Berhampur: The Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja National Award for Literature, instituted by the Berhampur University, was conferred on eminent poet Dr Sitakanta Mahapatra on Saturday.
Vice-Chancellor of the Berhampur University Prof Govind J Chakrapani presented the award to Dr Mahapatra during the 55th Foundation Day function of the university on its campus. Prof Chakrapani said despite his workload as IAS officer, Dr Mahapatra has contributed immensely to Odia literature and started his creativity with ‘Dipti and Dyuti’ in 1963.
His works reflect the sorrow and poverty in life. His writings have been translated into more than 20 foreign languages including French, German, Russia, Roman and others, he added. Dr Balabhadra Tripathy read out the citation presented to Dr Mahapatra on the occasion.
In his response to the award, Dr Mahapatra described Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja as a great poet and recited some stanzas of Baidehisha Vilasa. He drew a parallel between Bhanja and Kalidas.
Dr Mahapatra is the recipient of many prestigious awards including Padma Bhushan, Padma Bibhushan, Sahitya Akademi, Jnanpith, SAARC Award, Tagore Samman and many others.
The university also felicitated film director Sisir Purushottam Mishra, educationist Dr Kambupani Samant, ‘Daskathia’ artist Upendra Panigrahi and horn craft artist of Paralakhemundi Krushna Chandra Maharana on the occasion.
The university was established on January 2, 1967, and its campus was named Bhanja Vihar in memory of Upendra Bhanja, one of the most eminent poets of medieval Odisha. Though born in a royal family, Bhanja had preferred devoting his entire life to literature to ruling over his kingdom.