Kavisurya Baladev Rath
: Badakhemundi
District: Ganjam
Category : Literature
Born : 1789
Died : 1845
Details : "Kavisurya Baladev Rath ( 1789 – 1845) was an Oriya poet and litterateur. He wrote in both Sanskrit and Oriya and is remembered for his devotional songs and as the founder of the dhumpa sangita.

Rath was born at Badakhemundi of the Ganjam district in 1789. His father, Ujjwal Rath, was a well known Sanskrit scholar and was a poet laureate. Rath was a musician and scholar in his own right. He wrote in the Vaishnavite tradition and the group of writers including Dinakrushna Das and Abhimanyu Samantasinghar to which he belonged have been criticised for their verbosity and convoluted diction but also credited for their emotionally rich and alliterative poetic works that continue to appeal to the masses even today. Among his important works are the Kavisurya Granthavali, Kavisurya Geetabali and the Kishore Chandrananda Chaupadi Chautisa which combines the two literary forms of chaupadi, a quatrain, and the chautisa- a 34 stanza poem where every stanza begins with a new letter of the Oriya alphabet. The Kishore Chandrananda Chaupadi Chautisa is noted for its emotional tenderness and the role it played in infusing the riti school of Sanskrit writing with a new style and aesthetic sensibility. He was also the author of several champus including the Ratnakar champu and the Kishore Chandrananda Champu. The Kishore Chandrananda Champu has been written in a mixture of Oriya and Sanskrit and the Oriya part of the work has been credited with cementing his literary reputation in the language.

Rath is thought to have invented the dhumpa, a bamboo percussion instrument, that accompanies the Oriya folk art form of dhumpa sangita. The dhumpa accompanies recitations of his poetic satires which are called dhumpa geet. Many of his poetic pieces, especially the champus are often set to dance in Odissi. Rath died at Athgarh in 1845. Dasarathi Das' Kavisurya Baladeva Rath is a biography that examines his life and contributions to Indian literature. Kavisuryanagar, formerly Boirani, a town in Ganjam district has been named in honour of Rath.

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