Bijay Kant Dubey
Relationship (Jayanta Mahapatra’s Relationship)
The book of poetry, slim in corpus, carries to Jayanta Mahapatra
Sahitya Akademi award for 1981,
A book which presents the poet
As a dreamer and a visionary,
A poet doing random reflections
Floating and flowing away.
Into the seas, surfing over the waves,
Diving deep, gathering pearls
Or swayed away,
Water, water, everywhere water,
The shores far off
But nothing to be disheartened.
An Odia he thinks of the history, art, culture and tradition
Of Odisha, the land,
Its cartography and topography,
The coastal presence,
Life and livelihood,
The dark daughters and its inhabitants.
The Kalinga war which Ashoka fought many years ago,
The way he slew the sons of the soil ruthlessly,
Letting out in bloodshed and agony
By the river Daya
Which is still a witness of that
But the relics are not.
Depleted in time, forgot we the scars and wounds
Which the rock-edicts of Ashoka speaking
In terms of penance and remorse,
After making the waters of the river red,
Soldiers butchered mercilessly
And that defeat he has not forgotten still.
Passing through the dark corridors of history,
He thinks of the vicissitudes
Of the Odia people
The boon and bane of seashores,
Fishermen daring into the unfathomable waters,
Deep down into the seascape.
The poet tells about the tourist centres, picnic spots, bird sanctuaries,
The temples and their heritage
Together with the legacy of the myth and its tradition,
Folk dances and songs
Pulsating the heart.
A poet of Odisha, he links with the animate and inanimate objects
Of the land of his dwelling,
The place of his birth and nativity,
Rearing and growing up,
The paths he has roamed over.
The first Indian poet to receive the award for any book of verse in English,
Jayanta Mahapatra’s Relationship is
But a mythical text,
One of visionary glide and delving,
Imagistic and landscapic, mythical and visionary, he sings the songs of Odisha
And keeps flowing along with the currents
Just like the mariners and navigators
To tell of the lakes and rivers,
The sea coasts and shores.
What he says, means to clear, it means it not, only broodings,
Visionary broodings and glides take us away from,
Time the boat taking us and showing the things,
The chariot wheel of the Konark Sun-temple
Telling of light falling and time denomination.
Seeking blessings from the Shiva-lingam, he tells of stone art and architecture
And the motifs flowering in stone,
The light emitted by the lingam,
The third eye lightening,
The lingam-yoni myths unfolding.
Relationship is in reality a story of his relationship with Odisha and the Odias,
Odisha the land of his birth
And the Odias the fellow brethren
And all these binding him into an attachment
Drawing closer and closer to.
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