Rashmi Ranjan Parida- The man behind a literary revolution in Odisha

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Rashmi Ranjan Parida is a social entrepreneur, journalist, curator and is the founder and director of India’s leading literary meet Kalinga Literary Festival. He is also the founder of the Kalinga Literary Festival, Mystic India Festival, Mystic Kalinga Festival, Kandhamal Literary Festival, Living Legend Oration, Odisha Living Legend Awards. He is the founder and Director of Rythm Festival Pvt Ltd, Odisha Media Info Service Pvt Ltd and Odisha Diary Foundation. He is an advisor for organisations and the founder of many other social initiatives.

Parida brought revolutionary changes to the state of media in Odisha through his vision and dedication.   From 2002 he solely dedicated his time for the promotion of brand Odisha in an innovative way. He started several initiatives to promote the Odia community, Odisha on a global level. He is the Founder-Editor of two leading news portals; OdishaDiary (www.orissadiary.com) and India Education Diary (www.indiaeducationdiary.com). He is the founder and director of East India’s largest literary meet Kalinga Literary Festival. He founded Kalinga Literary Festival in the year of 2013.  He is the Founder Odisha Diary Foundation.

Mr Parida started OrissaDiary.com (OD) in 2005 and India Education Diary (IED) in 2006. He devoted full time from 2008 onwards as the Chief Editor for both these websites. In 2011 we institutionalized an annual award entitled “Odisha Living Legend Awards” which conferred on renowned personalities and policy practices of Odisha. In 2012 Manthan Awards in Delhi felicitated OrissaDiary as a pioneering news website on Odisha. His work is also appreciated by the country’s leading b school IIM-Ahmedabad. Mr Parida was awarded Odia Pua Award in 2014 and Prerana Award in 2015 for his contribution to the state of Odisha. He was awarded Young Entrepreneur Award by Young India.

Mr Parida has taken several initiatives to encourage students to work as citizen journalists. The websites have created their own respective brands and are recognized for credibility, fastness, impartiality and concern for common people. To create a formal structure, team members of OD and IED decided to form a company known as Odisha Media Info Service (OMIS) Private Ltd, which would supervise and will be tasked for the brand building and brand extension of OD and IED.

Kalinga Literary Festival was launched in 2014 to commemorate the Classical Language Status given to Odia Language, my mother tongue and the official language of Odisha.  We felt a responsibility to stand up to the occasion and create a platform to celebrate this momentous achievement in the history of the Odia language post-1947. Another momentous occasion was the recognition of Odia language as a separate language in 1936 making Odisha the first Indian state reorganized on the basis of language. We were not born them. So it was only apt to celebrate the 2014 classical language status. The Festival aim is to make Bhubaneswar the next literary capital in India. Earlier there was no national and international literary and cultural festival Odisha. Our tryst is to bring the best minds in the world of literature within and outside of Odisha and India to Odisha. Academics, authors, political and social activists, lawmakers, government officials, corporate leaders, students and people from all walks of life annually immerse in the vibrant atmosphere of the festival and exchange opinions on their favourite authors and works. Literature from different parts of India will complement the regional literature of Odisha and we are hopeful of a creative and productive dialogue between and among literary genres and traditions.   Each year new ideas and values were added. The team became bigger. The advisory board and the jury were created to guide us on the awards, felicitations and the agenda of the annual festival.

The annual Kalinga Literary Festival celebrates the creative spirit of India and commemorates the literary diversity it offers, bringing it into conversation with the best minds in the world of literature within and outside of Odisha and India. Academics, authors, political and social activists, lawmakers, government officials, corporate leaders, students and people from all walks of life are immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the festival and exchange opinions on their favourite authors and works. Mystic Kalinga Festival has emerged as an Annual Flagship event in the cultural calendar of India and our focus is to rekindle the romance with literature and foster reading and writing habits, especially among the youth. It offers a national platform with a global appeal and bridges the gap between literature in English and other Indian regional languages.

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Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) is one of the most coveted international literary festivals annually held at Bhubaneswar of Odisha, an eastern part of India. Besides the annual program under the aegis of KLF, it has three other popular festivals in its fold: Mystic Kalinga Festival, Kandhamal Literary Festival, Maithili Literary Festival. Annual Kalinga Literary Festival and Mystic Kalinga Festival celebrates the creative spirit of India and commemorates the literary diversity it offers, bringing it in conversation with the best minds in the world of literature within and outside of Odisha and India. Authors, academics, policymakers, literary-cultural, political and social activists, lawmakers, government officials, corporate leaders, spiritual thinkers, students and people from all walks of life immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the festival and exchange opinions on their favourite authors and works. Kandhamal Literary Festival is a unique initiative from KLF for mainstreaming tribal literature—and thus expanding its reach and fame across the world. It is well-celebrated for keeping a democratic feature never seen earlier with any other literary festivals, at the grassroots, it is making desirable changes through positive creative interventions.

As the world gripped through the unprecedented crisis with an outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the most severe operational disruptions made it impossible to organise the literary festival physically. In such a testing phase, KLF started a virtual talk series “Bhava Samvad”. KLF Bhava Samvad through about 350-sessions so far has hosted the most illustrious writers, policymakers, socio-cultural influencers and best creative minds to keep the culture of idea-exchanges fostering. As widely recognised and reported, KLF Bhava Samvad is undoubtedly the most impactful and engaging virtual literary idea platform in India.

KLF Book Awards, established by KLF in 2021 opens up the opportunities to identify, recognise, acknowledge, encourage and honour the literary talents across genres, for both established and new writers. The objective has been to shape future literary icons.  Kalinga Literary Festival to organise the first international edition of KLF from this year at Kathmandu. In 2021  Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) Nepal was the country partner, four state governments like Odisha, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir supported the festival. LIC was the presenting partner NEWSX was the TV Partner, RED FM was the Radio partner. The British Council also supported the festival.

Mr . Parida was born on 15th June 1977 in the village of Dalakasoti in Khurda district in a humble family. His parents are Shri. Benudhar Parida and Smt. Kanaklata Parida.

Mr Parida graduated in arts from BJB College, Bhubaneswar under Utkal University in 1997. He was ranked 2nd in the university.  He did his MA in Political Science in the year 1999 from Ravenshaw University the then Ravenshaw College and completed MA in Journalism and Mass Communication in the year 2002 from Berhampur University.

As a devoted Odia and development activist, he has attended a number of training programs and workshops to learn about innovative methods and concepts. He constantly engages himself in bringing the latest concepts into practice in the state of Odisha. He thanks his wife Prachee Naik for her constant support and backing to his idea. Prachee is well known UI Designer who is currently working NIC of the Government of India. Mr Parida also thanks his family especially his parent’s brother, friends for their endless support.

Edited By – Dikhya Mohanty

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