Kuntala Kumari Sabat
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Odisha Eminent Personality - Utkala Bharati Kuntala Kumari Sabat - BulBul of Odisha - The artwork by Saswat Debadutta
Odisha Eminent Personality – Utkala Bharati Kuntala Kumari Sabat – BulBul of Odisha – The artwork by Saswat Debadutta

Utkala Bharati Kuntala Kumari Sabat was born in 1900 in Jagdalpur, Chhatisgarh. Her grandfather was from a Brahmin family of Danda Mukundpur a village of Puri district. Her mother belonged to a Hindu ‘Karan’ family. Her father Daniel Sabat was doctor and her mother’s name is Monika Sabat. Her father moved to Bastar and converted to Christianity before her birth.She spent most of her childhood in Burma with her parents and returned with her mother to Odisha at the age of 14 and stayed in Khordha. Later she got married Krushna Prasad Brahmachari in 1928 and adopted Arya dharma.

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Inspite of the preservative society about women education her mother Monica Sabat took keen interest in her education. She completed her high school from Ravenshaw girls school. In 1921, Kuntala Kumari Sabat completed medicine from a Medical College in Cuttack and passed with a distinction. She went on to be the first lady doctor in Cuttack. After that she joined medical practice. She setup women’s welfare center of the Red Cross Society at cuttack in 1925. 

She wrote many poems like ‘Anjali’,’Uchhwas’, ‘Archana’, ’Spuling’, ’Awhan’, ’Prem Chintamani’,’Odiyanka Kandana’etc. Her novels include ‘Bhranti’, ’NaTundi’, ’KaliBohu’,’Parasmani’,’RaghuArakhita’, ‘Chitrapat’ etc.She first got award for her poem when she was in Revenshaw girls school. She used to write right from her student career. She wrote primarily is Odia . However she wrote in Hindi as well. She edited several magazines such as ‘Mahavir’, ‘Jivana’, ‘Nari Bharati’. She established an organisation called “Bharati Tapovan Sangha” that worked towards development of Odia language. 

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Kuntala Sabat used her thoughtful poems to ignite a sense of patriotism among people across the country. She also made efforts to motivate other women to join the independence movement. Her thought-provoking poetry anthologies such as ‘Ahwan’ and ‘Gadajata Krishaka’ inspired many men and women who wished to see a free India. She also fought for women’s rights and backed the progressive steps taken towards women empowerment. She raised her voice against the social evils in the society and supported the idea of widow remarriage.

Many of the poems that she wrote were later translated into English and in several other Indian languages. Kuntala Kumari’s literary work and her role in the public life were many times comparable to those of Sarojini Naidu so she is fondly called as the Nightingale or BulBul of Odisha. She was honored with Utkala Bharati in 1925 .

References :ସମ୍ବାଦ , Wikipedia

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.