Kuntala Kumari Sabat (1901-1938) was the first woman novelist in Odia. She was also a poet, essayist, a social reformer, a nationalist, orator, feminist and a doctor. In these three novels she deals with the position of women in a patriarchal society, their hopes and aspirations, the conflict between female desire and patriarchy and they contemporary problems of those times such as child marriage, widowhood, polygamy, dowry, bride-price and other social evils. She also explores the female identity in these novels.
The Dark Bride (1925) is a poignant story of a child-widow, her suffering and empowerment. The Philosopher’s Stone (1925) is a heart-rending tale of the evils of child marriage. Raghu, the Orphan (1928), her major novel, interweaves all these with the struggle freedom.
Mary Mohanty teaches English at S.C.S. (Auto) college, Puri (Odisha). A Ph.D in English from Utkal University, Odisha, she has translated A Leaf in the Stream (Autobiography) and Kuntala Kumari Sabat: A Miscellany. Her translations of poetry and short stories have been published in several reputed national and international anthologies and journals. She has also written a monograph on Kuntala Kumari Sabat.
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