Bodhidruma of Odia literature Sachi Routray - Art by Saswat Debadutta
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Sachidananda Routray popularly known as Sachi Routray was born in Gurujang near Khurda on May 13, 1916 to Sadananda Routray and Hemabati Devi. He is born Oriya, Educated and grew up in Bengal and married to a Telugu princess of Golapalli. The consummation of three cultures of Utkal, Banga and Dakshin opned up new vistas and established cross-cultural linkages.

Bodhidruma of Odia literature Sachi Routray - Art by Saswat Debadutta
Bodhidruma of Odia literature Sachi Routray – Art by Saswat Debadutta

While a school boy Sachi Routray was inspired by the freedom struggle. He made his debut in writing poetry at the early age of eleven. Some of his poems are so revolutionary that some of them were banned by the British. 

He has indeed been a prolific writer-a poet, a short story writer, a novelist and a critique all rolled into one. In a writing career spanning six decades he has published 31 no of books consisting Stories, Poems, Novels, etc.

first anthology of poems

His first anthology of poems was ‘Patheya’. ‘Pandulipi’, ‘Kabita-1962’, ‘Swagata’, ‘Pallishree’, ‘Bhanumatir Desha’, ‘Abhiyan’, ‘Hasanta’, ‘Kabita-1977’, ‘Kabita-1986’, ‘Kabita-1987’ and ‘Kabita – 1990’, are some of his notable Poetry creations.

In 1935 Routray wrote the novel ‘Chitragreeba’.’Masanira Phula’,;Malakain’ and ‘Anguthi’ are some of his notable story anthologies. Autobiography of Sachi Routray have been compiled in two volumes – “Uttarakaksha volume -I and II”. He also ediored a journal called “Diganta”.

Sachi Routray was the innovator of ultramodern note in Odia poetry. He was attracted by the ideals of Sigmund Freud, Lenin, Kari Marx and Walt Whitman. His writings influenced by T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. He belonged to that group of writers who called themselves poets of the people. He has his own technique of writing poetry. Many of his poems are inspirer to the struggling masses.

The poor farmer, the wage earner, the mazdoor and the helpless man of the town all have been Routray’s characters. In some of his poems like ‘Abhiyan’, ‘Raktasikha’ he has raised his voice of protest against the social abuse. His short stories give expression to the feelings and emotions of humanity. The inner conflicts of man, the deprivations and the socio-political reality all are narratives of a unique kind. His novels was also very popular for its varied characterization.

 His poem ‘Baji Rout‘,celebrated the martyrdom of a 12-year old boy of Bhuban in Dhenkanal. Who was fired by British police when he refused to take them to cross the river Brahmani in his boat. His ‘Pallishri’, dealing with village life in Odisha.His poem “Chhota Mora Gan Ti” is now taught by most of the schools in Odisha. Few of his published poems have religion as their theme.

Sachi Routray’s response to modernity lies in his patient sympathy for the poor and the oppressed. He is not only a poet but a humanist and a visionary as well.His achievements include Padmashree in 1962. Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964, Soviet Land Award in 1965 and the mother of all awards the Jnanapeeth in 1986. He is a towering figure in modern oriya literature. A BODHIDRUMA. 

By A P Subhakanta Samal

Teacher, Proud Odia. Passionate about History and heritages of Odisha. Founder and Chief editor of Shubhdristi (ଶୁଭଦୃଷ୍ଟି), A bi-monthly Odia e magazine and literature portal.