Missionaries Interface: Comparing the Development of Assamese and Oriya Literary Culture in the Nineteenth Century

  • Dr. Tanutrushna Panigrahi


Nineteenth century Indian literary and cultural conventions were the outcome of several historical turning points. One such phenomenon was the intensifying of missionaries’ activities with the objectives of Christian propagation and religious conversion in the country. For the purpose, missionaries wrote, translated and printed massive amount of religious and secular literature and the genre of prose was the vehicle. While doing so, they introduced to the Indian literary soil a new form, and developed an identifiable literary pattern, a common literary core, and interrelatedness throughout the country which can be considered as the result of their taking the stronghold of certain cultural and literary reigns from weaker hands. This essay examines the missionaries’ role and functions in the development of the literary modernity in the nineteenth century India by taking a comparative case study of Assam and Orissa. It takes into consideration both similarities and differences in the development of prose, translation, text books and print technology.

Keywords: missionaries; Assamese and Oriya literature; Buranjis; Bakhars, Prabodh Chandrika; Indian literature.


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Author Biography

Dr. Tanutrushna Panigrahi

Prof. Dr. Tanutrushna Panigrahi teaches in the Department of Humanities at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bhubaneswar, India. As a doctoral Fulbright Fellowship grantee she studied the unpublished work of John Cheever  in the special collection libraries; Houghton in Harvard and Goldfarb in Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA. She has published several research papers and delivered lectures at various academic institutes.


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10. www.assam.org/node/2335
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22. George Smith, The Life of William Carey, D.D. (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1885) 257. [ Also, William Carey and the Serampore Books (1800-1834),LIBRI, vol.II No.3, 1961, p.197-280]
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24. Graham Shaw, “The Cuttack Mission Press and Early Oriya Printing” (https://www.bl.uk/eblj/1977articles/pdf/article6.pdf)5.
25. Dr.Bansidhar Mohanty, Introduction to Prabodha Chandrika www.archive.org/stream/prabodhchandrika
26. Smith, 257.
27. The College of Fort William, p. 230, states that 'a grammar of the Orissa language' is being prepared by Pooroosh Ram in conjunction with Dr. Carey. This was apparently never published. Could it be that the manuscript or proofs were destroyed in the Serampore fire of March 1812?
28. Shaw, 34.
29. Shaw, 34.
30. Shaw, 34.
31. Amos Sutton, introduction, An Oriya Dictionary in three volumes, vol. 3 (Cuttack: 1841-3) iv.
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34. Odisha Review September 2015, page 63-4, www.odisha.gov.in/e-magazine/Orissareview/2015/Sept/engpdf/63-67.pdf
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36. Prabodha Chandrika, 1856, issue: 1 pp1-3 in Cuttack mission press. Cuttack https://archive.org/stream/PrabodhaChandrikaV11856Reprint/Prabodha_Chandrika_v1_1856%20reprint#page/n15/mode/2up )
37. Samantaray, 41.
38. Das, 69.
39. Blackburn, 9.
How to Cite
Panigrahi, D. T. “Missionaries Interface: Comparing the Development of Assamese and Oriya Literary Culture in the Nineteenth Century”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 8, no. 4, Nov. 2021, pp. 58-79, doi:10.201411/clri.v8i4.995.
Research Papers