Dr. Ramachandra Behera

Dr. Rama Chandra Behera, described as a philosopher-writer was born in a small village (Barhatipura) in the district of Keonjhar, Odisha on 2nd November 1945. He recalls that he has inherited his benevolent father’s intellect and love for learning and his mother’s emotion and compassion.

He did his schooling in the village M.E. school and enrolled himself in D.N. High School, Keonjhar as a scholarship holder. After graduation from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, he came to the serene, expansive and beautiful campus of Banaras Hindu University from where he passed the M.A. (English) exam in 1969.

The same year he was appointed lecturer in the department of English, Kendrapara College. Regarded as a brilliant teacher, he was awarded the Ph.D. degree for his dissertation on American naturalistic novel.

He had exhibited creative impulse during his school and college days for which he had bagged a number literacy onwards. Some of his stories were published in a few magazines.

Those stories were immature and sentimental, reminisces Behera. But his first serious story, till now very important and popular, came out in a magazine (NABARABI) in its November, 1970 issue. Even before it was published, the editor of the magazine had written a letter of appreciation to Behera for the freshness and uniqueness of the story.

Behera’s fiction (15 story collections and 15 novels) offers diversity in theme and its treatment. His profound philosophical insight into life is reflected in the stories in which lion, tortoise, bird, snake etc. are the central characters. These creatures are metaphors for the existential crisis of men. Most of his characters, especially women, are shown struggling against inexorable odds for survival.

In the early seventies, Behera was equally adored as a radio playwright. With more than twenty such very popular plays to his credit, he has written ten stage plays.

Emotion, pathos, philosophy and poetry are suffused in his narrative in such a compelling way that a reader identifies himself with the main character. The theme of his story, carrying the stamp of universality and timelessness and very often linked to myth, thus unfolds the truth of life and creation.

Some of his stories and novels are taught from matriculation to P.G. (Odia) level. Six Ph.D. dissertations and three books of criticism have been written on his fiction.

A number of awards and felicitations have been bestowed upon him, the most important of which are Sarala, State Sahitya Akademi, Visub, Katha (New Delhi), Central Sahitya Akademi (for the story collection, GOPAPURA) and Bharatiya Bhasa Parishad (Kolkata) awards.

His glorious career as a teacher and Principal of Kendrapara college ended in November, 2005, on account of his superannuation. The Government of Odisha choose him as the President of Odisha in Sahitya Akademi which he served with distinction from May, 2010 to April, 2013.

Right now Behera is very much active in his creative writing. Extremely amiable and humble, he consistently maintains a low profile and shuns publicity.

 


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