Adikabi of Odisha Sarala Dash

In this article I have explained about the biography of a great Odiya poet Sarala Dash popularly known as Adikabi, his well known creation the Great poet Mahabharat in Odiya and about his innovative creation that gave the shape and foundation to the Odiya literature.

Recorded oriya literature virtually starts from Sarala Das, who belongs to the ffteen century Odisha. Scholars have been of course able to trace literary works deciphered to have been written before that but Sarala Das's odiya Mahabharat stands as the first landmark and pioneering adventure in the history of Odiya literature. As pioneer, Sarala Das must have had to struggle hard to make a dent and get himself accepted.
Sanskrit was the medium of all literary pursuits worth the name at the time when Sarala Das appeared on the horizon. All literature as a rule was bound to be court literature and scholars, patronized at the courts, wrote their pieces following strictly the accepted canons. Sarala Das did not belong to any from the capital. As he had described, he owed his literary gifts to the grace presiding deity of his village, Sarala Devi. The monumental work, he took upon himself, was the transcreation of Mahabharat in the language of the people,
In producing this work, Sarala Das was anything but faithful to the Sanskrit original and gave his creative imagination the fullest tether so that what he created was entirely a new creation, except the thematic sequences of the Indian epic in its bare outlines. He made modification and alternations even in the dramatic personal to the prevailing conditions of contemporary Odisha. He gave himself full licence to incorporate in to his magnum opus all the myriads of legends and tales, religious practices and beliefs he could gather from around him. The result was a marvellous deviation, yet a real Odiya Mahabharat , that the Odiya people, got as being enacted in Odisha.
Sarala Das, though this innovative literary adventure gave literary shape to the Odiya language, made it come of age and proved to the Pandits that it could be a fit vehicle of literary expression. His mission was one of protest against the accepted modes and did open up a new path and gave inspiration to many who came after him. The protagonists of Sanskrit of cource did not recognise him and must have condemned all what he wrote as blasphemous literature. But Sarala Das was on the side of a cause whose hour had then come, it is not without justification therefore that he has been called the Adikabi or the pioneer innovator poet in Odiya literature


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