Radhanath Ray
: Kedarpur
District: Balasore
Category : Literature
Born : 28 September 1848
Died : 27-Apr-08
Details : Radhanath Ray (Oriya: ରାଧାନାଥ ରାୟ) (1848–1908) 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.

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. His writings were inspired by many English Litterateurs 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, however he was not accepted by the contemporary conservative readers of his time. Soon, he was dragged into a controversy. Sudhala Dev, the then king of Bamanda awarded the poet the title 'Kabibara', and the gesture made some of the critics and poets jealous. Some critics wrote that Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja is more powerful than Radhanatha, and these silly arguments turned into a serious topic of controversy like modernity versus tradition. Two of the literary journals The Indradhanu and The Bijali engaged in this controversy, and later all the intellectuals got entangled in this discussion. However, this literary controversy ended with a letter of Radhanath.

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