ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Interpreting Literature

The article, 'Recreating History in Literature: Radhanath's Kavyas' by Subhakanta Behera (June 3) oversimplifies a complex subject, and is typical of a hoary tradition in Oriya criticism (even when appearing in the English language) to utter large truths, in matters of literature and culture, without going into the conflicts and plurality of meanings that may lie within these utterances.

To define Oriya identity through Radhanath's kavyas one hundred years after their composition, today, as a simple truth of Oriya middle class patriotism is both surprising and misleading. Firstly, did the believers in Behera's 'make-believe history' really believe in the history as narrated – what was the exact nature and spread of this belief system? Could it not also be seen as a stratagem of a certain group of Oriyas for political control over other Oriyas instead of seeing it as a noble expression of Oriya patriotism? Secondly, was this group in any way really homogeneous?

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