Labanyabati is a long narrative poem by Upendra Bhanja. It consists of fortyeight cantos. They are set to different musical modes, viz., basanta, ramkeri, chokhi, kausika, kalyanahari, gujjari, kamodi, sankaravarana, etc. with specific instructions in each case as to how to sing them. As such the work is also famous as a fine melodious composition. The story of Labanyabati is fictional; it deals with love and the desire for union through marriage of the hero, Chandrabhanu, is the son of king Sasisekhar of Kanchi in Karnataka, and the heroine, Labanyabati (who is really a creation of goddess Parvati), is the daughter of king Ratneshwar of Singhala. The poet tells us how they had known each other in their previous births and how they had sacrificed their lives in order to be united later. Now when they grow up, the fame of their youth and beauty spreads every-where. Labanyabati’s almost divine beauty becomes a legend and by common consent she is crowned Empress of the world of beauty. When she comes of age, her father sends messengers far and wide to find a suitable match for her. Through some deft negotiators, such as a mendicant, a magician, a dancer and a parrot, the news of Labanyabati reaches Chandrabhanu. And through them Labanyabati comes to know of Chandrabhanu. After a prolonged process of negotiation, the marriage between the two is fixed and at last consummated in great pomp.
The poet describes in detail their conjugal love and happiness. After a brief separation for a year when they suffer great agony of heart, they are united again. Chandrabhanu becomes the king and they live happily hereafter. As a poem of love with its depiction of love-union, love-act, anxiety and estrangement as well as of the details of physical beauty set to a total musical structure Labanyabati has few parallels in the whole range of Odia literature. The poet’s main emphasis is on Labanyabati, the woman non-pareil. He describes her beauty and graces in great detall as well as her physical activities and emotional strains related to growth. But the poem is not a simple narrative. Composed in the tradition of the Sanskrit kavyas, it employs a large number of poetic devices. The poet himself is conscious of it when he says at the end that his book is like a ‘rich trader’s fair’ full of innumerable allurements. There is a liberal use of the rhetorical devices such as similes and metaphors. Some-times a single couplet can suggest multiple meanings related to different gods. Besides being extremely sensitive to nature (as when he describes the changes in the cycle of season), Upendra Bhanja is also aware of contemporary social habits, manners and customs which he describes. There are in this book continuous references to saws and aphoristic sayings. But there is an overall easy manner in which he can use language appropriate to the occasion and can as easily break up narration with dramatic dialogues. All these go to make Labanyabati not only probably the best work of Upendra Bhanja, but one of the very best in Odia literature. While setting a new tradition of poetry in Odia, Upendra Bhanja influenced subsequent Odia poets for more than a century.
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|No of Pages||580|
|Binding Type||Hard Cover|
|Editor||Dr Surendranath Panigrahi|
|Publisher||Satyanarayan Book Store|
|Book Dimention||Packaging approx in cm – 14x22x4|
|Printing||Devi Graphics, Cuttack|
|Layout Design||Baba Gatiswar DTP Center, Cuttack|