BHUBANESWAR11/2/24: Eminent litterateur and the former president of Odisha Sahitya Akademi Satakadi Hota passed away due to age-related ailments here on Sunday. He was 95.
A retired IRTS officer and former divisional railway manager of Khurda Road, Hota was the editor of Odia Daily Samay since its inception on October 2, 1996. Born at Jagannath Khunta in Mayurbhanj district, he pursued his education from Puri and Cuttack. He joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service in 1954 and was posted in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
While being on deputation in Odisha from 1980 to 1985, he implemented some important railway infrastructure development projects in the state including sanction of Koraput-Rayagada railway line, Sambalpur-Talcher railway line, and the introduction of new passenger and express trains to Odisha. Hota was also instrumental in setting up a new railway recruitment board at Bhubaneswar. Although he had been writing since his school days at Baripada, his focus shifted entirely to Odia literature and culture after he retired in 1987.
Author of around 60 books including essays, poetry, novels, short stories, autobiography, and translations, he was also the founding president of Bhubaneswar Book Fair Committee which has been doing pioneering work in inculcating reading habits in people since 1985. The organisation has been holding annual book exhibitions since then.
Hota headed the Odisha Sahitya Akademi from 2013 to 2016. The litterateur made pioneering efforts to get classical status for Odia language by involving Sahitya Akademi, Odisha Bhasha Pratisthan, Utkal University of Culture, and eminent scholars in preparing the document. His efforts yielded results when the Culture Ministry notified Odia as a classical language on March 12, 2014.
Hota’s demise was mourned by many. Governor of Odisha Raghubar Das expressed condolences to the bereaved family. Describing him as a renowned literary figure, administrator, and editor, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the mortal remains of Hota would be cremated with state honours. “For his immense contribution to the world of Odia literature, he will remain forever,” the chief minister wrote on X. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Hota devoted his life for enrichment of Odia language, literature, and culture.