Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 29:
If anyone ever blamed new generation Odias for forgetting their roots, yesterday was a day for them to see and cherish. Well, if only they knew how to use twitter.
On the birth anniversary of Bhagabata yesterday, the twitter generation took to their favourite platform to pay homage to the Holy Scripture and its legendary author Jagannatha Das. Faraway from noisy TV debates, photo-ops and one-liner bytes; known and anonymous twitter handles kept tweeting on ‘#ଭାଗବତ’ as it became the most discussed topic (top twitter trend) all over India for some time.
As twitter statistics shows, the hashtag #ଭାଗବତ has existed for some time now. However, quite a bit of planning and coordination went into making it the topmost trend in the country yesterday. More than planning and coordination, what worked for the trend was the solidarity of the fellow Odia tweeple who chose to join hands to bring the focus back to Odisha. Out of over 7000 tweets on the hashtag, about 3500 tweets were tweeted yesterday itself.
Leading the charge on behalf of Odia tweeple were @shrijagannatha @Mallick1962 @ssgapu22 @OdiaCulture @the_jitu47 @rahulrajsrkfan @pandapritam0 @subhapa @nidhi_budha.
Apart from the larger cause of bringing Bhagabata back to discussion, the trend certainly was a show of strength by Odia Twitterati after getting #RasagolaDibasa trending at number two nationwide on July 29.
Grandpa would’ve been Proud:
For all those who are not on twitter and still wondering what the trend was about, the answer is simple. It was stuff that would have made grandpa proud.
From the jeans wearing and pop loving generation, it was a spontaneous overflow of the childhood memories and a genuine desire to reclaim the roots. While one tweeple recited verses, “Gobinda Gobinda Gobinda, Padu Galuchhi Makaranda|| Se Makaranda Pana Kari, Hele tarile Braja Nari”, another presented a digital Odia Bhagabata project as a TweetSeries with English translations. Many others were seen relating to the scripture in their own ways and sharing their thoughts with a tinge of emotion.
The creation that Trended:
Bhagabata, easily the most well-known piece of Odia literature ever, needs no introduction. Even after hundreds of years, the book retains its popularity and gets worshipped in houses of Hindu families across the state.
Bhagabata Tungis have been the nerve center of early-modern and colonial period of Odisha, which essentially served as the village school, library, court and place for religious discourse.
The work includes 12 volumes and each volume has 10-30 chapters. Each chapter has 50 to 300 stanzas.
All twelve volumes of the Bhagabata have been digitised by the Odisha Government. It can be accessed at: http://www.odisha.gov.in/oriyaclassics/oriyabhagabat/index.htm
Quite like Bhagabata, its author Jagannatha Das needs no introduction to any Odia.
Born to Bhagabana Das and Padmabati Debi in Kapileswarpur Sasana on Radhastami in 1491, he was one of the five pioneers of the Bhakti Movement (Pancha Sakha) in the state during the late medieval period. A contemporary of Chaitanya, both were fond of each other and Chaitanya had bestowed the title of ‘Atibadi’ on him.
Such was the popularity of the scripture that parents sent their children to schools so that the children could read and recite Bhagabata besides their deathbeds. This was considered to have a huge influence on bringing down the illiteracy in the state apart from standardization of the Odia language.
Before Jagannatha Das’s Bhagabata, the practice was to recite verses from the Sanskrit Bhagavata, which very few managed to understand. Odia Bhagabata was an attempt at explaining the deep philosophies of the scriptures in familiar words. Legend also has it that he compiled Bhagabata to fulfil the last wish of his mother and used to recite it to her daily.