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On a somber note, the world of literature and film lost one of its luminaries as Gita Mehta, a renowned writer, filmmaker, and the sister of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, passed away in New Delhi at the age of 80. Her demise has left a void in the creative world, as she leaves behind a legacy of insightful writing and cinematic brilliance. In this article, we will delve into the life and contributions of Gita Mehta, celebrating her remarkable journey.
A Legacy Born in New Delhi
Gita Mehta was born in 1943 to illustrious parents, Biju and Gyan Patnaik, in New Delhi, India. Her family background was steeped in political and social significance, with her father Biju Patnaik being a prominent figure in Indian politics. This familial influence undoubtedly played a role in shaping Gita’s worldview and creative pursuits.
Education and Literary Endeavors
Gita Mehta’s educational journey took her to the hallowed halls of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Armed with a global perspective and a keen intellect, she embarked on a prolific writing career. Her literary contributions included three notable books:
1. Karma Cola
In “Karma Cola,” Gita delved into the complexities of Western perceptions of India, shedding light on the misconceptions and stereotypes that often colored the Western view of the country.
2. Snake and Ladders
“Snake and Ladders” explored the intricate tapestry of Indian society and culture, weaving together stories and anecdotes that provided a deep understanding of the country’s multifaceted identity.
3. A River Sutra
In “A River Sutra,” Mehta’s narrative prowess painted vivid pictures of the diverse lives and experiences along the banks of a fictional river, offering readers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of India.
A Cinematic Journey
Gita Mehta was not confined to the world of literature alone. She ventured into filmmaking, demonstrating her versatility as a creative force. Her cinematic work resonated with audiences, much like her books, and left an indelible mark on the Indian film industry.
Tributes Pour In
News of Gita Mehta’s passing sent shockwaves through the literary and political spheres. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief on Twitter, highlighting her multifaceted personality, keen intellect, and passion for writing and filmmaking. He also acknowledged her commitment to environmental and water conservation causes.
Union Minister from Odisha, Dharmendra Pradhan, also offered his condolences, emphasizing the significant loss to the literary and cultural world. He extended his heartfelt sympathies to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the grieving family.
Declining the Padma Shri
In a noteworthy decision in 2019, Gita Mehta declined the Padma Shri award, citing concerns about the timing of the honor due to an upcoming general election. Her decision reflected her commitment to maintaining the integrity of the award and avoiding any potential controversy.
As we bid farewell to Gita Mehta, we remember her as not just the sister of a prominent political figure but as a literary luminary and a creative powerhouse in her own right. Her books and films continue to inspire and educate, making her an enduring presence in the world of literature and cinema. Gita Mehta’s legacy is a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring impact of words and images on the human soul. We join the literary and cinematic communities in mourning her loss and celebrating her remarkable contributions.
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