Scepticism By Jayanta Mahapatra

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Scepticism is the questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or accepted beliefs. This doubt as to the truth of something is basis of scepticism. Modern religious skepticism which undertakes to doubting given religious beliefs highlights on scientific and historical methods or evidence. Jayanta Mahapatra, the poet is a rare combination of physicist poet; his cerebral cortex is physics while his mental make up is poetry. The poet, the maker comprehended the ground reality of life, the law of life, the physics of living and his knowledge of physics shaped his poetry. He took to writing poetry in his forties when most other poets would have been a success story. Yet, he was not late for his poetic journey. In poem after poem Mahapatra explored…show more content…
To dab him a ‘regional poet’ is to overlook the sensibility that shaped his mind. It is safer to say he is a representative poet from Orissa with an Indian sensibility. His poetry is shaped against a mythico- historical background. It is Cuttack Bhubaneswar, Puri forming his literary landscape and particularly Cuttack is the cradle of his imagination. Catching the boat of time the poet floats on the drunk sea from Chandipur to Chilika and the story of life of common folks in his poems. His poetic journey is a journey to recognize the Hindu world. The reflection is that of an Indian poet in the vein of a modern poet. Jayanta Mahapatra is a modern and a contemporary poet in the sense that he reflects on a spectrum of contemporary issues that crop up in today’s realities -- human relationship, dream, existence, past and tradition, society, art, culture, spirituality, conservation of nature’s flora and fauna etc. The sensibility is essentially Indian. In the words of critics like Viswanathan “Jayanta’s sensibility is both Indian and modern; and his response to Indian scene is authentic and credible.” This paper attempts at tracing a note of scepticism apparent in the poems of this great Indian poet. Mahapatra also strikes a note of humanism in delineating a predicament of humanity in his…show more content…
This note of scepticism is informed by his training as a physicist and a sense of isolation from the dominant cultural mores and manners. From his grand father’s side he was a “Rice Christian” (In time of terrible famine and starvation the family took shelter in a Christian mission and in the process accepted the new faith). Christians in Cuttack are a small community unique on their own. Being born in such a miniature community the poet feels isolated from the dominant cultural belief, manners and mores of the Hindus. A sense of isolation and scepticism and rings through his poetry probably issues of out of this biographical fact. This would help to explain the poet’s attitude to wards culture and tradition. His response is authentic, something that is expected from an Indian. To recall the words of critics like Panikar: Mahapatra’s concern of the vision of belief and loss, dejection and rejection are typically Indian. Jayanta Mahapatra’s poetry is a pondering interrogative poetry. He interrogates faith, a way of life and sometimes a whole tradition. “Dawn at Puri”, a poem from Mahapatra’s “A Rain of Rites” describes the last rites of a woman in the cremation ground of ‘Swargadwar’ in Puri. There is an oblique hint at the popular Hindu belief that Swargadwar, the sacred city is a gateway to heaven. The speaker pays homage to his dead mother being consigned to flames as it was her last wish to be cremated here. The poem

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