I don’t choose characters, rather they select me: Padma Shri Pratibha Ray

Bhubaneswar: I don’t chose characters, rather the characters choose me for my works, said eminent writer Padma Shri Pratibha Ray.

Speaking at special programme ‘Ananya’ organized by Kanak News here today, the writer said, “Many sensitive incidents occur around the globe and I fall in the trap of such incidents or characters that force me to write on the same. Through my writings, I bring up many social issues that need to be addressed proactively.”

“But that does not mean that a writer gives solution to various issues.  A writer only expresses and brings such issues to the limelight. And being a woman, it does not mean that I write on women-related issues only. Because in my view, a writer is beyond gender and geography,” she said while replying to a question by her daughter Adyasha Ray.


Asked on whether ‘Yajnaseni’ is her best write up, the Jnanpith awardee said, “Certainly not. I am yet to write my best piece of work. I have put the same efforts for ‘Yajnaseni’ like that of my other works. But I am surprised how this novel was appreciated the most by my readers.”

Asked as to why she chose Draupadi character to write about women empowerment through ‘Yajnaseni’, the writer said “The character draupadi was alive in me since my childhood after I watched an opera at my village that had a scene on stripping of Draupadi. I got angry seeing everyone including my father clapping for the scene. When I asked my father, he simply said that the story was abstracted from the epic Mahabharata and nothing can be done about it. Such thing might have happened during those days for which such character exists in our society.

National Award winning Bollywood actor Neena Gupta, who was recently seen in movie ‘Badhaai Ho’, also attended the event as a guest.


Speaking on the current state of women in the society, the actor said, “In my perception, only one thing has changed and that is women have started earning these days. But the situation of women has not changed at all. In fact it has become worse. Because earlier there was a division of labour. A woman was restricted to household works only. But now, they are doing multiple works as men are not supposed to share household chores. With this, women suffer while maintaining a balance between their family and profession.”


The actor further said, “Everything begins at home. Gender equality can be achieved only if today’s women will teach their sons to respect other girls and women.”

Sambad Group Executive Director Tanaya Patnaik moderated the session with the ‘Badhaai Ho’ actor.

Sambad Editor and Rajya Sabha MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik felicitated Pratibha Ray and Adyasha Ray.

On the occasion, late Congress leader Lulu Mohapatra’s daughter and BJP leader Upasana Mohapatra, entrepreneur Sofia Firdous and singer Antara Chakraborty also spoke on the occasion.

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