Report by Dipti Ranjan Kanungo, Bhubaneswar: The immortal literary works of distinguished poet, statesman and litterateur, Pandit Godavarish Mishra can now be heard in musical form for the first time.
The recently recorded audio CD, ‘E Bijana Baate’ (The Solitary Way), which is going to be released soon by reputed music label 'Sun Music' owned by Srikant Gautam, is an exquisite collection of eight songs and eight recitations carefully selected from the numerous timeless poems of Pt. Godavarish Mishra. The poems have been set to tune by veteran music composer Purna Khuntia and sung by Cuttack-based promising singer Trupti Panda under the direction and supervision of noted music director and staff composer of All India Radio, Om Prakash Mohanty. Former Akashvani announcer and radio jockey, Jyoti Shankar Mishra, who served All India Radio, Cuttack for 38 long years till his retirement, has recited eight select poems of Pt. Godavarish Mishra.
The album has been dedicated to Late Devanand Mishra, grandson of Pt. Godavarish Mishra and renowned lawyer who left suddenly and prematurely for his heavenly abode on October 1 at the age of 58. He had played a major role in the project and supervised the recording and production meticulously till his last breath. He served as a great source of inspiration to the production team. But unfortunately he passed away midway leaving all shattered.
Few days before his demise, Late Mishra had said: “This is a monumental work deserving high appreciation. The singer, composer and director have done a commendable job in giving a musical dimension to the poems. But it is sad that the immortal works of the poet has been out of print for some years. So I am planning to bring out a new and thoroughly revised edition of ‘Godavarish Granthabali’ which has passed into oblivion.”
The timeless poems selected for the album deal with variegated human feelings of love, romance, longing, loneliness, separation and desire for union. The poems express a largely metaphysical outlook, talking about a union with the ‘supreme’ but the language suggests the union of two earthly lovers. This type of anthropomorphic depiction of celestial love is quite common in the Vaishnava literature. The select poems which have been set to music are E bijana baate ekati jana mu, Dhire sana sana asai samira, Na baha na baha aau nistthura samira, Parachi gagane uin nishamani, Tarulata kunje tarulata ki mu, Sabu tejithili kintu asha thila mone, Mu ta soichhi mo bijana kalape and Kie tume rahichha niti he. The poems picked out for recitation are Aau na asa kipain, Hasa hasa mukhe bandhu, Sunya mane taru tale basichhi, Kete kala abirala basilini, Ete daya thila boli hrudaye, Lodi nahi asithili, Kete nira dhalibi nayanu and Jao tebe jao hasi deuchhi melani.
“This is a humble attempt to revive the works of Pandit Godavarish Mishra. It is unfortunate that his complete works in four volumes entitled ‘Godavarish Granthabali’ which was published several years ago by Cuttack Students’ Store has been out of print for some years. The volumes are neither available in any bookstore nor accessible to readers in public libraries as the moth-eaten pages have turned yellow and brittle. So we decided to bring out an audio CD of songs and recitations based on the immortal poems of the great poet so that lovers of Oriya literature can enjoy the poetic compositions in a vibrant and effective way as music is the most efficacious medium for propagating world literature,” said Sri Saroj Kumar Singh, former Principal and Director of Higher Education, who played a lead role in accomplishment of the project after the sad demise of Devanand Mishra.
Notably, out of the numerous poems of the poet, only the famous ballad, Kalijai had been recorded in a traditional tune by All India Radio, Cuttack several years ago. But no one has ever explored other compositions of the prolific poet, he added.
“Every time, I contemplate to do something new in regional music. In my first album, I gave tribute to non-Oriya legendary singers like Lata, Nirmala and Sandhya who lent voice to Oriya lyrics and created historic film songs in the 1960s. My second project was a pioneering work in Rabindrasangeet for which I chose 24 songs out of 2,400 immortal compositions of Tagore and rendered them in Oriya in two albums, ‘Hey Jibananatha’ and ‘Tume Sandhyara Meghamala’. In my third project, I paid tribute to my childhood idol, Lata Mangeshkar for her 60 years of singing by rendering 16 of her all-time greatest hits in my own voice,” said Trupti Panda, the singer of the album.
And for my latest album, I short-listed around 25-30 legendary Oriya poets and litterateurs and selected Pt. Godavarish Mishra after consulting authorities and learned people in the field, she added. It was really a challenging task to give justice to the composition and direction of Purna Khuntia and Om Prakash Mohanty respectively, admitted Trupti.
“As the poetic works of Pt. Godavarish Mishra are essentially poetry and not lyrics, it was quite a difficult task for me to score the music. These songs were written in the first half of 20th century. So keeping in mind the time, temper and tradition of the poems, I had to compose music based on common Hindustani ragas like the rich Raag Pradhan musical tradition of Bengal, albeit with a contemporary touch,” said the composer of the album, Purna Khuntia.
“I hope listeners would love and appreciate the compositions as Trupti has been able to deliver her level best to my direction and supervision through her mellifluous and meticulous singing,” said the music director of the album, Om Prakash Mohanty.
“This selection from Pt. Godavarish Mishra’s immortal works is only a shiver of light on a treasure house. This glimmer that we perceive in this recording is like an entry into the vast treasury that is reflective of the versatile and unfathomable genius of Pandit Mishra. The innate melody and the mellifluous flow of musical notes combined with the meticulous blending of emotions and feelings emanates like a sublime fountain metamorphosing into an assemblage of aesthetic appeal which is both striking as well as memorable,” expressed former Chief Justice of India, Rajya Sabha MP and illustrious son of Pt. Godavarish Mishra, Sri Ranganath Mishra.
Pt. Godavarish Mishra has long been a scintillating star in the firmament of Oriya literature whose timeless creations are synonymous with the rich literary and cultural heritage of Orissa, he added.
Pandit Godavarish Mishra (1886-1956) was a distinguished politician, statesman, editor and educationist. He was also a litterateur of the highest repute with rich contribution to Oriya poetry, drama and fiction. He excelled in the writing of Oriya ballads on local myths and legends. He was also the Editor of The Samaja. He was given the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award for his autobiography, ‘Ardha Satabdira Orissa O Tahinre Mo Sthana’. He is undoubtedly the most popular poet and writer of the Satyabadi School of thinkers.