Gopinath Mohanty at Home in Bhubaneswar in 80s
|Born||20 April 1914|
|Died||20 August 1991 (aged 77)|
San Jose, California
|Alma mater||Ravenshaw College |
Gopinath Mohanty (1914–1991), winner of the Jnanpith award, and the first winner of the National Sahitya Akademi Award in 1955 - for his novel, Amrutara Santana - was a prolific Odia writer of the mid-twentieth century. He is widely regarded as the greatest Odia writer since Fakir Mohan Senapati.
He joined the Odisha Administrative Service in 1938 and retired in 1969. He was the University Grants Commission, UGC Distinguished Visiting Professor and Writer-in-Residence for two years at the English Department, Utkal University in the late 1970s.
In 1986, he joined San Jose State University in the United States as an Adjunct Professor of Social Sciences. He died at San Jose, California on 20 August 1991.
Gopinath’s first novel, Mana Gahirara Chasa, was published in 1940, which was followed by Dadi Budha (1944), Paraja (1945) and Amrutara Santana (1947). His literary output was prolific. He wrote twenty-four novels, ten collections of short stories, three plays, two biographies, two volumes of critical essays, and five books on the languages of the Kandha, Gadaba and Saora tribes of Odisha. He translated Tolstoy’s War and Peace (Yuddh O Shanti), in three volumes, 1985–86), and Rabindranath Tagore’s Jogajog, (1965), into Odia.
Paraja (1945) is a story based on the life of a tribal community. It is the tale of one’s attachment to land, the soil of one’s ancestors. Sitakant Mahapatra describes the novel as " the story of shattered dreams".[full citation needed]
In the post-Independence era Odia fiction assumed a new direction. The trend which Fakir Mohan Senapati had started developed more after the 1950s. Gopinath Mohanty, Surendra Mohanty and Manoj Das are considered as the three jewels of this time. They are pioneers of a new trend, that of developing or projecting the "individual as protagonist" in Odia fiction. The feminist writer and critic Sarojini Sahoo believes that it was not Gopinath, but Surendra Mohanty whose "Ruti O Chandra" has to be considered as the first story with individualistic approach rather than the story "Dan" by Gopinth, which was formerly known as the first story with an "individualistic attitude".[full citation needed]
Five of Gopinath’s novels, Paraja, Danapani, Laya Bilaya, Amrutara Santana, and Dadi Budha, have been translated into English. The first three have been translated by Bikram K. Das, the fourth by Professor Bidhu Bhusan Das, Professor Prabhat Nalini Das and Professor Oopali Operajita; and the last, by Arun Kumar Mohanty. The English version of Paraja was published by Faber and Faber (UK) and Oxford University Press (India) in 1987. The Survivor, the English translation of Danapani, was published by Macmillan India Limited in 1995. "Amrutara Santana - The Dynasty of The Immortals," has been published by the Central Sahitya Akademi in 2016. The translation of Laya Bilaya which bears the title, High Tide, Ebb Tide, has been published by Lark Books. The Ancestor, the translation of Gopinath’s Dadi Budha, has been brought out by the Sahitya Akademi. Besides, a number of short stories of Gopinath have also been translated. It is extremely difficult to render in English the nuances of Gopinath Mohanty’s language. However, translators have attempted to convey the richness and complexity of the original texts to readers unfamiliar with Odia.
He received the Visuva Milan citation in 1950. He won the central Sahitya Akademi Award in 1955 for his novel, Amrutara Santana. The Jnanpith Award was conferred on him in 1973 for his epic-prose Mati Matala (The Fertile Soil). He was awarded the Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1970, for his Odia Translation of Gorky's work, the D. Litt. Degree by Sambalpur University in 1976 and a Fellowship for Creative Writing in Odia by the U.G.C. in 1979. In 1981, the government of India conferred on him Padma Bhushan in recognition of his distinguished contribution to literature. He was an Emeritus Fellow of Government of India for creative writing.
- George, K. M., ed. (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology: Surveys and poems. 1. Sahitya Akademi. p. 302. ISBN 978-8-17201-324-0.