The Odia New Year Day was celebrated as Odisha Heritage Day by the Bhubaneswar Chapter of INTACH, known for its significant work in the field of Art and Cultural heritage. In his welcome address, Convenor of the Chapter Sri H. Balakrishnan informed that this day is being celebrated every year for more than a quarter century in Bhubaneswar to create awareness about the glorious heritage of our State, particularly among the youth and the rest of the country.
The day started with an inter-school Odia Elocution competition for which students from 20 schools were invited. The subject was “Odisha’s Heritage- to be conserved by Whom, Why and How?” Sushree Saswatika Mohapatra of the Vivekananda Shiksha Kendra won the First prize. Debiprasad Rath of Capital High School got the 2nd Prize while Ushashree Beheara of Vivekananda Shiksha Kendra and BN Shreevishesha of DAV School Chandrasekharpur shared the 3rd Prize.
Eminent poet and Gyan Peeth Awardee Padma Vibhushan Sitakanta Mahapatra was the Chief Guest and delivered the Heritage Lecture. He extolled the audience about the real meaning of heritage and how citizens should conduct themselves to conserve their own heritage. He said that heritage is not a “frozen” entity, but evolves with time. He was sceptic about the chances of Bhubaneswar being declared a world heritage city by UNESCO, for which it is vying with many better contestants.
“The way the ancient relics of Sishupalgarh have been “conserved” with concrete buildings obliterating whatever little was left shows the concern of the government and the people, he said. The same story is repeated ad nauseum in the case of all the temples of this “Mandira Malini”, with avaricious land-grabbers, builders encroaching precious heritage sites, he said.
State Convenor Sri AB Tripathy spoke on “Milestone of INTACH in Odisha” since 1986. He said there are now eight Chapters in the State and also the INTACH Conservation Centre through which conservation of 26 monuments is in progress with funds provided by the government.
Very appropriate to the occasion, a website www.heritageodisha.com was officially launched by Sri Jayant Kumar Dash, life member of INTACH, who created and manages the website, informed the audience that he has been working on the site for the past 15 years, and expressed thanks to INTACH for launching it officially on the Odia New Year Day in this Nabakalebara year. Snippets of the website covering fifteen different aspects of Odisha’s heritage were projected in the auditorium of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan where the function was held.
Eminent artist and curator Sri Ramahari Jena was bestowed the award of INTACH GAURAV, instituted in 2013 by the Bhubaneswar Chapter at the initiative of the Convenor Sri H. Balakrishnan. Dr. Pratibha Ray, Sri Sudarshan Sahoo, Dr. Dinanath Pathi, Dr. Priyambada Hejmadi and Dr. Debiprasanna Patnaik are among previous recipients of the Award.