BIO-NOTE - VYASA KAVI FAKIR MOHAN SENAPATI (1843-1918)
Fakir Mohan Senapati is a giant in the field of Indian literature who belonged to Odisha. He created a revolution in novel writing by departing from the romantic idiom and writing on social realism. His portrayal of the common man and his concerns predated those of Prem Chand and Rabindra Nath Tagore, the other giants of Indian literature, as noted in Prof Sisir Das’s work, ‘The History of Indian Literature’. His writings had elements which apart from promoting secular attitudes, helped bring about social changes, to which he also contributed directly as the dewan of some of the princely states of Odisha, in British India. Odisha is the first state in India to have been established on the basis of its language, for which he laid the groundstone. He infact fought against various odds to save the language from exstnction, and is hailed as the father of Modern Odia literature. Fakir Mohan’s writing speaks to us today with the same urgency and freshness as when he set down his words with a quill pen over a century ago. Fakir Mohan Senapati can, in the truest sense, be dubbed as the Renaissance man.
Fakir Mohan Foundation has two focal points apart from other things.
1. Carrying out the legacy of Fakir Mohan Senapati.
2. Carrying out the mission concerning the language issue.
“A language is not just words it’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. Its all embodied in a language.”
- Naom Chomsky
“To be ignorant of what occurred of before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history.”
- Cicero, Quator (46 BC)
Vyasa kavi Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843-1918) in whose name the foundation has been instituted belonged to Odisha. His life & works have been documented by Doordarshan Archives / Prasar Bharti, Govt. of India, in a DVD format.
The English translation of one of his major works / novel ‘Six Acres & Third’ has recently been brought out by Penguin. Fakir Mohan Senapati’s writings are more than 100 years old and yet have a strong contemporary relevance.
Besides, Fakir Mohan Senapati also saved the Odiya language from extinction & gave the Odiyas their identity. He is hailed as the father of Modern Odiya literature & is a household name in Odisha. Language is an integral part of culture & heritage but unfortunately the use of the mother tongue and the regional languages is dying out amongst the youth, not only in Odisha but in many states of India. The foundation believes that in order to understand one’s roots / culture & heritage, it is necessary to understand one’s language / mother tongue.
The use of language in Odisha is in a very deplorable state. Statistics reveals that only 33% of students use the language in their formal education . Besides, linked to the language issue is the economic issue. Infact many of the Economic policy practitioners in International financial institutions like the World bank and the IMF have begun to look towards cultural factors as key variables explaining successful transition strategies. Language is Synchretic and is more than just words. So the language movement is from all aspects a viable proposition .
Our mission is to protect preserve & promote the language with the help of academic as well as cultural initiatives (revival of certain traditional arts). It is proposed hereby that the Odisha initiative be made into a flagship project and later extended pan Indian. Recently on the 4th of January, 2012 an event was organized, by our foundation at the Habitat Centre, to formally launch the foundation. A cultural program based on his novel “six acres and a third was presented with an interface with classical Odissi dance and theatre. Among the artistes were Sharon Lowen, Kavita Dwibedi and the eminent thespian Tom Alter. This was highly acclaimed by the dignitaries as well as the audience who were present in large numbers. Odisha incidentally is the first state to have been established on the basis of language.
FAKIR MOHAN FOUNDATION: FMF Committed to Globalising Fakir Mohan Senapati’s LegacyMission Statement
The Fakir Mohan Foundation is a tribute to the heritage of Odisha with special focus on the legacy of Fakir Mohan Senapati the leading light of Indian literature. The foundation will work (globally, nationally and in Odisha), to deepen and sharpen people’s understanding of the rich socio- cultural roots and identity of its people. The foundation will also aspire to preserve, protect and promote the quintessential character of Odiya language and literature traditions, build social capital and human values among the youth and in particular address women’s issues in order to help women emerge as agents of change.
Objectives of the foundation:-
• To undertake ‘Save the Language’ project. This is in view of the diminishing love for Odiya language for reasons of greater use of English and Hindi in the present times.
• To work towards promoting visibility of upcoming and talented Odiyas, from different fields, at the national as well as the international sphere.
• Promoting excellence amongst the youth of Odisha.
• Promoting, amongst the youth, humanitarian values, helping them rise above class/cast/religious divisions, encouraging environmental consciousness promoting moral values. This is proposed to be done at the school level through talks/quiz programmes and street Plays/Jatra/Daskathia.
• Instilling amongst the youth the pride of being an Odiya.
• To take up socio economic issues with particular focus on women and children. The health concerns regarding the above two groups will be of prime emphasis. Addressing the issue of rising under age marriages and its concomitant bigamy, both of which have an adverse effect on the Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI).
• Addressing environmental issues and taking up the cleaning of water bodies/rivers. Tie up with the International organisation ‘ROW’ (Rivers of the world) to this effect.
• Promote/revive the dying arts like the Jatra “Daskhatia” and use it for social marketing.
• Try to bring to the notice of the cognoscenti’ the beauty and substance of Odissi music and try to accord Odissi music its due status at the national level.
• To project the fact that Odissi dance which is highly acclaimed globally is inextricably linked to Odissi music. Odissi dance sans its traditional music is a non grata. To carry forward this mission through Odissi dance.
• To take up the issue of child labour from a cultural perspective. Much has been voiced and aired on the topic of child labour but it has been reduced to just some laboured lamentation. It is time that we revisit the issue and see it through the cultural lens. It would serve the twin objectives of having a cultural continuity along with economic regeneration with a difference. The idea should be not to condemn child labour as such and ban it outright instead to be pragmatic enough to put it in the right perspective. What is proposed here is that children of artisans, weavers, potters and craftsmen can be encouraged to be engaged in the family business, learn the traditional skills in the secure confines of their home & in due course carry forward and enhance these traditions over time.
Fakir Mohan’s secular ideals to be instilled in young minds. This is of particular importance in the present times. The ‘Sarvadharma Samanvay.’ pillar that he built in Shantikanan, Balasore, Odisha in the above name, stands testimony to what he believed besides what he practised.
A Note of Acknowledgment from the Managing Trustee of Falir Mohan Foundation (FMF)
The Hon’ble Minister, Culture & Tourism Govt. of Odisha, Mr. Prafulla Samal and his Principal Secretary Mr. A.K. Tripathy (IAS) have indeed been gracious to have supported us in a big way. We owe our debt of gratitude to them. Mr. P.R. Mohapatra, P.S. to the minister has acted as one of the important links in our various communications. My special thanks to him.
Mr. Lalit Mansingh, IFS, Former Ambassador to the USA has always been a pillar of strength for FMF. His intrinsic connection with Fakir Mohan goes back to his father, Shri. Mayadhar Mansinha, whose evocative critical biography of Fakir Mohan Senapati brought out by Sahitya Academy under the ‘Makers of Indian Literature Series’ has been instrumental in creating an awareness of this Literary Giant to the non Oriya Reader. Mr. Lalit Mansingh has spared time from his busy schedule to give time to FMF. The maturity of his thoughts and experience, have been and will continue to be a guiding force for FMF.
I deeply acknowledge the support rendered by the following, without whose association the foundation would not have been able to take off the way it has. They have from time to time lent support to the foundation each in their own way. I as the Managing Trustee owe a deep sense of gratitude to all. It would be a grave act of omission if I do not mention the special contribution made by the core committee members - Dr. Anjana Neira Dev, Associate Professor, Gargi College, Delhi University, Mr. Amarendra Khatua, IFS. , Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Dr. Bulbul Dhar- James, Director, Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies & Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia and Ms. Borsha Paricha, Director Programmes, National Foundation for India - the four solid blocks of the foundation. I really cannot thank them enough.
My deep appreciation to Mr. Amarendra Khatua, Besides being a Trustee, he has spearheaded the myriad activities in the run up to today’s event. Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF) has come this far thanks to his invaluable guidance and support, right from the conceptualization, evolution to the execution of the idea of FMF. His infectious zeal and encouragement, indeed his personal involvement, has meant a lot to us. He is the prime mover of FMF.
Mr. S.C. Nanda, Senior Advocate, Supreme court of India, has been instrumental in helping us lay the first brick of the Fakir Mohan Foundation by way of legal support. His unswerving support has been an immense source of strength to me personally and to the foundation. It has been a pleasure to work with Mr. S.C. Nanda who’s kind disposition and personality, smoothly streamlined the process of making of FMF. My heartfelt gratitude for him. I wish to thank Ms. Sharon Lowen, Odisi dance exponent, not just for regularly attending the meetings of the foundation, but contributing by way of providing constructive ideas for carrying out the cultural and developmental activities of the foundation.
Shree Subijoy Dutta, Scientist, Rivers of the World (ROW) Foundation, Maryland USA is a well known crusader in the fight for saving the river ‘Yamuna’. Shree Dutta and ROW’s association with FMF has been through the ‘Daya River, Odisha sensitization programme’, that was initiated in the summer months of 2011. It has been a very successful collaborative endeavour that we are proud of. We consider it our good fortune to be associated with him & the ROW (Rivers of the World) foundation.
Mr. Nirmal Bhattacharya, Director of K.K. Birla Foundation, has been a great help in the collection of articles from Sahitya Akademi, for publication in the FMF souvenir. I would also like to put on record my gratitude to Sahitya Akademi for giving their consent to publish articles relating to Fakir Mohan Senapati in the FMF souvenir. Mr. Surajit Bhattacharya has been a big moral support and proffered help. We solicit his association for future endeavours. Dr. Pulin Nayak, Professor, Delhi School of Economics, has been reassuring scholastic presence through the FMF deliberations. His Academic clarity and vast experience is a source that we draw from, for our socio- economic developmental projects.
FMF’s warm appreciation to all the major sponsors & contributors like Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon (AIIS), Noida Special Economic Zone (NSEZ), Govt. of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, R.D.S. Management Services Pvt. Ltd., Central Bank of India, Vishakhapattnam. We also acknowledge the support received from Shri Satyanand Mishra, Shri D.N. Kar, Shri Manas Ray, Shri Prasana Das, Shri C.K. Jain, Shri Suresh Misra, Shri T.K. Misra, Shri S.N. Acharya, Shri Deepak Mishra. The foundation will remain grateful and hopes that they would continue to lent support in the future as well. My special thanks to Smt. Kalyani Mishra & Sh. P.N. Misra, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court for patronizing our organization in a big way.
For the incredible ambience, our special appreciation to the India Habitat Centre. IHC’s support of FMF and the cause that we stand for has reaffirmed IHC’s social commitment. FMF deeply appreciates the land mark venue provided and the support and cooperation of Renu Oberoi, Monica Bhandari Chandrima, Shivani Darbari, amongst others at the India Habitat Centre.
Mr. Sarat Raut, former minister of Culture, Govt. of Odisha has silently helped FMF from behind the scenes. He has been proactive in many ways. And the foundation is immensely grateful to him. Mr. Kishore Dwibedi has also extended help and the foundation wishes to acknowledge that.
Once again we profusely thank Mr. Prafulla Samal, Minister, Culture & Tourism, Government of Odisha & Hon’ble Minister Srikant Jena for the patronage to FMF’s efforts of disseminating information, to promote Odisha at the national level and the great contribution made by Fakir Mohan Senapati to the world of literature and socio-economic thought.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have Dr. Anjana Dev, my friend and colleague from Gargi College, associated with FMF right from its genesis. Her support and constructive encouragement, pleasant demeanor combined with a highly developed sense of commitment makes her a rare person. Her meticulous way of putting together all the relevant material and editing the text is visible in the layout and content of the FMF souvenir that is being presented before you today. At a personal level, apart from other things she has been a big moral support.
I wish to express my deep appreciation to Dr. Bulbul Dhar- James, for the precious time she has devoted on the publicity of the inaugural event of FMF as well as all the editorial help for the Souvenir. Her enthusiasm is incredibly infectious and a motivating element for many. I would also like to acknowledge Bulbul’s contribution in disseminating information on the relevance of Fakir Mohan’s work and the many a collaborative activities like Workshops, Lectures, Panel Discussions planned with FMF and Academic Community in the near future many. I would further like to mention here, that the logo of ‘Manav Dharma’ has been designed by her daughter, Malaika Dhar- James. It is designated as our event logo and we shall use it for all events of the foundation. Bulbul has contributed in many ways and I personally and FMF considers her an asset.
It is the very proficient Ms.Borsha Paricha who has facilitated the venue for all our monthly meetings at the India Habitat Centre. The Seminar on ‘Save the Yamuna River’, an FMF and ROW collaborative endeavour was also held in NFI, IHC. It would be quite in place to mention here that the first seed of the FMF was sown here in the Habitat Centre with the initial prompting and encouragement from the two sisters Ms. Jhanjha Tripathy, Director Ministry of Railways and Borsha Paricha. It is perhaps their motivation that has helped me to take the final plunge and take voluntary retirement from my job as an Associate Professor in Economics, Gargi College, Delhi University and go ahead with the registration of the Fakir Mohan Foundation (FMF). Indeed I their value association very much.
I would like to put on record my appreciation and blessings for Anupam Mishra, for having designed the FMF logo. His sensitivity and creativity is reflected beyond designing, in directorial (Films) ventures that he is engaged with. Thanks are also due to Mr. Birendra Pani & Sarat Nayak for designing & making the portrait of Fakir Mohan Senapati. I thank Ms. Nivedita Giri Pradhan, Lecturer, Delhi University, for taking on the responsibility of doing the event management with utmost sincerity. I as Managing Trustee of Fakir Mohan Foundation consider myself highly fortunate to have succeeded in garnering support from various quarters
That Fakir Mohan Senapati has pioneered literary creations in India on social realism is undisputed but what is most important is for us is to note is the contemporary relevance of the genre of his work from poems, essays, novels, short stories, to autobiography. His writings echo the voice of the masses, the marginalized, disadvantages including women and girls.
We are highly grateful to the then Director General Doordarshan Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, presently the Chief Election Commissioner, who realized the value of the film project on Fakir Mohan Senapati since he is also a man of letters himself. Dr. Quraishi helped with the sponsorship from Doordarshan for the film ‘Anvesan’ and hence the life and works of Fakir Mohan Senapati could be documented for posterity and for all the world to view the remarkable contribution made by this man called Fakir Mohan. Incidentally Dr. Quraishi refers to Fakir Mohan Senapati as the ‘Ghalib’ of Odisha.
I thank that all who have contributed their bit in helping to make the event a grand success, Fakir Mohan Foundation solicits their good wishes in carrying forward its mission.
(Great Grand Daughter of Fakir Mohan Senapati)
Professor, Delhi University (formerly) &
Fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University,
Managing Trustee Fakir Mohan Foundation, (FMF), New Delhi
B-904, Kenwood Tower, Charmwood,
Surajkund Road, Faridabad-121009,
Tel. No. 9899301771, 0129-4117904
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : https://sites.google.com/site/dasmonica
|01.||Shri. Lalit Mansingh||Former Ambassador to USA
|02.||Prof. T.K. Oommen||Sociologist, Padmabhushan Recipient|
|03.||Ms. Pratibha Ray||Eminent writer received the Moorti Devi Award,1991, Sarala Award, 1990 and Padma Shri award in 2007
|04.||Dr. Pulin Nayak
||Professor, Delhi School of Economics
|05.||Shri. Sreenivas Injeti
||IAS, Joint Secretary (Sports) Govt. of India Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports)
|06.||Shri. Amarendra Khatua
||IFS (Ministry of External Affairs), Govt. of India|
|07.||Shri. S.C. Nanda
||Senior Advocate Supreme Court|
|08.||Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty
||Retd. Professor (Political Science) Delhi University
|09.||Dr. Bulbul Dhar
||Director, Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi|
|10.||Shri. Subhas Chandra Choudhury
||Service is IRS. Last designation Commissioner of Customs/Tax consultant|
|11.||Shri. Sudhakar Panda
||Former Registrar of Delhi University|
|12||Shri K.K. Panda
||Registrar Delhi University (Retd.)|
|13.||Ms. Jhanja Tripathy||Executive Director/Secretary Railways Sports Promotion Board Ministry of Railways|
|14.||Dr. Monica Das||Associate Professor Economics, Delhi University (formerly), Fellow Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University) – Member IAFFE (International Association For Feminist Economics) Washington (USA). Trustee for Life / Managing Trustee FMF|
CORE GROUP MEMBERS
|01.||Shri Amarendra Khatua||IFS (Addl. Secy. Ministry of External Affairs), Govt. of India|
|02.||Bulbul Dhar||Director Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women Studies & Associate Professor of Jamia Milia Islamia University.|
|03.||Dr. D.K. Giri||Activist and Researcher|
|04.||Dr. Anjana Neira Dev||Professor Gargi College, Delhi University|
|05.||Ms. Barsha Poricha||Director-Programmes, (National Foundation India)|
|06.||Dr. Subijoy Dutta||Senior Scientist, Rivers of World Foundation, Washington, USA.|
|07.||Shri Kishore Dwibedi||Senior Journalist, New Delhi|
|08.||Ms. Sharon Lowen||Odissi Dance Exponent & Researcher|
|09.||Ms. Kavita Dwibedi||Odissi Dance Exponent|
|10.||S.C. Nanda||Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India|
|11.||Ratnakar Panigrahi||Development Research Consultant of ‘Siddha Organization’|
|12||Ranjana Panigrahi||Development Research Consultant of ‘Siddha Organization’|
|13.||Shri Birendra Pani||Visual Artist bases in Baroda and New Delhi|
|14.||Rajashree Biswal||Art Historian & Curator and Researcher at the School of Arts and Aesthetics|
|15||Dr. Monica Das||
Associate Professor in Economics, Gargi College, Delhi University (formerly)
|01.||Ms. Sadhwi Behera||Delhi University|
|02.||Ms. Sapana||Delhi University|
|03.||Ms. Tarana||Delhi University|