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Face to Face with Sahadev Sahoo: Life inspires a good story

By Sujata Shiven | PUBLISHED: 19, Feb 2011, 15:25 pm IST | UPDATED: 21, Feb 2011, 14:45 pm IST

Face to Face with Sahadev Sahoo: Life inspires a good story

Face to Face conducted an interview with Mr Sahadev Sahoo, Orissa's literary writer. He has many stories to his credit and has won distingusihed awards for his writings contributing to the propogation of Orissa's literary culture.                                                       
Q. What is your first story? When was it published?

Ans. My first story was published in 1975. That was my first year in the college. The story is about a peon in the school who is employed on daily wage basis. He does not have any job security and is exploited by the school authority. On 15th August, Independence Day is celebrated and to do the arrangements he had to stay in the school. But the day before he hears that his wife is seriously ill. He cannot leave his duty for fear of losing the job; no one bothers to have sympathy for him. He looks mechanically at the fluttering national flag though his mind is with his ailing wife.

This story I had written on the helplessness of the peon employed on daily wage basis in the school where I was a student.

Q. What inspires you to write a story?

Ans. I get inspiration from the society I live in. An event I witness, a news I come across in the morning newspaper, a person or even a photograph can inspire to write. Most of the times the events I come across in the society I live in, which I cannot accept and also at the same time I am unable to do anything, have induced me to write.

Q. Which story, according to you, is your best?

When I get an idea to write I think that will be my best story. When I finish writing I think it is a good story, but not the best. But after it is published I always feel something is lacking in the story, it could have been better. The best is, always, yet to come.

Some of the stories I consider good and also are appreciated by both common readers and literary critics are Pramoda Khudi, Bhrunahatya, Drushyara Antarale, Jeebaloka, Latika Apaa, Latadidi, Tukuna o dustaloka, etc.

Q. Which Odia writer has influenced you?

Ans. In Odisha there is a rich literary tradition.  I have a long list of my favourite writers, to name a few, I like, are Fakir Mohan Senapati, Manoj Das and Surendra Mohanty.

Q. Which contemporary Indian writer is your favourite and why?

Ans. I have read many Indian writers of other languages mostly in English or in Odia translation. Some of the writers I have read and liked are U R Ananthamurthy, M T Vasuvevan Nair, Indira Goswami, Asaparna Devi, Mahasweta Devi, Premchand, Amrita Pritam and many others. Among the Indians writing in English I read and enjoy Ruskin Bond, R K Narayan, Kamala Das, Amitabh Ghosh, Arundhoti Roy, Upamanyu Bhattacharya, etc. I might have left many good writers of other languages whose works have not been translated.

Q. Do literary awards influence/encourage better writing?

Ans. Of course literary awards encourage writing. Awards promote sales of the books of a writer. In one way it is a kind of recognition.

Q. Do you think translation makes bridges between languages?

Ans. Definitely. Translation helps in understanding different cultures, getting closer the persons of different languages and breaking the barriers created by the languages. Besides, it enriches the literature of the language to which the book is translated into.

Q. What message would you like to impart to the aspiring writers?

Ans. One should live as it comes and capitalize his experience he gathers in the process to write. The writer should be truthful to himself.    

Also Read:

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Sahadev Sahoo: Writer who reads life