Born of the Soil
Author: Kalindi Charan Panigrahi
(Translated into English by Bikram Das);
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 136, ISBN 9789385285585, Rs 350)
Odia writer Kalindi Charan Panigrahi’s novel Matira Manisha, now translated into English as Born of the Soil by Bikram Das, is known for its simplicity in narrating the story of a peasant family whose joy and sorrow in life are bound with the soil they belong. The storyline revolves around the main character Baraju Padhan, who heads the family after his father’s death, inheriting humanism by maintaining the tradition of joint family. But the twirl in the story crops up when Baraju’s younger brother Chhakadi, prompted by his wife Netramani, attempts to split up the home. And it is Baraju’s nobleness that makes Chhakadi admit to his fault and the family eventually unites again. Born of the Soil is remarkable for flawless portrayal of human values as well as deep cultural ethos of rural Odisha. Bikram Das has translated many Odia books into English, including Gopinath Mohanty’s Paraja for which he bagged his first Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize in 1989.