The poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra:
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Though most of his poems are in English, they express different aspects of Odia culture which have shaped his creative endeavour. The objective of this paper is to explore different aspects of Odia culture that are reflected in the poems of Jayanta Mahapatra. In this paper, I will provide a short profile of Jayanta Mahapatra and then discuss how Mahapatra portrays some of the aspects of Odia culture in his poetry.
Jayanta Mahapatra is one of the best known Indian English poets. He was born in Cuttack in Odisha in He taught Physics in a college in Orissa and started writing poetry in his forties though he wrote other genres before writing poetry.
He has published about seventeen collections of poems in English and more than five collections in Odia. He has also translated poems from Odia and Bengali to English.
Mahapatra lives in Cuttack and is still active in his creative endeavour. Mahapatra also talks about Dhauligiri, a mountain by the Daya River where the Kalinga war took place in B.
And perhaps I have done just this in my poetry. Another way he adopts to bring in these aspects is by describing important places and landscapes of prominence like the Mahanadi, Puri Beach, Chandipur on Sea. Mahapatra also describes the native Orissa festivals and village life.
The evening fosters light, And kneeling villages inhabit the beginnings Of a tale that never appears to end; The vague weightiness of chanting Hangs low, and sad and restless and black Raveendran These lines talk about the serene life and spiritual traditions that prevail in the Odisha countryside.
Though Mahapatra comes from a city, he loves the countryside and way of life of the village folk. Apart from the arts, sculpture, history and heritage of Odisha, Mahapatra also chronicles he stark reality of Odisha life.
Dust seems in no hurry now, sailing the air. A ten-year-old girl runs after her home-bound cows through the ingenious sunset hour, Women returning home from fields of ripe grain carry sickles in their tired hands.
The cut paddies cling to their quiet perches.
How little I understand myself, among children who are mothers already before the floods come, wetting the reeds on the shore; among women desired, even as we are indifferent to happenings by which they are possessed. How the sickles shimmer with the reds of sunset hidden in the twilight of their veins.
These poems are rich in imagery, graphic, evocative and sensitive to human problems. One can discover his use of contrasting images to telling effect: Slopes that stroke the mind With their quiet faces of sorrow, Like that of old men curling for warmth In the winter sun, And of young ochre-clad prophets laden with the silent fulfilment of tomorrow.
Mahapatra But he is also sensitive to human issues such as poverty, hunger, exploitation, insensitivity and so on. The plumes of rice have glassy, furious eyes.
That sway aggressively in the sleepless wind Such are the eyes of youth whose fears lurch about the doorways Of the prostitutes are younger this year At the police station they are re careless to give reasons For being what they are And the older women careful enough not to show their years.
In the hot summer months we have whole night open air operas. Their tunes and melodies get into you, so do our dance and architecture.Jayanta Mahapatra is a not a simple writer to be dispensed at one go and one sitting of study rather taking full time.
To read a single poem of his is to do injustice to . Jayanta Mahapatra was born in Cuttack in and graduated in physics, which subject he taught at university till retirement. He started writing poetry relatively late but soon won recognition both in India and abroad for his tranquil and lyrical verse.
Jayanta Mahapatra was born on October 22, , in Cuttack, Orissa, the first child of Lemuel Mahapatra, an inspector of primary schools, and Sudnasubala Rout Mahapatra, a housewife of simple habits and no education.
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Jayanta Mahapatra’s poetry is the kind of cross section of the exotic culture and represents socio-culture deterioration of the present generation. He always tries to go deep into the problem.
He is concerned about the present state of India. His. “Hunger’, according to Jayanta Mahapatra was an expression of his solitude. He writes in this regard: “Hunger” was written twenty-five years ago.