayaskara Nanabaya”, authored by Das Benhur and published by ‘Pakshighara’, was released on the occasion.
Among others, editor of ‘Pourusa’ Asit Mohanty and editor of ‘Sambad’ (Features) Gourahari Das were present.