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Fakir Mohan Senapati

(1843 – 1918) – (Odisha)

Fakir Mohan Senapati (Aged 75) born on January 13, 1843, in Mallikashpur, Odisha, India. He was a renowned writer and reformer. He is considered to be the ‘Father of Odia Literature’ and was born into a Kandyan family in Balasore.

Senapati’s parents died when he was young, and his grandmother, Kuchila Dei, raised him. As a sickly child, he was taken to the fakirs for treatment, and his grandmother changed his real name to Prajamohan. Senapati started his education at nine and worked at his teacher’s house to pay his bills.

Later, he attended the Mission School in Barabati, where he studied subjects like history, geography, and mathematics. After finishing his studies, he became a teacher at the same school until 1871 when he became the headmaster of the Christian Mission School. In addition, he also worked as a clerk at the Collectorate in Balasore for some time.

Senapati served in various places such as Nilgiris (1871-75), Dambada (1876-87 and 1894-96), Dhenkanal (1877-83), Tasballa (1884-86), Pallahata (1886-87), and Keonjhar (1887-92).

In 1868, Fakir Utkal established the second printing press in Orissa, Balasore. Having mastered the art of writing short stories, Senapati breathed new life into Odia literature, which was in the grip of darkness and despair. He had an unmatched sense of humor in Odia literature and rejected romantic themes, writing about the common man and his problems. Fakir Mohan Senapati passed away on June 14, 1918.