Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sarojini Sahoo in Odisha TV

A distinguished bilingual South Asian feminist writer, and an associate editor , a feature oriented English journal Indian AGE, who has been enlisted among 25 Exceptional Women of India by 'Kindle' English magazine of Kolkata and has been conferred with the Orissa Sahitya Academy Award, 1993, the Jhankar Award, 1992, the Bhubaneswar Book Fair Award and the Prajatantra Award. She is also in the advisory board of Indian Journal of Post Colonial Literature; published from the English Department of Newman College, Thodupuzah, Kerala.

In English ,one novel and two anthologies of short stories have been published to her credit so far . Bengali translation of two of her novels have been published from Bangladesh and in Oriya ,there are eight short stories collections and eight novels in published form to her credit.

She is also a known blogger for her ideas in feminism and has gained world wide fame. Her Blogs are SENSE & SENSUALITY, FEMININE-FRAGRANCE and INDIA

Source: You Tube.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"As if you have been inspired by us by writing the novel..." Says a German poetess

Silke Liria Blumbach, a German poetess, translator, blogger writes a few lines after reading my novel The Dark Abode. I want to share her words with my readers:

"As if you have been inspired by us by writing the novel...

You understand what few people understand: that a very deep love can exist between people who have never met in person.

After browsing the book, I have the impression that people reduce your writing unjustly to the mere aspect of sexuality, whereas you write about love and life in its fullness. Maybe you write about sexuality in a way it has never been written about before by an Indian woman, it may even be a kind of mission, probably it is also a great deal of sensationalism, but it is a reduction, and I can imagine that this reduction distorts also the image people may have of you and that this is not easy especially in Indian society.

"Yet she could feel his presence every moment." - EXACTLY.

We have experienced so many things, and verified them empirically (e.g. by checking the time), which cannot be explained by science.

I wonder whether you or a relative or friend of you has already experienced such a love - your writing describes it all so exactly that it is hard to imagine that all these true, significative and characteristic details come only from your imagination."

Details of Book: The Dark AbodeBook: The Dark Abode

Author: Dr. Sarojini Sahoo

Language: English

Translator: Mahendra Kumar Dash

ISBN: 8190695622

ISBN-13: 9788190695626, 978-8190695626

Binding: Paperback

Publishing Date:07.10.2008

Publisher: Indian Age Communication
Number of Pages: 174

( Online Source for free down load of full novel: SCRIBD

Online Purchase: FLIPKART )

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Excerpts from the book 'Sensible Sensuality'

Title: Sensible Sensuality

Language: English

Genre: Essays

Author: Dr. Sarojini Sahoo

ISBN: 81-7273-541-8

ISBN-13: 978-81-7273-541-8

Binding: Hard Cover

Publishing Date: 2010

Publisher: Authors Press, E-35/103, Jawahar Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi- 110 092, email;

Number of Pages: 184

Price: 475 INR or 10 US $


* I can say only in Oriental perspective. I think, sexuality has a major role in understanding feminism. Let us consider a girl’s condition in adolescent period. If she becomes pregnant, the male partner is not blamed for his is the girl, who has to suffer.If she accepts the child, she has to suffer a lot in socially and if she goes for any abortion, she has to suffer emotionally for the rest of her life.In case of married woman, there are many restrictions with respect to sexuality whereas her male partner is free from these restrictions.Even now a days in Oriental countries, you can find most of the married woman are un known about their feeling of orgasm.If a female admits about her sexual pleasure, there may be every chance to misunderstand her as a bad woman by her own husband.She may be misunderstood for having pre marital sex.In the time of menopause, though except some biological phenomena, nothing has changed in sexual life , but a woman has to suffer a lot mentally thinking herself disable for sexually meeting with her husband.I think till now in Asian and African countries ,the patriarchy society has its control over sexuality .So, the women need two type of liberation. One is from financial slavery and another from sexuality. Women are always victims; men are oppressors. I believe in theory that "a woman's body, a woman's right."that means women should control their own bodies and people should take them seriously.( Page 16-17)

* Like anger, fear, hatred, humour, love is also an emotion. This emotion, however, is different from other emotions because material elements like marriage, childbirth, divorce, dating, etc., build up upon this emotion to give a person's life a definite direction and shape. Love is the only emotion that channels itself into paving a path for our life. It is an integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men. It is the sharing ness of emotions and of life. I think that it's more important to be a complete human being than a writer, or a feminist or any other label one may be known by but I also realize the reciprocal nature of living and writing. I believe that living gives you material (pleasure, pain, angst, loneliness, joy and what not) for writing while writing helps you interpret your existence in a meaningful way. I live, I write, I grow and live some more and write some more and hopefully grow some more)...That's my theory!(Page 138)

*Monogamy is always a double standard activity by masculine world. It is deliberately an extremist idea which is built into its core rule that men can have multiple spouses but women cannot. Even worse, traditional polygamy is always used by the masculine world to exploit feminine world sexually. Women these days expect and demand to have the same standing in relationships as men. To which polygamy denies and women find a lesser status in such traditional polygamy . Either the polygamy turns to polyandry , where a single woman is sexually used by men or very soon she is rejected by her lover .The purity of love and the emotional bondage does not act in polygamy . On the other hand , by allowing monogamy we make ourselves confined to a double standard system created by masculine world .( Page 33 to 34)

* Our feminist thinker always tries to skip the idea that offspring begging is a natural instinct of a woman and it is related to our ecological and environmental situation .Anything against it may resulted to disaster ,We find , a woman has to pass through a different stage in her life span and there is a phase where a woman feels an intense need of her own offspring .Feminists of second wave feminism have always tried to pursue a woman against the natural law because it is seemed to them that motherhood is barricade for the freedom of a woman . But if the woman has her own working field , doesn’t have it mean that her working assignments would demand more of her time ,of her sincerity and of course of her freedom ? If a woman can adjust herself and can sacrifice her freedom for her own identity at out side her home, then why she shouldn’t sacrifice some of her freedom for parenting, when parenting is also a part of one of her social identity ?And it could also be solved by rejecting the patriarchal role of parenting, .We have to insist the idea of the division of labor in parenting .This equally shared parenting is now common in Western ,but still in South Asian countries we find it as a taboo factor rather because of economic inequality between men and women, our crazy work culture, and the constrictions that are placed on us by traditional gender roles. (Page 40)

*In this so called ‘sex war’, I think, the actual importance of the issues like ‘sexual freedom of a woman ‘ or ‘woman’s right over her body’ had been demoralized and became insignificant. . The sex negative feminists often forget that they accept the sex-negative characterization of feminism that has been imposed on us by people who are not feminists, and who in fact are generally our opponents . On the other hand the sex positive feminists also always forget that the value of sex depends on the people involved, what they want to get out of it, whether they’re able to achieve that, and whether they are causing harm to themselves or others. That requires the ability to think again while they are supporting pornography or prostitutions or BDSM . Sex never was introduced first in Human history as a tool for any exploitation or any hegemony. Sexuality is always an integral part of the personality of every human being. Its full development depends upon sharing ness of the satisfaction of basic human needs such as the desire for contact, intimacy, emotional expression, pleasure, tenderness and love. (Page 43 to 44)

* The writing process is a sexual process. When a writer wants to expose a physical life or an energetic life, a creative tension and a flow of energy is generated in the creative process. This creative tension can be experienced as a sexual tension and the flow of energy creates life or describes a new life. Religion or society never cares for any artistic sensibility as Plato’s domination and so this inherent sexual influence over creativity has also always been denied by our sexual gurus. So, we find there are descriptions of fetishism, voyeurism, exhibitionism in the writings after the Second World War. We also find our writers/artists/musicians always have an inclination towards their sexual orientation and sexual behaviour and we encounter how much sexual desire they have.(Page60)

* What I want to point out is that Kafka’s relationship with those close to him has always remained under suspicion and through his physical intimacy with other gender (say Gregor’s sister), it kept him away, mentally. This may be why Kafka didn’t find any particular success with relationships in his love life. Unable to reconcile his physical urges with his romantic longings, he had a series of prolonged, probably chaste, engagements that invariably ended in his breaking off the relationship. It makes a clear distinctive reason that the ‘suppressed libido’ of Kafka may have caused him to write a porno book along with all the other masterpieces he created. (Page 145)

* It is interesting to note Radclyffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness has been declared as obscene and pornographic. I have never found any sexually explicit descriptions or the so-called ‘obscene words’ in that book. Nowadays, it is unbelievable to think that 80-90 years ago, the author was taken to court. I am never a supporter of ‘porno’ and I always believe that it makes woman a ‘product’ always associated with male-dominant consumerism. But it is also true that every sexually explicit topic is not ‘porno.’ I would be happier if Alan Moore would have used the word ‘erotica’ instead of ‘porno’ for his novel Lost Girls. ( Page 152 to 153)

* If the myths are in any way to be considered as the reflection of ‘social ideas’ of any group or society, then we can say that with the development of patriarchal control over feminine civil rights, the sexual freedom described in those myths was cut down from the women’s world and transferred to the men’s world with anti-feminist moral milieus which gradually made the female a sex object, however powerful they might be in their goddess perspectives. This is a strapping point, I believe, that the sex negative feminists have to think of before raising their voice against the sex role attitudes of the female.(Page 55)

*Though Milton appeared as a pro feminist in his free verse epic Paradise Lost, critics blame him for his misogynist attitude (See: Gallagher, Philip J: Milton, the Bible, and Misogyny; Publisher: Univ of Missouri Pr (April 1990), ISBN-10: 0826207359; ISBN-13: 978-0826207357) whereas there was no evidence of misogynist nature of Balaram Das. The sexual right is the main topic for Eve in Paradise Lost. Though Balaram Das wants to skip the sexual topics, still both the poets have made their stand nearer to the social right and social freedom of the feminine masses.It is also an amazing fact to mark that the pro-feminist voice was raised in Eastern world at least hundred years before the Western could think over it. ( Page 130)

*Art is not what you see but what you make others see. What is important is how one views life as a whole and hence, the reader's psyche has indeed a lot to do with how the work is interpreted. I don’t blame Joyce, as some feminist critics did, for being unjust to Nora. Writing is a total difficult and complex process. An author has to make himself/herself a multi-winged personality -- one goes above the surroundings and canvas so that the author him/herself could observe everything with full objectivity. Another enters into the character. And the third one assimilates an author’s self with the character. So, when Joyce tries to paint Molly in Ulysses and Bertha in Exiles, we find not the Nora, but the Joyce with his ‘manly woman’ personality. As Richard Brown explains about Molly, she “surely does represent a new kind of fictional woman: massive, potent and self-possessed. Though few modern feminists have wished to avail themselves of that image of femininity, it was evidently one which Joyce constructed out of his own version of feminist literary tradition, and its obtrusive sexual dimorphism is conceived as a vindication of, rather than an attack on, femininity. ( Page 161)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

World Wide Words

Words are very unnecessary: the sound of silence is the universal refuge.

Some notes on words

"E" is the first common used letter (12.702%) in English, and the second most common letter is “T” (9.056%) and "A" acquired the third position (8.167%).


What is the longest word in English? It is a name of a protein. The wall here does not support to bear the word limit. The word has 189,819 letters. It is:


It is one of over two million proteins.The word has 189,819 letters. It is also called as 'Titin' in short form.


'Honorificabilitudinitatibus' is the longest word William Shakespeare used in Act V, Scene I of Love's Labour's Lost. It is mentioned by the character Costard. It means “the state of being able to achieve honours." It is also the longest word in the English language featuring alternating consonants and vowels.


The least commonly used letter in the English language is "z" and the second least is "q". "E" is also the most common letter in French, German, and Spanish. Friends can access some interesting mathematics to find out the least used word in English from the site at


Oxford Dictionary of Quotations says that the shortest poem in the English language (by an unknown poet) is titled 'On the Antiquity of Microbes' and contains only this much – Adam/Had 'em.


"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Above is the shortest short story consisting of only six words. Credit goes to Ernest Hemingway. On a bet, Hemingway once presented his friends with this six words short story.


Terza Rima is a type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line format. The first known use of terza rima is in Dante's Divina Commedia. This style has been used by Milton, Shelley, and Byron. The rhyme-scheme is: aba, bab, cdc, ded, etc.


Cna yuo raed tihs? The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


Collins dictionary has chosen 102 words and phrases to exemplify a year in the past century and a bit. For example: 1978 test-tube baby; 1979 Rubik cube; 1980 Solidarity; 1981 SDP (ie, the then new and now defunct British Social Democratic Party); 1982 CD; 1983 Aids; 1984 yuppie; 1985 glasnost; 1986 Mexican wave; 1987 PEP (Personal Equity Plan, a type of tax-free savings); 1988 acid house; 1989 Velvet revolution; 1990 crop circle; 1991 ethnic cleansing; 1992 clone; 1993 information superhighway; 1994 National Lottery; 1995 road rage; 1996 alcopop; 1997 Blairite.etc etc.

A similar list produced for the Guardian by the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary is like this: 1978 BMX, Teletext; 1979 space invaders; 1980 Reaganomics; 1981 Walkman; 1982 Exocet; 1983 Star Wars; 1984 Aids; 1985 yuppie; 1986 perestroika; 1987 free market, Black Monday; 1988 lager lout; 1989 poll tax; 1990 global warming; 1991 citizen’s charter; 1992 grunge, annus horribilis; 1993 Whitewater, bobbit; 1994 World Wide Web; 1995 Britpop; 1996 ecowarrior, scratchcard; 1997 New Labour.


Grammars were originated first in Sanskrit : (6th century BC), Tamil (1st century BC), Greek (3rd century BC) and Latin (1 st Century BC) respectively. In 7th Century Irish grammar was originated and that of Arabic followed in next century. It is very interesting to know that Hebrew grammar was originated very lately in 10thh Century only and the first grammar in English began with John of Cornwall in 14 th Century


Old English(mid-5th century to the mid-12th century) had two numbers, three genders, four cases, remnants of dual number and instrumental case, which could give up to 30 inflectional forms for every adjective or pronoun. Its syntax was only partially dependent on word order and has a simple two tense, three mood, four person (three singular, one plural) verb system. The spelling of Old English is strictly phonetic.


In all of his work - the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems - Shakespeare uses 17,677 words: Of those, 1,700 were first invented by Shakespeare by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.


‘An Alligator skin ’, ‘epileptic’, ‘eyeballs’, hot-blooded’, ‘household words’, ‘obscene’, ‘puking’, ‘skim milk’, ‘the game is afoot’ and ‘worm-holes’ are some words and phrases that don't appear anywhere in English prior to Shakespeare putting them on paper.

‘An Alligator skin’ in Romeo and Juliet (First Folio), Act V, Scene I, Romeo Soliloquy.

‘Epileptic’ in King Lear, Act II, Scene ii, Kent to Cornwall.

‘Eyeballs’ in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, Scene ii, Oberon to Puck.

‘Hot-blooded’ in King Lear, Act II, Scene iv, King Lear to Regan.

‘Household words’ in King Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii, Henry to Westmoreland.

‘Obscene’ in Love's Labours Lost, Act I, Scene i, Ferdinand to Costard.

‘Puking’ in As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii, Jaques to Duke Senior.

‘Skim milk’ in Henry IV, Part I, Act II, Scene iii, Hotspur Soliloquy.

‘The game is afoot’ in Henry IV, Part I, Act I, Scene iii, Northumberland to Hotspur.

‘Worm-holes’ in the narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece.


Various spellings were used at the time of Shakespeare’s marriage with Anna Hathway in the Episcopal Register at Worcester on November 27th 1582 and November 28th 1582- there were at least 16 different spellings of Shakespeare including Shakspere, Shakespere, Shakkespere, Shaxpere, Shakstaff, Sakspere, Shagspere, Shakeshafte and even Chacsper! Shakespeare always signed himself as "Shakspere"


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Dark Scars of Oppression

Although Dalit writers have been at work in India for many centuries, the term ‘Dalit literature’ has a specific, currently meaning and can perhaps be seen in those writings. ‘Dalit literature’ describes Dalit narratives depicting the struggle against oppression and has been inspired by African-American literature and movements in the 20th century.

Protests against the caste system and oppression are expressed in a new literature called ‘Dalit literature.’ Poems, short stories, novels, and autobiographies by Dalit writers provide useful insights into the question of Dalit identity. In India, the movement started in Mumbai with the publications of the Maharashtra Dalit Sahitya Sangha in1958, and soon found its place in the mainstream of Marathi literature. Later, the trend shifted to Hindi and Kannada. Currently, it has entered Tamil. But in Oriya, Dalit writing has had a late start compared to its counterparts and its voice has not yet been part of the mainstream.

The poets of Charya Yuga or the Natha sect of saints like Hadi Pa, Kanhu Pa, Tanti Pa, Chourangi Nath, Gorakh Nath, Mahendra Nath or Lui Pa etc, all came from downtrodden social groups and constitute a distinct social tradition in Orissa. But their poems are more philosophical and tantric — religious rather than portraying social oppression. But that does not mean Oriya society is a stranger to caste oppression and other forms of inequality.

There were also many poets from the ‘shudra’ community who raised their voices against the Brahmen hegemony but their writings were not similar in theme and concept to today’s so-called Dalit writings. From Saral Das, the Adikabi of Oriya literature whose Oriya Mahabharat was read for the first time in the fifteenth century to the famous saint poet Bhima Bhoi to the powerful Marxist poet Rabi Singh of the 20th century, a long list of Dalit writers have flourished in Oriya literature. But these writings are not only confined to Dalit oppression in relation to a Dalit caste system. There is evidence of writings on Dalit oppression in Oriya literature from Bhagbati Panigrahi and Sach Routray to Gopinath Mohanty, and many have a theme of such oppression. But these writers do not belong to the lower or untouchable caste. In poe­try the Vaishnavite upper-class poets like Dinakrushna Das raised their voices against the Brahmanical bureaucracy, but we can’t place them alongside contemporary Dalit writing. Bhima Bhoi, the tribal (Kandha) religious poet of the 19th century fought against caste and ritualised piety and initiated women in the society.

The only English book I have ever read on Oriya Dalit literature was Paralysed Tongue, an Anthology of Dalit Studies (Pagemaker, 2005). Ironically, this book is edited by two Brahmin scholars: Aswini Kumar Mishra and Jugal K Mishra. While searching for other articles on the net, I found two; one is a long essay by Raj Kumar and another is a blog by Basudev Sunani . Raj Kumar identified only one Dalit short story writer, Ramchandra Sethi, and one of his short stories: Dwitiya Buddha. He counted six contemporary poets: Bichitranand Nayak, Basudev Sunani, Kumaramani Tanti, Sanjay Bag, Anjubala Jena, Mohan Jena, adding an appendage of ‘many more.’ Basudev Sunani’s irregular blogging (ten between April 2009 and December 2009) contains two of his essays, a short story, and a few poems.

Recently, a few magazines and Facebook users have tried to raise the Dalit discourse aiming to make it more active and streamlined. But the main question is: are there a sufficient number of lower caste or tribal writers from Dalit socio-economic classes available in Oriya literature or it will be a movement of middle-class upper-caste writers who are plenty and who constitute the mainstream?

( Published in my regular monthly column at New Indian Express, in its 25 July 2010 issue)