Radhanath Ray
: Kedarpur village
District: Balasore
Category : Literature
Born : 28 September 1848
Died : 27 April 1908
Details : Radhanath Ray is an Oriya poet of initial modernity era in Oriya poetry during the later part of nineteenth century, and is honoured in Oriya literature with the title Kabibara. In his early life, he composed in both Bengali and Oriya languages, but later he shifted his writings in Oriya only. He was born on 28 September 1848, at Kedarpur village in Baleswar district, Odisha. He has contributed verses and poetry for Oriya literature in the nineteenth century.

At Radhanath’s time, in Odisha, the Oriya language movement was active. Though the medieval Oriya literature was richer in comparison to that of Bengali literature, however some of the Bengali educationalists wanted to abolish Oriya language as the medium of teaching from schools. As Bengal was gripped by British Colonialism much before Odisha, the Bengalis had the privilege to motivate the Anglicist scholars to prove Oriya as a branch of Bengali language. John Beams, a British Officer of East India Company first tried to prove that Oriya is more ancient language than Bengali, and it had a richer literature which Bengali had not. In the Odisha division, there were only seven Oriya School teachers; Bengalis formed the majority of teachers, even in the remote areas. Consequently, Bengali text books were prescribed for Oriya students. At that time, Radhanatha was one of prime figure along with Fakir Mohan Senapati, who fought against the expansionism of Bengali educationalist to eradicate Oriya language from Odisha.He was the Inspector of Odisha Schools Association and along with Fakir Mohan Senapati and Madhusudan Rao, he tried to promote text book writings.

His writings were inspired by many English Littérateurs like Keats, Scott and Wordsworth. He has contributed to Oriya poetry by introducing new forms. He has penned blank-verses, satire inspired by writings of Dryden and Alexander Pope, denunciation of despots, tyrants and oppressors, concern with social problems, a spirit of protest against conventional morality, a disbelief in the power of gods and goddesses, and patriotic sentiments, which finally brought him trouble from his employers. He was viewed as a national poet of the first order in Odisha. Though Radhanatha contributed a lot to Oriya literature.

Radhanatha Ray’s first major work was Kabitabali, a collection of poems in Bengali written at the age of eighteen. It featured in most of the major newspapers and journals in Kolkatta during that time. His other Bengali poem was Lekhabali. Later, he switched over to Oriya language, and wrote famous Kavyas like Kedar Gauri, Nandikeshwari, Chilika, Mahajatra – Jajatikeshari, Tulasistabaka, Urbashi, Darabara, Dasaratha Biyoga, Savitri Charita and Mahendra Giri. Additionally, he wrote more than fifteen essays. Apart from his original works, he is also known for his translations and adaptations from the Latin Literature. They include Usha, Chandrabhaga and Parbati.

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