Subhransu Panda’s ‘Itara’ : A Novel Highlights the Untold Plight of Kinnaras in Odisha


Bhubaneswar: As the world celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility today (March 31) transgender community of Odisha share their thought and stories with famous writer Subhransu Panda, the author bestselling novel ITARA. Itara is based on the plight and struggle of transgender community in Odisha.

In an event at a city hotel organized by leading publishing house Odia Media Private Limited, author Mr Panda shared the background of his novel and also read an excerpt of the book. Established transwomen like Samiksha, Meghana, Sadhana and Ayesha and transmen like Suman, Emmy and Sadabhis shared their own life journey and how did they come out of the stigma to establish themselves in the society.

Noted social activist Dr Mitali Mohanty from CINI also shed light on the journey of transgender movement in Odisha and the current scenario. Social activist Chandan Kumar Nayak compere the event and gave the introduction.

There aren’t ample writings in Odia literature on this significant social issue. People, including many authors, still find it worthless to shed light on the untouchable issue of transgender.

Ironically, though most victims or subjects of the writings never have the opportunity to read their own stories or interact with the authors, a group of transgender people from various parts of Odisha met Subhransu Panda today.

This idea cropped up from a few of his NGO friends, who work extensively to uplift the life of LGBTQ, Kinnaras met Subhransu Panda in Bhubaneswar. They celebrates the “International Transgender Day of Visibility” together and share some quality time.

Panda believes, whether an author writes about fantastical subjects, love, incidents, history or any other subject, all writers are activists. The writing of a writer, speaks louder than the writer.

Before writing this novel, the novelist of Itara has already met the transgender community extensively and listened to their stories.

Itara is the life journey of a Kinnara (eunuch/transgender). Author Subhransu has tried to put together the plights of numerous Kinnaras in one character whose male name in the novel was Gobinda. The tale of Gobinda’s rebirth as Baby, Tila, Gopi, Leena, and Kareena is told in Itara. The society, even her family members, wanted her to live as Gobinda, despite the fact that she preferred her other identities.

Panda believes that our society’s perception of transgender people is evolving slowly. He contends that the circumstance has altered somewhat. They are not the others anymore. Yet, in order to put the others in the spotlight, there must be a lot of awareness and education, Panda added.

Notably, Subhransu Panda’s majority of fiction is based on actual events and issues in Odisha. His books are grounded in current issues and research-oriented. His first novel Susamachara (2012) is a dark satire written in biblical style of writing and it deals with the religious conflict in Odisha.

His second novel Shilpa Bhagabata (2014) is a socio-romance in the backdrop of neo-industrialisation in Odisha.

Itara (2021) is his third novel.

Currently Panda has two novels in pipeline. He is working on a historical novel on Odia monarch KapilendraDeba since 2019. Also, he is planning another socio-political drama.

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