‘Publicity has earned Rath Yatra global attention’ | Bhubaneswar News – Times of India

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BHUBANESWAR: Rajat Kar is the voice of Rath Yatra. The 87-year-old has been doing commentary since 1959. He speaks to Arunika Mohapatra about winning the Padma Shri and more.
Q-Whom do you credit for the award?
A-It is by Lord Jagannath’s blessings that I have got this award
Q-How has Rath Yatra changed over the years?
A-In the beginning there was devotion and limited publicity. Now publicity is at its peak. The government is hugely responsible for it. Some years ago this popularity helped me deliver 40 lectures in the US on Lord Jagannath and Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, which would not have been possible otherwise. Through it, I was able to draw the attention of non-Odias and non-Indians to Odia culture.
Q-How did it all start?
A-My teacher Bichanda Charan Patnaik and my mother were very attached to Lord Jagannath. That was my first introduction to him and the attraction grew over the years. When I was a lecturer at Koraput College in 1959, I was chosen for the commentary with many others on All India Radio and later in Doordarshan.
Q-Had Rath Yatra not been held last year, what would have been the impact?
A-The impact would have been adverse. People would have been shocked and blamed the government for it. This year I gave the commentary and analysis of Lord Jagannath in a television studio and people came to know me. Earlier, we never got so much prominence.
Q-The government is working on the facelift of major shrines. What’s your take on it?
A-Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has done a lot to improve places of religious interest. His efforts are commendable. Beautifying the area is helpful in creating the right ambience.
Q-Your future plans…
A-I have written a book on Lord Jagannath that I intend to publish it this year. Another book on India is ready for publication by a New Delhi-based publishing house.

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