Plea to print Bhoi's unpublished works

Appeal reaches Sahitya Akademi

By Sudeep Kumar Guru
  • Published 18.01.18
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Manuscripts of saint poet Bhima Bhoi. Telegraph picture

Sonepur: District collector Dasarathi Satpathy urged the Odisha Sahitya Akademi to take steps to bring out the unpublished manuscripts of saint poet Bhima Bhoi.

Speaking on a two-day seminar, organised by the akademi here on Wednesday, the collector said the district administration would extend all co-operation to the akademi in this regard. Satpathy said: "The poet has a special place in the field of spiritual literature. I request the Odisha Sahitya Akademi to do something to print the unpublished works of the saint poet. The district administration will co-operate with it in this regard."

The poet's many works have not come to light as it has not been published, and the original manuscripts are gathering dust at the Bhima Bhoi Samadhi Pitha Trust at Khaliapali village, about 20km from here.

Benudhar Pradhan, a poet of Sonepur, said it was very sad that the saint poet could not find a publisher. His works, especially the poems, have illuminated the world and yet many people do not know about his unpublished work till now. "It is high time some person or organisation must take the initiative to publish the unpublished works of the poet. And I strongly believe that the sahitya akademi is the right agency to take up it," Pradhan said.

He said it was unfortunate that people were still in dark about the poet even more than 120 years after his death.

It was in the 1860s, when Bhima Bhoi came to Khaliapali, which was Sonepur state at that time. He wrote numerous poems, preached and propagated Alekhism or Mahima Dharma and professed the philosophy of Sunyabada (nothingness). The poet died in 1895 at Khaliapali where now stands his memorial temple called Sunya Mandir and a monastery where some followers of Mahima Dharma live. The monastery had a treasure of the original manuscripts and books of the saint poet. Some of the manuscripts were taken away by a few people and research scholars, but they were never returned.

The trust now has 14 manuscripts, including eight palm-leaf ones. Mahanadi Sahitya Sansad president Prabhudatta Rath said the district administration must take proactive actions for publication of the poet's unpublished works.

"It is the duty of the administration to send proposals to the Odisha Sahitya Akademi for publication of the saint's works. The initiative must begin from the district administration," Rath said.