BENGALIS HAD A JAYADEVA TOO

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is strange that Jayadeva, the court poet of King Laxman Sen of Bengal is not recalled by the Bengalis. This is because, most Bengalis have mistaken Orissa’s Sri Jayadeva as the court poet of Laxman Sena and misled rest of their folk in this regard.

Not that Bengalis are unaware of a Jayadeva hailing from their state. But after mistaking Orissa’s Sri Jayadeva as the court poet of Laxman Sen and after spreading many a concocted stories in support of their misconceived claim, they are now reluctant to admit the truth. The eagerness to bury the truth forever is so very rampant that an eminent scholar like Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterjee has tried to project a group of verses attributable to Jayadeva, the court poet of Laxman Sen, compiled in a work titled Sadukti-Karnamruta, as the verses written by Sri Jayadeva of Orissa who was never a court poet of any king, let alone of Laxman Sen!

A section of the Bengalis had the audacity to claim that Oriya was not an independent language but a part of their own! Later of course, the linguist in Dr S.K. Chatterjee admitted that Oriya was the elder sister of Bengali as a language (vide I.H.Q. Vol XXIII, 1947-page 337). Suffice it would be to say that, envious of the tremendous cultural tradition of Orissa where lucid lyrics were not only written on palm leaves but also carved in the lovely damsels and stubborn lovers, in the devout warriors and divine philosophers, on the countless temples, a section of Bengalis had, in the past, made an all out attempt to misappropriate the Oriya language, culture and literature. In respect of Sri Jayadeva, author of the most popular love-lyrics, compiled under the title Sri Gita Govinda, they have attempted to do the same. Stories and sequences have been cleverly concocted and misinterpretations have been deliberately made to make out a case that Sri Jayadeva of Sri Gita Govinda was not an Oriya by birth, but a Bengali.
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