Literature: Other Forms

The number of autobiographies written in Odia is not large, it could be about two hundred - but the quality of some of them is excellent.The first autobiography in Odia, Atmajeevana-charita (Story of My Life, 1917) was written by Fakir Mohan Senapati.It is an important social document of nineteenth-century Odisha and a classic in Indian literature.Gopal Chandra Praharaj, Harekrushna Mahatab, Godavarisrh Mishra, Neelakantha Das, Bairagi Mishra, Lakshmi Narayan Sahoo, Adhiraj Mohan Senapati, Kali Charan Patnaik, Rama Devi and Kalandi Charan Panigraghi have written their autobiographies, which record social events of pre- and post-independence periods, Almost all these autobiographies are written by political leaders, social reformers or authors, and these are more records of their times than their individual selves. Vaishnav Pani, a prolific playwright, interestingly, has written his autobiography with a frankness and courage hardly noticed in other works of its kind in Odia.

Modern Odia literature cannot be said to be rich in literary criticism, essays and features. Literary journals like Utkal Deepika (1866),Utkal Darpana (1873), Utkal Hitaishini (1873), Sambalpur Hitaishini (1889) and Utkal Sahitya (1898) published critical essays and book reviews and founded a tradition of literary criticism in Odisha, Magazines like Utkal Sahitya, Mikura, Sahakara and Naba Bharata kept the tradition alive in the pre-independence era, Gopiriath Nanda, Neelakantha Das, Binayak Mishra and Artaballav Mohanty are some of the literary critics who dominated the critical scene of pre-independence era.In the post-independence period magazines like Jhankar, Dagara, Diganta, Istahar and Mulyayana have promoted literacy criticism in a significant way. Natbar Samantray, Krushna Charan Sahu, Debi Prasanna Patnaik, Jatindra Mohan Mohanty and Nityananda Satpathy are some of the important literary critics of the post-independence period, It may be noted here that most of the critical works published now are research dissertations originally meant for obtaining university degrees.

The general standard of literary criticism, understandably, is not always of a high order. Research articles, essays and features published in Odia are growing in number, largely due to the demand of Odia dailies and magazines. Golak Bihari Dhal, Sadasiv Mishra, Shreeram Chandra Das, Chandra Sekhar Rath, Chitta Ranjan Das and Devakanta Mishra are some of the authors, who have made a significant contribution to the essay form in the post-independence period.

Childrens literature in Odia is not adequately developed. Most of the books published are either poems or stories, legends or folktales retold.There are few books on science or technology. Upendra Tripathy, Godavarish Mohapatra, Udayanath Sarangi, Balakrushna Kar, Kalindi Charan Panigrahi, Ananta Patnaik, Manoj Das, Durga Prasad Patnaik, Ram Prasad Mohanty and Dash Benhur are some of the important writers of the post-independence era

Translation is an area in which much attention has been paid recently. Most of the books translated into Odia are Bengali novels. Almost all the Nobel-prize winning works are available in Odia translation.Udayanath Sarangi, Lakshmi Narayarn Mohanty, Chitta Ranjan Das and Umashankar Panda have familiarised many Western author to the Odia readers.

Contributed By: Dr.Ganeswar Mishra

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