No threat to Oriya language, says JB

Former chief minister J.B. Patnaik   | Photo Credit: (file photo)

Pradip Kumar Das

Confers Sahitya Bharati Samman on Ramakanta

CUTTACK: Former chief minister and an eminent Oriya litterateur J B Patnaik, who once made an attempt to make Oriya as the official language of the State, has allayed fears that the future of the language is in peril.

"Oriya is a very rich and vibrating language. There cannot be any threat to this language from any foreign languages," Patnaik said at a literary award ceremony here on Sunday evening.

After conferring the prestigious Sahitya Bharati Samman on eminent poet Padma Bhusan Ramakanta Rath and honouring some budding writers of the State, Patnaik was reacting to the concerns expressed over Oriya language by the award winners.

No takers

Replying to the felicitations he received, Rath expressed concern over the future of Oriya language. "Oriya is no more the spoken language in many Oriya families," he said and added "when there are no takers for Oriya books in the State for whom should the writers write."

Even other award winners took pot-shots at the foreign language. The speakers were worried over growing negligence meted out to Oriya language in lieu of rising preference for English in the State.

"English cannot be removed from Orissa or for that matter from India, as it has now become the language of trade and commerce. Many great literary works have been done in English language. Let us learn from them to strengthen our own language," Patnaik suggested.

Cash prizes

The veteran Congress leader, however, lauded the effort of Ganagadhar Rath Foundation, which honours the literary luminaries of the State with cash prizes.

He called upon other literary organisations in the state to come forward with cash prizes to boost the morale of Oriya writers. "Only citations and mementoes are not enough to boost the creativeness of a writer. Like any other professionals, writers do need financial incentives to dedicate their time and energy in creating masterpieces." Considered to be the highest literary honour of the State, the Sahitya Bharati Samman is given every year by the Foundation that carries a cash-prize of Rs 1 lakh, a citation and a memento worth Rs 40,000.

The foundation also honoured litterateur Fani Mohanty, another poet of repute with "Bhanuji Rao Memorial Award" which carries a cash prize of Rs 25,000.

Budding writer Sadanand Tripathy and translator Amiyabala Patnaik received `Subrat Memorial Awards' carrying Rs 20,000 cash prize each.