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Odisha: Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet kicks off

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Bhubaneswar: The fourth edition of the three-day Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet (TSBLM) was inaugurated here today by poet Jayanta Mahapatra and Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Rajya Sabha MP and Editor of ‘Sambad’.

Mahapatra spoke about how poetry lets him understand reality. He also talked about how literature is becoming more accessible in the digital age. He encouraged budding authors to draw inspiration from the adversities they face and use the technology now available to them to their advantage to express creativity and imagination.

The inaugural session of the festival, being held at the Xavier Institute of Management, saw celebrated historian Sugata Bose discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s relationship with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Bose said politicians are abusing the history and one should guard against the instrumental use of it. “Many politicians are in fact abusing history and I think what we should always guard against is the instrumental usage of history of purposes of the present,” said Bose.

“I think the only way we can combat the abuses that are taking place of history is to delve even more deeply into history and actually understand that history can be a matter of interpretation but it is never a matter of just opinion or manufacturer of facts in the past,” he added.

This was followed by a session with legendary actress Waheeda Rehman who mesmerised the audience as she reminisced on her portrayal of iconic literary characters on screen.

The eventful day concluded on a lighter note with a stand-up performance by acclaimed comedian Abijit Ganguly. The talented performer regaled the packed XIMB Auditorium with his observation-based anecdotes.

Participants at this year’s Literary Meet include legendary writer Ruskin Bond and acclaimed singer Rekha Bhardwaj. Other speakers of note are Ravinder Singh, Vineet Bajpai, Aatish Taseer, Jayant Kripalani, Bikram Grewal, Nicholas James, Nabina Das, Sucheta Mishra, Ileana Citaristi, Mitra Phukan, Kishwar Desai, Charles Assisi, NS Ramnath, Prajwal Parajuly, Debashish Panigrahi, Hussain Haidry, Pritish Acharya, Dash Benhur and Ananta Mahapatra, among others.

The festival also offers a platform to pay homage to the best of Odia literature. Odia sessions to discuss Gandhi in Odisha, the legacy of Fakir Mohan Senapati a century after his demise, ‘Becoming Odia’, among other issues, will feature prominently in the festival.