Odisha’s rich culture showcased at diaspora meet in US

Chicago–Classical Odissi dance and popular ballads of Pala and Daskathia were part of a programme to showcase the rich culture of Odisha at a convention of Orissa Society of the Americas (OSA) held July 4-6 in Chicago, a society functionary said Wednesday.

About 1,400 people, including members of Indian diaspora in the US and delegates from Odisha, attended the 44th Convention of the OSA at Westin Hotel Lombard, a suburb of Chicago, former OSA vice president Dhirendra Kar told IANS.

“Starting from Odissi to Pala and Daskathia, Kirtana (devotional chanting) to Jhoti Chita (the folk art drawn on floor and walls) and ethnic odiya foods were part of the cultural showcase at the convention,” Kar said.

The convention saw deliberations on the economic development of India and Odisha. National Innovation Council chairman Sam Pitroda addressed the gathering.

Dinanath Pathy, a versatile artist and creative writer from Odisha, and Padma Shri award winner and eminent writer Pratibha Ray were among those present at the event.

The convention also had a session on investment opportunities in Odisha, in which entrepreneurs from the state like Ayaskanta Mohanty, Satyabrat Dutta and Debasish Patnaik presented their views.

A report on the ‘Buddhist Heritage of Odisha’ was also released on the occasion, Kar said.

Other issues that were deliberated upon during the convention included health, career, women-centric issues, spiritual matters, religion, business and entrepreneurial skills.

“The important feature of this year’s convention was participation of large number of youngsters,” he said.

The next OSA convention in 2014 will be held at Columbus, Ohio, Kar said.

Founded in 1969, OSA has over a dozen regional chapters that serve as social umbrellas for people from the state in different parts of the US. It is one of the oldest federations of Indian American associations. –IANS