Contemporary writers in Indian English-3
Jayant Mahapatra, a lecturer by Profession, is a celebrated poet from Odisha writing in Odiya as well as in English. He received the first Sahitya Academi award and many more honors. His famous poem “Hunger” is a commentary on a helpless situation in which one degrades oneself to commit uncivilized things. We find a fisherman on the shore of a sea who is ready to offer his emaciated fifteen year old daughter as a prostitute to a visitor.
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The visitor is surprised at the father acting as a pimp and also at his own desire to exploit the situation by paying money (‘flesh was heavy on my back’). The net of the fisherman was gathering only ‘froth’ suggesting his poverty and hunger. The accumulated ‘soot’ on the walls suggests that the fisherman and his daughter are not new to this activity. Hunger for food among the fisherman and his daughter and hunger for sex in the narrator are juxtaposed very well by the poet.
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