Bhubaneswar: Enabling and empowering the masses with their timeless classics, works of saint poets like Sarala Das have enriched different Indian languages by bringing in new imageries, similes and metaphors from other cultures, Dr. Chandrashekhara Kambara, eminent writer and President of the Sahitya Akademi said here on Saturday.
“These newly brought imageries, similes and metaphors provide the writers and poets of different languages newer avenues to express their thoughts in diverse ways, away from the old beaten path,” Dr. Kambara, who released the critical edition of ten ‘parbas’ of the works of Sarala Das – ‘Saroladasa Mahabharatha’, at Siksha ’O’ Anusandhan (SOA), said.
“Each region, language and community had acquired and assimilated the best of other cultures and languages of the land. To reduce the alien elements, to make highest philosophical truths easier to understand for the masses and to reduce the cultural shocks, the scholars and pundits of the bygone centuries used adaptations wisely,” he said.
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The book, both in prose and verse, has been put together by an editorial team and published by Centre for Preservation, Propagation and Restoration of Ancient Culture and Heritage of India (PPRACHIN), the literary and cultural arm of SOA.
A critical version of two ‘parvas’ of ‘Saroladas Mahabharatha’ containing the ‘musoli’ and ‘swargarohan’ parvas authored by Sarala Das had been brought out by SOA in April last year.
Dr. KS Rao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, Prof. Dasarathi Das, writer, Dr. Pradipta Kumar Panda, member of the editorial team and Dr. Gayatribala Panda, head of PPRACHIN, also addressed the special function which was presided over by Prof. (Dr.) Ashok Kumar Mahapatra, Vice-Chancellor of SOA. Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, Dean (Students’ Welfare) conducted the programme.
Eminent litterateur Ramakant Rath’s recorded message for the occasion was played during the release function. In his message, Rath said Odia, which was a spoken language, turned into a script only after Sarala Das wrote the ‘Mahabharatha’.
Stating that Sarala Das and Kumara Vyasa of Karnataka, who were contemporaries, had adapted the epics of India to varying degrees to suit the local cultural milieu, Dr. Kambara said and added that the works of the Odisha saint poet were not merely literary, religious or philosophical in nature but served to educate and enhance the awareness of the masses.
Equally important, they brought into the local culture vast elements from other cultures while increasing the understanding and acceptance of other cultures too, he said.
Indian literature, Dr. Kambara said, was far ahead of others when it came to translations and adaptations. “Indians, at least during the past 2000 years, had gone one step further and not only translated the classics from other languages but adapted them to suit the local cultural milieu,” he said adding Kumara Vyasa’s Gadugina Bharata had enriched Kannada literature by concisely presenting the philosophy of Mahabharata to the Kannada people.
Dr. Kambara said works of Saroladasa and other saint poets were also repositories of cultural information of the given societies. “They are not only path breakers but also guide posts for the past which in turn act as the measuring yardstick to gauge the progress made by society,” he said.
Dr. Rao said parallels had been drawn in the past between Sarala Das and Kalidasa and there were number of similarities in the end product of Sarala Mahabharatha and Raghuvamsa.
Both Dr. Kambara and Dr. Rao praised SOA and PPRACHIN for the work undertaken to enrich literature. “The work done by PPRACHIN is most welcome and I hope the good work continues in the years to come and should go beyond the borders of Odisha,” Dr. Rao said.
A team comprising Dr. Gouranga Charan Dash, Dr. Pradipta Kumar Panda, Bhagyalipi Malla and Dr. Fanindra Bhushan Nanda had edited the volumes.
The newly published volumes were discussed with the participants including eminent linguist Dr. Debi Prasanna Patnaik, Asit Mohanty, Kailash Chandra Dash, Baishnab Charan Mohanty, Dipti Ranjan Patnaik, Phanindra Bhushan Nanda, Hrushikesh Mallick, Santosh Kumar Rath and Dr. Nachieketa K. Sharma.