5th Kandhamal Literary Festival Concludes; Central theme Indigenous languages for Peace, Innovation and Development

Phulbani: With the central theme of “Indigenous languages Matter for Peace, Innovation, and Development”, Kandhamal Literary Festival-Virtual kick started on 30th July to 1st August. This festival is being organized by Kalinga Literary Festival and Odisha Diary Foundation (ODF).
For the second year the festival has been held virtually. The Festival promotes the indigenous heritage of Odisha, its interconnections between nature, culture and literature.
On the inaugural session, the festival welcomed Padmashree Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak as the keynote speaker. “I am honoured and privileged to be a part of Kandhamal Literary Festival-Virtual. Indian civilization is enriched with seven thousand years old culture, history, and heritage. And it is also one such surviving civilization all across the globe. Language is one such treasure. Digitalization has played a big role in safeguarding the linguistic base in India. In Odisha, conservation of language is a big issue. Amidst this, it is difficult to predict development of the state. People have forgotten that language is the foundation of any development.” Said Dr Pattanayak.
Commenting on the local Kui language, he said, “Kui language of Kandhamal is a sign of Odisha’s indigenous heritage and therefore deserves to be in the foreground. Language is the honour of an individual, a state, a community, a region, or a country. It is a mode of connection and communication as well as pride and glory.”
Shri Debashish Samantaray, Smt. Jyotirmayee Kanhar, Shri Bijoy Krushna Pattanayak also graced the inaugural session.
Session- Kandhamal – An Unique Combination of Nature and Culture
Jyotirmayee Kanhar, Tritha Jani, Rabindranath Mishra, Netajee Abhinandan, Birendra Kumar Das spoke about the diverse indigenous culture of Kandhamal along with its natural beauty. Shri Das has shared his nature photography during the session.
Session- Kandhamal Lifestyle and Folklore
The session was moderated by Dr. Mahendra Mishra. Other speakers in the session includes, Dillip Kumar Sahni, Dr. Ranjan Pradhan, Dr. Saroj Kumar Parida, Basanti Majhi and Chittaranjan Mishra. The panellists discussed about the common lifestyle of people in Kandhamal and the heritage of folk culture and folklore.
Session- The development and conservation of Kui language
Speaker Dr. Nirad Kanhar diversified about the Kui language, its literary heritage, threat of extinction, and necessary action for conservation.
Session- Kandhamal on Media Page
Panelists- Dr. Arup Ku. Jena, Rangadhar Panda, Siba Prasad Tripathi, Sadasiba Patra, Braja Nanan. Dr. Pabitra Subudhi moderated the session. The session highlighted on media’s prioritisation of commercial news and how Kandhamal’s indigenous heritage has somewhat been overlooked.
Session – Writing method for Kui language. The session hosted Shri Anuj Mohan Pradhan as the guest speaker. And showcase different writing methods in the indigenous language.

Session- Grassroot Development from Kandhamal to the World
Panellists Kailash C. Dandapata, Pramod Pattanaik, Lalnanda Pradhan, Harishankar Raut discussed about Kandhamal youth’s contribution towards society and humankind. The session was moderated by Shri Ghasiram Panda.
Shri Bideshi Nayak highlighted on Kandhamal’s literary heritage on ‘Kandhamal’s Literature: A Review’.
Session- Kandhamal in memories
Panelists Prof. Biswaranjan, Bipin Nayak, Akhil Biswal, Narayan Prasad Behera, Premanand Mohapatra discussed the history, evolution and nostalgia of Kandhamal. Shri Girija Prasad Mishra moderated the session.
Session- Three decades of science farming in Kandhamal. Giving a scientific angle to the theme, Shri Binoy Pattanayak and Dr. Sushmita Mohapatra discussed about the farming and advancing agriculture base of Kandhamal.
Session- Future of Kandhamal’s literature
Panelists Bipin Bihari Sahoo, Swati Tanmaya Mishra, Guruprasad Sahoo, Dushmanta Martha, Jogeswar Panda highlighted the past, present and future base of Kandhamal’s preserved indigenous literature and development. Shri Ramakrushna Mohanty moderated the session.
Session- Kandhamal on camera’s canvas. The session hosted Shri Yudhistir Mohanty as the guest speaker.
Session- Dum language and folk literature. Shri Kshetrabasi Manseth highlighted the evolution and present status of Dum language and folk literature.
Cultural program was presented by Nataraj Kala Mandir, Phulbani.
The three-day virtual event came to an end with the concluding part. The founder and director Rashmi Ranjan Parida said, “Kandhamal Literary Festival has reached its 5th edition this year. The motive behind conducting this festival is to highlight the indigenous culture and literature of Kandhamal and bring the glory to the forefront. Our team, Debashish Samantaray, Sitansu Mahapatra, and Bijoy Krushna Pattanayak have played the major role in channelizing the whole festival and making it a success. Due to pandemic, we have organised this festival virtually but we will soon be holding it in the nature’s lap at Kandhamal after situation stabilizes.”
Curator of the festival Shri Bijoy Krushna Pattanayak said, “This year we have added new topics and guests to speak their minds. Will add more innovative ideas to include more people in this art and culture extravaganza.”
KLF team members Shri Sitansu Mahapatra and Shri Debashish Samantaray expressed gratitude and announced that Kalinga Literary Festival team will be conducting bi-monthly events and workshops for the development of Kandhamal indigenous culture and literature. The team announced annual Kandhamal Lit Fest magazine.

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