Author: Gopinath Mohanty
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Savita Damle
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8126019581
Written originally in Oriya in 1945 and translated here or the first time, Praja is a classic of modern Indian fiction.
It tells on an epic scale the story of a tribal patriarch ad his family in the mountainous jungles of Orissa. The slow decline in the fortune of this family - from the qui prosperity of a subsistence livelihood towards bondage to the local moneylender - is both poignantly individualized as well as symbolic of the erosion of a whole way of life within peasant communities.
The novel, furthermore, transcends hat is document because its characters are not merely primitive tribesmen ensnared by a predatory moneylender. Mohanty's protagonists are also quintessentially man and women waging heroic but futile war against a hostile universe. As the citation of the Jnanpith Award f 1974 put it - 'in Mohanty's hands the social is lifted to the level of the metaphysical'.