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Sachidananda Routray passes away

BHUBANESWAR, AUG. 21. Octogenarian poet and Jnanpith award winner, Sachidananda Routray, passed away in Cuttack today. He was 89. He is survived by two daughters and two sons.

Popularly known as `Sachi Routray', he was ailing for quite some time and was admitted to a private hospital a few days ago. The end came around noon.

Mr. Routray, who was conferred the Padmashree in 1962, got the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964 and the Soviet Land Award in 1965. He was awarded the Jnanpith in 1986 for his contribution towards the growth of modern Oriya poetry.

The Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, and some of his Cabinet colleagues visited Cuttack to pay their last respects to the departed poet. Mr. Routray's body was cremated at the Sati Chaura cremation ground at Cuttack this evening.

Born in Gurujang near Khurda on May 13, 1916, Mr. Routray was drawn into the freedom struggle while in school. He started writing poetry at the age of 11. Some of his poems were banned by the British for their revolutionary character.

Popular poet

Mr. Routray had become a household name in Orissa when he wrote his famous poem `Baji Rout'. Mr. Routray also wrote short stories and novels with equal poise and elegance.

Mr. Routray belonged to a group of writers who called themselves `poets of the people'. His life was a confluence of three different cultures. He was born an Oriya, educated and grew up in Bengal and had married a Telugu girl from the royal family of Golapalli.