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The Influence of Sanskrit Literature in Odia Language

With
Special Reference to Chaa mna-thaguntha

Dibakami Krutartha
Ph. D Scholar
Dept of Indology
French Institute of Pondicherry




Sanskrit is considered to be the oldest language in human history. It is the root and inspiration for
virtually every language spoken in India. It is also one of the 22 official languages of India. Sanskrit is
considered as the mother of all Indian language and it is famous for its clarity and beauty. It is clear in
speech, perfect in pronunciation, articulate in conversation, sharp in expression, rapid in thinking, logical in
analysis, rational in understanding. Sanskrit is considered to be a key element in the Indo-Aryan language
family. It is a classical language, like Greek, Latin, Persian and some Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu,
Kannada, Malayalam and Odia. The word Samskrata in the strictest sense, mean purified, sacred and
holy. Sanskrit usually referred to as Samskrata Vak which means a refined language. It is a language
always kept in high reputation and used mostly for religious and scientific discourse in Hinduism,
Buddhism and Jainism. It has the credit to being one of the oldest existing languages in the world and has
been grouped with the Indo-European languages such as French, English and German. This is the only one
language which is used in holy functions and ceremonies of Hindus, as it is always regarded as the sacred
language of the religion. There are so many texts in Sanskrit on politics, philosophy, religion, theology,
mathematics, astronomy, medicine and a host of other field of knowledge. Sanskrit is the mother of all
Indian languages.

As it is difficult to take whole Odia literature in this paper, so, I have tried to take only a novel
Cha mna-thaguntha which is written by Fakir Mohan Senapati, one of the modern story writers and a
novelist of Odisha, to show how the impact of Sanskrit has been influenced in Odia language and literature.
Fakir Mohan Senapati is not only an Odia writer but also a good Sanskrit scholar. To establish the theme,
Fakir Mohan used to quote from different Sanskrit texts like Raghuvamsham, Manusmriti, Chanakyaniti
and Nititisataka in his novels.

Odia language:-

Odia is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language and the regional and official language of Odisha. It is the
second official language of Jharkhand and also recently it becomes a classical language. Odia is one of the
22 official languages as established by the constitution of India and one of the 14
th
regional languages of
India. There are also some Odia-speaking population in India accept Odisha, especially the neighboring
state like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Gujarat. The west-Indian state Gujarat
has a huge number of Odia speaking population and the commercial town of surat in Gujarat is statistically
the second largest Odia speaking city in India. Modern-day Odia has been discovered to have originated
from the Sanskrit-Prakrit-Apavramsa form known as Magadhi or Ardha Magadhi. Odia is essentially
considered to be a modified form of the Odri Prakrit form. This form of Prakrit is directly derived from
Sanskrit. Modern Odia vocabulary is estimated to be composed of 70% Sanskrit, 2%
Hindustani/Persian/Arabic with the remaining 28% of mainly Adivasi origin. It has 28 consonant and 6
vowels, it to be remembered that the length of the vowel can changes the word meaning completely. Odia
has a strong long lasting literary heritage. The earliest record of prose used can be found in the
Madalapanji (Palm-leaf Chronicles) of the Jagannatha temple of Puri, which is an important religious
center for the Odisha people. These records date back to the 12
th
century.


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Influence of Sanskrit in Odia language:-

Odia language is mostly influenced by Sanskrit. Influence of Sanakrit in modern Odia language is
clearly seen, not only in literary form but also in phonology and vocabulary as well. We can see that in the
modern age there are so many Sanskrit words that used in Odia language for example-Matrubhumi,
Matrubhasa, Akasha, Jala etc. These words become part of our vocabulary we used it in our day-to-day life.
There are two types of Sanskrit words these are Tatsama and Tadbhava.

Tatsama: -
It is a loanword from Sanskrit that used in modern Indic languages like Odia, Bengali, Gujarati
and also some Dravidian language like Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam as same word and same meaning
also. In Odia there are so many Tatsama words for example-
Darsana: - it is a Sanskrit word that means to see in Odia also it is same meaning.
Jagannatha: - it means the lord of universe in Sanskrit but used in odia as same meaning.

Tadbhava: -
It is a word borrowed from Sanskrit but used in other modern Indian language with a little
modification. For example in Odia those Odia words are derived from Odia verbal root, those verbal root
derived from Sanskrit verbal root it is called Tadbhava krudanta words. For example
Kandana: - which means in Odia to cry it comes from Odia dhatu kanda which comes from Sanskrit
krand dhatu.

About the novel:-

Chaa mna-thaguntha (Six Acres and a Half) is a 19
th
century Indian novel written by Fakir
Mohan Senapati in 1897-99 and published as a book in 1902. This book is the first Indian novel that deals
with the exploitation of landless farmers by a feudal Lord in India during British period. It is a 27 chapter
novel based on the common people of Odisha, British colonial and also the social and political aspect of
India during the early decade if 19
th
century. On one level it is the story of an evil landlord, Ramachandra
Mangaraja and his servant Champa who exploits poor farmers and used the new legal system to get down
the property of others. . In other level it tells a story about an innocent couple Saria and Bhagia who was
the owner of the land Chaa mna and thaguntha and how they lost everything due to the exploit landlord.
At the end of the novel Ramachandra punished by the law for his crime and his land, estate and zamindari
was taken away. This novel is tried to analyze and explain of the social reality instead of simply holding up
a mirror to it. It is justly seen as representing the tip of the tradition of literary realism in 19
th
century Indian
literature in this novel but its realism is complex and sophisticated. This novel not only contains a critique
of British colonial rules but it offers a powerful complained against the many other forms of social and
political authorities as well. It is also based on ancient culture, the social and cultural issue of Odisha.

About the author:-

The author of the novel is Fakir Mohan Senapati. His name was originally Braja Mohan Senapati.
He used to remain ill when he was a child. His grandmother usually took him to the fakirs so his
grandmother changed his name to fakir as a dedication to the fakirs she used to take him. He was born in
13
th
January 1843 in Malikaspur of Balasore town in Odisha. He was became an orphan when he was only
two year. His grandmother brought him up. He was multitalented genius who changed the method of Odia
language and started modernism in Odia literature. He is an integral part of the cultural history of Odisha.
His relentless struggle to assert a distinct Odia identity in the face of the growing dominance of Bengali and
the western cultures and his limitless contribution towards the shaping of the modern Odisha in the
nineteenth and early twentieth centurys have turned him into a legendary hero of Odisha. He injected a
new life in Odia literature in an environment of gloom and despair. Discarding romantic themes, he wrote
about the common man and their problems. So he compared with the 20
th
century great novelist
Premchand. Even though he had no formal education, he had proved to be an enlightened teacher, painter
and a great administrator.
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He wrote four novels namely chha mana athaguntha, mamu, lachama, prayaschita and so many short
stories, poems, essays and also some school books in Odia as well as translated a number of Sanskrit texts
into Odia.

For his restless contribution to Odisha he is known as The Father of Modern Odia Literature and
also awarded as Vyasa kabi. His book Atma jeevana charita (The story of my life) is not only the first
autobiography in Odia language but a faithful document of the social and cultural ethos of his time as well.
The story Rebati written by him is the first story in Odia literature. He also awarded as Saraswati by
the Suratarangini Saraswat Samiti of Bamanda. He breathed his last on 14
th
June 1918 in his native
place.

Influence of Sanskrit literature in Chaa mna-thaguntha:-

No doubt that Fakir Mohan Senapati is an Odia writer but also he was Sanskrit scholar as he used
most of Sanskrit words and some verses, Subhasitas in his novel as reference. As an Odia scholar he can
used the Odia verses but he couldnt because he know that how beautiful Sanskrit language is? To show the
perfect meaning, Sanskrit language is betters then others. To my mind it is gigantic like Himalayas and
sacred like Ganges. As he used so many verses in his novel, I categorized those verses as The work of
Chanakya, the work of Kalidas, the work of Manu, Sankaracharya and Subhasitas.

Work of Chanakya: -

In the 5
th
chapter of the novel the landlord Ramachandra Mangaraj, who had three young sons,
they were always busy with their own business like gambling, disputing with others and smoking hemps.
They always stayed outside of their home and hardly ever meet their father. Once an old man of his village
asked mangaraja that why do you keep your sons at arms length? at that time the author of the novel
Fakir Mohan gave a reference that taken from Chanakya neeti by Chankya :-

--)

It means that a child should be tenderly nurtured till its fifth year, disciplined for the next ten year,
and treated as a friend on reaching the age of sixteen. But the author explain it with double meaning as he
described the meaning of the verse through the own interpretation of the illiterate landlord is The children
drool up to their fifth year. They are to be kept at a distance for the next ten years. And when they become
sixteen, they and their friends should be dealt with strictly.





These two verses used by Fakir Mohan Senapati in the 3
rd
chapter of his novel, taken from the
Chanakyaneeti of chanakya. But the author used it in other meaning according to Mangaraja as: - It means
The Goddess of fortune favors trade, be a pleader; half the fortune is made means the house of the
landlord like a pleader. Here also he used the verse as dual meaning that taken from Sanskrit texts. Here we
can see that how odia language is related to Sanskrit.


--)

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This verse is used in 20
th
chapter of this novel when Ramachandra Mangaraja had arrested by the
police for the murder case of Saria and he was in the jail alone. At that time an advocate named Ram lal
sing came to help him. This is the situation the author apply this verse that taken from Sanskrit text
Chanakyaneeti.

Work of Kalidas: -

In the 6
th
chapter, the author describe about the lady character Champa. She is the servant and
also a good partner of Ramachandra for his evil work. When Fakir Mohan described about the beauty of
Chmapa, he had taken some beautiful verses from Raghuvamsham, Abhijnanasakuntalam,
Which are written by the great scholar of Sanskrit literature Kalidas. As the novelist unable to explain the
beauty of champa, he followed to Kalidas as:-


--)

As he know that Kalidas is famous for simile, that he used in his every text and when it comes to
write something about beauty, he will come as first poet in world. So the reason that the novelist took
verses from Kalidass works. It means Kalidas said in Raghuvamsam it is possible for me to pass through
this dynasty to which an entrance in the form speech is made by the ancient poets; as it is possible for the
thread to pass through a precious stone bored by a diamond-pin.



In this verse the author followed to Kalidas as he explains the appearance of his heroine in: - she
had a complexion which was tawny. Two of her protruding teeth looked like twin peaks of a hill. Her lips
were red like the ripe Bimba fruits. Like that the novelist followed to Sanskrit literature.



This verse is taken by the great Odia novelist Fakir Mohan froem kalidasa work. When the author
described about the innocent weaver couple Saria and Bhagia and their divine love and affection he gave a
reference that written by Kalidas. It means it is never the intention of god to creat a being possessed of all
excellent qualities to perfection.

As we can see that all the above verses and lines that the great novelist Fakir Mohan Senapeti used in his
novel is taken from the great poet of Sanskrit literature and the work of Kalidas. So we sure that the author
had enough knowledge about Sanskrit and also the Odia language is comes from the Sanskrit language and
literature as well.

From Subhasitas: -


--)

This verse is taken from Sanskrit religious text Shrimad Bhagbat Gita as reference by the novelist
in his novel. He used it in 10
th
chapter when he described about the weaver caste and Brahmin. It is about
the qualities of a Brahmin. It means a Brahmin should have these qualities like self-control, purity,
contentment, forgiveness, honesty, devotion to god, kindness and truthfulness.




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)

Again the author in the same chapter and same contexts described about the Guru who can only
open the blind eyes of ignorance with light of his knowledge. This verse is taken from Gurustotrom of
Skandha Purana.


The main reason to give these verses is at the ancient time in Odisha the low caste peoples are fully
dominated by the Brahmins. Some of them dont know about the Veda, Shastra but even though they
considered as Brahmins, so Fakir Mohan try to show here their qualities through references.


Work of Manu: -

)

The novelist also takes a verse from the law maker of Hindu religion Manus text Manusmriti. In
the 13
th
chapter of the he gave this verse as reference when two old lady character of the navel talking
about the couple Saria and Bhagia.

Work of Sankaracharya: -




This verse is taken from the work of Sankaracharya, which the author taken as a reference in his
novel. He used this verse in the 18
th
chapter when the wife of Ramachandra has died, who was a noble
person and kind hearted. When she was alive her husband ramachandra didnt loved her. But now he is
feeling alone and repents of it because his wife is not with him. So here sankaracharya said that The
Company of good man, even for a moment, serves as a boat for crossing the ocean of the world.





The above verse is taken from Durga stotra but the author modified it and used it in his novel.
When the novelist describe about the village deity of gobindpur, he used this verse for the deity. It means O
Goddess, who hath her abode, under the tree in the form of stone, we bow down, we bow down, and we
bow down. Who ride the earthen horses and elephants and gives children to barren women and drives away
cholera, we bow down to thee.




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Conclusion: -

Odia language is mostly similar to Sanskrit language. Most of the people in Odisha used Sanskrit
words as well as phases in their day-to-day life. The modern Odia novelist and writer Fakir Mohan
Senapati used most of Sanskrit words and verses in his 19
th
century novel Chaa mna-thaguntha. He was
an Odia scholar but he gave the importance to Sanskrit language and literature. We can say that Sanskrit is
the mother of Odia language and also Odia language and literature is mostly influenced by Sanskrit
literature.