Bhubaneswar, Sept.24,03

Fictitious claims cannot have the support of history. And, hence, history does not support the claims of a section of Bengali scholars that Sri Jay Dev was born in Bengal. If truth prevails, he belongs to Orissa, said eminent Bengali scholar Prof. Sitakant Sengupta at his Kolkata residence last week.

In an informal discussion with Mr. Narendra Kumar Mishra, Vice Chancellor of the Utkal University of Culture and Dr.Chandrabhanu Patel, Superintendent of Sri Jay Dev State Museum of Orissa, Prof. Sengupta supported Orissa’s claim on the immortal poet in the most unambiguous manner. He said, the place now being projected as Kenduli on the bank of river Ajay in the Bengal can never be the birthplace of Jay Dev. This particular river is marked for frequent change of her fluvial path. A report justifying the need to discipline Ajay, published by Asiatic Society in 1925, has shown how within a span of three years, this change had occurred seven times! This being the nature of the river, if at all she had her flowage 800 years ago, she must have changed her path thousands of times, till construction of embankments in both her sides in the 20th century. Hence it cannot be accepted that the place Kenduli shown on the bank of Ajay was in existence during days of the great poet, opined Prof. Sengupta.

He further pointed out that, folk music like Baul, Lito, Vadu, Tusu, and Karam bandhan as well as folk dances like Kamsa badha, Taranisen badha and Mahisa mardan are in vogue in the area of or around Bengal’s Kenduli, but one fails to find any trace of any folk music or folk dance depicting the love of Radha and Krishna in the annals of this locality. Archaeologically the area is also far away from the cult of Radha-Krishna. There are only a very few temples in the surrounding area where Krishna is worshipped. They are Govindjiu temple of Narkaland Radha Govind Mandir of Mahisadal in the district of Midnapore and Krshna temple of Bishnupur in the Bankuda district. But all these temples are of recent origin, built at best in the 19th century, containing only terracotta images. Hence, there is no trace of influence of Geet Govind in the so called Kenduli on the bank of Ajay. On the other hand, the scholar said, Orissa in her entirety is, since the days of Sri Jay Dev, has been a center of universal recitation of Geet Govind which is held there to be the most sacred amongst all songs and notwithstanding the cult they belong to –Bouddha, Shaiva or Shakti- Orissa’s temples have been patronizing its recitation. The village Kenduli in the estuary of Prachi River in Orissa is full of archeological evidence to support of her claim on Sri Jay Dev, he said.

Rejecting the much trumpeted averments on Jay Dev’s alleged position of a court poet of Laxman Sen, Prof. Sengupta made it clear that the king occupied the throne in a very elderly age only to be dethroned by Vaktiar Khilij in 1200 A.D. Quoting literary evidence from Kula Darpan authored in Bengali language by Trbhuban Mohan Senbarma, self-proclaimed 26th generation heir of poet Dhoyi, whose name is catenated with Sri Jay Dev in the edited compilation of his songs and published in 1942, Prof. Sengupta pointed out that the said Laxman Sen, on being ousted soon after occupying the throne, had to live till his last day under the shelter of the Raja of Kasi. This exposure on Laxman Sen has been supported by not only Dr. Sukumar Sen, but also by many eminent historians. Hence, Jay Dev being his court poet is a propaganda that can never earn approval of history.

During this discussion, many a scholars including the Chief of Gurusaday Museum, Kolkata, Mr. Ashis Kumar Chakrovarty, and Secretary Ms. Indrani Sengupta were present.

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