NILAVRONILL: Do you think literature or poetry is really essential in our life? If so why? And how does it relate to the general history of mankind?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Yes. Literature is the mirror of the society. It reflects the predicament, sorrow and happiness of man. Literature over the years have faithfully reflected the then society vividly. As such literature is very much related to the history of mankind
NILAVRONILL: Our readers would like to know your own personal experience regarding the importance of literature and poetry in your life. Why literature or poetry in specific interests you so much? Who were your favourite writers during the early period of your life? And how they have paved your early routes in literature?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: I believe that literature reflects lifebuoy it allows the writers to share their experiences with the readers. Life is manifested in the form of literature. That’s why, literature is my passion since my school days. My favourite writers who paved my path towards my literary career, were the regional writers, the writers of my country. For example, Rabindra Nath Tagore, the Nobel prize winner has inspired me a lot. Besides, the Writers I was reading during my school days, have left an indelible impact on my psyche, I’m a passionate reader of John Keats, PB Shelley, William Wordsworth and other poets of Romantic Age. Shakespeare’s love sonnets have influenced me to write love poems.
NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole, is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: A poet is the product of his society; the social milieu shapes his poetic personae. Our culture is an inseparable part of our creativity. Literature has no existence without society. Here I’m giving u the example of great novelists like Charles Dickens, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and the others, they were successful writers, only bcoz, they penned down in their novels the predicament of the people of the contemporary society., — be it decay of human values, poverty, politics, religion, love, lovelessness, or any other dimension of the society. As I’m a social being, a part of the society, so it’s obvious, my social life has shaped me as a poet.
NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature in general? Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Consumerism has become one of the dominant global, social forces, cutting across differences of religion, class, gender, ethnicity and nationality. Yet, I don’t think, a consumerist world has an enormous impact on people’s mind. Despite the ugly impact of materialism, humans all over the world are passionately in love with literature. Consumerism has little impact on them. it has hardly diverted them from literature.
NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the present time and the socio-political space around you, in the other.
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: I juxtapose my literary life the socio- political dimension.Surrounding me. They occupy a place in my imagination.
NILAVRONILL: Please give us some idea about your own views on the contemporary Indian literature written in English.
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: I can visualize the bright future of the contemporary Indian writers. Indian writers like Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram Seth, Kiran Desai and a multitude of other contemporary Indian writers have carved out a niche for themselves as leading writers of the world. Their contribution to world literature is quite spectacular, there is no doubt about it.
NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have largely been extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general? Now, in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul; how do you respond to this present time?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Information technology has actually broadened our vision, has honed our writing skill, has provided a platform for all the writers to prove their mettle as great writers. Personally I feel, and I’ll also admit here that, it has given me recognition as an international writer.
NILAVRONILL: Do you believe all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And what are the factors which pay dividends and which become obstacles for your ultimate growth as an international writer even beyond your time?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Yes, I do agree with you that my nationality has made me what I’m today. And my literary world has no existence of it’s own without my nationality as an Indian. In fact, obstacles, impediments help me grow more spiritually and intellectually,. My poems are the echo of my inner conflicts. I’m optimistic, the echo will transcend my time.
NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future? How do you react when innocent peoples suffer immensely in Gaza or in Iraq, Syria Afghanistan or elsewhere? Whether it is state sponsored terrorism or sponsored by individual terrorist groups. Innocent peoples are the first victims. Your response.
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Humanity has been suffering since ages, it’s suffering now also…since suffering is a part of life. Wars, hunger, diseases, corruption, have broken the backbone of crores of people, Innocent children are suffering bcoz of wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. People are the victims of wars. I’m terribly shocked, and I’m against this kind of aggressive attitude of the people.
NILAVRONILL: We all believe in individual liberty and human rights, yet these two are the constant targets of attacks from various quarter of power, even in India. How you would like to respond to this situation?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Yes, sometimes we behave like savages endangering the lives of our fellow humans, I think, we should transform ourselves to create a better planet. I feel, transformation is necessary for all of us. I think, peaceful co- existence is the great need of the time ..and we should fight for the right of our fellow humans, instead of making them our targets of attack .
NILAVRONILL: Dear poet tell us; do you believe one day may be in the distant future this world will be a safer place for every new born? When we will see each other as an equal in dignity and embrace everybody as human being overcoming all the differences of ethnicity, religion, nationality, racism? Bringing the world altogether?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: As a human, as a poet, I dream about a better world, a Utopian world, trusting in egalitarianism. I dream for a world, where there will be no discrimination, no wars, no poverty.
It will be a spiritual world, where everyone will treat everyone with respect, considering ourselves as children of God. Since we are a part of that divine force, racism, religious fundamentalism, ethnicities cannot divide us.
NILAVRONILL: Many thanks for spending such a wonderful time with us, we would like to conclude this interview with a personal note, are you satisfied about your own achievements in your life? What are your plans for future? And how do you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations from the younger generation?
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY: Thank you so much sir for the interview. Yes, I am satisfied about my achievements’ future plan is to take poetry to every door irrespective of region, religion and colour. My contemporaries are very good and I expect a lot from younger generation, expect them to take poetry to new heights.
SMRUTI RANJAN MOHANTY, O.F.S, son of Raj Kishore and Shantilata Mohanty is from Padmapur, Jagatsingpur, Odisha. He works as Finance Officer in Govt of Odisha. He is a multilingual poet, essayist and writer whose write ups are published in newspapers and in more than two hundred national and international magazines, journals and anthologies. He writes extensively on life and its intricacies which are widely acclaimed.His write ups are regularly featured in Atunis poetry.com, Our Poetry Archive, poemhunter.com, GloMag, Setu bilingual magazine, Different truths, The year of the poet, Destiny poet International, Spillwords.com, Youtube.com etc. He is a featured poet of the PENTASI B World Friendship Poetry and Year of The Poet, U.S.A. His collection of poems and prose are published in his blogs under the heading A LOOK AT LIFE, SOMETHING I LOOK AT, A LOOK, THE RIVULET, THINK ONCE MORE, THE JOURNEY, AU THARE, AU EKA GAPA, SROTASWINI, JATRA, THE JOURNEY etc.