Swabhaba Kabi Gangadhar Meher – Life in Brief


By Himanshu Guru: Today is the 150th Birth Anniversary of ‘Swabhaba Kabi’, the poet of nature Gangadhar Meher, the late legendary Odia Poet of the 19th Century. The poet is considered as an curiously talented one, as he has created poems and novels, which are even tough for the learned scholars to analyze, while he was educated only up to standard five.

Gangadhar Meher was born on the day of Shravana Purnima in the year 1862 to Chaitanya Meher and Sevati Devi to a poor weaver family in Barpali of present Bargarh District in Odisha. His major works includes Balaram-dev, Pranaya Ballari, Kichaka Badha, Indumati, Ayodhya Drusya, Padmini (Last work) along with Tapaswini, his magnum opus. The poet’s poem collections include Arghyathali, Kavitakallola, Kavitamala, Krusaka sangita.

Gangadhar Meher was a born poet of delicate charm. His poem BHAKTI (The Devotion) bears eloquent testimony to the change in religious outlook. He was essentially a poet of intuition and alongside he had a penetrating insight. He first married to Shanta Devi and after her death married for the second time to Champa devi.

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Though poor in wealth and education, he was very rich in mind and culture. As is customary in our country, this budding prodigy lacked even basic nourishment. He was a Judicial Moharir (Accountant) by profession.

Gangadhar Meher is regarded as a rarest gem in Oriya literature. He was very fondly known as “Swabhab Kabi” and “Prakruti Kabi”. However, very few people knew that Gangadhar Meher’s schooling career was over when he was merely in standard five.

Gangadhar Meher breathed his last on 4th April 1924 on Chaitra Amabasya. After 25 years of his death, in 1949 the premier college of Sambalpur was named after his name.

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