Freedom Fighter , poet, Philosopher, Social Activist
Main article: Gopabandhu Das
During the Age of Radhanath, the literary world was divided between the ancient, headed by a magazine The Indradhanu, and the modernists, headed by another magazine The Bijuli. However, Gopabandhu was a great balancer, and realized that a nation, as well as its literature, live by their tradition. He believed that a national superstructure of the present can endure only if it is based upon the solid foundations of heritage. He also wrote a satirical poem in The Indradhanu, which led to punishment from the 'Inspector of schools' for such material, although he refused to apologise.
Later he joined Ravenshaw College, Cuttack to pursue graduation. He lost his father before joining college. During this period he started Kartavya Bodhini Samiti (Duty Awakening Society) to encourage his friends to take on social, economic & political problems in order to make them responsible citizens. Whilst leading a team to serve flood victims, he heard that his son was seriously ill. Gopabandhu preferred, however, to save the “sons of the soil” rather than his son. This imbibed Swadeshi spirit in him; his new mission was to reform the society and to develop education. Through these activities he had the vision of social service. When he was only twenty-eight, he lost his wife. By that time he had already lost all of his three sons and left his two daughters with his elder brother, along with the share of his property in the village. This proved that he had no love for leading a family life and for that he refused to remarry, even at a marriageable age. He was not an ordinary man and that is why he did not attach much importance to worldly life. He is regarded as the Utkalmani in every Oriya’s mind and heart.
With the rise of freedom movements, a literary thought emerged with the influence of Gandhiji and idealistic trend of Nationalism, forming as a new trend in Oriya Literature. Much respected personality of Orissan culture and history, Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das (1877–1928) founded a school at the village of Satyabadi near Sakshigopal of Orissa and an idealstic literary movement influenced the writers of this age. No doubt, Gopabandhu Das was the famous figure of this movement associated by other four writers like Godabarisha Mishra, Nilakantha Dash, Harihara Acharya and Krupasinshu. They are also known as 'Panchasakhas' for their similarities with the Age of Panchasakhas of tradition. The writers of this age are mostly critics, essayists and poets. Godabarisha Mohapatra, Chintamani Das and Kuntala-Kumari Sabat are some of the renowned names of this age. The contribution of Chintamani Das in enriching Satyabadi literature is unparalleled. Born in 1903 in Sriramachandrapur village near Sakhigopal, Chintamani Das was bestowed with the Sahitya Akademi Samman in 1970 for his invaluable contribution to Oriya literature. Some of his well-known literary works are: 'Manishi Nilakantha', 'Bhala Manisa Hua', 'Usha', 'Barabati', 'Byasakabi Fakiramohan' and 'Kabi Godabarisha'.
Age of Marxism or Pragati Yuga
With the emergence of the Soviet Union in 1935, a Communist party was formed in Orissa and a periodical named Adhunika was published by the party. Bhagawati Charan Panigrahi and Sachidananda Routray were founding members, and were writers and poets for the party. Bhagwati became a fiction writer and though Sachidananda Routray (who is also known as "Sachi Routra" or Sachi Babu) wrote some short stories he is best remembered for his poems. Sachi Babu is also considered to be the founder of Modern poetry in Orissa. He was the prime figure to introduce two European trends of English modernism - the early aestheticist phase pioneered by Pound and Eliot (1910–1930), and the second wave modernism of the 1930s poets (Auden, Spender, MacNeice, Isherwood) to Oriya Literature through his poetry.
Age of Romanticism or Sabuja Yuga
Influenced by the romantic thoughts of Rabindranath tagore, during the thirties when the progressive Marxian movements was in full flow in Oriya Literature, Kalindi Charan panigrahi, the brother of Bhagabati Charan Panigrahi,the founder of Marxian Trend in Orissa, formed a group circa 1920 called “Sabuja Samiti.” Along with two of his writer friend Annada Shankar Ray and Baikuntha Patnaik. Perhaps it was the very short existed period in Oriya Literature and later submerged with either Gandhian thoughts or Marxian thoughts. Later Kalindi Charan Panigrahi wrote his famous novel Matira Manish, being influenced by Gandhism. Annada Shankar Ray flew away to Bengali Literature. Mayadhar Mansingh was a renowned poet of that time though he was considered as a romantic poet, but he kept the distance away from the influence of Rabindranath successfully.
PURNACHANDRA ORIYA BHASHAKOSHA
The Purnachandra Odia Bhashakosha is a monumental 7 volume work of about 9,500 pages published between 1930 and 1940. It was a result of the vision and dedicated work over nearly three decades of Gopal Chandra Praharaj (1874–1945). Praharaj not only conceived and compiled the lexicon, he also raised the finances for its printing by pains-taking collection of public donations, grants and subscriptions. He also supervised the printing and the sales of the published work.Briefly, the Purnachandra Odia Bhashakosha is an Oriya language lexicon listing some 1,85,000 words and their meanings in four languages - Oriya, English, Hindi and Bengali. In addition, it is replete with quotations from wide ranging classical works illustrating the special usage of various words. It also contains much specialised information like the botanical names of many local plants, information on asterisms and constellations and also includes many long articles on various topics as well as biographies of personalities connected with Orissa’s history and culture. On the whole, it is an encyclopedic work touching upon various aspects of Oriya language and Orissa and upon many topics of general interest.Like all major historical works, the making of the Bhashakosha is a fascinating story full of dream and dedication, sweat and tears. The story of its maker Praharaj, a lawyer by profession, is equally so - it starts with a delinquent (almost decadent) youth and ends with a tinge of blood (he met with an untimely and unnatural death), with achievements and heartburns in between.The post-production story of Bhashakosha is more bathed in tears. Ridiculed and reviled by many during the production itself, a good fraction of the printed copies were destroyed unbound and unsold. Many copies were still available in the libraries of the princes who had patronised the work and most of these copies were pawned away unredeemably or sold off cheaply when bad days invariably visited the owners.The copies surviving today are rare and are in rather fragile and worm-damaged state. While the older generation holds the work in high regard and reverence, the present generation is hardly aware of its existence and knows even less about its contents. Interested language-loving individuals or researchers can only dream of having a personal copy.
Post Colonial Age
As the successor of Sachi babu, two poets Guruprasad Mohanty (popularly known as Guru Prasad) (1924–2004) and Bhanuji Rao were highly influenced by T.S. Eliot and published their co authored poetry book “Nutan Kabita” with a preface of Professor. Jatindra Mohan Mohanty. Thus the waste land of T.S. Eliot created a great effect on the post independent Oriya poets. Later, Ramakanta Rath modified the ideas. According to him : ‘After the publication of Kalapurusha (Guru Prasad’s poetry collection influenced by T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land) we realized that a sense of alienation is the main ingredient of modern poetry.’ Before independence of India, the Oriya poetry was mostly Sanskritic, or "literary" idiom; but after independence of India, one could notice the free use of western concepts, idioms, images and also adaption of their myths. Ramakanta Rath, Sitakant Mahapatra, Soubhagya Kumar Mishra, Rajendra kishore Panda, Mamata Dash and Pratibha Satpathy are the famous poets in this trend.
In the post-independence Era Oriya fiction assumed a new direction. The trend which Fakir Mohan has started actually developed more after '50s of last century. Gopinath Mohanty (1914–1991), Surendra Mohanty and Manoj Das (1934- ) are considered as three jewels of this time. They are the pioneer of a new trend, that of developing or projecting the “individual as protagonist” in Oriya fiction. Eminent Feminist writer and critics Sarojini Sahoo believes that it was not Gopinath, but Surendra Mohanty whose “Ruti O Chandra” has to be considered as first story of individualistic approach rather than the story “Dan” by Gopinth, which was formerly known as the first story of “individualistic attitude”. The major difference between Surendra and Gopinath is that, when Gopinath is more optimistic, Surendra seems to be nihilistic. This nihilism prepares the ground for the development of “existentialist” movement of Oriya literature.
Surendra Mohanty has a mastery over language, theme and concept. Some of his famous short story collections and novels are: Krushna Chuda, Mahanagarira Rati, ruti o Chandra, Maralara Mrutyu, Shesha Kabita, Dura Simanta, Oh Calcutta, Kabi-O- Nartaki, Sabuja Patra-O- Dhusara Golap, Nila Shaila, Andha Diganta, which bear the memorial of his success as a reputed story writer and novelist.
In his fiction Gopinath Mohanty explores all aspects of Orissan life: life, both in the plains and in the hills. He evolves a unique prose style, lyrical in style, choosing worlds and phrases from the day-to-day speech of ordinary men and women. Gopinath’s first novel, Mana Gahtra Chasa, was published in 1940, which was followed by Dadi Budha (1944), Paraja (1945) and Amrutara Santan (1947). He published 24 novels, 10 collections of short stories in addition to three plays, two biographies, two volumes of critical essays, and five books on the languages of Kandh, Gadaba and Saora tribes. Moreover, he translated Tolstoy’s War and Peace (Yuddh O Shanti) in three volumes (tr. 1985-86) and Togore’s Jogajog (tr. 1965) into Oriya.
Started his literary career as a communist and later transformed himself to Aurobindian philosopher, Manoj Das proved himself as a successful bilingual writer as he used to write both in Oriya and English. His major works are:Shesha basantara chithi, 1966; Manoj Dasanka katha o kahani, 1971; Dhumabha diganta, 1971; Manojpancabimsati, 1977; (short stories); Tuma gam o anyanya kabita, 1992 (poetry). His notable English works include: The crocodiles lady : a collection of stories, 1975, The submerged valley and other stories, Farewell to a ghost : short stories and a novelette, 1994; Cyclones, 1987, and A tiger at twilight, 1991.
The other significant fiction writers are Chandrasekhar Rath, Shantanu Acharya, Mohapatra Nilamani Sahoo, Rabi Patnaik and JP Das. Chandra Sekhar Rath's novel Jantrarudha (Astride the Wheel :translated by Jatindra Kumar Nayak) is one of the renowned classic of this period. Shantanu acharya’s novel Nara-Kinnara also have its significant effect.
The Revolution of '70s in Oriya fiction
The trend started by the writers of '50s and the so called popular writers of 60s, were challenged by the young writers in '70s. But the process of rebellion started from 60s. In the 60s, a little magazine Uan Neo Lu was published from Cuttack. The title of the magazine was made up of three of the Oriya alphabets, which were not in use. The writers associated with the magazines were: Annada Prasad Ray (not Annada sankar Ray), Guru Mohanty (not Guru Prasad of Kala Purusha fame), Kailash Lenka and Akshyay Mohanty. These writers may not have become as famous as some of their contemporaries. But they started a revolution in the text and styles of Oriya fiction. They tried to break the monopoly of so called established writer. They brought sexuality into the puview of current literature and they created a new style in prose. In the late '60s the dominance of Cuttack in the field of Oriya Literature had broken when many “groups” of writers emerged from different parts of Orissa. Anamas from Puri, Abadhutas from Balugaon, Panchamukhi from Balangir, and Abujha from Berhampur and Akshara group from Sambalpur created a sensations in Oriya literary scene. Historically it does not matter the question of how many of these writers did not “make the grade,” but the collective effort to break a tradition proved to be decisive in some ways.
But the actual formidable changes were confirmed by the writers of later period. Jagadish Mohanty, Kanheilal Das, Satya Mishra, Ramchandra Behera, Padmaja Pal, Yashodhara mishra and Sarojini Sahoo are few writers whose writings have created a new age in the field of fiction. Kanheilal Das and Jagadish Mohanty have started to create a new form of style and language, which was popular among the general readers as well as the intellectuals. But Kanhei lal Das was a short lived personality and his sudden demised still considered as a great loss for Oriya Fictions.
Jagadish Mohanty is considered as the introducer of existentialism and also as the trend setter in Oriya literature. Ekaki ashwarohi, Dakshina Duari Ghara, Album, Dipahara Dekhinathiba Lokotie, Nian o anyanya galpo, Mephestophelesera Pruthibi are some of his famous short story collections and Nija Nija Panipatha, Kanishka Kanishka, Uttaradhikar and Adrushya Sakal are some of his memorable novels which make him most renowned.
Dwitiya Shmashana, Abashishta Ayusha, Omkara Dhwani, Bhagnangshara Swapna, Achinha Pruthibi are some of the most famous short story collection of Ramchandra Behera.
Padmaj Pal is known for his short story collections such as Eaglera Nakha Danta, Sabuthu Sundar Pakshi, Jibanamaya and Uttara Purusha.
Sarojini Sahoo, another prominent writer, later famed for her idea of feminism also made a significant approach to Oriya fiction.Her novel Gambhiri Ghara is proved as a landmark among Oriya novel and has gained international fame for her feministic and liberal ideas. Amrutara Pratikshare, Chowkatha, Upanibesh, Pratibandi, Paksibasa, Tarlijauthiba Durga, Dukha Apramita are some of her short story collections and Upanibesh, Pratibandi, Gambhiri Ghara, Pakshibasa, Mahajatra are her novels which have a significant effect in the Oriya Literature.
Popular fiction writings
Parallel to aesthaticism in literature, a parallel trend of populist literature also appeared after '60s which was accepted by half literate rural people, especially by the female folk. Bhagirathi Das, Kanduri Das, Bhagwana Das, Bibhuti Patnaik and Pratibha Ray are some of the best selling writer of Oriya Literature, among them Bibhuti Patnaik and Pratibha Ray have some sense of literary aesthetics. Badhu Nirupama, Gare Kajjala Dhare Luha, Topaye Sindura Dipata Shankha and Chapala Chhanda are some of popular novels of Bibhuti Patnaik.
Barsha Baishakha Basanta, Aparichita, Nishiddha Pruthibi, Upanayika and Jangyaseni are some of popular novels of Pratibha Ray. Jangyaseni proved itself different from Pratibha's other novel and has gained literary reputation. These writers able to attract the commercial producers to celluloid their stories in commercial Oriya movies.
Women's writings and feminism
The starting of a women's magazine called Sucharita in 1975 went a long way in helping women writers find a voice. In fact its appearance proved to be the turning point. The role of Sucharita in helping the emergence of women’s writing as a strong body of work can hardly be overestimated. Some female writers like Jayanti Ratha, Susmita Bagchi. Paramita Satpathy, Hiranmayee Mishra, Chirashree Indra Singh, Sairindhree Sahoo, Supriya Panda, Gayatri Saraf., Mamata Chowdhry are a few fiction writers in this period, but among all the women writers Sarojini Sahoo played a significant role for her feministic and sexuality approach in fiction. For feminism she is considered as the Simone de Beauvoir of India, though theoretically she denies the Hegelian theory of “Other” developed by Simone in her The Second Sex. Unlike to Simone, Sarojini claims the women are “Other” from masculine perspective but as a human being, she demands for similar rights as Plato recommended.