Pradeep Pattanayak

Ganakabi Baishnab Pani’ village Kothapada in Cuttack district is celebrating the legendary poet’s 140th birth anniversary today. He was born on the night of Kumar Purnima in 1882. 

But his relatives and villagers are critical of the administration for taking no step to preserve his works for posterity. By the time when he was just 21, he had already written 600 books, including 150 plays, 19 farces and other literary works. 

The great poet died in 1956. With the passage of time, his house, articles used by him like a pair of spectacles, a chair and his literary works are crying for restoration. 

While his house is in a dilapidated state, the invaluable books of his creations can be found lying scattered on the floor as if they lost their worth with the passing away of their creator. A rustic iron box is all that can be found in the room where some books are saved. 

The poet’s family members and villagers have been demanding steps to preserve the priceless creations for future generations. But nothing has so far been done in this regard.

“The articles used by him are getting destroyed owing to lack of maintenance. While some of the books have been eaten away by termites, some have been laminated and some others are yet to be preserved,” said Chandrabhanu Acharya, the poet’s grandson.

“There was a proposal submitted to the government requesting for setting up a library in the village in the name of the poet. Then Radhanath Rath was the education minister. 60 years have since passed but nothing has been done in this regard. Had a library been established, his works could have been saved for posterity. We are taking care of them as per our capacity,” rued Acharya. 

Dronacharya Baddha in1928, Karna Arjuna in 1929, Rangasabha in 1930, Daksha Yajna in 1932 and Karnadana Parikshya in 1951 are some famous works of Ganakabi.