Many of you Odias might be aware of this book 'Sea Men' ; but, still I choose to writ this as a token of my appreciation of the book 'SAMUDRA MANISHA (Sea Men) written by Sj. Bhima Prusti and published by Saraswati, Gouri nagar, Bhaubaneswar-2. The book has its first edition in 2006 and the second edition in 2011.
Every visit to Odisha, for me has three intense desires: visit to my village, purchasing new Odia book and Maprabhu Sri Jagannath darshan. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to fulfill my the third desire. However, I could purchase a few Odia books from well known favourite hunting place- old bus stand at Bhubaneswar. The shop owner recommended some books and this book caught to my eyes the most. While returning on train, I could finish reading the book.
The book is of 116 pages with 12 stories and two articles from the writer one for each edition. The book costs Rs.80.-.
In a sentence, if I can, should tell of the book --- demonstrates the intense call of nativity. The charm a piece of land spells on its people, inhabitants is immense and immeasurable. People love to land is similarly unexplainable . beyond any reasoning.
But people, how do they take this. Shri Bhim babu has deftly crafted the psychology of such people who are so helpless at the cruelty of nature as well as at the politics. The head man of Satabhaya cluster everyday used to walk up on to the sand pile and stare at the roaring sea to find the place where his parents and grandparents had a house along a busy lane filled with playful kids. The men didn't marry and died with a great longing- Panchu-Barahi goddess will never be touched by sea - the eldest sister of the seven, the other one is Biraja goddess at Jajpur. But, Panchu-Barahi temple is almost on the jaw of the sea. But, that oldman is not there now to see it. An old woman in "Asunu Aaa" story walks out in the middle of dreadful nights to visit the village that's already in sea. A Bangladeshi refugee though finds discriminated by natives still owns the land of Satabhaya. Youths like of any other places have left for distant cities for living; but they come back every year to Satabhaya on chaitra jatra of Panchu-Barahai Goddess. But, politics have not left these people. Congress and Biju Janata Dala- one maks a project for their rehabilitation and the other unmake it. People, remain untouched of it. They just shift their habitations behind the sand dunes sea makes in every disastrous cyclone. As long as Satabhaya village is there these people of sea will be there. And the days are not very far to see the large waves of Bay Bengal leaping over helpless cottages and erasing out the geography of Satabhaya for ever. Who'll stop the might nature?
At least people in future, will get the picture of Satabhaya, its people, their life style and more on their infectious longing for the land called Satabhaya. Writer Sj. Bhima babu has been very successful to paint scenes like mornings, noons, evenings, chaita jatra; characters like of pujarini of Panchu-Barahi, night-walking sasu , her bohu, bohu kani bandha pua (hen-pecked son) , adventurous grand-son and protective grand-mother, lazy and intoxicated husband are many nicely taking role in telling their tales as sea men.
No wonder why Sj. Bhima Prusty has been awared 2009 Sahitya Academy Award and 2005 the first Sibaram Patra memorial award.
My heartiest congratulations to you Sj. Bhima babu for this nice saraswat creation!
11th October 2012.