Odia literature has been a part of Indian history since long ago. It has been an influential part of the national culture in terms of its language, traditions, and even literature. But today, the question is: Where is Odia Literature today? Will it continue to thrive or will it eventually die out? Does it reflect the people who read its stories today? We will discuss all these topics in this blog post.
Odia Literature is considered the oldest of all major Indian languages, a classical one. It has been brought to Odisha by the Ganga kings after 1110 A.D. The time of their rule spans no less than four centuries. By that time, the classical style of Odia has already gained a foothold under the reign of King Kapilendra Deva in 15th century A.D. None but Sudramuni Sarala Das, one of the soldiers from his army has written the great epic Mahabharata and needless to mention that the Brajbaasha and Apabhramsha Odia were polished by Sarala Das, who was also called 'Utkal Dasa'. He used Sanskrit to make Odia more lucid but his personal experience is unique as well.
During the 16th century, Oriya devotional literature flourished due to the hard effort of five saints called as Panchasakha- Jashobanta Das, Jagannath Das, Balaram Das, Achyutanda Das, and Ananta Das— that had a great impact on Oriya literature.
In 1803 A.D., Odisha was occupied by the British and they brought English education, literature, and printing presses. The modern literature renaissance began after 1850; writers were interested in new genres such as poetry, fiction, essays, and drama.
(Panchasakha of Satyabadi Juga)
Fakir Mohan Senapati was an influential writer in modern Oriya, and he also wrote several short stories that are considered classics today. He was inspired by many Western works and wrote the first full-fledged novel in Oriya: Six Acres and Half (1908). This autobiography discusses his experiences while working as a tutor in Scotland and India.
A few other well-known modern Oriya writers were Radhanath Ray, Madhusudan Rao, and Gangadhar Meher. Radhanath Ray (1848-1908) started writing modern Oriya poetry in the late nineteenth century. He wrote mainly long narrative poems called `Khanda Kavyas’.
Odia Literature is Dying!
We can have a glimpse from the above context that how the Odia writers in the early age generation were great at writing highly attractive novels and poetry. It was the time when their spirit was at its peak.
However, a lack of courage and creativity is evident in today's works by major Odia poets and novelists. They are not following in the footsteps of their predecessors. Additionally, there is also not much marketing exposure to Odia literature, so most people don't know about it.
Also, people are addicted to all the digital media like TV, Mobile Phones and they don't have much time to read books.
Now, the question is what is the future of Odia Literature?
We must bring new readers to Odia literature. This can be done by translating great Odia works into other languages, including English. Young people who read these translated works will develop a positive attitude towards Odia literature and may eventually become great writers themselves. They will not ignore the best of what has been produced in their self language but will appreciate it just as much as they do their mother tongue. That way we can secure a solid place in the arena of national works of literature.
We should never forget the contributions of Sarala Das, Fakir Mohan Senapati or Balaram Das. These legends did not just contribute to Odia literature but to world literature as well. Since time immemorial, Odisha has been a fertile land for the culture of knowledge and wisdom. We are proud of the literary giants who have emerged from Odisha, as well as the brave men and women who continue to champion our language to the world.
To keep our literature alive and to revive the Odia language, we have brought a huge collection of novels written by some of the most famous authors. Visit our Website https://www.ritikart.com to view the collections and buy your preferred novels and books