GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - The writings of Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa, apart from their unparalleled literary worth, also reflect his unflinching love and devotion for his motherland Assam. It is difficult to believe that a man doing business outside his State for decades would have such a compelling inclination to contribute in such a stellar manner towards the enrichment and propagation of his language and literature as Bezbaroa had done while staying at Sambalpur in Odisha a hundred years back.
This was observed by senior Odisha journalist Deepak Panda, who is also the conveyor of the Bezbaroa Smruti Raksha Sadan, Sambalpur, while receiving a felicitation at a function held at BSNL Auditorium, Panbazar this evening.
Panda was accorded the felicitation in recognition of his unstinted efforts towards preserving and renovating the two heritage houses of Bezbaroa.
Addressing the gathering, Panda, who has also penned a book on Bezbaroa, said that Bezbaroa’s old mansions at Sambalpur triggered his interest in the legendary Assamese litterateur.
“When I delved deeper into Bezbaroa, his works, his two-decade stay by the Mahanadi at Sambalpur, and also his love for Sambalpur and its inhabitants, I gradually realized what a colossus Bezbaroa was. I was determined to facilitate the preservation of the two heritage houses – residence and office. As the local people were hardly interested in the two houses and those were in danger of being demolished for the construction of a bridge on the Mahanadi, I started a campaign for reintroduction of Bezbaroa for the Sambalpur residents,” he said.
Panda added that the campaign worked and despite opposition of certain sections, many locals lent their support to the cause. The local media, as also the media in Assam, also helped, and finally, the deliberations between the two governments ensured that the houses will be restored and preserved,” he said, adding that he penned the book on Bezbaroa at that time.
Panda said the renovated houses would act as a Bezbaroa Memorial and also an Assam-Odisha cultural exchange centre.
“Assam and Odisha have a lot in common in terms of history, culture, geography and people’s lifestyles. The legacy of Bezbaroa has enhanced that effect and we need to build further on that,” he said.
Two books by Panda, titled History of Sambalpur and Veer Surendra Sai, and Deben Tamuli’s Sambalpur: Chinta aru Duhchinta were released at the function.
Litterateur Nirupama Borgohain, former Dibrugarh University Vice Chancellor Prof Alak Kumar Buragohain, Chief Minister’s Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami, and social activist Deben Tamuly also addressed the meeting, which was presided over by Prof Udayaditya Bharali, former Principal of Cotton College.
Prof Buragohain gave an account of the initiatives of DU in preserving Bezbaroa’s memory. “A few invaluable memorabilia such as Bezbaroa’s writing pen, spectacles, chair, etc., now stand preserved at the DU museum,” he said.
Nirupoma Borgohain dwelt on her loving association with Odisha and thanked Panda for his initiative towards preserving Bezbaroa’s legacy.