(The Cover Art of the novel GAMBHIRI GHARA)
SEXUALITY AND ORIYA LITERATURE
Hearing my tom boy experiences of adolescence , one of my Portuguese philosopher friend once asked , whether this had any impact in my sexuality in later life or not.Such questions could not be asked in Orissa, because here any query about sexuality can not be shared publicly and more over it is an offense to ask any lady on that question. What ever Judith Butler may say, but it is true that my ‘tomboy activities’ had no impact in my later life.Regarding sexuality I am straight, though you find the gayness in one of my story ‘Nepathye’.Later it is included by my English story collection as “Behind the Scene”. But I am far from such instinct. In my adolescence, though I wore the boyish dress, but whenever I was sent to mill by my father for supervision of work on his absence, a strange shaky and shy feelings gripped me ,because the workers were looking at me with curiosity and their eyes were telling a lot. It seemed they were looking for a girl under a boyish disguise and the girl hood inside me felt abused. Perhaps, a girl was always living in me under the boyish garment. But our society is not so smart to discuss these things.
Sexuality is something that can be related to a lot of other aspects of culture, tightly woven into an individual life, or into the evolution of a culture. Any one’s class or ethnic or geographic identity could be closely tied to his/her sexuality, or any one’s sense of art or literature. Sexuality is not just an entity in itself. But still ,either in west or in east, there is a reluctant outlook towards sexuality and society has always tried to hide it from any open forum .The censorship on speech, and adding decorum to dress and declaring the sexual organs as obscene ,the society has imposed a ban on it.However, inspite of such self imposed censorship, sexuality has its place in public forum in religious and spiritual texts to establish any philosophical notion, judiciary and legislative documents and bills often used to restrict the sexuality, medical text books to explore the human body and lastly in literature.
But neither the society, nor the legislative ,even the judiciary also do not stand by the side of sexuality to support it.In the west,James Joyce’s Ulysses or even Raddyff hall’s Lonliness in the Well or Verginia Wolf’s Orlando are some examples which have to suffer a lot for describing sexuality in literature.In the west, sexuality in literature grew with feminism.Simone De Beauvoir in her book The second Sex, first elaborately described the Gender role and problem away from the biological differences.Later Judith Butler explored the Gender Problem in to queer theory and the total west experienced a new’third sex; genre come in to exist.It does not mean that there was no sexuality in literature previously. The literature of every corner of the world has its sexual affixation,but those were not in form of any movement or did not base on any manifestation.
In Indian literature, like the west,sexuality comes with the growth of feminism but unlike to west very few has been written on transsexual experiences.the sexuality still in the heterosexual form as it was in the past.But the voice has changed a lot.No doubt, the sexuality in current literature is different from erotic descriptions of the text we found in the last centuries.
In Oriya Literature, the kavyas of Ritiyuga have deep associations with Shringar rasa which leads to sexuality in erotic forms.After 1947,the descriptions of eroticism in liberal way in fiction was first started by Surendra Mohanty
The publication of a literary magazine “Uan Neo Lu” in sixties.The magazine bears some stories of Annada Prasad Ray, in that magazines, which were blamed as vulgar and obscene. Krushna Chandra Behera’s story “Bedi” created a controversy in sixties and he has to resign from the editorship of Jhankar.In 1989, my story “Rape” (later translated in many of the Indian languages and anthologized in Harper Collins Book of Oriya Short story) made a controversy .It is to be considered as a premier story of feminism, where the sexuality of female was justified. I used the word “fuck” for the first time in Oriya fiction and since now, I was remembered for that controversy.In 90’s some stories made controversy for making sexuality as a common factor of human life.Pratibha Ray’s SHAPYA,Jagadis Mohanty’s “NIAN, Yashidhara Mishra’s “REKHA CHITRA and Ashish Gdnaik’s BHOKA are such type of stories among which “NIAN” of Jagadish made a debate that continued for long time.In the beginning of 21C, the young writers started a movement on sexuality based short stories, named as “Dehabadi Galpa”. Saroj Bal, the editor of “Galpa Patrika” made a collection of short stories (it anthologized twelve stories of different writers, such as :Sarojini Sahoo, Ashish Gadnayak, Saroj Bal,Sadanada Tripathy,Paresh Patnaik,Satyapriya Mahalik, Chintamani Sahu,Paramita Satpathy,Ajay Swain,Pabitra Panigrahi,Nibaran Jena and Prakash Mohapatra) December 2004.After publishing of such anthology, where it is pronounced that the writers dare to admit their writings related with sexuality, which is one of the essential factor of the life.
In 2005, one of my novel ‘Gambhiri Ghara was published in the Puja Special issue of Galpa Patrika and later it was published as a book form in2006.The novel gained a popular response and was considered as a “Dehabadi novel”, though .Later in my interview with AMARI GAPA, I denied it as a novel of sexuality(Dehabadi Upanyas) . In 2006 AMARI GAPA, a little magazine of Oriya in its May-July issue; published a cover topics on “Sarojini Sahoo and the Sexuality in Literature”, where apart from a long interview with me, a controversial essay of Aparna Mohanty was published in support of sexuality. Though in the interview of AMARI GAPA, I have categorically denied that I don’t want to brand as any trend, neither to feminism nor to sexuality. I don’t know why, still many of the critics like to associate me with feminism and sexuality. Perhaps that is because of my frankness to say everything and my ‘tomboy activities’ is still remaining in me and I do not get rid of the young naughty girl living inside me.