Orissa News

Freedom movement in Orissa

The Oriya leaders are to be credited for their splendid effort of being able to carry on with the nationalistic struggle of independence along with the struggle for Oriya domain at the same time while keeping them separate from each other. By the First World War, anarchical philosophies had taken root in Orissa. In the town of Baleshwar and in the Kaptipada forest areas in Mayurbhanj district, the Bengal territories with the active assistance of Oriya inhabitants worked for anti-Government activities in a daring spirit. Hardline leaders like Jatin Mukherji alias Bagha Jatin, Manoranjan Sengupta, Nirendra Dasgupta, Shasanka Sekhar Mukherji, Atal Behari Acharya and Bairagi Tripathy were responsible for carrying on successive operations against the government.

 Gopabandhu Das led the congress movement in OrissaBy the end of the first wold war, Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das had taken on the role of promoting the Congress Movement in Orissa alongwith a group of young patriots .They were responsible for carrying in the spirit of the struggle to the people at large. Among them were men like Harekrushna Mahtab, Gopabandhu Choudhury, Nabakrushna Choudhury, Bagirathi Mahapatra, Jagabandhu Singh, Mukunda Prasad Das, Nityananda Kanungo, Jadumani Mangaraj, Niranjan Patnaik, Dibakar Patnaik, Chandra Sekhar Behera, Nanda Kishore Das, Raj Krushna Bose and others. Pandit Gopahandhu Das was later elected as the President of the Utkal Provincial Congress Committee.

 Gandhiji gave on the call for the Non-Co-operation Movement and subsequently toured Orissa in March 1921.There was a huge response to his call from all sections of the people. Though the Mahatma visited a few places only, the message touched the hearts of the rural mass as well as the elite of Orissa. Visit of other nationalistic leaders like C. Rajagopalachari, Motital Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, among others, in 1922, gave a further impetus to the national movement in Orissa.

The strugle was taken to new levels in Western Orissa and Sambalpur by leaders like Laxminarayan Misra, Mahabir Singh, Bhagirathi Patnaik, Ghanashyam Panigrahi, Achyutananda Purohit and others.Leaders like Kastaram Ganda were successful in airing the views of the suppressed agrarian class.The most important feature of freedom struggle in Orissa was the involvement of people downtrodden.In places like Kanika, the movement took the form of agrarian uprising of the peasantry. Unlike the rest of the country where it was basically a movement by the educated middle class, freedom struggle in Orissa rested on a popular base drawing in a large number of economically deprivrd people.

 Gandhi’s call for the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930 aroused the entire nation and Orissa came forward for the most vigorous struggle of independence. Breaking of Salt Law which became the symbolic feature of the disobedience.Orissa’s long coastal belt was once a thriving region for salt production.However the Britishers had Hare Krushna Das led the freedom struggle in Orissa completely destroyed the industry by enacting special laws.People thus took to breaking of salt law with vigour. At Inchudi in Baleshwar district, Salt Satyagraha under Surendra Natha Das became only second to Gandhi’s Satyagraha in Gujarat in importance and impact. Other notable places that attracted government ire for breaking salt law included Kujang in Cuttack district, Kuhudi, Singeshwar and Latra in Puri district; and Huma in Ganjam district (at that time in Madras Presidency) . Smt. Rama Devi, Smt. Malati Choudhury, Acharya Harihar Das, Gopabandhu Choudhury, Atal Bihari Acharya, Govind Misra, Raj Krushna Bose, Smt. Sarala Devi, Smt. Annapurna Devi, Narayan Birabar Samanta, Birakishore Das, Lakshmi Narayan Misra, Smt. Binapani Devi, and Surendra Nath Patnaik, among many others, became the leading spirits of the Civil Disoebedience Movement.

 Apart from these nationalistic uprisings in Orissa proper, there were revolutions elsewhere in the Princely states or the Garhjat satates. There were five such risings in Bamra, (Bamanda) three in Talcher, one in Mayurbhanj, one in Dhenkanal, and one in Nilagiri, besides a dangerous rising of the Kondha in Dashapalla during the period above mentioned. It is with much brutality, that the respective authorities could manage to restore order in their areas.

Uprisings in Garhjat Prajamandals