Cuttack: A portrait of eminent writer and academic Prof Ganeswar
Mishra was unveiled at Shree Ram Chandra Bhawan in Cuttack on Sunday,
making it the latest addition to a galaxy of litterateurs and legends
of Odisha whose pictures don the walls of the historic building.
Gracing the event as chief guest, renowned writer Adhyapak Biswaranjan
inaugurated Mishra’s portrait, which is a creation of artist Abhimanyu
Jena. Award-winning translator and academic Prof Jatindra Kumar Nayak
and senior journalist and Mishra’s youngest son Sandeep Mishra
attended the function as chief speaker and guest of honour
respectively. The event, organized by Odisha’s oldest literary
organization Utkal Sahitya Samaj (founded in 1903), was presided over
by USS president Tarun Kumar Sahoo. USS officebearers Sanjit Kumar
Patnaik, Bramhananda Biswal, Aditya Pratap Dhal and Sibashis Kar spoke
on the occasion.
In his address, Nayak dwelled upon the concept of ‘placelessness’
gaining precedence over ‘rootedness’ in modern life. “Mishra’s
writings were opposed to ‘placelessness’ and he always wrote about
people and places with whom he related intimately,” he pointed out.
“Mishra was a Professor of English Literature but devoted to writing
in Odia. He belonged to a rare breed of bilingual intellectuals who
travelled, pursued research and taught in different parts of the
world, but were committed to their land, their language and their
people. He used to advocate that instead of chasing the world, we
should strive and create our own distinct identity and space so that
the world would come to us,” he added.
Biswaranjan highlighted the simplicity in Mishra’s personality and
writings and said he had the ability to express himself and resolve
complex issues in the simplest fashion. “He wrote about his own native
place Puri and about people and subjects which were around him because
he believed that writing from one’s own experience and surroundings
was most important,” he noted.
Mishra, who died in August 2015 at the age of 73, wrote and edited
around 100 books, including six novels, six short story collections
and five travelogues. He served as Professor of English at Utkal
University, president of Odisha Sahitya Academy (2005-2007) and
founder-editor of leading Odia daily Prameya.