Friday, March 15, 2013

When Paramita Satpathy explains her poem ‘A sari’, it is indeed the resonance of the contemporary traumatic world. The poem says, “Though we keep on talking about a woman’s morality, her respectability is ruthlessly quelled in this unjust world. The five- yard sari is considered a symbol of respectability. But when I felt it more of a suffocation, I shred it into pieces. I gave the torn pieces to a rag picker, a rape victim, a dowry harassment victim who is struggling for her life in a hospital and a slumpy bar maid.” The renowned Odiya poet, author and social activist was in the city to inaugurate the G Smaraka Jnanapeeda Puraskara Prabhashana Parambara, held at Maharaja’s College.

The poet feels that the situation is such that women could no longer tolerate the hard cruelty meted out to them. “That’s why India witnessed such a huge commotion and protest of massive scale post the Delhi rape incident,” she says. Satpathy says that though the world has progressed, the erosion of humanitarian values has always put a spoke in our country’s wheel.

When Satpathy began her conversation, there was no airs of a high level bureaucrat. Besides being an influential voice in the Odiya literary fraternity, she is currently working in Bhubaneswar as the Commissioner of Income Tax. Though she has not encountered any challenging experience in her profession, she still feels that unlike her male counterparts, the path for women is hardly ever rosy whatever be the profession.

“There are times when you really have to push the envelope to get things done.” But Satpathy adds that as a writer she had to confront many hurdles. “Criticism was showered upon me when I wrote about the relation existed between Draupathy and Sree Krishna. Every relationship cannot be defined. But I took the criticism in my stride,” she says.

Expressing elation over the celebrity status given to writers in Kerala, Satpathy says that the writers of Odisha are not such a privileged lot. “Unlike Kerala, the writers of my state are not in an influential position in society. Besides, writing is also not as much rewarding as it is here. But we are taking painstaking efforts to raise an intense voice,” says she.

Till date, to her credit, there are seven collections of short stories and one novel in Odiya. ‘Door Ke Pahad’, a collection in Hindi and ‘Intimate Pretence’, a collection in English are widely discussed and brought her much acclaim. Most of her stories had addressed the recurring problems of the middle class of Odisha. The poet is known for her sensitive portrayal of the plights of modern woman with utmost perfection. Paramita Satpathy has received the Odisha Sahitya Academy Award and has re-presented Odiya literature at Bejing International Book Fair as a member of the Sahitya Akademi delegation in 2010.

me with the writer

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