Odia (earlier Oriya) is language of Odisha (till recently Orissa): a land with a long, glorious past. Known, in the past, as Kalinga, Koshala, Odra, Utkal, and by several other names, this eastern Indian region first surfaced in the recorded history with the devastating invasion of Maurayan Emperor Ashoka in c. 261 BC. A confluence of north and south Indian cultures -- by virtue of its geographical position, Odisha also played a predominant role in overseas activities and India’s maritime trade.
This volume offers a fresh presentation of Odisha’s long, unbroken history, its maritime contacts, culture, religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism), vibrant philosophic traditions, music, dance forms and, finally, the origin and development of Odia literature – all this and more to make a case for the acquisition of “classical language status for Odia”. As one of the oldest languages of India, meeting with all the requisite criteria, Odia is entitled to be designated as a classical language – like Telugu, Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam, which already have been recognized by the Government as India’s classical languages.
Dr D.P. Pattanayak is Professor Emeritus, Pune University and Uttkal University of Culture. Subrat Kumar Prusty is Editor, Civil Service Pathi