ISBN 9788121510417,Construction Of An Identity Discourse: Oriya Literature And The Jagannath Cult (1866-1936)

Construction Of An Identity Discourse: Oriya Literature And The Jagannath Cult (1866-1936)



Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd

Publication Year 2002

ISBN 9788121510417

ISBN-10 8121510414

Hard Back

Number of Pages 264 Pages
Language (English)


This book focuses primarily on the Oriya identity-makers, i.e., Oriya literature and the Jagannath cult. Although the study pertains to the historical period, from 1866-1936, it moves back and forth in the time frame, in order to show continuity and get an historical perspective on the subject. Both Oriya literature and the Jagannath cult, over a long historical period have served as means to define and project Oriya identity. This study delves into how since Sarala Dasa's Mahabharata composed during the fifteenth century, Oriya literature has been a repository of identity-constructions, using common history, tradition, legend, geography and nature, and even 'otherness'. The identity-construction in literature became categorical, vivid and well-defined in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under historical compulsions which arose out of two contradictory forces, British colonialism-imperialism and nationalism. The Jagannath cult also showed since its inception, a tendency to veer around Orissa and Oriya. Gradually over centuries, Jagannath came to be appropriated by Oriyas not only because of His geographical location but also because of royal linkage/patronage, re-interpretation and designing of rituals and festivals, and even attaching cultural significance. This resulted in defining Oriya identity in terms of the Jagannath cult. Such a Jagannath-centric Oriya consciousness really assumed the form of identity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as in the case of the Oriya literature. Thus, it may be reiterated that in the Orissa history, this particular period, 1866-1936 was very important as it witnessed the concretization of the Oriya identity. This study tries to explore the historical dynamics of the period which went into facilitating the concretization of identity. An important aspect of this book, is an analysis of the way in which Jagannath has been constructed and construed in the Oriya intellectual tradition.