Manas Ranjan Mahapatra 

His dear town Puri didn’t remember the second death anniversary of Dibakar Tripathy, a great teacher, social worker, and author from Puri. He was one of the architects of the first-ever Book Festival at Puri three decades ago. I was never his student, but he was always an icon for me. Incidentally, a Book Festival began on the same day when everyone was busy occupying a Chair!

If you have come across great souls, you may have got some of that greatness. And, if you have come across some crooks, you are bound to inherit some wicked practices.

After remaining in big cities like Lucknow and Delhi for three decades I have preferred to come back to a small town like Puri, for my wife prefers it. In the last two and half years, I have been grossly ignored or sidelined in this small town, but I have become gradually used to it. Small is beautiful.

Half a century ago in my small and beautiful town Puri, there was a person called Chittaranjan Mishra. He was President of Ravenshaw College Student Union. But, more remarkably, he was the first promoter of Books and Reading Habits in Odisha. I fondly remember him today.

The only Chief Minister with a cultural bent of mind was JB Pattnaik in my opinion. I want to write about my association with JB Pattnaik today, but why something or the other stops me? Since a new Festival of Books begins today in my small and beautiful town, I will write an article today on the first-ever Book Festival of Odisha done by NBT on his initiative way back in 1980.


Life is a big race and nobody is a permanent winner. I won yesterday, now I am a loser. You are the winner today, tomorrow you may lose and I may happily win the race. Let’s accept destiny…also the communication gap, for no relation is permanent in this world.

Earlier I used to think that people in the practice of art and culture are spiritual people. Now I have changed my perception. Most of them are traders only like pimps. I have never been to that market.

Festivals should be organized on their own resources. But, most of the Festivals are held these days to grab money from Government and Corporate Sectors. Interestingly, in most cases, organizers are in no way connected with writing. The only outstanding Festival organized by writers is Goa Arts and Literature Festival organized by Goa Writers and International Centre, Goa.

In Odia, literature chairs do write, not the writers. The vulgar presence of bureaucratic minions in every literary event is becoming a common spectacle. It’s better to declare that we don’t recognize writers but truly worship the bureaucratic chairs where some writer sits for some time. This vulgarity is too much to live with. In the last few years, it has exceeded all limits.

Doing a Literature Festival or a Book Fair has now become a business or political circus. Voice of dissent has become a matter of theory than practice these days. But there was a time when people like Kumar Mohanty and Rajendra Kishore Panda were writing in Odia against the government and Chief Ministers like Nandini Satpathy or Janaki Ballav Pattnayak were listening to them with patience and honor. Vishnu Khare and Mangalesh Dabral were similar poets of dissent in Hindi and PM Indira Gandhi were happy to listen to their poetry reading.

After reading state-sponsored advertisements and news for the last ten years, I visited the site of the so-called Odia Viswavidyalaya, Bakulban, and Satyabadi yesterday. What a farce! I wonder if this university is coming up in the next ten years.

Bureaucrats and politicians can be just revenue administrators, but they can’t do academic institutions. We Odias are so spineless that we want enlightened clerks to become cultural planners!

I have nothing to claim as my own except the sweet memories…. but I will be vocal against hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy unlimited. After killing the oldest library of Puri with a few others, the Puri District Administration with the help of some so-called Booklovers is holding from today till 12 January a Book Fair!

raghunandan library Puri

Perfection cannot be realized without making mistakes. Success cannot be obtained without experiencing failures. You will never understand the damage you did to someone until the same thing is done to you.

This is a wonderful world. Here some people always publicize the theory of Give and Take but never give anything. There are also some people who don’t take anything or they propagate any theory!

Dibakar Tripathy and Chittaranjan Mishra were great personalities. They always gave, but never took anything for themselves. They only left a legacy for others to follow.