Works of Odisha litterateur JP Das to be available online free

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jan 03, 2016 10:51 AM
The works of bureaucrat-turned-writer from Odisha, Jagannath Prasad Das, can be accessed free online after the digitisation process is complete.

The article was published in Odisha Sun Times on December 5, 2015.

Saraswati Samman and Sahitya Academy award winner, prominent writer, former IAS officer and cultural historian, popularly known as JP Das, has recently re-licensed 30 of his notable works under a free license called CC-by-SA 4.0. This opens up a whole new window to his books being accessible to readers for free online.

Recently, the scanning of the original books was made by the Bhubaneswar based non-profit and science education research organisation Srujanika which will now be made available after converting them into text form.

Not just Dr Das, many other notable individuals like Padma Shree Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, Manoj Panda, Dr Subrat Prusty, Bharat Majhi and organisations like Aama Odisha, Manik Biswanath Smrutinyasa that have come forward in the past to make their books available online using Odia Wikisource as a platform. Aama Odisha’s founder Soumya Ranjan Patnaik in a public gathering last year had permitted for relicensing and digitizing 19 volumes of Odia books published by Aama Odisha.

“I made a rather late and hesitant entry into the internet and digital world, but it has since become an integral part of my life. My introduction to digital books was through Srujanika’s digitised version of Purnachandra Odia Bhashakosha – all of 95,00 pages in seven volumes — which was impossible to handle on the writing table. That made me think how wonderful it would be to have all Odia books available on the internet that could be easily accessible to every interested reader,” says Das.

“As a beginning, I decided to put my own writings on the internet. Many of our young Odia writers are quite active on the social media. I hope they will take the initiative to get more and more Odia books available on the internet with the help of Odia Wikisource,” he adds.

Notably, Odia Wikisource is a sister project of the Odia Wikipedia and is available at on the internet. As a free online Odia-language library, it houses over 119 books already and all of the books are either under public domain or under the above mentioned creative commons share-alike license which gives the freedom of accessing the works for free, reuse them and even correct if any mistakes found, of course following the guidelines made by the Wikisource community. Currently, about 10 Wikisourcers are actively contributing to digitise books of various genres ranging from science to fiction to even the Odia classics.

With more authors generously opening up their work online, it feels like they are worried of the books becoming obsolete from the new generation leaving them with no way to learn about their own language and literature. Regional languages like Odia are facing the struggle to selling more books with the growing trend of English-centric education and rat race for jobs. In such a tough situation, more popular Odia literary content is certainly going to give a boost to readership and will take the language to more people, he expressed.