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learning: Haiku in Indian Languages - Odia

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

HAIKU IN ODIA A Brief History and the Contemporary Scene.

— Ajaya Mahala

Odia is the official language of Indian State of Odisha where native speakers make up 82% of the population. Odia is also spoken in limited pockets of adjoining States of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. It is an Indo-Aryan language and has been designated as sixth classical language in India. Odisha has a rich and diversified culture.

In Odia literature, several forms of micro-poetry were existing. These assumed forms of Chaupadi, Dhaga-Dhamali and several forms of riddles. Literary devices like simile and metaphor were used by writers generously to associate ideas/images. But a close examination would reveal that these forms were not akin to haiku which uses the mechanism of juxtaposition for association of ideas.

There are several poets from Odisha writing in this genre in foreign and non-state languages like English and Hindi.

Paradoxically, the above poets wrote very little in their native language. Admittedly, active writing of haiku in Odia in literature space was almost intermittent, occasional or unrecorded.

In 2018, Ajaya Mahala brought a compilation of 251 Haiku in the name of “Ghuchu Na Thiba Jahna” (The Unmoving Moon) in Odia and the same was given a ceremonious start with its launching at State Capital Bhubaneswar. It has been gathered that Pradeep Kumar Dash, a proponent of Hindi haiku has brought about a collection in 2019 (Kashatandira Hasa). Debi Prasad Mohapatra, known for micro poems has also brought about a collection of haiku like poems (Mamunghara Gaon). Deepak Kumar Swain, Jemamoni Bissoyi who have also been writing haiku or haiku-like poems in Odia language.

A significant event took place in the month of September 2020, when “Odiku”, a Facebook haiku workshop group was formed for training and propagating haiku and other forms of haikai literature in Odia language by Ajaya Mahala. In Odiku, there are 150 poets in the group with 50 of them actively writing haiku. The poets are being taught the finer nuances of this delicate art form. They are also enlightened about the resources available for further learning and research.

Representative Haiku in Odia

All the selected haiku have been translated into English by Ajaya Mahala

ଶେଷ ଶଯ୍ଯା

ତଳେ ଆଧାର ମୁହାଁ

ପିମ୍ପୁଡିଙ୍କ ଧାର

his last minutes ...

a line of ants ready

for the forage

—Suchitra Rath

ପୋଖରୀରେ ଛାଇ

କଙ୍କି କଇଁ ପତ୍ର ପାଣି

ସବୁ ଏକାଠି

shadows in the pond

the lily, its leaf, the dragonfly and water

all at one place

—Koumudee Dash

ମୁଁହ ଅନ୍ଧାର

ବିଲ ଗହୀରରେ

ଗୋରୁ ପଲ

approaching evening

a herd of cattle holed up

in the dark fields

— Jasmine Pradhan

ନିଅନ ଆଲୋକ

ନିସ୍ତବ୍ଧ ଗଳିରେ

ଭୋକିଲା ଦେହ

neon lights―

the craving bodies

in this quiet alley

—Durlava Rout

ଉଛୁଳା ନଈ

ଗାଈ ଲାଙ୍ଗୁଡ଼ରେ


overflowing river

the cowherd holds

onto a cow's tail

—Sushama Nayak

ମୁରୁଜ ଚିତା

ଜାଣି ଜାଣି ପାଦ ପକାଏ


knowingly stepping over

my muruja*

an intolerant friend

muruja (Odia word)

= floral designs on floor usually by girls using powders of different colours

—Sanghamitra Jena

ଘର ପୋଡ଼ି

ଚୌକି ଖୋଜା

ମନ୍ତ୍ରୀଙ୍କ ପାଇଁ

charred houses

looking for a chair

for the minister

—Binayakumar Mohanty

ଢାଳୁଛି ବର୍ଷା ...

ନୁଆଁଣିଆ ଚାଳ ତଳେ

ଫୁଟୁଛି ଭାତହାଣ୍ଡି

incessant rain

a clay hut shields

the boiling rice

—Prakash Nayak

ନୂଆ ହାଇକୁ ଶିଖାଳୀ

ଘରଣୀ ରଡିରେ

ହାଇକୁ ବାସ୍ନା

haiku learner

smell of haiku

in the yell of wife

- Santosh Muduli

ବର୍ଷୁକୀ ସଂଜ

ଝିଙ୍କାରୀର ସ୍ୱରରେ

ଶବ୍ଦ ଜୀବନର

rain-soaked evening

crickets sing

the song of life

-—Sujata Mohapatra

ଗ୍ରୀଷ୍ମ ମଧ୍ୟାହ୍ନ

କୁଷ୍ଠ ରୋଗୀର ଠେଲାଗାଡି

ଆଗକୁ ଗଡିଯାଏ

summer noon

the wooden cart of the leper

crawls ahead

— Ajaya Mahala

ଟାଙ୍ଗରା ଭୁଇଁ

ମାମୁଁଘର ରାସ୍ତାରେ

ଗୋରୁ ମୁଣ୍ଡ

barren highlands

a cow’s skull marks the road

to my mother’s village

— Ajaya Mahala

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