Born Of The Soil – Kalindi Charan Panigrahi; Tr. Bikram Das


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Matira Manisha (‘The Man of the Soil’) is one of those uncommon artistic creations which prove that good art does not have to be convoluted or obscure. The novel’s enduring appeal lies in its very starkness. It is the story of an Odia peasant family whose simple joys and sorrows are bound up with the soil. Baraju Padhan, who becomes the head of the family after the death of his father, Shaama Padhan, inherits his humanism and is committed to the traditions and ideals of joint family existence, but his younger brother, Chhakadi, instigated by his wife Netramani, is determined to split up the home. Born of the Soil is remarkable not only for its depiction of enduring human values but also for its realistic portrayal of the culture of rural Odisha. The language of the novel is a bold attempt at capturing the idiom of the people whose life it presents. Matira Manisha lies close to the hearts of Odia society and has been made into an award-winning Odia film by Mrinal Sen.

About The Author

Kalindi Charan Panigrahi belonged to the post-Fakirmohan, post Gopabandhu generation, appearing at a time when Odia writers were no longer crusading for a racial, linguistic or cultural identity While still in his twenties, Kalindi Charan, along with Annada Shankar Ray and a few other budding poets, proclaimed the birth of a new literary movement, named ‘Sabuj Sahitya’ (Green Literature). The Sabuj group drew inspiration from Tagore, Marx and Gandhi. Like Tagore, Kalindi Charan tried his hand at multiple genres besides poetry—novel, short story, drama, biography and essay. His fame, however, rests chiefly on the slender novel Matira Manisha, written in 1934. He is also remembered as the father of Nandini Satapathy, who was Odisha’s Chief  Minister.


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