• India

    Live Covid 19 Status

  • Confirmed

  • Active

  • Recoverd

  • Death

Remembering a Living Legend

Total Views : 129
Zoom In Zoom Out Read Later Print

A simple man,unusual as a Professor,a person of international reputation Jayanta Mahapatra does not have a mobile phone.I am not sure if he has a car.He has not got a major civilian honours too.But,the saving grace is,he has grown old,but remains young in mind.

Today is the birthday of poet Jayanta Mahapatra . If sources are to be believed, he has turned 94 years young today.


After the demise of Manoj Das,Jayanta Mahapatra has become the most prominent living major author from Odisha in Indian English.He is a major translator from Odia to English too..It is a different story that he has never shown interest to translate me or my wife Sailabala on his own ,but has translated many much younger and lesser known poets,and none of us has approached him  too for translation of our poems though we know each other for almost half a century.I respect his knowledge and creative approach to life.And,his apathy encouraged  me to translate our poems into English myself than approaching any other translator.

It is on a Sunday morning in 1988 December that Jayanta Mahapatra and I met at Konark.It was the first ever All India Poets’ Meet organised by Sanibar Sahitya Sandhya.Poet Anubhav Tulasi was also with us.Most probably ,Subhendu Mund ,the then President of Sanibar Sahitya Sandhya was also there with us.

Jayanta Mahapatra has been a popular person among youth, especially  girls,may be for his sense of humour or say,he is very  lively in his approach.He has written some stories too.Some of his stories like 'The Bottom Pincher' have been popular among youth.His poems in Odia are not as impressive as his works in English.He was possibly the first poet from Odisha with international reputation as a poet writing in English.

Two of the living stalwarts in Odia Literature, Ramakanta Rath and Sitakant Mahapatra were his students at one point of time.There may be many more to whom I know,but my focus of this post is not to to make a list of his students ,but to appreciate him as a teacher,poet and human being..

My interaction with Jayanta Mahapatra continued.I visited him with Sumatheendra Nadig and Varsha Das some time in 1999.We were together in another All India Poets Meet organised by Odisha Sahitya Akademi and NBT at Konark,most possibly in 2006-07.Pravat Tripathy ,Chandrakant Deotale and Sameer Tanti were there.In fact,it was his greatness that he gladly received me at Bhubaneswar.I was thrilled.We went to Konark together,gossiping.He also enjoyed the dance of Poerts Kajal Chakraborty,Anupam Kumar,Jayaprava and a few others at the Pantha Nivas lawn the next evening.

I was new at Shillong.It was 2016.I got a news that Jayanta Mahapatra is there in a Sahitya Akademi programmer.I did not have a proper invitation.but I rushed.So refreshing...but the organisers from the University had not contacted the right people.The attendance was poor.I called some of my friends in the teaching departments of the University.Some of them turned up.But the speech of Jayanta Mahapatra on contemporary literature and what a writer is supposed to do was thought provoking.

A simple man,unusual as a Professor,a person of international  reputation Jayanta Mahapatra does not have a mobile phone.I am not sure if he has a car.He has not got a major civilian honours too.But,the saving grace is,he has grown old,but remains young in mind.

When I got the news that Sahitya Akademi  has decided to confer on him its  coveted  fellowship I murmured,'but it is too late...especially to combine him with lesser known writers like VP Tiwari  etc.......he should have been a solo choice'.But Sahitya Akademi has its own way of functioning .

I have not met Jayanta Mahapatra for the last few years.This time one day I will go to his house at Tinkonia Bagicha and meet him.I will ,of course go without any prior notice as I have done many times in the past....

Happy birthday Poet Jayanta Mahapatra !

See More

Latest Photos