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THE QUEST FOR SELF IN ORIYA SOIL: A STUDY OF JAYANTA MAHAPATRA'S POETRY

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Dhara

The Post - Independence Indian English poets with their cultural roots in their community are facing with the crisis of identity, and their poetry manifests their quests for self and roots. We can feel a radical shift in their writing—a shift from the macrocosm of the country to the microcosm of the self. In the hands of Nissim Ezekiel, A.K. Ramanujan, R. Parthasarathy, Arun Kolatkar, Kamala Das and  Jayanta Mahapatra the Indian English Poetry has acquired new dimensions.  At present, Jayanta Mahapatra stands tall in the realm of Modern Indian English Poetry enriching the Indian poetry in a different way by dealing sagaciously with the Indian culture in general, and the Oriya culture in particular with a mythopoeic vision depicting real Odisha with its topography, its folktales, traditions and myths. He uses English idioms for Indian text and his poems deal with the question of self, search for root and identity exploring Indian sensibility and ethos, especially the Odisha landscape, its religion and rituals; history and myth; hunger and poverty and the complexity of human relationships with wonderful poetic craftsmanship. Although Christian by birth, Mahapatra’s creative self is primarily Hindu in terms of myth, symbols, folklore, idiom and psyche. He learnt to respect Christ but his inner self is ardently Hindu. This dual identity has created a sense of insecurity and alienation in his poetry. 

                      My paper aims to present Mahapatra’s quest for self identity in Oriya soil through his consciousness of the Oriya tradition and culture with which he identifies himself in his poetry.

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