Tapan Kumar Pradhan

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Tapan Kumar Pradhan
Dr Tapan Pradhan as a University Student.jpg
Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan as a University Student
Born (1972-10-22)22 October 1972
Occupation Poet, Activist, Banker, Administrator
Language Oriya, English, Hindi
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Education Doctorate in Sociology
Alma mater Utkal University, BJB College, Laxmisagar Highschool
Notable works Kalahandi, Equation, Wind in the Afternoon
Notable awards Sahitya Akademi
Spouse Suvashree
Children Aum Satyam

Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan (ଡ. ତପନ କୁମାର ପ୍ରଧାନ ) (born 1972; Bhubaneswar, Odisha) is an award-winning Indian writer, poet and activist. He hails from Laxmisagar in Bhubaneswar.

Dr Pradhan is best known for his translation into English of his own Oriya poem collection Kalahandi for which he won Sahitya Akademi's Golden Jubilee Indian Literature Translation Prize for Poetry[1] in 2007 along with Rana Nayar.[2] His other award winning and popular[3] poems include Equation, The Hour of Coming,[4] Wind in the Afternoon,[5] Epitaph and Boddhisattva. In the words of the Polish writer Wislawa Szymborska, with whom he was in correspondence, Dr Pradhan is a "skilled wordsmith, whose poems make engaging reading...".[6]

Award winning works[edit]

In 2007, Dr Pradhan received Indian Express[7] Citizen for Peace[8] Prize from Shyam Benegal for his essays on communal harmony.[9] He has also won First Prize in All-India Inter-bank Hindi Essay Competition for 2007–08,[10] a prize he also won in 2006–07[11] for his essays on micro-finance and financial inclusion. He also won First Prize in the RBIA Silver Jubilee essay competition on Future of Central Banking conducted by Reserve Bank of India in 2007–08. He was the First Prize winner in RBI Brand Building Competition, 2007 for his bold satirical essay "Dreaming the RBI Brand", which created shock waves in the Reserve Bank fraternity. Earlier he had won Third prize in World Habitat Day Essay Competition 2007 for his essay titled Green & Intelligent Buildings and Urban Infrastructure. During his student days he had won many literary prizes including Upasika Kamaladevi Award for essays on Buddhism, Shatadru prize for short story and Ankur prize for poetry etc. He was Utkal University literary champion during 1993–94.

Pradhan's poem "The Buddha Smiled" won commendation first prize in All India Poetry Competition 2013[12] conducted by Poetry Society (India).

Pradhan receiving the Inter-Bank Essay First Prize from RBI Governor

Literary style and notable works[edit]

Pradhan makes use of hidden symbols and allusion in his literary compositions, which often champion the cause of the oppressed and downtrodden. As a translator of poetry, he strives to retain the music and rhythm of the original. His poems, essays, cartoons, caricatures and short stories have been published in a wide range of journals like Indian Literature, Journal of Poetry Society, The Statesman, Times of India, The Samaja and The Asian Age etc. His popular shorter literary pieces include "Dance of Shiva", I, She and the Sea, The Banned Artist,[13] A Woman's Scent,[14] "Two Women", "My German Friend", "A Cab for Seventeen", "A Taste for Rats", "Run up to Kill" and "How I Became A Writer". A majority of his works have been published either anonymously or under hundreds of different pseudonyms. He has made translations of Maupassant's little known rare poems from the original French to English.[15] and also compiled a collection rare folk songs from different countries. He is also rumoured to have translated a number of spiritual classics, including the books of Paramahansa Yogananda. A few of his early poems, published during his student days, are available on various websites.[16][17]

Human rights and crusade against corruption[edit]

Dr Pradhan has been a relentless crusader for bringing transparency in public institutions. By the innovative use of the Right to Information he has exposed gross irregularities in public affairs. In 2009, he made a petition to the Central Information Commission of India to bring about transparency in the Performance Appraisal System in RBI.[18] Pradhan was the first person in RBI and the second public sector employee overall in India to obtain his PAR report through RTI Act. As against CIC's view that PAR was "confidential personal information", Pradhan famously contended that PAR is the appraisal committee's impersonal evaluation of the public service rendered by public servants in their impersonal capacity in a public organisation; and hence there is nothing personal about PAR.[19] Pradhan still fights for full public disclosure of PAR marks. However, following his petition, Reserve Bank of India was forced to disclose the PAR reports to all employees.[20] In the words of Smt Usha Thorat, the ex-Deputy Governor of RBI, Pradhan makes "ingenious use of the RTI Act" to redress individual grievances.[21] He has also used the RTI Act to expose massive irregularities in the Indian Railways, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Air India and urban development authorities in Indian cities. Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan's polemic against the Drug Mafia and his advocacy of "socially productive and peaceful" use of banned substances was a major thought process behind the 2008 UK Sequel[22] of the classic US movie Hemp for Victory.[23]

Pradhan speaking on Right to Information – March 2013

Research and other activities[edit]

Under UGC Fellowship, Pradhan was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 2001 for his dissertation on Structural and Economic Dimensions of Communal Conflict.[24] He has done path breaking research on the Kandh-Pana conflict in Kandhamal district, Hindu-Muslim relations in Bhadrak and Harijan-Savarna caste dynamics at Brahmabarada in Jajpur district of Odisha. He taught Sociology for a while at Fakir Mohan University, Balasore, before joining Reserve Bank of India in 1999 as an officer at its New Delhi Office.

Professional career as banker[edit]

From 2000–2005, Dr Pradhan worked in Issue Department at RBI's Mumbai office. During 2005–2010, he was a Member of Faculty at RBI's Zonal Training Centre at CBD Belapur where he taught Banking, Finance, HR Management, Indian Economy and Social Problems. He was sessions coordinator at Fifth National Hindi Seminar on Agriculture and Banking held in 2008. From 2010-2014, he looked after Audit, Budget, Rural Development and Banking as Deputy General Manager at RBI Thiruvananthapuram.

In 2014, Pradhan left RBI to join Government of Odisha as Additional Secretary and subsequently became Director, Finance Department.

Personal life[edit]

Dr Tapan Pradhan married Suvashree, a trained Odissi dancer, on 26 October 2001. The couple have one son, Aum Satyam.

Tapan Pradhan with wife Suvashree in traditional Kerala attire

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Poetry Award". 
  2. ^ "Sahitya Akademi Indian Literature Translation Award". 
  3. ^ "Popular Indian Poems". 
  4. ^ Indian Literature (No 242), November–December 2007 (Award Winning Poems)
  5. ^ "The Storm (poem)". 
  6. ^ "Correspondence with Szymborska". 
  7. ^ "Indian Express Citizen for Peace Short List". 
  8. ^ "Citizens for Peace Essays on Secularism". 
  9. ^ "Living with Differences : Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan on Communal Harmony in Bhadrak". 
  10. ^ "RBI Rajbhasha Shield Awards 2007–08". 
  11. ^ "Inter Bank Hindi Essay Competition". 
  12. ^ "Award Winners – All India Poetry Competition 2013". 
  13. ^ ""Banned Artist" - World Poems on Freedom of Expression".  in Uncontrolled Pen - Features
  14. ^ "Poetry by Prostitutes - "A Woman's Scent"".  in An Exotic Escort's Diary
  15. ^ "English translation of the lyrical poems of Guy de Maupassant". 
  16. ^ "Poem Hunter Website : Early Poetry of Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan". 
  17. ^ "Poetry Online : Select Poems – Dr Tapan Pradhan". 
  18. ^ "Central Information Commission Award dated August 9, 2010". 
  19. ^ Appeal No. 34/ 2009-10/RIA 2831/ 2008–09 against Reserve Bank of India
  20. ^ "CIC Decision on Performance Appraisal Disclosure". 
  21. ^ Appeal No 77/ 2009-10/ RIA 3284/ 08-09 of Reserve Bank of India (Order dated 13 September 2009)
  22. ^ "Hemp for Victory II – the Sequel". 
  23. ^ "Hemp for Victory". 
  24. ^ "Dimensions of Integration and Conflict in a Cross-cultural Cross-communal Setting : A Comparative Analysis", Utkal University, 2001.