The School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, KISS Deemed to be University in collaboration with Gangadhar Meher University, Sambalpur organised an international Webinar on “Relevance of Literature in Reviving the Old Cultural Link between Kalinga and Lanka” on 4th February 2022. The programme was held in a virtual mode with 160 participants from six universities across India and Sri Lanka.

Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU inaugurated the Webinar and welcomed the speaker Shri Daya Dissanayake, Prof. N. Nagaraju, Vice-Chancellor, Gangadhar Meher University, professors from Sri Lankan and Indian universities, research scholars and student participants. He appreciated the collaborative academic exchange programme between KISS-DU and Gangadhar Meher University. “Organising a webinar with an International speaker like Shri Daya Dissanayake, bilingual poet, novelist and critic of Sri Lanka is a commendable move by the School”, he stated, adding that the topic will certainly help the researchers and students to take up cultural studies as an emerging area of research.

Shri Dissanayake delivered a talk on the cultural links of Kalinga across time and space, referring to the archaeological prehistory, and more recent history. Highlighting the ethnological study of the Sinhalese race, he said that there is a distinct South Indian flavour to Sri Lankan culture. Nevertheless, Odisha and Sri Lanka have genealogical links and a vast swathe of cultural commonalities, including Buddhism. Further, he mentioned the Sinhalese translation of writers like Sarojini Sahoo and Pratibha Ray. He also referred to Prof. Bimalendu Mohanty’s Odia translation of a Sinhalese work. In order to intensify research on Odisha- Lanka cultural links, he emphasized the comparative study of the rock arts of both regions, Odia translation of the Jataka tales, links between Kalinga and Jaffna, among other such scholarly enterprises. He proposed that Odia should be taught at Sri Lankan universities in the same manner as Sinhalese be taught in the universities in Odisha and India.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor N. Nagaraju expressed his pleasure over the maiden collaborative venture. He said that the topic of the webinar bears relevance, and it will indeed help the faculty members, researchers and students of both the Universities to study literature from a cross-cultural perspective.

Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar, KISS-DU highlighted the vision and mission of KISS-DU as a whole and Prof. Achyuta Samata, Founder, KIIT & KISS in particular. Appreciating the initiative of both the Universities, he threw light on the journey of KISS in protecting, preserving and promoting the indigenous culture of India for more than three decades. Professor Jatindra Kumar Nayak, Professor Emeritus, KISS-DU highlighted Shri Dissanayake’s contribution to the world of literature as a bilingual poet, novelist, translator and critic.

The talk was followed by a question-answer session and the speaker answered the questions with clarity and insight. Professor Ashok Kumar Mohapatra, Sr. Professor and Chairman HRDC summarised the talk of Shri Dissanayake, and assured to organise webinars on cross-cultural work under HRDC, KISS-DU in coming days. The day’s programme ended with words of thanks by Dr. Chittaranjan Bhoi, Director, HRDC, KISS-DU.