Muslim rule was confined to coastal districts. Odisha was far away from the Muslim Centers of North India. So although Muslims came to Odisha after establishment of their rule, their number was marginal. “Odisha was defeated but not conquered in the sense of Bengal or other parts of North India.” Yet it had its effects on the socio-cultural life of Odisha. There were attempts at establishing cordial Hindu-Muslim relation especially in the times from Akbar to Shahjahan.
Influence of Islam on socio-cultural life of Odisha
One Bhatta Mahapatra was a musician in Akbar’s court. Another Viswanatha Samantaraya pleased Mansingh, came to Mughal court and received rewards for his poetic talent. Odia language and literature was influenced by Perso-Arabic vocabulary. More than 2,000 words of Islamic languages entered into Odia literature. The Muslims turned their mind toward Odia and poets like Salabaig composed excellent devotional songs for Lord Jagannatha. The harmony and interaction between the Hindu and the Muslim communities resulted in some syncretic religious rituals like Satyapiri cult in 18th century. The Kadam Rasul of Cuttack, tombs of Baba Bukhari in Puri and Bhogakhia Pir of Balasore etc. got equal veneration from both the communities. The popular music show of Bhadrak called Mughal Tamasa were participated and enjoyed by people of both the communities. Not only that in dress, customs and manners they adopted each other’s style. Whereas the Hindus wore lungi, kurta, pijjama, took birani, halwa and Muslim delicacies and said Id-mubaraka to Muslims; the Muslim used dhoti, gamuchha, wrapper-cloth, took Hindu foods and visited Hindu neighbours during festivals. An atmosphere of love and affection came to prevail down the times.
Influence of Islam on Odia language and literature
A number of Islamic literatures took shape in Orissa. The original works of Arabic, Parsi, Turkish and even Urdu were translated into Oriya Language. Khwaja Mainuddin- Chisti (Sufi Saint) of Ajmer primarily encouraged the spread of Parsi language in India. During Muslim rule in Orissa Parsi language was spoken and official records maintained in Parsi. Poems of poet Abhimanyu Samant Singhar, Baldev Rath, Upendra Bhanja mark the influence of Parsi, Arabic and Urdu languages. Islam had direct impact on Fakir Mohan. He was named Fakir because his Grand mother symbolically sold him to a Muslim Fakir or Dervishes. In his childhood Fakir Mohan used to collect alms as a Fakir boy and from the begged he used to prepare Sirni and distributed to the poor in the name of Satyapir. 18th Century marks the growth of Satyapir sect. It was manifestation of Hindu-Muslim unity. This century also witnessed the rise of Pala. Kabi Karna was the founder of Pala literature. It had a series of 16 books one of which depicted the miracle of Satyapir. Pala is divided into two types viz. I. Baithaki Pala and II. Thia Pala.
Tamasa and Jatra
In the second quarter of the 18th Century poet Bansiballav Goswami wrote the Tamasa. He synthesized Islamic tenet with Oriya literature. The tradition of Jatra was very much prevalent in Orissa. Historians believed that, Jatra is the sound impact of Islamic literature over Orissa. Poet Salabeg and Uzir Bag wrote hundreds of Bhajana on Jagannath and Radhakrishna Cult in Oriya literature. Parsian poet Saikh Sahdis (1194-1282) Pand Nama was translated into Oriya by Abdul Majid Saheb of Balasore in Prabodha Bakya or Hitapodesh Mala edited and published in 1869. Madhusudan Roy has written a series of books on Muslim Prophet and Saints. Qawali and Ghazal are examples of the impact of Islam in Oriya literature and language. Countless words of Parsian, Arabic, Urdu and Turkish entered into Oriya Vocabulary and were assimilated in the spoken language of the common mass. Oriya poets used the work in their Kavya or poems. Orissan society reflected a sense of hospitality to the strangers which deserves merits. Culturally, Islam had its unique and remarkable contribution. It brought some new idea and some new problems, but left a legacy, that is successfully utilized by the succeeding generation for ever.
Last Line to Say
The Muslim rule it had its impact on the socio-cultural life of Odisha. Odia language and literature was influenced by Perso-Arabic vocabulary. More than 2,000 words of Islamic languages entered into Odia literature. The Muslims turned their mind toward Odia and poetslike Salabaig composed excellent devotional songs for Lord Jagannatha. The harmony and interaction between the Hindu and the Muslim communities resulted in some syncretic religious rituals like Satyapiri cult in 18th century. A number of Islamic literatures took shape in Orissa. The original works of Arabic, Parsi, Turkish and even Urdu were translated into Oriya Language. In this way, the there was great influence of Islamism on the Odia language and literature.
www.historyofodisha.in is an initiative of Brajabandhu Mahanta, with active support from Smabhunath Mahanta to share the glorious past of Odisha among the students and general readers of history.