Rashmi Rekha Das

3-day long ‘Biswa Odia Bhasha Sammilani’ (World Odia Language Conference) was inaugurated by Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Janata Maidan, Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

The opening day seemed to be a huge success with Odias residing in India and abroad attending the conference with great pride. Besides, the conference witnessed the presence of renowned Odia writers and researchers. Also, school, college and varsity students in large number partcipated in the event and made the event a grand one.

On this occasion, participants had a chance to hear world-renowned speakers delivering speech on Odia language, culture and heritage.

To sum up, the event has successfully brought together people from all around the globe to network, interact and expand their knowledge on Odia language, while having fun was truly touching. Let’s review some of the highlights from the inaugural day of the event.

NRIs at World Odia Language Conference display gratitude to their roots

It is encouraging to see NRIs investing time and energy in promoting their mother tongue at the inaugural day of World Odia Language Conference (WOLC). With great pride in local language, heritage and tradition, Odia people residing in United Kingdom, America and Saudi Arabia took part in the first WOLC which kicked off in Bhubaneswar on Saturday with a bang.

Though NRIs have very proudly merged themselves into the life and culture of the western countries they inhabit, there are many who still feel a connection to their motherland. NRIs at the conference had the same feeling.

The representatives of Odia societies based in UK, Saudi Arabia and America expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Odisha government for hosting such a carnival for the promotion of Odia language and connecting them with the event.

Bhagyashree Singh, representing Odia Society of UK, said, “It’s a privilege for us to be here. The Odisha government deserves kudos for organizing such an event.  Language is our identity. It binds us together. The government should organize such event every year.”

Echoing the same, Nila Sundara Jena who represents Odia Society of Americas (OSA) said, “Set up in 1969, OSA has been bringing together Odias residing in different parts of America. Thanks to our forefathers, OSA has been working towards promotion of Odia language through local chapters. It also celebrates every festival of Odisha pomp and gaiety. Inviting us for the event is an honor for us.”

Prof Arlo Griffiths entertains paparazzi with his Odia speaking skill

No doubt, arrival of several international scholars including Professors Uwe Skoda and Arlo Griffiths have added zing to the much-awaited World Odia Language Conference.

Known for having expertise in Paippalāda tradition of the Atharvaveda, professor Griffiths amazed media persons with his Odia speaking skill at a special interview session with journalists. A few journalists were seen asking him some questions in Odia. To everyone’s utter surprise, he answered their questions in Odia. And he was so fluent in Odia that he won everyone’s heart in no time.

Craze for bookmobiles

Gone are the days when travelling libraries often used to provide books to villages and city suburbs that had no library buildings. Long before Amazon came into being, bookmobile was existing.  Visitors at WOLC came across bookmobiles which have been named as ‘Munira Paikhana’ which displays various books.

Book lovers can take pleasure of book reading at the fair. Parked right in front of stage meant for cultural programmes, students were seen taking interest in reading such books. Books such as Ek Dui Tini, Sefali ra Jamukoli, Kuni Machha ra Kahani, Upara Tala, Machha O Keuta and Krushnachuda have been displayed at the book mobiles.

Though most of the books are meant for children, college and varsity students were seen spending quality time in reading such books.

Humanoid robots become the star attraction 

You must have come across humanoid robots turning up at banks and offices.  But you will be surprised to find humanoid robots at World Odia Language Conference which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Janata Maidan in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

These robots have been uniquely designed. They are charismatic and captivating that grab attention. They have the features of autonomous navigation, visitor management and customer engagement.

They were seen answering the queries of visitors at a specially designed tent looking like an igloo. In short, these humanoid robots, made by a Banglore-based company, are the star attraction at the opening ceremony of the event.

A fun-filled day for students

Students in large number took part at the three-day grand event World Odia Language Conference inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday. The department of School and Mass Education has arranged several programmes meant for school, college and varsity students on the opening day.

Apart from attending the intellectual sessions by dignitaries, students were seen enjoying game and quiz competitions organised by the department. Students were even given away prizes at quiz competion. Besides, students enjoyed the cultural programme performed by Odissi exponent Aruna Mohanty and her troupe.