Sri Godabarisha Mohapatra

Born :- 10-Jan-1898
Died :- 25-Nov-1965
Place of Birth :- Kumaranga Sasana, Banpur, Khordha

Godabarish Mohapatra alias Niankhunta Mohapatra, the architect of Odia satire journalism and one of the most popular and  influential figures in Odia literature, was born on October 14, 1938 in Kumarang Shasan under Banapur in modern Khordha district. In 1921, under the advice and supervision of Pandit Godabarish Mishra, his schooling was completed at Satyabadi Bana Bidyalaya, the open air school near Sakhigopal. It was from there that he imbibed the spirit of patriotism and the will to uplift the society. He then graduated from the erstwhile Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. In 1930, Pandit Godabarish Mishra set up a high school in Banapur. Mahapatra was the first secretary of the school and also worked as a teacher there.

In the latter days, he took over from Shashi Bhushan Rath for some time the responsibility of editing the ‘Dainik Asha’. Freedom and satire was the mainstay of his literary writings and journalism, and he was adept at censuring any event, individual, institution or situation in beautiful satirical language and style, in the form of discussion, poetry, or story, in a very unassuming, impartial, and perfect way. The monthly satire magazine ‘Niankhunta’ was an unparalleled example of his skilled and witty journalism. By editing ‘Niankhunta’, he made satire of and reprimanded the persistent socio-political and cultural weaknesses and lapses of institutions and leaders, both with mild and harsh criticism. His ingenious and impressive writing style made him very popular. Mohapatra's speciality lay in the fact that no matter howsoever powerful or pernicious in politics, no one was spared the flames of witty or pinching satire or reprimand. The ‘Niankhunta’ was published in 1936 and lasted successfully for almost 24 years, rendering a wonderful service to Odisha’s public life.

Godabarish spent fifty years of his life glorifying the Odia language and literature. In 1956, he published a children's magazine titled ‘Tuantuin’. Although most of the contents of the magazine were stories and poems, they focused on promoting social awareness and scientific outlook among children. As a poet, his poems were based on nationalism, social awareness, beauty of rural life and empathy for human beings. His ‘Kanta O Phula’ (The Thorn and the Flower) and ‘Utha Kankala’ (Rise O Skeleton) won the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 and 1962 respectively. ‘Banka and Siddha’ (The Bent and the Straight) received the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award on November 25, 1955, the year after his death.

He has also written novels and stories, and made ample contribution to children’s literature.  His two famous stories, Magunira sagad (Maguni's cart) and Nla Masterani (Nila, the Lady Teacher) have been made into films.


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