Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Kuntala Kumari Sabat, poet who ignited a sense of patriotism

India

oi-Deepika S

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Published: Thursday, June 16, 2022, 8:29 [IST]

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New Delhi, Jun 16: Kuntala Kumari Sabat, popularly known as the Nightingale or BulBul of Orissa, was one of the women poets who came into prominence from Odisha during India’s freedom struggle.

She was a multifaceted personality. Sabat used her thoughtful poems to ignite a sense of patriotism among people across the country. She was instrumental in motivating other women to join the independence movement.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Kuntala Kumari Sabat, poet who ignited a sense of patriotism

Kuntala Kumari Sabat was born on 8th February, 1909, at Jagadalpur in Bastar region in a Hindu Brahmin family. Her parents were Daniel and Monica. Shortly after her birth, her parents went to Burma with her family. So Kuntala Kumari passed her early childhood in Burma with her parents. Then she returned to Khurda with her mother after her father got remarried in Burma.

She completed her early school education at Ravenshaw Girls School and higher study at Medical School, Cuttack. She beautiful composed poems during her school days. She came out successfully from medical school. Although a physician by profession, she knew the colonial treatment of the anatomy of an enslaved nation better than her own degree.

Kuntala Kumari enrolled herself as a member of ‘Nava Vidhan’, the ‘Brahmo Society’. She was appreciated when the poem, ‘Anjali’ came out. A leading cultural association of women conferred on her title ‘Utkal Bharati’. Gopal Chandra Praharaj and Pallikabi Nanda Kishore Bal loved her and adopted her as their daughter. Later she left for Delhi on 1st July 1928. The same year she got married to Krishna Prasad. A new phase of life began, yet she did not leave her writings. She had written in English, Bengali, and Hindi and contributed to a number of non-Oriya journals, and edited a number of Hindi journals in Delhi.

During her stay in Delhi, she presided over the ‘All India Arya Mahila Sammilani’ at Bareilly. During this time also she was invited by Allahabad University and Benaras Hindu University to deliver lectures. She was the president of the students federation at Aligarh. She was made the chairperson of a reputed social organization founded by Harbilash Sarada for the introduction of widow marriage and abolition of child marriage. While in Delhi she took steps to encourage, publish and project Oriya literature. In Delhi, Kuntala Kumari was also associated with eminent writers like Maithili Saran Gupt, Yeasshpal Jee Jain, S. H. Vatsayan, and a host of Hindi writers. ‘Hindi Pracharini Sabha’ conferred on her title of ‘Bharat Kavinetri.’

She composed the inaugural song of ‘Utkal Sammilani’, chaired by Acharya PC Roy in 1924. The poem in the anthology ‘Archana’ echoes the voice of the poor and lowly, the depressed and the marginalized. Her poetic longing for a brave new world is expressed in most of her poems. Some of her poems published in ‘Shulinga’, inspired the youth of Orissa and infused dynamism in them. The volume ‘Ahwan’ captures the spirit of Gandhi’s clarion call to people to join the struggle for freedom. In her poems ‘Sphulinga’ she wants to inspire his fellowmen to get lessons from the past history and to get out of the present setup and dullness. Her poems in Ahwan created a tremendous sensation. Her fame as a patriot and poet spread over the country. She had a transterrestrial longing for an ideal world, a golden era ruled by love, justice, and beauty.

Her writings were regularly published in the ‘Samaj’ and ‘Sahakar’ under the title ‘Delhi letters’. She expresses the socio-political life of pre-independent India and makes a zealous attempt to reform the tradition-ridden society.

In the novel, ‘Na-tundi’, she expresses real things about the land. ‘Raghu Arakhit’ is one of her most outstanding works. It narrates the social character of marriage, where compensation was given to the bride’s family. Kuntala Kumari’s voice was more reflected in her poetry anthologies AHWAN (the call) and Gadajata Krishaka (Feudatory Farmer). The following stanza provides enough stimulus to adorn the spirit of mankind.

Kuntala Kumari enrolled herself as a member of ‘Nava Vidhan’, the ‘Brahmo Society’. She was appreciated when the poem, ‘Anjali’ came out. A leading cultural association of women conferred on her title ‘Utkal Bharati’. Gopal Chandra Praharaj and Pallikabi Nanda Kishore Bal loved her and adopted her as their daughter. Later she left for Delhi on 1st July 1928. The same year she got married to Krishna Prasad. A new phase of life began, yet she did not leave her writings. She had written in English, Bengali, and Hindi and contributed to a number of non-Oriya journals, and edited a number of Hindi journals in Delhi.

During her stay in Delhi, she presided over the ‘All India Arya Mahila Sammilani’ at Bareilly. During this time also she was invited by Allahabad University and Benaras Hindu University to deliver lectures. She was the president of the students federation at Aligarh. She was made the chairperson of a reputed social organization founded by Harbilash Sarada for the introduction of widow marriage and abolition of child marriage. While in Delhi she took steps to encourage, publish and project Oriya literature. In Delhi, Kuntala Kumari was also associated with eminent writers like Maithili Saran Gupt, Yeasshpal Jee Jain, S. H. Vatsayan, and a host of Hindi writers. ‘Hindi Pracharini Sabha’ conferred on her title of ‘Bharat Kavinetri.’

She composed the inaugural song of ‘Utkal Sammilani’, chaired by Acharya PC Roy in 1924. The poem in the anthology ‘Archana’ echoes the voice of the poor and lowly, the depressed and the marginalized. Her poetic longing for a brave new world is expressed in most of her poems. Some of her poems published in ‘Shulinga’, inspired the youth of Orissa and infused dynamism in them. The volume ‘Ahwan’ captures the spirit of Gandhi’s clarion call to people to join the struggle for freedom. In her poems ‘Sphulinga’ she wants to inspire his fellowmen to get lessons from the past history and to get out of the present setup and dullness. Her poems in Ahwan created a tremendous sensation. Her fame as a patriot and poet spread over the country. She had a transterrestrial longing for an ideal world, a golden era ruled by love, justice, and beauty.

Her writings were regularly published in the ‘Samaj’ and ‘Sahakar’ under the title ‘Delhi letters’. She expresses the socio-political life of pre-independent India and makes a zealous attempt to reform the tradition-ridden society. In the novel, ‘Na-tundi’, she expresses real things about the land. ‘Raghu Arakhit’ is one of her most outstanding works. It narrates the social character of marriage, where compensation was given to the bride’s family. Kuntala Kumari’s voice was more reflected in her poetry anthologies AHWAN (the call) and Gadajata Krishaka (Feudatory Farmer). The following stanza provides enough stimulus to adorn the spirit of mankind.

Story first published: Thursday, June 16, 2022, 8:29 [IST]

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