Oriya literature

Oriya literature
Indian literature

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Oriya (ଓଡ଼ିଆ odiā) is an official language of the state of Orissa(ଓଡ଼ିଶା), India. The region has been known at different stages of history as Kalinga, Udra, Utkala, or Koshala. The language is also spoken by minority populations of the neighboring states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The earliest written texts in the language are about thousand years old. Orissa was a vast empire in the ancient and medieval times, which extended from the Ganges in the north to the Godavari in the south. During the British rule, however, Orissa lost its political identity and formed parts of the Bengal and Madras Presidencies. The present state of Orissa was formed in 1936. The modern Oriya language contains the maximum percentage of words from Pali, rest are mainly influenced Sanskrit, very little(about 2%) Hindustani[(Hindi/Urdu)]/Persian/Arabic with the remaining (28%) of mainly "Adivasi" origin.


Ancient Form of Oriya Language in 2nd Century BC Rock edict King Ashoka

[1] The script in the edicts of Ashoka in 2nd century BC at Dhauli and Jaugada and the inscriptions of Kharavela in Hati Gumpha of Khandagiri give us the first glimpse of possible origin of Oriya(Oriya) language. From the point of view of language, the inscriptions of Hati Gumpha are near modern Oriya and essentially different from the language of the Ashokan edicts. Pali was the prevalent language in Orissa(Orissa) during this period. The Hati Gumpha inscriptions, which are in Pali, are perhaps the only evidence of stone inscriptions in Pali. This may be the reason why the German linguist Prof. Hermann Oldenburg mentioned that Pali was the original language of Orissa.

Traces of Oriya words and expressions have been found in inscriptions dating from the 7th century AD. For example, the Oriya word କୁମ୍ଭାର /kumbha:rɔ/ ‘potter’ occurs in a copperplate inscription ‘belonging to a date not later than the 7th century AD’. Similarly, in inscriptions of 991 AD, Oriya words like ଭିତୁରୁ /bhituru/ ‘from inside’ and ପନ୍ଦର /pɔndɔrɔ/ ‘fifteen’ can be found. ‘An Oriya Passage’ also has been found in another inscription of about 715 AD.[2]

The history of Oriya has been mapped by historians along five main stages: Old Oriya (spanning the 10th century AD and 1300 AD), Early Middle Oriya (between 1300 AD and 1500 AD), Middle Oriya (between 1500 AD and 1700 AD), Late Middle Oriya (between 1700 AD and 1850 AD) and Modern Oriya (spanning from 1850 AD till the present day). Further subdivisions of this timeline, as below, can be considered a more accurate representation however.

Age of Charya Literature

The beginnings of Oriya poetry coincide with the development of Charyapada/ Caryagiti, the literature started by Vajrayana Buddhist poets.[1] This literature was written in a specific metaphor named “Sandhya Bhasha” and the poets like Luipa, Kanhupa are from the territory of Orissa. The language of Charya was considered to be Prakrita. In one of his poem, Kanhupa wrote:

"Your hut stands outside the city

Oh, untouchable maid

The bald Brahmin passes sneaking close by

Oh, my maid, I would make you my companion

Kanha is a kapali, a yogi

He is naked and has no disgust

There is a lotus with sixty-four petals

Upon that the maid will climb with this poor self and dance."

Here the image of the ‘untouchable maid’ is used for ‘shakti’, it resides outside the city, i.e., outside the ordinary consciousness. Although she is untouchable, the bald Brahmin, meaning the so-called wise man, has a secret hankering for her. But only a kapali or an extreme Tantric can be a fit companion for her, because he is also an outcast; he is naked, for he does not have any social identity or artificiality. After the union with the shakti, both of them would climb on the 64-petalled lotus Sahasrara Chakra and dance there.

Evidently, the poet had drawn images and symbols from existing social milieu, social psychology, so that this deep realization could be easily grasped by the readers. This kind of poetry, full of the mystery of Tantra, spread over the Northeastern region of India from the tenth to the fourteenth century, and its style of expression was revived by the Oriya poets of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

Age of Sarala Das

In the 15th century Sanskrit was the lingua franca for literature in Orissa and Oriya was often considered as the language of the shudras(Untouchables) as Oriya was the language of communication of backward castes who had no access to Sanskrit education. The first great poet of Orissa is the famous Sarala-Das, who translated the Mahabharata. This was not an exact translation from the Sanskrit original, but rather an imitation; for all practical purposes, it can be seen as an original piece of work. Hence he was also conferred the title Shudramuni, or a seer from backward class. He had no formal education and did not know Sanskrit.It has since provided subsequent poets with the necessary foundation for a national literature, providing a fairly accurate idea about the culture of the Oriyas at the time. Sarala Das, belonging to 15th century Orissa of Kapilendra Dev, was acclaimed as “Adikabi” or the first poet. It is believed that he got his poetic gift from the goddess Sarala (Sarasswati), and wrote Mahabharata as she dictated it. Among many of his poems and epics, he is best remembered for his Mahabharata. Chandi Purana and the Vilanka Ramayana are also two of his famous creations. Arjuna Das, a contemporary of Sarala Dasa, wrote Rama-Bibha, a significant long poem in Oriya.

Age of Panchasakha

Five poets emerged towards the 16th century: Balaram Das, Jagannath Das, Achyutananda Das, Ananta Das and Jasobanta Das. Although their dates of activity span one hundred years, they are collectively known as "Panchasakhas", since they adhered to the same school of thought, Utkaliya Vaishnavism. Balaram Das’s Jagamohan Ramayan provided the other pillar on which subsequent literature was to thrive. His Laksmi Purana is considered to be the first manifesto of Women’s Liberation and Feminism in Indian Literature. However, the most influential work was yet to come. It came in the form of Jagannath Das’s Bhagabata, which had a great influence among Oriya people, as a day-to-day philosophical guide, and on Oriya Culture. The Panchasakhas are very much Vaishnavas by thought. In 1509, Chaitanya came to Orissa with his Vaishnava message of love. Before him, Jaydev had prepared the ground by heralding the cult of Vaishnavism through his Geetagovinda. Chaitanya’s path of devotion was known as Raganuga Bhakti Marga, but the Panchasakhas differed from Chaitanyas and believed in Gyana Mishra Bhakti Marga, which has similarities with the Buddhist philosophy of Charya Literature stated above. In the holy land of Kalinga (Orissa) many saints, mystics, and devotional souls have taken birth, from time to time, and have fortified the culture and the spiritualism. The land is witness to most of the important Hindu traditions and spiritual movements. Jewelled by sacred Buddhist monuments to temples of Shakti (the supreme female power), Shiva (the supreme male power), and Jagannâth Vishnu (Lord of the Universe), the state is unique in itself. Most important spiritual rituals have been extensively practised here by several seers - including Buddhist ceremonies, Devi "Tantra" (tanric rituals involving worship of Shakti), Shaiva Marg (the path followed by devotees of Shiva), and Vaishnava Marg (the path followed by devotees of Vishnu). Hardly there is any "Sadhak" who would not pay a visit to the Shri Jagannâth temple once.

Among the various great souls, the most prominent (in the domain of the known History) are the Panchasakhaa (=Five friends) who have deeply influenced both the Oriya Spiritualism and the Literature. These five friends lived between 1450 to 1550 AD and enriched the spiritualism in a way that normal man can also understand and benefit out of that. These great souls are: Achyutânanda Das, Ananta Das, Jasovanta Das, Jagannâtha Das, and Balarâma Das. They popularly were called as Panchasakhaa (=Five friends).

Pancha means five and Sakhaa means friends -The great spiritual leader and naamayogi avataar Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu has referred to these five of his disciples as Panchasakhaa and stated that the Panchasakhaa are like his Pancha Atma, i.e., five souls (Atma-Tattva) and are in no way lesser than some of the Avataars of Vishnu. Shri Chaitanya was the first to establish the Bhaaba-Mishrita Naama Marga (the path of chanting the holy name with proper feelings and faith); before him this method was not so popular or well-known even if the path is partly described in the ancient Vedas. He first introduced this method for all the simple-minded people and made many realize that God-realization can also be achieved by simpler method of pure devotion without undergoing difficult method of austerities. It is he who first disclosed the importance of the HareKrusna MahaaMantra.

The Panchasakha converted ancient Hindu texts into prose (of simple language) easily understood by the people of Udra Desha (Orissa). Shri Achyutananda Das was the most prolific writer of the Panchasakhas and has written numerous books (called as Pothi's), believed not in one life but in many successive lives. He is known as the Mahapurusha, which means - a great man. Mahapurusha Achyutânanda was a shunya sadhak and had acquired immense knowledge about almost every aspect, i.e. spiritualism, Ayurveda (Indian healing medical science that uses only natural resources and herbs), various other sciences, and social regulations. For details please look at the "Literature Pancha-Sakha" topic.

There is an interesting belief (school-of-thought) about the origin of Panchasakhâ which relates them to the Mahabhârat era (Dwapara-yuga), and is also stated in Shunya Samhitâ written by Mahapurusha Achyutânanda. Here, Mahapurusha describes, Panchasakhâ literally means "five mates or friends". Towards the end of Mahabhârat era when Lord Krusna was leaving the mortal body, Nilakantheswara Mahadeva (another name of Lord Shiva, residing in Puri, with a blue-colored neck caused by intake of poison to save the world) appeared and had a conversation with Lord Krusna. He revealed that the Lord's companions Dâmâ, Sudâmâ, Srivatsa, Subala, and Subâhu would reincarnate in the Kali-yuga and will be known as Ananta, Acyutânanda, Jagannâtha, Balarâma, and Yasovanta, respectively. Thus, the believers of the Panchasakhâ consider that these five saints were the most intimate friends of Lord Krusna in Dwapara-yuga, who came again in Kali-yuga to serve Him. They are also instrumental to perform the crucial and much-awaited Yuga-Karma of destroying the sinners and saving the saints, according to the Sanatana-Hindu beliefs.

To describe briefly the individual ways and specialties of the Panchasakhaa, it is told that :

Agamya bhâba jânee Yasovanta Gâra katâ Yantra jânee Ananta Âgata Nâgata Achyuta bhane Balarâma Dâsa tatwa bakhâne Bhaktira bhâba jâne Jagannâtha Panchasakhaa e mora pancha mahanta. [in Oriya] Yasovanta knows the things beyond the reach Yantras using lines and figures are known to Ananta Achyuta speaks the past, present and future Balarâma Dasa is fluent in tatwa (ultimate gist of anything) Ultimate feelings of devotion are known to Jagannâtha These five friends are my five mahantas [direct translation might result in slight loss of information]

The birth/origin of the Achyutânand is described as:

!! Shunyaru khasilaa Pavane misilaa, anaakare helaa thula !!

!! Thula bhangigale athule misiba, rahijiba anaahata !!

"Mahapurusha Achyutânanda", is believed to have been born with special mercy or divine intervention from "" which is symbolic for Lord Jagannâth himself ("Vibhuti Yoga, Shrimad Bhagavat Geeta"). Hence the name of Mahapurusa is Achyuta ("A + chyuta": A= Shri Visnu; Chyuta = created from). Occasionally, "Mahapurusha Achyutânanda" is also referred to as "Achyuti", which literally means "who has no fall ("chyuti nahin jâhâra" in Oriya language)". Sri Achyuta Das was born to Dinabandhu Khuntia and Padma devi in a village called Tilakona in Orissa in about 1510 AD on a "Magha Sukla Ekadasi" (a specific time described in Oriya calendar). His parents were childless for a long time and were praying to Lord Jagannâth for a child. One night his father had a vision that Garuda (the bird of Vishnu, an Eagle) gave him a child. Next morning he rushed to the temple and prayed at the "Garuda Khamba" (a pillar in front of the Jagannâth temple) thanking the Lord for his mercy. At this point there are two different beliefs: some are of the opinion that he (Dinabandhu Khuntia) found a newborn divine child there and he is Achyuta ("A + chyuta"). Some others believe that, soon after this incident (vision), Padma devi was booned with a divine child.

Mahapurusha Achyutânanda had established various spiritual energetic centers called 'Gâdi's distributed throughout east India (former states known as Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Magadha) and some in Nepal. These 'Gâdi's were host to most of the spiritual actions, discourses, penance, and provided various services to the seekers. Examples are, Nemal, Kakatpur, Garoi, Jobra Ghât (a river bank in Cuttack) etc. During this brilliant era of Panchasakhâ, another seer His holiness Arakhsita Das (the presiding seer of Olasuni near Paradweep) who was not among the Panchasakha but was a revered saint, once found a divine child and handed over the newborn child to Mahapurusha Achyutananada. This child was known as Ram Das who is the disciple of Mahapurusha Achyutananda, Panchasakhaa, and Arakhsita Das together. The PanchaSakhaa were called as Pancha Guru (five Gurus) and together with Shri Arakhsita Das they were known as Sada-Goswami (six Lords). Shriguru Arakhsita Das, a great Shunya Sadhak, is the patron saint and seer in the Olasuni hills.

Olasuni hill is located near the border of Cuttack and Jajpur district, adjacent to the Daitari- Paradip Express Highway near the Ratnagiri and Laitgiri hills. The Gobari river also flows nearby. Olasuni hill was the place of Sadhana where Shri Arakhsita Das performed austerities in a cave (Olasuni gumphaa) before attaining salvation. The annual nine day Gumphaa festival of Olasuni is very famous. There is also the temple of Goddess Olasuni, near the tomb of Saint Arakhit Das. Baba Buddhanath Das sings in a song that Goddess Olasuni is the mother of Shri Arakhsita Das, one of the greatest ShunyaVaadi sadhakas. He is extremely merciful and accepts every offer, irrespective of any other factor, when they are offered with feelings.

Subsequently the Pancha Sakhaa and Arakhsita Das, in Samaadhi, could know that in the 13th birth (also the last birth) of this child (Ram Das), all their souls (Atma-Tattva) will remain in Ram Das and he will perform Yuga Karma on behalf of his Gurus during the transition from Kaliyuga to Satyayuga. The devotees and followers believe that His holiness Baba Shri Buddhanâth Das is the last incarnation of Yogi Ram Das and is enlightened by the conscious of his six Gurus.

Age of Upendra Bhanja

At the end of the age of Panchasakha, a few prominent works were written, including the Usabhilasa of Sisu Sankara Das, the Rahasya-manjari of Deva-durlabha Dasa and the Rukmini-bibha of Kartikka Das. A new form of novels in verse evolved during the beginning of the 17th century when Ramachandra Pattanayaka wrote Haravali. These poets are the beginners of this age. But the prominent poets are Dinakrushna Das, Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja and Abhimanyu Samanta Simhar. Verbal jugglery, obscenity and eroticism as the characteristics of Shringara Kavyas, became the trend of this period, in which Upendra Bhanja took a leading role. His creations: Baidehisha Bilasa, Koti Brahmanda Sundari and Lavanyabati were a landmark in Oriya Literature. Upendra Bhanja was conferred with the title 'Kabi Samrat' of Oriya literature for his aesthetic poetic sense and skill in verbal jugglery. Dinakrushna Das’s Rasokallola and Abhimanyu samanta Simhara’s Bidagdha Chintamani are prominent kavyas of this time. There was a significant influence of these poets in making modern Oriya Literature. During the end of Riti Yuga, or age of Upendra Bhanja, four major poets emerged and they created the History. They are Kabi surya Baladeb Rath, Brajanath Badajena, Gopal Krushna Pattanaik and Bhima Bhoi. Kabisurya Baladev rath wrote his poems in champu and chautisha, the new form and style of poetry. But the significant role was played by Brajanath Badjena in starting a tradition of prose fiction, though he was not considered as the premier writer of prose. His Chatur Binoda (Amusement of Intelligent) seems to be the first to deal with different kinds of rasas, but predominantly the bibhatsa rasa, often verging on nonsense.

Age of Radhanath

The first Oriya printing typeset was cast in 1836 by the Christian missionaries, replacing palm leaf inscription and in the process revolutionising Oriya literature. Books became printed, and journals and periodicals published. The first Oriya Magazine of 'Bodha Dayini' was published from Balasore in 1861. The main object of this magazine was to promote Oriya literature and to draw attention to the lapses in government policy. The first Oriya paper, 'The Utkal Deepika,' made its appearance in 1866 under the editorship of the late Gouri Sankar Ray with the help of the late Bichitrananda. The Utkal Deepika continued a vigorous campaign for bringing together all the Oriya-speaking areas under one administration, developing the Oriya language and literature and protecting Oriya interests. In 1869 late Bhagavati Charan Das started 'Utkal Subhakari' to propagate Brahmo faith. In the last three and a half decades of the 19th century, a number of newspapers were published in Oriya. Prominent amongst them were 'Utkal Deepika','Utkal Patra', Utkal Hiteisini from Cuttack, Utkal Darpan and Sambada Vahika' from Balasore, Sambalpur Hiteisini (30 May 1889) from Deogarh. The publication of these papers during the last part of the 19th century indicated the desire and the determination of the people of Orissa to uphold the right of freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, with a the ultimate aim of freedom from British rule. These periodicals performed another vital function, in that they encouraged modern literature and offered a broad reading base for the writers; the educated intellectuals who came in contact with the literature became influenced. Radhanath Ray (1849–1908) is the prime figure, who tried to write his poems with the influence of Western Literature. He wrote Chandrabhaga, Nandikeshwari, Usha, Mahajatra, Darbar and Chilika, which were the long poems or 'Kavyas'.

Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843–1918), the prime figure of modern Oriya Fiction Prose is the product of that generation. He was considered the Vyasakabi or founder poet of Oriya language. Fakirmohan was born and brought up in the coastal town of Balasore. He grew up to be an administrator in ex-feudatory states. Enraged by the attempts of the Bengalis to marginalize, or even replace, the Oriya language by Bengali, he took to creative writing rather late. Though he had translated from Sanskrit, wrote poetry, and attempted many forms of literature, he is now known primarily as the father of modern Oriya prose fiction.His “Rebati” (1898) is widely recognized as the first Oriya short story. “Rebati” is the story of a young innocent girl whose desire for education is placed in the context of a conservative society in a backward Orissa village, which is hit by the killer epidemic cholera. His other stories are “Patent Medicine”, “Dak Munshi”, and ”Adharma Bitta”. Other than short stories, Fakir Mohan Senapati is also known for his novel Chha Maana Atha Guntha. It is the first Indian novel to deal with the exploitations of landless peasants by the feudal lord. It was written much before the October revolution of Russia or much before the emerging of Marxist ideas in India. Gangadhar Meher (1862–1924), Madhusudan Rao, Chintamani Mahanty, Nanda Kishore Bal and Gaurisankar Ray are some of eminent writers and poets of this time.

Age of Satyabadi

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 Oriya 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 Oriya 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,Goutam Jena, Mamata Dash and Pratibha Satpathy are the famous poets in this trend.


Before '70s

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”.[2] 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.

After '70s

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.[citation needed] 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.


In the field of drama, the traditional Oriya theatre is the folk opera, or Jatra, which flourishes in the rural areas of Orissa. Modern theatre is no longer commercially viable. But in the 1960, experimental theatre made a mark through the works of Manoranjan Das, who pioneered the new theatre movement with his brand of experimentalism. Bijay Mishra, Biswajit Das, Kartik Rath, Ramesh Prasad Panigrahi, Prof. Pramod Kumar Tripathy, Ratnakar Chaini, Ranjit Patnaik, Prof. Purna Chandra Mallick continued the tradition. Prof. Tripathy's contribution to the growth and development of the immensely popular and thought-provoking lok natakas is universally recognised and he is often called the Rousseau of lok natakas.[citation needed] Though commercially modern theatre movement is a failure one still it is existing through different amateur theatre units and by different drama competition but unlike these modern theatre the commercialized operas have their economical success.

Popular Science Writers from orissa

It started with Gadadhar Mishra,debakanta mishra,sarat Mohanty,Nityananada swaion,Sashibhusan Rath,Ramesh Chandra Parida,Kamalakanta Jena and others.Sashibhusan Rath's Vigyan Chinta is liked by the children as well as elders.

See also


  • Neukom, Lukas and Manideepa Patnaik. 2003. A grammar of Oriya. (Arbeiten des Seminars für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft; 17). Zürich: Seminar für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Zürich. ISBN 3-9521010-9-5

Further reading

  • Ghosh, A. (2003). An ethnolinguistic profile of Eastern India: a case of South Orissa. Burdwan: Dept. of Bengali (D.S.A.), University of Burdwan.
  • Masica, Colin (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2
  • Mohanty, Prasanna Kumar (2007). The History of: History of Oriya Literature (Odia Sahityara Adya Aitihasika Gana).



  1. ^ Mukherjee, Prabhat. The History of medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa. Chapter: The Sidhacharyas in Orissa Page 55.
  2. ^ Istahar-92, (26th Volume, 2nd Issue),
  3. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Orissas-new-name-is-Odisha/articleshow/7780712.cms

External links

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