GUWAHATI, May 6 - �We are here to build a strong bond between the people of Assam and Odisha, which was initiated by Lakshminath Bezbaroa many decades ago,� said Prasanta Pradhan, a retired NDRF personnel and resident of Sambalpur who along with three others, arrived here this morning after travelling around 1,500 km from his hometown in a car.
Pradhan, who started the journey on the morning of May 3, is accompanied by his wife Pinki Pradhan, a social worker and dancer of Sambalpuri dance form; Premranjan Pradhan, a retired college teacher and Runi Pradhan, a housewife.
Revealing the aim of the self-financed journey, Pradhan said, �We came to know a lot about the great Assamese writer through various writings penned by Deepak Panda, who has also been instrumental in preserving the Bezbaroa legacies at Sambalpur. We are very grateful to Bezbaroa who poignantly portrayed the Sambalpuri language and culture in his various writings. He had also taken the culture of Sambalpur to Assam. We come here to build up a good relation between his workplace and birthplace.�
Pradhan said, �During that time, Bezbaroa was a very popular personality at our place. He was even a Council Member of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation for two consecutive terms.�
The visitor further said, �We came to know that Bezbaroa had many houses across Odisha. But most of them do not exist today. There is a hospital at Jharsuguda, whose building was earlier owned by Bezbaroa. There is a government school at Sambalpur named MM Roy School, where Bezbaroa was a member of the school management committee and the naming was also done by him. Now, in order to keep his memory alive in Odisha, the two dilapidated houses at Sambalpur should be renovated and preserved immediately.� Pradhan also asserted that there is a need to translate the literary works of Bezbaroa into Odia to keep his memory alive in Odisha.
The team will return to Odisha on May 9. Meanwhile, Pradhan and his co-travellers were felicitated by the Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa Smriti Rakshya Samiti at a programme organised near Bezbaroa�s statue at the Guwahati Club rotary point. Other organisations including Asam Sahitya Sabha and All Assam Students� Union also felicitated them at the same function.
Referring to the team�s visit, AASU adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said, �Their visit inspires us. We have full support for the cause. We have to preserve the memory of Bezbaroa who, apart from being a literary giant, had also initiated the first student organisation in this region. We are carrying forward his legacy in a non-political way. Assam and Odisha have a cultural linkage and we have to work together to build further on it in the coming days, as culture always builds a good society.�
In his speech, Asam Sahitya Sabha president Paramananda Rajbongshi said that the State�s apex literary body is now moving towards a new horizon. �These four visitors have done a commendable job. There is an urgent need to preserve the legacy of Bezbaroa,� he added.
Students of Gurukul Grammar Senior Secondary School sang Assam�s State anthem O Mor Aponar Desh in both Assamese and Odia languages.