KIIT School of Humanities Organizes International Seminar on “The Mystic Eyes”: Jagannath in South Asian Literature, Culture and Folklore

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The School of Humanities, KIIT-DU organized a two day International seminar on “The Mystic Eyes”: Jagannath in South Asian Literature, Culture and Folklore sponsored by ICSSR on March 14-15, 2022. Prof. Rekha Pande, Former Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad and Prof. Ramesh Chandra Mishra, Chairman, Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR) and member, Governing Body, ICSSR were invited as keynote speakers on the occasion.

In her Inaugural address, Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Vice-Chancellor, KIIT-DU spoke about the significance of “The Mystic Eyes”. Drawing on from her own research work, she clarified how the length of the eyes of the Jagannath has been used to trace the origins of this glorious cult. Professor Samanta later went on to narrate the act of listening to the kathas from different mythological texts in her early childhood and explained how such listening left a permanent mark on her individual self. 

In his welcome address, Professor A. K. Sen, Dean-in-Charge, School of Humanities and Organizing chair of the seminar elucidated about the presence of Jagannath in real life experiences of the Oriya and Bengali masses. Referring to Chaitanya, he spoke about the deep links of the Jagannath with the popular vaishnav devotional movement.

In her brief address, Professor Rekha Pande redefined the meaning of religion and emphasized on tracing and bringing in the cult of Jagannath as a beginning to understand the meaning of religion in contemporary times. In his address, Professor Jnyana Ranjan Mohanty, Registrar, KIIT-DU shared his valuable thoughts on the cult of Jagannath. The Vote of Thanks for the Inaugural session was given by Professor Sukanta Chandra Swain, Associate Dean, School of Humanities and Organizing Secretary of the seminar.

In the two days, a host of presenters from different parts of the world presented their papers. There were 16 paper presentations followed by the exhibition of famous Pattachitra Painting from Raghurajpur, a heritage village near Puri, by artist Om Prakash. The seminar concluded with the lecture lab demonstration of the ashtapadis of Jayadeva by Padamshree awardee and celebrated Odissi dancer Ileanea Citaristi. The Seminar was convened by Dr. S. Amar, School of Humanities.

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