ACTIVITIES

MONICA DAS’s ASSOCIATION WITH MATTERS RELATED TO FM SENAPATI (Odisha Specific):

  • The Film titled “Anvesan” was made by Dr. Monica Das (Chair-person, Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF)) on Fakir Mohan Senapati’s life & works. This was sponsored by Doordarshan. Later a DVD was made on it, sponsored by Doordarshan Archives & Prasar Bharti, Delhi.

  • Monica Das had been visiting Balasore a number of times for the shooting of the film.

  • Film won the award for being best drama TV film of the year. It is being screened by DD Odisha from time to time.

  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik & CEO Prasar Bharti felicitated Dr. Monica Das at a special function held in Rabindra Mandap, BBSR.

  • She has done narration & has also acted in the film.
  • An indepth research preceded the filming. Reconnaissance as well. This entailed frequent trips to Odisha on her part.

  • She has done the script for video CD on Odissi brought out by Prasar Bharti. It was released in the same function.

  • The 3 hour film “Anvesan” was converted by Monica Das with the help of DD Archives and Prasar Bharti, Delhi into a one hour abridged form with English subtitles.

  • OSA (Odisha Society of Americans) invited Dr. Monica Das to screen the film in Dallas, USA. 200 copies were sold by Doordarshan, Delhi to NROs in USA.

  • She was invited to screen the film and speak on the making of the film in Dallas, USA.

  • A dance drama based on FM Senapati’s ‘Chha Mana Atha Guntha’ was staged through Odissi dance & Hindi/ Odiya/ English narration in Sahid Bhawan Cuttack (Incidentally this was staged in Habitat Centre, Delhi as well) . Eminent artistes Sharon Lorwen Kavita Dwivedi, Tom Alter (film artist from Bollywood) participated in this rendition.

  • FMF had a tie up with Spic Macay where Monica Das had proposed a language interface with dance performance. The first program was held in Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi & subsequent programmes were held in Sai International School, BBSR & XIMB. Dr. Kiran Seth, chairman and founder of Spic Macay, Barada Das (eminent literature) & Monica Das were the panelists. In Maulana Azad, Professor Namvar Singh and Monica Das had addressed the students and faculty members.

  • Held a press conference in BBSR (pictures attached) on promoting the concept of Prachira Patra (wall magazine) in different schools of Odisha under the title “Bhasa Bahika”. This also included elements of “Manav Dharma”, a concept introduced by Monica Das as one of our mission statements. It is about learning humanism through language & literature.

  • She has devised a workshop module on the above, which is intended to be used for school workshops in Odisha. But due to lack of funds, it is yet to see the light of the day.

  • She is now doing a DVD on FM Senapati’s poems. It is supposed to be a musical/vocal rendition of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s poems. The vocalists taking part in this are Pranab Patnaik, Adyasha Das, Monica Das and Sangeeta Gosain.
  • Recently participated in a three day Symposium held in Balasore FM University. Dr. Monica Das was a speaker in one of the sessions.

  • On an earlier occasion, Monica Das was one of the honored guests for the inauguration of the Heritage Centre in FM University (Pictures enclosed).

  • Last year, she did a three episode TV program with children from five different schools in DD, BBSR. It was on the topic of FM’s literature whether read by school children of Odisha – the extent of their exposure to this. It was an interactive three day session with leading litterateurs of Odisha including Pratibha Ray and Das Benhur. She was also a part of it. The recording is available with her.

  • She has lectured in OSA (Odisha Society for Americas) held in Seattle on the topic of everyday use of mother tongue/ use of ‘Dhaga-Dhamali’ – Upholding our heritage and getting to our roots.
  • She has lectured on the mother tongue issues along with Shri Namar Singh (eminent litterateur) in Delhi and with others in Odisha.

  • She has a MoU of sorts with Rama Debi University, BBSR, Odisha.

  • She was invited on 14th January 2015 by Balasore FM Sahitya Parishad for sharing memories of living in FM’s Balasore house and FM’s house in Cuttack as well as memories concerning interacting with FM’s daughter-in-law Smt. Hiranprabha Senapati (Mohini Mohan Senapati’s wife and Monica Das’s grandmother). She was also asked to talk about Fakir Mohan Foundation at length.

  • Dr. Monica Das received an award from Minister Debi Prasad Mishra at a function held under the auspices of Non Resident Odiya Facilitation Center in February, 2016. The inscription on the award says “Recognizes Mrs. Monica Das for her outstanding contribution in preserving and promoting Fakir Mohan’s Heritage”.

  • She had submitted a petition on behalf of FMF to the erstwhile culture minister Shri Maheshwar Mohanty about taking up the matter of maintainence of Fakir Mohan house along with relics associated with FM Senapati that exists in Bakhrabad, Cuttack. This should be in consultation and in compliance with the present owner/occupant of the said house.

SOME INFO CONCERNING Dr. MONICA DAS’s ASSOCIATION WITH ODISHA:

    • Dr. Monica Das did her matriculation from Barabati Girls High School, Balasore, where her mother Smt. Binapani Misra (Fakir Mohan Senapati’s granddaughter) was the headmistress for long 7-8 years.
    • Lived in Fakir Mohan’s house in Mallikaspur, Balasore. This along with Shanti Kanan and nearby land was inherited by my mother Binapani Senapati as FM Senapati’s granddaughter. This fact is mentioned in FM Senapti’s will.
    • She was an AIR artiste (vocal) in Cuttack for 10 years. Sang Odissi & Odiya bhajans. Shri Bhubanesuar Mishra was my mentor.
    • She learnt classical & Odissi from Kashinath Puja Panda.     
    • Worked on her Phd. in Economics in Delhi under the guidance of chairman of CACP, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India and obtained the degree from Utkal University where Monica Das was registered. Her topic was related to Odisha’s agriculture.
    • She has participated as a panelist in the Literature festival organized by Indian Express on the topic “Can Literature Change Mindsets of People with regard to women “. Smt. Pratibha Ray (Gyan Pith awardee) chaired the session.
    • She has contributed a research paper recently on “Women & Development in Odisha” which is to be published by Sage. Mrs. Asha Hans, Amrita Patil & Bidjot Mohanty are the editors.
    • Monica Das, as a member of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) based in Nebraska, USA, has presented several research papers in different universities around the globe. Some of the papers are pertaining to topics related to Odisha.
    • She has edited six leading Odisha related journals in Delhi including the one done by Govt. of Odisha in Delhi during Mr. Srinivas Injeti’s tenure as Resident commissioner and on his request to me.
    • Dr. Monica Das is one of the founder members of Odisha Forum in Delhi. Founder President being Shri Jatin Das (Artist), Padma Bhushan. She was the Vice President of the forum for the two consecutive terms. She is now a governing body member. Odisha Forum is a think tank and deals with matters concerning Odisha. In this connection, she is constantly in touch with matters pertaining to Odisha and has regular interactions with people coming from Odisha.
    • She has been interviewed under ‘Aajira Nari’ by DD, BBSR. FM Foundation also featured in the discussion.
    • She has been interviewed by Kalinga TV as well.
    • She has presented a paper on child labor in Odisha in UBC (University of British Columbia), Vancouver, Canada, in the year 2000, where she was invited to be a visiting scholar for three months.
    • She has depicted the Girl Child through FM’s Rebati and Kishori Das’s story - The Outsider, in her book published by Penguin as well as Harper Collins on another topic. 200 copies of the first book has been purchased by CEFL, Government of India and distributed to various educational institutions including IITs in India.

     

    ONGOING AND FORTHCOMING ACTIVITIES OF FMF:

    Promoting ‘Manav Dharma’ (The religion of humanism) figures majorly in FMF’s agenda. We have already put in our appeal to the post & telegraphs department Government of India for bringing out a stamp on Manav Dharma with Fakir Mohan’s picture and name. This is under process & would need your patronage for it to happen. We have a logo prepared on the theme and we would be treating it as our event logo hereafter for all our events, besides using the main FMF logo.

    The foundation proposes to carry out its work under three categories or wings of FMF, viz Language & Culture, Socio-Economic Development and Education for Empowerment. The issue of language is uppermost on the FMF agenda.

    I. Language, Culture & Heritage
    Propagation of the Odiya language through ‘Make Books Your Best Friends’ and other Programmes:
    The foundation believes that once the basics of existence are taken care of rest falls into place and among the basics are language, culture and heritage & environment. The Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) has various things as its mission, but the language issue is uppermost on its agenda especially in the context of Odisha. In order to understand and connect to one’s roots and heritage it is imperative to understand one’s mother tongue. The use of English and Hindi have to be there due to many reasons other than reasons which are market driven, but to nourish the inner core of humans, promoting the use of regional languages is important and seems to be the call of the day. Incidentally statistics says globally one language dies every fifteen days.

    In view of the dying use of the regional language amongst the younger generation in particular, FMF wishes to launch a movement to encourage children to take more interest in the Odiya language- their mother tongue. Quiz competitions will be designed and other games around the Odiya language will be organized with special focus on Vyasa Kavi Fakir Mohan Senapati’s literary works. The idea is to familiarize children with the richness that exists in our literature, culture & heritage. Knowledge about Odisha also would also be woven around the quiz programmes in the proposed design. In order to motivate children prizes would be awarded. Free counseling will be provided regarding how the youth can nurture/cultivate their interest in so far as language, literature & culture etc are concerned.

    This program/ movement will cover many places/schools pan Odisha. The resource persons would be drawn from various prestigious organizations like NCERT, Delhi university, Jamia Millia and many other renowned organizations of Odisha and Delhi. ‘Siddhi Organization of Bhubaneswar, Odisha’ which is doing commendable job and is also into research and surveys concerning the use of language and general literacy will be joining hands with us in doing the needful regarding the language issue.In due course we are hopeful that many helping hands from the civil society would be forth coming to promote this endeavour and in due course of time further momentum would be gathered. This could probably be a flagship movement for other regions of India to follow or it could just add value to similar programs that might be existing at other places.

    The Human Development Ministry has in its pipeline the library scheme to reach most villages of India. FMF is seeking association with this movement and extend its reach to the elderly and the unemployed. FMF would also like to launch a Pustkalay Andolan in collaboration with various other NGOs. This movement will be titled ‘Make Books Your Best Friends’. So far as the use of the regional language Odiya is concerned studies conducted by a premier organization ACER reveal that only 34% are into the use of the regional language. So, promoting the language is rather imperative.

    We are also pursuing with National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) to include in their syllabus the writings of Fakir Mohan Senapati. We have applied to the head of the organization to this effect. We also plan holding book reading sessions in future on Fakir Mohan’s novels and short stories. We have spoken to Penguin and Harper Collins for the purpose and they have evinced interest in the matter.

    Culture & heritage
    Under this wing we plan to revive the dying arts and bring about awareness among the youth regarding their culture and heritage. Under this we plan to mobilize retired professors and committed researches from India and abroad to deliver lectures in schools and colleges on a voluntary basis.

    American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) has agreed to route through Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) serious researchers from USA and other places, who are desirous of working on themes concerning Odisha, its culture and heritage and development.

    * The AIIS features in the pages of our souvenir.

    Workshops on Manav Dharam
    The envisaged Workshop is based on the premise that Literature plays an important role in building and promoting values, beliefs and opinions in society. The focus is intended to be a critical understanding of literature with special reference to Fakir Mohan Senapati and its message, using multiple methodologies and pedagogical tools beyond lectures to presentations, screening relevant short films with an interactive discussion woven around it, Buzz and larger group discussions, role play, panel discussions, and other interactive exercises like Brain storming, LCD and OHP Presentations, group activities etc.

    Oriya Music and Dance- Baithaks and Lecdems
    Music and dance are an expression of the lyrics of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works which transcend the mundane to the aesthetic and express all ranges and categories of human emotion. The Writer has given a voice and expression to emotional trials and tribulations. Baithak style informal music gatherings and lecture demonstration are proposed to explore and contextualise Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works.

    II. Socio-Economic Development

    Daya River cleanup program initiative of FMF
    The Daya River cleanup program initiative of FMF is in collaboration with Rivers of the World Foundation (ROW) and BISWA (Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency) of Bhubaneswar. Under this program Dr. Subijoy Dutta scientist from ROW, Maryland, accepted our request to conduct a test on some of the rivers of Odisha and in particular the Daya river. In April, 2011, on the occasion of the Earth Day a successful Sensitization programme on the banks of Daya river near Bhubaneswar Odisha, was undertaken. UNDP state programme Officer Mr. Ambica Prashad Nanda, Mr. Dilip Routrai, senior official from Bhubaneswar Municipality Commission Director Biswa, Mr. Prafulla Dhal, Prof. Monica Das from Delhi University and many others had attended the function and also addressed the villagers in the local lingo. The river bed was cleaned up and FMF Members joined hands in picking up the garbage from and around the river. The gloves and garbage bags were sent by ROW, Maryland USA.

    State Head UNDP, Odisha Dr. Ambika Nanda praised the above initiative, suggesting carrying forward the campaign to all rivers of Odisha. He further suggested strengthening the campaign with the help of civil society, Government and other agencies like UNDP. He stressed the role and participation of the community & women groups in this campaign and he hoped that it would change the situation considerably. Dr. Monica Das suggested some important points for the sustainability of the campaign. I) Steps should be taken to intensify the campaign. II) Plans should be in place for carrying it forward so as to cover all the rivers of Odisha. III) To chalk out a structured program. IV) Political will needs to be stimulated by motivating public opinion. V) “Gender representation in the campaign is of utmost importance”, she said. “Both women & men especially from the younger generation need to be closely involved in this movement in order to make a dent on the problem.”

    Dr. Monica Das suggested some important points for the sustainability of the campaign. I) Steps should be taken to intensify the campaign. II) Plans should be in place for carrying it forward so as to cover all the rivers of Odisha. III) To chalk out a structured program. IV) Political will needs to be stimulated by motivating public opinion. V) “Gender representation in the campaign is of utmost importance”, she said. “Both women & men especially from the younger generation need to be closely involved in this movement in order to make a dent on the problem.”

    III. Education for Empowerment

    Seminar on Yamuna River
    Seminar on Yamuna River, was organised by FMF at the National Foundation of India, IHC, in November 2011. Dr. Subijoy Dutta from Rivers of the World Foundation, Maryland, USA presenting his study. Among others who attended were Mr. Arya, Director, Jal Board, Mr. Vineet Narayan (activist) - seen in the picture.

    Book Reading
    The intertextuality of fiction and life is sought to be explored through the envisaged Book Readings on the myriad genre of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works .

    Panel Discussions on Fakir Mohan Senapati
    The complex nature of issues dealt with in Fakir Mohan Senapati‘s works, is going to be explored by FMF through interactive panel discussions, especially in the context of :
    • Intersection of Caste and Class
    • Representation of Women
    • Other– Vernacular Texts

    Workshops On Writing Skills
    FMF also intends to have workshops on writing skills by deconstructing the myriad nature of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s plays, essays, short stories, novels etc
    These activities are being planned in collaboration with universities in Delhi; Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Jamia Milllia Islamia, New Delhi, Delhi University (and its various Colleges) Literature and Languages Departments, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Guru Gobind Singh University & IGNOU amongst others to explore the gender quotient in academics.

    Seminar on the Issue of Underage Marriages
    The issue of rising underage marriages and its concomitant bigamy, both of which have an adverse effect on socio-economic factors and eventually in some way on the Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI) is also sought to be explored.

    Seminar on the Issue of Child Labour from a cultural perspective
    FMF intends to take up the issue of child labour from a cultural perspective. Much has been voiced and aired on the topic of child labour but it has been reduced to just some laboured lamentation. It is time that we revisit the issue and see it through the cultural lens. It would serve the twin objectives of having a cultural continuity along with economic regeneration with a difference. The idea should be not to condemn child labour as such and ban it outright instead to be pragmatic enough to put it in the right perspective. What is proposed here is that children of artisans, weavers, potters and craftsmen can be encouraged to be engaged in the family business, learn the traditional skills in the secure confines of their home & in due course carry forward and enhance these traditions over time.


    FAKIR MOHAN FOUNDATION
    Regd. In Delhi in Jan, 2011
    Regn. No. 21/Book No. 4, Vol No. 1, 438 / Page 77 to 97 / Dt. 13.01.2011

    Regd. Off. : 305, Nilgiri Apartment, 9 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001
    Adm. Off. (Office for correspondence) B-904, Kenwood Tower, Charmwood Village,
    Surajkund Road, Faridabad-121009, (NCR)
    Ph. No. : 0129-4117904, email : dasmonica@gmail.com

    We have held several meetings in Delhi. Venue for our meetings mostly has been the conference room of NFI (National Foundation of India), India Habitat Centre, core 4A, Upper Ground Floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003. The meetings were attended by trustees, committee members and student volunteers from Delhi University. Some of the dates on which meetings were held - 25.08.2011, 14.09.2011, 09.11.2011, 07.03.2012, 03.04.2012, 03.05.2012 & 16.05.2012, .

    • Had special consultation meetings with Mr S.C. Nanda (Advocate Supreme Court of India), Prof. T.K. Oommen (Eminent sociologist & Padmabhushan Recipient) & Mr. Lalit Man Singh (Former Ambassador to USA).

    • The Daya river cleanup program initiative of FMF was in collaboration with Rivers of the World Foundation (ROW) and BISWA (Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency) of Bhubaneswar. Under this program Dr. Subijoy Dutta scientist from ROW, Maryland, accepted our request to conduct a test on some of the rivers of Odisha and in particular the Daya river. In April, 2011, on the occasion of the Earth Day a successful sensitization programme was carried out on the banks of Daya river near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

    • Seminar on Yamuna River, was organised by FMF at the office of National Foundation of India, IHC, in November 2011. Dr. Subijoy Dutta from Rivers of the World Foundation, Maryland, USA presented his study on the quality of some of the important rivers of India. Among others who attended were Mr. Arya, Director, Jal Board, Mr. Vineet Narayan (activist), seen in the picture (souvenir of FMF). Members of FMF took active part in the discussions and suggested measures to contend with the river water pollution problem

    • Had meetings with the Director of AIIS (American Institute of Indian Studies) in Nov, 2011. They have agreed to route through Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) serious researchers from USA and other places, who are desirous of working on themes concerning Odisha, its culture and heritage and development. 

    • Had a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Fakir Mohan University, Balasore, Odisha.

    • Have entered into an MOU with them concerning faculty exchange programs.

    • Fakir Mohan Foundation donated a sum of Rupees sixteen thousand to Ekal Vidyalaya of Friends of Tribals Society on dated 02.04.2012.

    • Had a major cultural event on 4th January, 2012 at India Habitat Centre, Stein Auditorium, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The event was in collaboration with the Govt. of India, Deptt. of Tourism. A souvenir was released on the occasion in the presence of dignitaries like Hon’ble Srikant Jena (Cabinet Minister), Justice Ananga Patnaik, Mr. Jawahar Sircar (Secretary of Culture, Govt. of India), Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (Chief Election Commissioner), Mr. Sarat Rout (Former Minister of Culture, Govt. of Odisha) & Dr. Monica Das (Managing Trustee FMF). The event was a celebration of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s legacy. Dance - drama - musical rendition of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s novel ‘Chhamana Atha Guntha (Six Acres & a Third)’ was presented. Artistes who performed were Sharon Lowen, Kabita Dwivedi, Nitisha Nanda, Vishwanath Mangaraj, Tom Alter, (Cinema artiste from Bombay) Miss Alana (theatre artiste from Delhi), and many others. The show was a grand success and was extensively covered by the media including Doordarshan.

    • The film ‘Anvesan’ on Fakir Mohan Senapati’s life & works made by Dr. Monica Das (Retd. Associate Professor, Delhi University & Managing Trustee of FMF) was screened at the Habitat Centre the same day (4th Jan, 2012). This film was sponsored by Door Darshan Archives.

    • A talk on FMF was presented at OSA by the managing trustee Dr Monica Das in July 2012 at Seattle, USA, which has been published by their online journal Utkarsh later.

    • Did an interactive session recording with the preeminent professor and writer Namvar Singh on Fakir Mohan Senapati in January, 2013.

    • A Fakir Mohan Senapati award was instituted by Odisha Peoples Unity Council, New Delhi. On 31st January, 2012 at a function organizaed in the constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi, the award was given posthumously to Shri Gauri Shankar Rai who was a towering personality of Odisha – a worthy son of the soil. Dr. Monica Das represented Fakir Mohan Foundation for the event. Shri Ram Ch. Khuntia, member of parliament, also spoke at length and he alongwith Professor Namvar Singh and other congratulated Dr. Monica das on instituting the Fakir Mohan Foundation. She was felicitated on that occasion.

    • Had planning workshop meetings with students & committee members and have lined up several workshops in schools & colleges starting with the first of the series at Apeejay School, Saket on 22.01.2013. Had meetings concerning this with members of FMF on 17.01.2013 & 21.01.2013.

    • Presentation of a Nukkad Natak is being planned for the workshops to be conducted at different institutions.

    • An interfaith dialogue is to take place shortly under the auspices of Fakir Mohan Foundation.

    • Meeting held with some esteemed Trustees of the foundation in Bhubaneswar in 10.01.2013.

    • A seminar is being planned in collaboration with Sahitya Akademi on Fakir Mohan studies and comparative literature.

    • A calendar of events is being prepared for the next three years.

    • Recent Gyan Peeth award winner (Year 2013) Smt. Pratibha Ray addressed a public meeting on the occasion of Fakir Mohan Jayanti on 14.01.2013 & referred to the Fakir Mohan Foundation & also mentioned about the good work being done, spearheaded by its Managing trustee Dr. Monica Das & eminent personalities & professors in Delhi.

    • NCERT – Had written a letter to the Director, National council for Educational Research & Training (NCERT) on dated 17.03.2011.

    • Philateley – Had written a letter to the Ministry of Post & Telegraphs / Philately, Govt. of India on dated 27.03.2011.

    • NBT – Translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s works in different regional languages is being proposed by the foundation and have applied to NBT for the same.

    (Dr. Monica Das)
    Associate Professor in Economics, Gargi College, Delhi University (formerly)
    Presently Fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University,
    Managing Trustee Fakir Mohan Foundation, (FMF), New Delhi
    B-904, Kenwood Tower, Charmwood,       
    Surajkund Road, Faridabad-121009,
    Tel. No. 9899301771, 0129-4117904
    Email : dasmonica@gmail.com
    Website : https://sites.google.com/site/dasmonica