By Namrata Behera
Odisha lost an eminent writer in the death of Mahapatra Nilamani Sahoo. Born in 1926 in village Niali and starting his career as a lecturer, he carved a niche for himself in almost all aspects of literature like short story, novel, essay, criticism, translation, satire, poetry etc. A versatile litterateur, Mahapatra Nilamani Sahoo was a critic par excellence, a translator of repute, an editor of eminence and an eloquent orator. A prolific writer, he has written a number of short stories, essays, satires, novels, children literature books, translations, stories, poems and edited literary journals like the Jhankar, the Utkal Prasanga and the Orissa Review.
His contributions to the post-independent Odia Literature are so immense that he is regarded as the grand old man of modern Odia literature. He is known for his racy style and philosophical orientation, shaped by the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.
No wonder, he was honoured with a number of awards. These include Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award in 1979 for his story book ‘AKASHA PATALA’ , Sarala Award and Kendra Sahitya Akademi for his story collection ‘ABHISAPTA GANDHARVA’ in 1983 and 1984 respectively. He also received the Kanta Kabi Award in 2001, the Sahitya Bharati Award in 2006 and Kala Ratna Award in 2013.