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Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the western Odisha leaves no stone unturned celebrating the Sambalpuri Day in all zest and vigour on Monday, they did not forget to remember the promoter of the Sambalpuri language, Satyanarayan Bohidar too.

‘Sambalpuri Din’ or Sambalpuri Day marks the birth anniversary of Guru Satyanarayan Bohidar whose age defining contributions to the promotion of the dialect through his books literally provided the western-Odisha language the identity it has today.

Thanks to him, ‘Sambalpuri’ today is not confined only to the unique fabric the cloth design that the local artisans weave, but it has established itself as a vibrant language enriched with the culture and traditions of the region.

Known as the pioneer of Sambalpuri language and grammar, Bohidar was born today (Aug 1) in 1913 at Sonepur, then undivided Sambalpur. His formative and creative years were spent in Sambalpur and produced a good number of literary translations and biographies.

Fighting against all odds, Bohidar was successful in preparing the dictionary and grammar especially in the language which provided a significant identity to it. Satya Narayan Bohidar left a great legacy behind him to influence the future generations.

Bohidar had prepared a dictionary and grammar in the language — ‘Sambalpuri Bhasakosh’. His works also include ‘Tik Chahnra’ (1975), ‘Ghavghavo’, ‘Ghuvkudu’ and several poems. His creations reflect his patriotism and love for Sambalpuri culture. Bohidar died on December 31, 1980.

While the Sambalpuri Day is officially being observed for a few decades, the Covid protocols restricted its observance for last two years. However, the people have risen this year to the occasion and seem to have made it a point to hold it in a grand manner compensating for the missed last two years. So much so that the Bargarh and Sonepur district administrations have directed the officials to wear Sambalpuri fabric to work.

BJD MLA from Bijepur, Rita Sahu told reporters, “I extend my best wishes to all the people of Odisha on the occasion of Satyanarayan Bohidar’s birth anniversary. The district administration has requested all to wear Sambalpuri dress today.”

Quoting a poem from one of Bohidar’s creations, famous Sambalpuri poet, Padma Shri Haladhar Nag said, “His (Bohidar) contribution to our language and literature are parallel to none. It’s him who has taken the language to the highest echelon of linguistics.”

Sambalpuri is the mother tongue of millions of people across 10 districts in western Odisha. It has a robust tradition of many centuries in the form of folk music and folk literature.

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