The theme of Matira Manisha (Born Of The Soil) by Kalindi Charan Panigrahi, was inspired by Gandhian thought and principles. Published in 1931, it is regarded as a modern Odia classic and one among a few seminal novels written in the first half of twentieth century Odisha. When one talks of Matira Manisha one is reminded of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, also published in 1931. It tells the poignant tale of a farmer, Wang Lung and his family, in old agrarian pre-revolutionary China. In both the books the nurturing of the land by the characters and in turn how the land nurtures them are vividly shown. But the dramatic turns of life and the complexity that ensue which constitute a major attraction of The Good Earth are not to be found in Matira Manisha. It is a rather simple and straight story line of a farmer family who lived in a particular village Padhanpada, which has remained unchanged for seven generations. ‘Within this village, funeral pyres blaze, the dry sands of the Birupa are moist with the tears of widows. Who can tell how long this has gone?’ As the translator puts it, ’It is a simple story simply told….(It) demonstrates that economy and simplicity in art can be as productive as creative exuberance.’
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