In the welcome address, Satya Pattanaik, Director, Black Eagle Books said, “This book exhibition is a festival of literature. This is a ceremony of knowledge and information. Indian diaspora has a history of more than 200 years, has contributed towards the economic growth of the host country, and has influenced politically too. But we have not portrayed our culture in the host country effectively. We can mitigate the gap by providing enough literature or books which would represent our culture and tradition. We are laying the foundation of opening the windows to explore another horizon which is unexplored by this part of the world. This exhibition will be arranged in different cities of the USA and Canada in the coming days.”
Chief guest, Prof. Bishun Pandey, Associate Dean, Ohio State University said, “All of us who come to US, UK or any country are able to come here & thrive because of our love for reading and our connections with books. However, the books we read in school & college are about math, science, & technology. When we are here we stay & work together with our community to pass on the culture & traditions of India. We have built many temples and teach our kids. However, we need books about our religion, culture & traditions specifically for the next generation. So Black Eagle Books will fill that gap.”
Guest of Honor, Prof. Dhabaleswar Panda, Professor. Computer Science& Engineering, Ohio State University said, “40-50 years ago we were reading Odia translations of Three Musketeers, Gulliver’s Travels, etc. It was the Harry Potters series of that era. Now, Black Eagle Books is bringing tales of Odisha to the world. I expect to see these books become available in electronic forms and movies must be made on the stories from these books. And these movies must be available thru Netflix & Amazon. only sky’s the limit.”
Guest of Honor, Prof. Ila Nagar, Ohio State University said, “Most knowledge about India reaches the diaspora through Bollywood. Bollywood actually is more of a gloss-over sort of information about race, religion & human interaction, etc. The actual information comes through books written in Indian languages about Indian things.” Guest of Honor, Prof. Vladimir Steffel, Ohio State University, spoke about his visit to India, specifically visiting Taj Mahal and how an immigrant finds his way in America. The first-generation Indian diaspora sticks together and the next generations seem to mingle better with the natives. However, there is a need for them to know who they are and where they come from. There is great pressure for us to speak English & embrace everything American. However, it’s necessary to keep your ethnic identity”, he said.