Bhima Bhoi (19th Century), the poet-prophet of Mahima Dharma has made tremendous contributions to the cultural heritage of our state Odisha. Bhima Bhoi wrote extensively against the prevailing socio-economic injustice, religious bigotry and caste discriminations. His mission being “jagata uddhara”(liberation of the entire world), he believed in one God, one society and one religion. Bhima Bhoi’s guru was Mahima Gosain who is said to be the founder of Mahima Dharma. Although the Mahima Dharma is contemporary to the socio-religious reform movements, it was popular exclusively in Odisha. The essence of Mahima Dharma is for mankind and by mankind.
Due to the work of Bhima Bhoi, Mahima Dharma gained popularity in the tribal belt of not only Orissa but also neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattishgarh, Bengal and Assam. Not much is known about Bhima Bhoi except that by birth, he was a Kondh. He was born into abject poverty and was deprived of education and a decent standard of living. He spent his early life in the area of Rairakhol and Birmaharajpur in the later-half of the 19th century. He was poor, hapless and earned his living out of agriculture and tending to cattle. He was a great poet, composer and singer. Humanity and liberation of the world got prominence in all his poetic creations.
“Mo jeevana pachhe narke padithau,
jagata uddhara heu”
The Bhima Bhoi Chair of Gangadhar Meher University, Sambalpur is aimed at carrying out research work in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities focusing on current socio-economic and literary-cultural issues and problems. The Chair plans to carry out interdisciplinary research in the arena of social sciences including literary creations/dalit literature and would design tailor-made solutions for challenges faced by the marginalized section of the population of Odisha, primarily Western Odisha. Further, it would strive to have an in-depth study and analysis of socio-economic exclusions of the people belonging to the most deprived sections of our society and the needed initiatives, interventions and policies to achieve inclusive growth. It will build a data hub in Gangadhar Meher University at the forefront of research as far as the life and living conditions of people reeling under poverty, deprivations and multiple levels and types of exclusions are concerned.