Shree Brajanath Badajena

Born :- 1729
Died :- 1799
Place of Birth :- Dhenkanal

Renowned poet and story-teller of the ‘Samar Tarang’ and ‘Chatura Vinoda’ fame, Brajnatha Badajena, is believed to belong to the period between 1730 and 1800. Born in Dhenkanal, Mr. Badajena was a descendant of the sixteenth-century devotional poet Arakshit. Arakshit and his ancestors had migrated from Shrikshetra Puri and settled in Dhenkanal. ‘Samara Taranga’ is a complete narration of the war fought between the king of Dhenkanal, Trilochan Mahindra Bahadur and a Maratha Subedar. He presented the book to the king and was gifted a village named ‘Nuagaan’. Balunkeshwar Patnaik was his father. He lost his parents when he was a child.

Due to poverty, he had to travel from state to state like Dhenkanal, Khordha, Darpani and Kendujhar to seek financial help from kings and zamindars. He had even moved into ‘Calcutta’ and Bhilingi in Andhra Pradesh for the purpose.

 Brajanatha was an avid reader of ancient scriptures and was a scholar. Besides Odia, he had access to Sanskrit, Prakrita, Khoratha (Hindi), Bengali and Telugu. His works include ‘Chatura Vinoda’ (the only prose), ‘Samarataranga’ (War poetry), ‘Shyama-Rasotsava’, ‘Kelikalanidhi’, ‘Bichakshana’ (Incomplete), ‘Bidesh Anuchinta’, ‘Dasapoi’, ‘Gopi Bilap’, ‘Chandimalashree’, ‘Rajananku Chhala Ukti’, ‘Rajasabha’, ‘Gundicha Bije’ (written in Khor language) etc.

Although the forty-one chapter poetry book Ambika Bilash—each line of the entire poetry beginning with A using Adyanuprasha—was actually authored by the poet though it ends with the name of King Balabhadra Bhanja as its writer.  Two palm leaf manuscripts of the poet found from Dhenkanal and Kendujhar, have been edited and a book published on this basis. But it is embroiled in a controversy over its actual authorship. Ambika Bilash describes the love of Ambika (Gauri) and Shiva, and its consequences.

Although Brajanatha Badajena belonged to the Riti Era, ‘Samarataranga’, ‘Chatura Vinoda’, ‘Rajananku Chhala Ukti’ and ‘Rajasabha’ betray the poet’s realistic and socially conscious approach to life, love and society. Some critics have disapproved of Ambika Bilash as largely unintelligible but at places, he has also demonstrated the finesse of a simple and sublime style.


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