Bhubaneswar: Extraordinary times requires extraordinary response. That the global pandemic cannot affect the indomitable Odia spirit became evident when Delhi-based intellectuals’ forum, The Intellects, celebrated its 8th annual Raja celebrations
online, by bringing together Odias spread across the world in this three-hour long program on 14th June 2020, the first day of the three day Raja festival, called Pahili Raja.
Like every year, the Raja celebrations of The Intellects included serious discussion on the role of women in society, this year’s theme being Role of women in the times of Corona pandemic. Dr Pratibha Ray, popular Odia writer and Jnanapith winner,
Dr Pratibha Ray, in her opening address pointed out to the stellar role women have played in the society traditionally, at normal and challenging time. “Everyone is today talking of the challenge of being confined to home. But think about our mothers and grandmothers, who, even while being confined to home, most of the times, did achieve so much, bringing up children and taking all the responsibilities of the family.”
The annual Mahaka Mo Matira Samman by The Intellects was conferred on Mrs. Kuku Das, the president of Odisha Society of the America, for her contribution in spreading Odia culture globally, and especially for the role that she has played in
facilitating the teaching of Odia to the children of non-resident Odias. In her reply, Das said she was thrilled to win this award, and especially celebrate the festival with fellow Odias thousand miles part.
The discussion, chaired by The Intellects chairman, Debendra Nath Rout, saw participation of leading women achievers from Odisha including renowned singers Susmita Das, Sangita Gosain, Anindita Das, Adyasha Dash social workers Rina
Routray, Tamasa Rani DasMohapatra, and Arundhati
Devi. Prof. Udayanath Sahoo, Sarala Das Odia chair professor at JNU and Kishore Dwibdei, noted journalist also participated in the discussion. The discussion was summarized by Shyamanuja Das, secretary of The Intellects, who offered the vote of thanks. The entire program was anchored by Dr. Anindita Sahoo and Sonali
Swain. Pradeep Kumar Panda managed the discussion platform while other members of The Intellects including Suvendu Biswal, Ramahari Padhi, Dilip Kumar Swain, Swarna Mohapatra, Anasuya Nayak, Smaranika Swain, Nibedita Parida and Umakant Jena.
Apart from the discussions, a good mix of cultural programs including Raja songs and Odissi dance sequences by Shimran Zaman and Kirti Abhipsa were presented to the audience.
The program, conducted on the popular collaboration platform, Zoom, saw participation from Odias from various countries like USA, UK, Mynamar, UAE and Australia, apart from various locations in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and various parts of Odisha.