Alas Jayanta Mahapatra

Alas Jayanta Mahapatra

The eminent Indian English poet, Jayanta Mahapatra, died on 27th August 2023. This was a great loss for Indian English literature. He is considered to be one of the founders of Indian English poetry alongwith A.K.Ramanujan and Nissim Ezeikiel. Born on 22nd October, 1928 in Cuttack, odisha, Jayanta Mahapatra studied at the Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. He completed his Master in Physics from Patna University, Bihar and started his teaching career as a lecturer in Physics and taught at various colleges in Odisha. Although he was a student of Physics, he was keenly interested in literature.

Jayanta Mahapatra’s Famous Poems:

Jayanta Mahapatra was a prolific writer. He has written poetry as well as prose. He has written twenty seven collections of Poetry out of which seven are in Odia language and rest are in English. Some of his famous poems are:

• Indian Summer

• Hunger

• Bare Face

• Shadow Space

• Dawn At Puri

• Freedom

• Twilight

• A Rain of Rites

These poems are considered to be classical poems in the Modern Indian English literature. Besides poetry Mahapatra has also written an anthology of short stories ‘Green Gardener’.

Theme of Mahapatra’s Poetry:

Jayant Mahapatra’s poetry is deeply rooted in Indian culture. In his poetry we find a true reflection of Indian culture. Indianness and nationalism are the main themes of Mahapatra’s poetry. In his poems we find a lot of symbols and images which are suggestive in nature. Mahapatra was a sensitive and emotional poet. In his poems we find all kinds of emotions like pain, love, sadness, death, faith etc. In most of his poems we also find personal elements which show the grief of alienation from his mother in his childhood.

In his poetry Jayanta Mahapatra deals with various themes like the theme of human relationship, Indian social problems, love, sex, marriage, morality, human nature and love for the country. His poetry is an ironic reflection of religion, culture and social life of Odisha. The base of his poetry is Oriya culture. He tries to find the meaning in the intellectual and emotional existence of Oriya culture.

Awards and Recognition:

• In 1981 Jayanta Mahapatra received Sahitya Akademi Award for his collection of Poetry, “Relationship”

.• Received the Jacob Glatstein Memorial Award conferred by Poetry Magazine, Chicago.

• In 2009 he was awarded the Allen Tate Poetry Prize from Sewanee Review.

• In 2009 also received the SAARC Literary Award, New Delhi

• He was also given the Tata Literature Life time Achievement Award.

• In 2009 he was conferred a Padma Shri and awarded an honorary doctorate by Ravenshaw university in the same year

• In 2006 he was awarded D.Lit degree by Utkal University, Odisha.

• In May 2019 he became the first Indian English poet to become a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi.

If you find the blog interesting, informative and useful, please share and forward to your friends.

Prof. (Dr.) Asghar Ali Ansari School of Language,

Literature and Society

Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India.