Shree Janaki Ballabha Mohanty

Born :- 14-Jun-1925
Died :- 16-Dec-1999
Place of Birth :- Dagara Sahi, Puri

A well-known figure in Odia literature, Shri Janakiballav Mohanty was born to father Narayan in ??Dagarasahi village near Nimapada in Puri district on 14 June, 1925. Fakiri Devi was his mother. His father expired in the wake of Mohanty’s passing the matriculation examination in 1933. He completed his post-graduation course in 1949 and began his career as a lecturer in the Department of Oriya Language and Literature at Fakirmohan College, Balasore.

During his stay in Balasore, Mohanty's first book of poetry, ‘Tirjyak’, was published in 1951. In the first poem of the book, ‘Upendra Bhanja’, he presented Bhanja’s's literature in an innovative way. He spent his working life in Gangadhar Meher College in Sambalpur, Ravenshaw College in Cuttack and B.J.B. College in Bhubaneswar.  ‘Tiryak’, ‘Chhotabada’, ‘Bichitravarna’, ‘Nabayugara Kabi O Kavya’, ‘Odia Saahityar Itihas’, 'Odia Geetikavya', ‘Srusti O Samiksha’, ‘Odia Chhandar Bikash’, ‘Odia Chhanda Parichaya’, ‘Kala O Kalakar’ etc. are a few of his memorable creations. His achievements as a children’s writer are no less. His scholarship and talents were reflected in his literary discourses, research works and editing.

Shri Mohanty was Secretary and President of the Utkal Sahitya Samaj at two different points of  time and was also a member of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi. He was a representative of Odia language, literature and culture at the PEN. He also served as a member of the executive committee of the Odisha Sahitya Akademi.

Through study, teaching and research in ancient, medieval and modern literature, Shri Mohanty contributed to the qualitative and quantitative growth of Odia literature immensely. He has been instrumental in promoting Odia literature and culture at national and international levels by writing books on Odia literature in English. Although he retired from government service in 1982, he never surrendered himself to a sense of retirement, keeping himself engrossed in his literary pursuit till his last days. He breathed his last on 16 December, 1999.

Shri Mohanty majored in literary criticism by introducing new facts and theories. His autobiography, ‘Ekaki Pathika’ (The Lonely Traveller), provides insight into his simple and fruitfully busy life.


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