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Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part II)

Following are the responses to an article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik.  The responses are taken from different e-forums.

Before I wrote this part, I read and reread Dr.Patnaik’s piece , and it seems we are in déjà vu all over again. In later half of 19thcentury, people of Orissa division of Bengal Presidency were fighting for the very survival of Oriya as a language against stiff opposition from a strong Bengali lobby. On March 12,1869 Rajendra Lal Mitra, an eminent historiographer of Bengal who had come to Cuttack in order to compile a book on the antiquities of Orissa’s art and sculpture, said in a meeting held at Cuttack that as long as Oriya was not removed as a language it was impossible to think in terms of progress of Orissa. About the same time, Uma Charan Halder, the then Deputy Inspector of Schools claimed that Oriya people would stand to benefit if only Oriya were written in Bengali script. Again in 1870,Kantilal Bose, Head Master of Balasore School, brought out a book ”Oriya Swatantra Bhasha Nai” and sent it to R.L.Martin, Inspector of Schools. A signature campaign started under the direction of Sibdas Bhattacharya, Deputy Inspector of Schools at Balasore, for continuation of Bengali as the medium of instruction in the schools of Orissa. This was a time when Bengalis dominated in all spheres of civil service including education in Orissa. However, though many Bengalis were supportive of this stand, a good portion of them joined their hands with their Oriya brethren in their demand for Oriya to be the medium of instruction, such as Baikuntha Nath De, Gauri Shankar Ray and Radhanath Roy among others.For an exhaustive summary of the struggle, please read THE RAJ:NTIONALSTS AND REFOMS- LAND,LAW AND GOVERNMENT ,ORISSA:1912-1939 by Amal Kumar Mishra.

Is not the struggle the same between Koshali  and Oriya ? Now the Oriya pundits are using the unwise tactics against Koshali, and blocking at every turn any chance of getting into 8 th schedule. Probably they are afraid that recognition of Koshali as a separate language somehow diminishes the viability of Oriya in some way. History does not support such fears. After the struggle, Bengali rose from strength to strength, eventually Rabi Tagore getting Nobel prize in literature. And look at Oriya. Oriya has blossomed when Oriya speaking people had mastery over their own destiny. Oriya writers have embellished their literature in to great heights. Sitakant Mahapatra recently became awardee of Bharatabhusan, the highest award of the nation. Future will tell how Koshali will fare in coming years, but if the record of last few years is any indication, future looks very bright. So Dr. Patnaik need not fear on the account of recognition of Koshali. For blooming and blossoming of Oriya depends on the creative imagination of Oriya writers, and that is where he and other ardent lovers of Oriya should focus rather than indulging in trying to block Koshali from getting recognition as a language. If at all there would be any danger to Oriya as a language, it may come from Oriyas themselves. Just look at his own back yard inBhubaneswar. Oriya kids are leaving Oriya schools in droves opting for English medium schools even though it costs a king’s ransom for the option.

I am a little intrigued with the tone of the Sambad piece under scrutiny. Perhaps Dr.Patnaik did not mean convey such tone, but it comes across as paternalistic. It is as if

Koshalis by asking for recognition of our Matrubhsha, the language we learnt on our mother’s lap, we are somehow are hostile to Oriya as a language. Nothing of the sort. He graciously acknowledged contribution to Oriya literature by quite a few Koshalis. I can name even a dozen more. And I hope Koshalis  will continue to do so. During my recent trip to Sambalpur, my friend Uma Shankar Panda presented me his latest anthology of Oriya poems. I presume it is probably his 83 rd ! So what we need is not lecture/soliloquy but dialogue, not paternalism but equivalence/partnership, and not indifference/hostility but friendship. This way both Kowhai and Oriya will be winners.

Finally, who do you think solved the conflict between Oriya and Bengali ? It was T.Ravenshaw ultimately. My sincere plea to Dr.Patanaik and other lovers of Oriya is to  rise up to their moral responsibility to do the right thing by unblocking our access to 8 the schedule. This is what brothers do for each other. Longer this impasse festers, more bitter will be the relationship between our two communities. This will be cited as another instance of deliberate blockage of our progress. If this does not happen, then it will serve as a lesson  to be learnt for Koshalis.. Do not go toBhubaneswarfor getting  recognition for Koshali because Oriyas are playing the same game as Bengalis did against Oriya in 19 th century, just as an abused child becomes abusive parent. Campaign inNew Delhiin stead.

To be continued

Regards

Arjun Purohit,Canada, E mail: apurohit1934@gmail.com
PS: Forgive my typos as usual

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The script of marathi and Hindi are same, both are flourishing,no issue, bengali and asameese language have same script,both are maintaining their Identity, the script of existing Odiya language and koshali are almost same, Nothing wrong in recognising that as a language also..Its very much possible inIndiaand why some one will object ???

Durga Misra,
Email: durga_misra@sify.com

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 I completely agree with Shri Durga Misraji. During this discussion following points comes to my mind.

-There are many languages in the world with similar script. Most of the European languages use Roman script. They are still different. Each language is successful.

-German thinks that Dutch is a mixture of English and German language. So what? Dutch language is still alive and it has its own literature, heritage and culture. But, if you read and learn, Dutch is very different from German; it has its own grammar. One will realize the difference if she/he has mastered both the languages, that is German and Dutch. I would like to ask my fellow Odia friends to learn Kosli first, and then they will realize the difference.

-Late respected Shri Gangadhar Meher wrote his literary creations like Indumati, Arghyathali, Kichaka Badha, Pranaya ballari, Tapaswini etc. in Odia. Had he committed a crime? No! Was he opposed to Kosli as a language? We do not know for sure. As a Kosli I would like to see my fellow Koslites to snatch all the literay awards whether it is in Hindi, Bengali, Odia, English, Tamil, Telugu etc. If a Kosli person writes in other languages we should be proud of him. By writing novels in English Prof. Manoj Das is still recognized as an eminent Odia. By writing and speaking English, and drinking English wine a person will not be a Brit. Everyone is bound to their root-culture and languages. Therefore, I do not see any point how late Gangadhar Meher or any other persons deciding on our mother tongue.

-Matrubhasa is what my mother speaks. My mother speaks Kosli.

-A true language lover will never try to suppress a language. There are hundreds and thousands of languages in the world. While I was a children I use to read many English short stories translated from Russian language. I really love those short stories. Languages always compliment each other; they are not competitive.

Therefore, I do not see any fight between Kosli and Odia language. But some Odias fear that what will happen to Odia language, if Kosli will be a separate language. Nothing will happen to Odia language. It will flourish along with Kosli.

Best regards,

Sanjib

Sanjib Kumar Karmee,
The Netherlands,
E-mail:sanjibkarmee@gmail.com

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 Sanjib Babu,

I read the entire article and all the responses as posted at your blog site. There is absolutely no doubt that Kosli (as you have named the language) has its uniqueness. Although, anyone of us can say it sounds like oDiA and looks like oDiA, but when one reads through and thinks through, there are many identifiable differences, especially in the grammar and usage. If I write Hindi using oDiA akhsyaras, then it will also sound like oDiA and look like oDiA. But the fact is, it is Hindi. Assamese and Bengali use the same script, but they do have a distinction between the two languages. I see oDiA and Kosli in those lights. I believe that Kosli should be given its due status as a language, whether anyone likes it or not.

Having said that, I do agree to some extend with Debi Babu’s suspicion that there are elements who will be motivated in using this as a tool to create a separate state. While, personally, I have no problem with the creation of a separate Kosala state, but I am afraid of the selfish motive of some elements, which might be a burden on true activists like you in the future, i.e. after the state is formed. At this point, we cannot do much about it.

I also loved the sentiments of your poem. Please do keep up the good work. You all remind me of our oDiA language activists of the past.

Namaskar,

Debasmita Misra,
USA,
Email: bapunu@hotmail.com

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Mother language is the most powerful medium for any child to learn things quickly and efficiently. There are many countries in the world like that of Japan, China, Russia, Korea and even many European countries also where from education including Engineering & Medical to running the administration of the country is all in mother tongue.

Separation ofBangladesh from the unitedPakistan was the result of forceful implementation of URDU as the first language on the thenEast Pakistan.  Students of Dhaka University of the then East Pakistan had defied government orders and took protest march on the streets of Dhaka even at the cost of risking their lives to face dictatorial administration who were not in any mood to listen. Live bullets fired on them killed many students on that fateful 21st February. Struggle intensified which ultimately resulted in birth of a new country. 21st February is celebrated in a very big way as “AMAR EKUSE”. Now that date is  celebrated all over the world as Mother Tongue day.

Coming back to Odisha, it is up to the government, how  they deal with the demand of Koshali language or deal with the genuine sentiments of the Koshali speaking people. The neglect of western Odisha all these years in itself spills the beans. What is wrong in the demand to do justice with people of Western Odisha to do justice to their mother tongue! Why we should see politics in it?

Now, it is up to the Government of Odisha to do justice with the people speaking Koshali language in Western Odisha or else, tomorrow, if people take to the streets to demand Koshali as the main language in that area, it will be wrong to say they are doing politics.

Pravin Patel,
Email: tribalwelfare@gmail.com
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July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am 12 comments

Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part I)

Following responses are taken from different e-forums and Facebook. This is in response to the article  entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in ‘Sambad’ newspaper on 22nd July 2011. 

Dear All,

The Sambad (Odia daily) has written on our discussion of Kosli language: http://wp.me/pFC4h-UK. I respect the views expressed by Shri Devi Prasanna Pattnaik.

However, I still feel that if govt. will bring a law to teach the students of Kosal region in Kosli the school dropout rate will decrease. I have seen the struggle of primary school children to learn Odia. Instead why not teach them in Kosli. Do not forget the children of 11 western districts spend considerable time in learning Odia.

In future the creation of separate state in India will not be on linguistic basis. As India is a highly populous country, the creation of smaller state will be better. Therefore, do not relate the language movement to political movement.

Giving recognition to Kosli language is nothing to do with Kosal movement. Rather, it will be good for the literary persons like Haldhar Nag, Manglu Biswal, Dr. Dologovind Bisi, Dr. Nila Madhab Panigrahi, Dr. Harekrushna Meher and others who are working relentlessly to keep this language alive.

Therefore, I urge the language lovers to help the Kosli language to flourish and let us not politicize it.

Here with I am sending the link to a Kosli poem written by me: http://wp.me/pFC4h-Uk

I hope you will enjoy it.

Best regards,

Sanjib

Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands
E-mail: sanjibkarmee@gmail.com

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Dear Sanjib,

I agree with you. The writings of Mr Debi Prasanna Pattnaik seems more emotional than logical.He has also tactically tried to create a difference between KOSLI AND SAMBALPURI. I can understand his stand but the article is totally baseless and illogical. Perhaps he has forgotten that one day Odia was also labeled as ‘EKTA SWATANTRA BHASA NAESE. Now its a recognized language and official language of Odisha but what is the problem with my friends of coastal belt in recognizing Kosli. I would conclude, ODISHA SAHITYA ACADEMY has loosed its competency and credibility in developing Kosli . We have no anger with our PADOSHI BHASA. If Kosli is my Maa then Odia is Maasi. Lets think for betterment and always hope for the best. And I request all, please support those who are working for propagating KOSLI.

Regards,

Saket Sahu
Editor BENI, The Kosli magazine
Bargarh, E mail: saket.sahu@gmail.com

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 I have throughly read the article by Sri Debiprasanna Pattnaik on the sambad ,dated 22.7.2011.In nutshell, we like our mother tone Sambalpuri/Koshli from the core of our heart. We do not like Oriya -is wrong.Rather we like both languages equally. MANAKA bhasa is Koshli.Oficial language is Oriya.

As Sanjib Babu opines-if Koahsli language will be included in the 8th schedule than school going children will be increasing no doubt.The best example on MANAK language as Koshli is for example on fish. we read MAACHA in oriya and in koshli as JHURI. If a school going kid will read JHURI  instead of MAACHA he will easily follow it. So the question of breaking oriya language if koshli language approved is wrong interpriation. Can we forget to recite the beloved poem MANGALE AAILA USHAA , BIKACHA RAJIBA TRUSHA by legendry GANGADHAR MEHER – no not all. Rather from language front of view we will be proud of being able to use both the languages.

Yes, on development side, Western Orissa is less developed than Eastern Orissa and for that we demand a separate Koshla State for overall improvement of our region.

Narendra Kumar Mohanty
Sambalpur
Email: narendra_mohanty@rediffmail.com

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 Dear all,

Yesterday my young friend Saket Sahu, editor of BENI, the Koshali magazine posted this piece in Sambad. It seems the very possibility of inclusion of Koshali in the 8 th schedule is causing quite a bit of anxiety in the Oriya speaking population. My short posting in Ornet and Orissa Today net work has inspired a full scale article in Sambad by an eminent linguist. I am flattered, embarassed and disappointed in one breath. I do not have access to Dr.Patnaik,s email nor do I remember of having any personal contact with him in good old days, though I remember that my classmate late Dr.Chaudhury Hemakant Mishra talking about him when he was thinking of taking over India Institute of Languages(?) after Dr.Patnaik’s term. I would have loved to discuss the issue with Dr.Patnaik in a veranda with a cup of tea rather than long email exchanges. Since I can not do that here is my response through the net. Apparently Dr.Patnaik knew about my posting through Ornet/OTN; so hopefully he will know my response.

Frankly,I would have liked Dr.Patnaik to take the high road to discuss the linguistic aspects of Koshali and I would have learned a lot from him. In stead, the whole piece was sentimentally based, and is a rather a little accusatory as to why we want and hope Koshali to be included in the eighth schedule. Clearly Dr.Patnaik is a an ardent lover of Oriya, and one can not find any fault with such sentiment. Let me make it very clear. Most Koshalis, which certainly includes myself love Oriya and its great literature, but we love Koshali more, not simply as a very vibrant living language but also because we can express and communicate our deepest feelings and sentiments though it like in no other language.

It seems when Dr.Patnaik was at the helm of the Language Institute he was not in favour of any 8 th schedule. However, debating on the soundness of such reasoning is just academic now because, be that as it may, 8th schedule is still open and recently four new languages,Maithili,Santhali,Dogri and Bodo have been added after Mahapatra commission was concluded and the final decision was made by the High-Power Committee with thirty two languages left in the limbo. We do not know the reason why Maithili which has the same population base, and the other three with  much far smaller base than Koshali were included but Koshali did not get the nod.  Inclusion of Koshali in the 8th schedule is crucial for Koshalis and I will try to give some of the reasons.

1. For generations, Koshali students through the formative school years had to learn even the non-language courses through Oriya and were punished by the teachers from coastal area( I can vouch from my experience) if students use Koshali in the classroom. Needless to say, it has caused lot of drop outs. Moreover, we had to write answer papers in Oriya. Those with good linguistic aptitude managed it well but for vast majority, it was a handicap. Our overall marks were lower. I know of many bright students failed again and again in both matriculation and I.A./I.Sc. because of their poor Oriya. I realise that schooling system in all over India has changed quite a bit since my time but the problem remains  essentially the same. Thus we never had or have a level playing field. Hopefully, such situation can be averted through 8 th schedule.

2. The same situation occurs when recruiting civil servants. Competency in Oriya is a must. This is one of the reasons you will see huge number of minor civil servants in every nook and corner in Koshal area but you will not find as many from Koshal area in non-Koshal area.This of course has caused social disharmony.

3.One of the advantages of 8 th schedule is availability of funds to enrich the language. Perhaps our brethren in non-Koshali area are not aware that Koshalis are passionately involved to enrich the language. Major classics like Ramayan,Gita, Mahabharat are already in print or are being written up. Currently Nil Madhab Panigrahi, 90 plus years, bed ridden and partially paralysed has already published 6 volumes of Mahabharata. Two more volumes are in the process of publication. He is determined to finish the rest before he passes away. Dictionaries, Grammar, plays, novels, anthology of poems, Granthavalis of major poets like Satya Narayan Bohidar, Koshali panjikas,, several books on history of Koshala, biographies on Koshali heroes, etc. already in print without any funding from the government. BENI is a magnificent monthly literary magazine, full  of literary pieces of high quality as well as great artwork.Though we have a long way to go, several newspapers in Koshali are coming up. Most Orissans know of artistic genius of Krutartha Acharya for his Sambalpuri Sarees. But few know of another textile design genius Late Jadunath  Supakar, who had to leave Orissa for Varanasi was awarded Padmashree. At least three Koshali language movies have been produced, one of them receiving international acclaim. Old Koshali palm leaf  and copper plate documents are to be digitised. Revival of Koshali dances and theatricals are performed in major cities and towns. Recently Sapan Mishra put forth a formidable list of major literary works in Koshali. This is but very inadequate and brief snap shot of cultural activities in Koshal area.  There is a sort of renaissance in all aspects of Koshali culture and heritage Lot of things remain to be done. In short, all these and much more are accomplished without much help from the Orissa government because Koshali is not included in 8 th schedule. Interestingly, if my memory serves correct, as soon as Santhali came under 8 th schedule, Orissa government announced financial help to promote the language. For Koshali ? None.

4. Inclusion in 8 th Schedule will also facilitate governance in Koshal area. Notices are given now in the villages in Oriya; not very literates do not understand the full implications of these notices. Civil servants from non-koshali area who do not even have rudimentary knowledge of Koshali  can not communicate with citizens, thus resulting in miscommunication. In fact Orissa is among the minority of states which claims to have only one language. Out of 28 provinces, 15 have more than one official language. Out of 7 union territories, 6 have more than one recognised language. In a democracy freedom of expression is a fundamental right of the citizen. Good governance requires efficient communication between the citizens and the government. Is it not ironic that Orissa CM does not speak Oriya ? He truly symbolises the basic oxymoronic stance of the Orissa government on language issue.

5.Dr. Patnaik correctly says that language has no barrier. When Koshali speaking tracts were brought in to the fold of Orissa, 6 districts of Koshali speaking population remained with modern Chhattisgarh. Koshalis are going through the same problem in Orissa as they are in Chhattisgarh. Inclusion of Koshali  in the 8 th schedule will go a long way to improve governance in both provinces.

6. Because Koshali is not in the 8 th schedule, it is not listed in the list preference for languages in the Census counting. As the 2011  census official statistics shows the whole Orissa speaks nothing but Oriya, which of course is erroneous. We do not even know what is the real figure for both Oriya and Koshali !

To be continued

Regards

Dr. Arjun Purohit, Canada
E-mail: apurohit1934@gmail.com

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We Protest the Article for the following reasons-1.His writings are emotional on a subject which require factual corroborations.

2.His language,tone & tenor is objectionable when he uses questions such as,a-Why this elation ? b-Is it because Koshali-Sambalpuri has been tagged together ? c-Is it that Koshali-Sambalpuri is going to be recognised as mother tongue ? d-Is it because if language is recognised, it will pave way for the creation of a separate state ? e-Is it because other literary award will be given for this literature ?

If the answers to all these teasing questions are BIG ‘YES’,’YES’,’YES’ than what is the harm ??? Who is he to deny us the status of a separate language ??? He tried his best to do it 40 years back when he was at the helm of affairs, to suppress the voice of truth. He was successful in strangulating our throat. Now, in the year 2004 when the language committee headed by Dr.Sitakanta Mahapatra, who had recommended to Govt. of India that 7 languages deserve to be included in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution, the Govt. took decision to declare inclusion of 4 languages,such as,Maithili,Konkani,Santhali & Bodo in the 8th schedule. The than Minister of States,Home Shree Ajay Makan had said that there is no time frame for the inclusion, but it will be done in a phase wise manner. Shree Debi Prasanna Patnaik has no authority to deny such status to Sambalpuri-Koshali language as decided by the due authority of Govt. Does he ? It is a matter of recognition only. People of Koshalanchal use this language in every spheres.

Yes, Koshali-Sambalpuri is tagged together by the linguists also. It is one & synonymous.Who are you to create a difference ? Sambalpuri-Koshali is the mother tongue of more than one crore & fifty lakhs of people of Koshalanchal. It is more than many so called official languages recognised by the Govt. in the 8th schedule. The recent Census has recorded Sambalpuri-Koshali as mother tongue of lakhs & laks of people. Whether it will pave the way for a separate state depends on other ‘trigger events’, not only the recognition of the language of a region but the impoverishment, marginalisation,colonisation,discrimination & exploitation of too, press the people to fight for a separate state of Koshal. Can you stop this Mr.Pattnaik ? Remember, even after the creation of separate state of Chhatisgarh, their language, Chhatisgarhi is yet to be recognised in the 8th schedule of the constitution.

Dont mix up state demand with the recognition of language issue. For your kind information, Odia is recognised as the second language of Andhra State since a few thousand people in Andhra Pradesh speak Odia. Why cant you see reason in recognising Sambalpuri-Koshali as second language of Odia & thereby facilitate cohesion among the two distinct parts of Odisha ? Rather than doing that you want to promote only Odia & you literary publication & literary awards to the users of Sambalpuri-Koshali language. You have sarcastically questioned the need for such a system of award to us by the state of Odisha. Does it belong to you only ? Than, why do you want to keep us with you ? Leave us. Tax is being collected from us also but while spending on language & literature, we only publish & award Odia. Why ??? Is it your money only ???

Sapan Mishra, Sambalpur
Koshal Pradesh Forum, Face Book
E-mail: sapan.mishra1@gmail.com

July 24, 2011 at 6:36 am 7 comments

Kosli Sahitya Blog

Kosli Sahitya Blog: http://koslisahitya.wordpress.com/

May 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm 1 comment

“BENI” Kosli E-magazine, May 2010 Issue

You can download the full magazine here.

Enjoy Reading!!!!!

May 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Parameswar Mund: A famous writer, dramatist and scholar of Koshal region

Shri Parameswar Mund is a native of Polaka Munda, Kalahandi.  He is a well-known writer, dramatist and scholar of Koshli and Oriya literature. He is the author of Sandhi Bichheda. His works are widely covered by media. Following is an excerpt from “The Hindu” that writes about his drama Maet Maa:

“Based on the rows over displacement for industrialisation in tribal pockets that has rocked Orissa in recent years, Maet Maa (mother earth) directed by Parameswar Mund and staged by Adim theatres of Bhawanipatna of Kalahandi district ……………. The director also chose to use tribal dance sequences to show change of scenes.

Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at the University of Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal. Click here to download the complete profile of Shri Parameswar Mund.

January 16, 2010 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Satyanarayan Bohidar, Koshli dictionary and Koshli grammer

Following are some information from the Sambalpur District web page  and Orissa Review:

  • Known as the pioneer of Sambalpuri language and grammer, Satya Narayan Bohidar was born on 1st August, 1913 at Sonepur. His formative and creative years were spent in Sambalpur that produced a good no. of literary translations and biographies. Fighting against all odds, Sri Bohidar was successful in preparing the dictionary and  grammer specially in Sambalpuri Language which provided a significant identity to it. Satya Narayan Bohidar died on 31st December, 1980, leaving a great legacy behind him to influence the future generations.
  • Satyanarayan Bohidar was a poet with a difference. Author of ” Kosali Bhasakosh”, his works namely Tik Chahnra (1975). Ghavghavo, Ghuvkudu etc. are written in Kosali or Sambalpuri language. The ease and facility with which Bohidar weaves the local idioms into the tapestry of his poetry is indeed amazing.

January 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm 1 comment

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