Periodical Press and Colonial Modernity

A historic book “Periodical Press and Colonial Modernity” written by Prof. Sachidananda Mohanty, faculty of the University of Hyderabad and presently the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Orissa, Koraput has been released by Oxford University Press, Global Academic Publishing, a prestigious and renowned international publishing house. This is the 28th book of Prof. Mohanty published by international publishing house.

According to the book “Colonial/alternative modernity in Odisha comes in the form of rich cameos. It encompasses a vast range: the question of interfaith dialogue, scientific and medical advancement, print culture and colonial travel, emergence of new woman, religious chicanery in the monastery, merits and demerits of prohibition, medical ethics, vacation time in schools and insurance policies. The list is endless and symptomatic in the complex and many sided manner in which the periodicals reflect and refract colonial modernity”.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed the emergence of colonial modernity in Odisha through the genre of the periodical press. How did the modernity project evolve in colonial Odisha? What were its contours? Was this modernity entirely consensual, or was it contested in the pages of the periodicals through an alternative modernity? This book addresses these and other questions about a forgotten chapter of India’s intellectual history.

Tracing the growth and decline of the Odia periodical press, the book studies its interface with colonial/alternative modernity in the region. It explores various aspects of two pioneering Odia magazines—the newspaper journal Utkal Dipika and the literary journal Utkal Sahitya—their economic and political bases, their patronage systems, the cultural and ideological backgrounds of their editors, and the role these journals played in shaping the Odia literary sensibility and identity. It shows how the periodical press shaped ideas and the material culture of the region and, in turn, got metamorphosed by the play of contemporary cultural and ideological forces.

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Prof. Sachidananda Mohanty is the present Vice-Chancellor of Central University Odisha, Koraput and former Head, Department of English, University of Hyderabad. He has done pioneering work in archival research and published extensively in the fields of British, postcolonial, gender, and translation studies. He is the recipient of several national and international awards including those from the British Council, the Salzburg, the Katha and The Fulbright Program. He has to his credit 26 books in English and in Odia including Understanding Cultural Exchange, Vision Books 1997; Travel Writing and the Empire, Katha; Early Women’s writing in Orissa, 1898-1950: A Lost Tradition, Sage Publications, 2005; Gender and Cultural Identity in Colonial Orissa, Orient Longman 2008; Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader, Routledge India, 2008; Sarala Devi, Central Sahitya Akademi, 2011; and Cosmopolitan Modernity in Early Twentieth Century India, Routledge India, 2015.

Prof. Mohanty conveys his sincere gratitude to the University of Hyderabad and the English Department for the support he received for this project.