Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kailash Tikayatray Sir

If time was a winged chariot to take me to my past I would have lustfully preferred to visit the specific period in my graduation when I used to enjoy the Odia classes delivered by my esteemed teacher Tikayat Sir(formally addressed by us students) at Samanta Chandrasekhar college- Puri. That was a very novel experience for me then to enjoy classes of compulsory Odia which was in curricula along with compulsory English, other courses and my major course Economics. I was among those who were assuming Odia literature to be not fairer than weeds those grow automatically in potted plants without special watering and care and time to time those needed to be uprooted in order to prepare the soil of mind ready for fruity and flowering plants of potentially profitable subjects to grow unobstructed. But Tikayat Sir was the person who changed my perception towards literature and language. 

I was not an exceptionally marked out student so far as performance in studies and extra curricular activities were concerned. Rather I was a 'teacher and exam phobic' shy girl mostly tried my level best to be left unnoticed by the lecturers unless a serious question pertaining to studies overpowered my mind. In that situation desiring to attend all the Odia classes in all my neighboring sections delivered by Tikayat Sir was a pretty bizarre fact. I was so much touched by the charismatic orations of Tikayat Sir from his very first class that my idea about Odia as a secondary subject changed altogether. His special tasteful style of explaining poetry, stories and debates with powerful and genuine words and instances was able to make an awfully packed class to form pin drop silent. His magnanimous personality made me firm in belief that literature as a subject is not taken as a last resort of rescue for those who can't dare to study technical subjects, rather it is the mother of all the fine techniques in world and has been the favorite sport of the sensible and gloriously blessed persons. I started loving Odia my mother tongue by the virtue of disguised affirmations that I learnt from my Tikayat Sir and his breezily blessings that along with me must have touched many of his students in several of his teaching histories. Even today I commemorate how he did explain the poems like "Kanchukira Bhabana" an extract of Parvati Kabya of Kabibara Radhanatha Ray, "Jatra Sangeeta" of Kabi Baikunthanatha Pattanaik, "Jada Darshana" of poet Kalindi Charana Panigrahi that remained imprinted in my mind for times to come. I was touched so much by his wonderful explanations of the poem extracts like-

"Kehirahinaahi rahibe naahin ti bhabaranga bhumi tale
  Sarbe nija nija abhinaya saari baahudibe kaala bale"

"ichhanti daambhike haste rakhibaaku samastanka bhaagya dori
nija bhaagya dori kaala haste bandhaa pakaanti hele paashori" (Kanchukira Bhaabanaa)

"belaara baalukaa sama gyaanarenu jaae kshyane udi
padirahe baaki sabu chirantana jadataa jaabudi|
jete rupa abayaba sabuthaaru dishe hoi bada,
rupaantara gheni kete hoichi se jada khaali jada.."(Jadadarshana)

"chaalare chaala mana nitya madhubana
dekhibu priya raasa adura golakare
adura pathe aaji milana taa'ra saathe
bijaya rathe tora jibana aalokare" (Jaatraa Sangita) 

that those remained stored in a secret chamber of my heart as nutrition for my soul. If Kailash Sir had not explained those possibly I could not have felt the poems so intently. 

For me in a society writers, poets, thinkers, artists, scientists etc are great for their respective fields of contributions but the persons who channel themselves to transfer the essence of their knowledge in a very legible and fine manner in the entire society are greatest. Who else greatest can be other than the teachers making the young minds receptive to knowledge and happiness! They are the living Gods who help exploring the potentials of young minds. What I learnt from my teachers is inexplicable. Today I am not earning or employed anywhere. I am a simple housewife and a mother. But I have learnt the essence of life from the education that I got from my teachers. Kailash Sir is one among them from whom I learnt that through literature(Saahitya) the fragrance of life can be smelt. And I have been eagerly trying to smell that divinely fragrance from the very day Kailash Sir joined our graduation class as Odia teacher. I pray sincerely to God that the life of the maker of many lives be filled with everlasting happiness and peace.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Supriya Panda a woman with golden heart...

Supriya Madam and Prafulla Sir at their residence

Srimati Supriya Panda is a noted short story writer in Odia language. Most of her short stories get published in many popular Odia literary magazines. She serves as the Head of Material management in KIIT University. Though she is a scholar in English Literature her first love has been Odia, in which she expresses her sensitivity and knowledge through short stories. She originally is from Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Baripada and the Simlipal Hills are her secret heavens where she has left the wonderful memories of her childhood and youth. The pure serenity and grace of Santala ( the Tribal) culture of Mayurbhanj thereby has been close in the chambers of her heart as yet. I feel very proud for knowing a great writer, thinker and above all a simple lovingly person as her, personally.

I came to know her and her literary works and got to interact with her through Poet and Prof Hrushikesha Mohanty of Hyderabad University and Aama Odisha e-magazine. Her first mail to me was filled with so much affection and tenderness that I was overwhelmed with joy. And afterwards whenever I get mail from her, my heart fills with warmth and happiness.

For the first time I got to read one of her stories was "Kuha Kahlara" through Aama Odisha e-magazine. The story narrated the pitiable condition of a poor handicapped boy Chottu who learns self protection and fighting with every adversity. He learns to safeguard himself from a goon named Ratan who always used to torture him both physically and mentally; but when ultimately fails as the last resort he plans to murder Ratana. It is about the story of victimised childhood of every child labour and destitute child beggars. About her story, Supriya madam says "While writing this story even I could not control my tears. I felt, Chhotu is left alone by all of us and we invisibly forced him to do what he did because we did not bother to stop Ratan. Like a tortoise, we always safeguard ourselves under the shell from people like Ratan and Chhotu never had a shell to hide. We had left him to season in all exposure from his childhood. When I can not protest, where I am supposed to, it reduces me to a mouse or a tortoise etc. Then I pick up my pen and I write." Another beautiful aspect of the story is that the handicapped boy falls in love with a Kahlara plant and Kahlara flowers with whom Chotu used to share his feelings of happiness and sufferings. Kahlara flower is believed to be favorite of Radha by which she used to get becharmed as in the presence of Krishna. 

About the cruelty and rudeness of people in the society as seen in Ratana's character, she says- "big problems never scare me, rather I find I am not a bad soldier to fight. But what hurts me is rudeness of people. I get hurt, even if it is not aimed at me. If I witness it also I feel bad. I always pray to God to give me necessary strength to control my temper so that I will not be rude to people even if I feel much provoked by them. God also gives me that, because I have an agreement with Him that I will never ask Him to do me any other favour. Ha.. Ha.. I strongly believe that only once we can afford to be rude or unmannerly in our life time. Do you know when? When we just die, let me quote two lines of one Urdu Shayree" Gustakhi Maye Karunga Sirf Ekbar, Gustakhi Maye karunga Sirf Ekbar, Jab sab Chalein Paydol, Maye Rahunga Kandhe Pe Sawar."

She says, war of any sort is unnecessary and is a greater form of cruelty. In her own words- 
"For a long time, after construction of great temples and adventures of our ancient Mariners, no great history was made by us. We only fought a series of wars and battles for centuries together and as a result our art and literature were left neglected. Here, I would tell you something in whisper, I am dead-against of any war,any sort of violence. Again, although I salute to Saheeds who sacrificed their lives for the motherland but at the same time I fervently wish that the war could have been avoided and these young lives should have been saved.

I never tried to become a thief, had I, then I would have stolen all the bullets of all the countries and hide it for ever. Bullets know the addresses of their victims who are innocent people but only being aimed at in the name of war. When I think of it I feel awefully helpless.In my next life I would try to become a thief and as I do not have any background I would take some inspiration from Jean Genet of France."
She has always been humanistic in her perception, thoughts and approach that has verily shaped her literary life. I have with me two of her wonderful short story books which I collected from Agraduta publications in Cuttack. Her stories are prosperous with a lovingly humane touch that analises the deep rooted social and human psychology. She has a wonderful vision of observing things that makes her very special a human being. Her stories tell about her. Those depict a very rare trait in her; that is, as if she is in quest of finding extraordinary in very ordinary negligible aspects of life...! This is so true! Life lies in that ordinary kind of things; the mundane feelings and all that makes us drenched in them. And she is blessed with a wonderful sensitive heart to understand and express the same.

Please find the interview of Supriya Madam with Aama Odisha E-magazine @Supriya Panda

Once I got to read a story of her published in Sahitya Pruthibi titled "Pari Kaahaani". The lead character in that story was in quest of a fairy since his very childhood. He had firm faith that the fairy would come one day to the place where he usually waits for her. She came. But his awaiting was not complete until the end of the story when he is pretty old and .... Eagerly I asked her- do real fairies exist? What the fairies can mean besides their celestial beauties..! Madam replied to me in her usual adoring words-
"You have asked me about fairies and their connection with real life. Darling, fairy is the concept I have used as beauties of life. Deep-rooted love (in any form), the eternal waiting without any complaint, the beautiful bond even without living together, all these things indicate the ultimate beauties of life. I find fairies in real life. They are rare, no doubt, but still exist." 

When I first met Supriya Madam, I was overwhelmed with joy with the way of her showing affection. Her blessing for me and my family has been the greatest gift that I ever can possess. "A woman with a golden heart" that only I can say about her. A true Odia in heart, she has deep love for motherland Odisha, her culture and people. A sensitive and pure hearted person she is, blessed with the art of competently reading other hearts too. All the subjects of her stories are less fantasies but more realistic that makes a reader moved by a sense of perfect rapture. May maa Saraswati and Prabhu Jagannath bless her always and give  supreme strength to produce many more wonderful literary works to glorify the Odia Sahitya jagata. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hearty wishes to GP-KP on his birthday....

The earth looks beautiful with bountiful pleasing things for our senses, but the beauty of earth is realised only with the people we come across in our lives. One among them is K. Parthasarathy who has been a great inspiration for me and many of his fans. He has been a reason of smile for many. He is a wonderful person with great vitality and wisdom. Being a consultant by profession, narrator, story/article writer, columnist and freelance writer by passion, he has great feat in many areas. The stories he use to write in his blog are very interesting, sodded with fine imagination, experiences, messages and sometimes a pinch of humor. His other blog Reflections is full of inspiring articles. Some of his columns published online can be found at- google, ivarata etc.. He also has been a Sanskrit scholar and thoroughly a spiritual being to the true sense of the term. A lovingly person who has all the time in his world for others; for his cute family, friends and his internet fans including me. A good person is like the Sun in the sky who has rays for all... Such people are not confined with any concrete or conceptual boundary... They reach all through their goodness, humility and noble thoughts. 

On his birthday today, I wish bliss for him. May you smile always and bless us.


My words of respect for him..

Chandanam shitalam loke chandanaadapi chandramaah
Chandrachandanayormaddhye shitalaa saadhusangatih..

In this world sandalwood is (cold)pleasing and the moon is still more pleasing than sandalwood. But company of good people is the most pleasing thing on earth to compare with sandalwood and moon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Grandfather (Ajaa) Gobinda Chandra Tripathy

He was a simple man; a khadi clad Gandhian whom all would love. Since my very childhood I had been experiencing a part of his life and his magnificent personality until his departure in the year 2002. I can't remember well the remote childhood days yet few things of past are imprinted in mind to never forget. One such childhood memory is associated with my nursery days. Then in my childhood the concept of kindergarten was different in a small pilgrimage like Puri. I am talking about a period in between 1980 to 85 when we kids were going to our preschool which was called "Chahali" (literally transformed from the word Chatashali a place of leaning for kids). My chahali was a Hindu monastery where the Guruji would be one of the priests with a neck wear made of Tulsi beads. The first thing we kids would notice while entering into our "Chahali" was the big sized man (Guruji) with a large smooth stick in his hand; the stick obviously was meant to control the cow herd(we children).lol.. and an image of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra hanging near the blackboard. There were few really naughty kids (mostly boys) on whom our Guruji would apply his weapon regularly. What all we were taught was letters from (a-kshya) in odia, numerical tables from 1-20 in Odia and recitation of the chabila barnobodha (containing a lot of moral education) written by bhakta kabi madhusudana Rao. I was a timid and wondering kid. My eyes would always be fixed on Guruji's long stick. Yet I was prompt in remembering tables from 1- 13 very well. So always I was in his good books though I didn't knew further. My grand father  (Aja)would come to take me from chahali. He would hold my bag containing a tiny slate, a little chamanbar tin storing chalks of different sizes and shapes (those were meant to be kept in Chamanbar box only because it imparted a beautiful smell to all the chalks) and the book of Barnabodha. 

Everyday on badadaanda on our way to home, he would tell me- "paatha padhibi, paatha padhibi, Kalia Ghoda re Chadhibi, Madhu Babu sathe ladhibi" which means- (I'll study well, will ride a black horse and face efficient Madhu Babu- Utkala Gauraba Madhusudana Das in court). The words saying studying well and fighting with Madhubabu were not able to allure me but riding a black horse then did sound pretty interesting and funny. So I used to laugh heartily and was merrily going home holding his hand. On our way home, he would purchase a tiny packet of delicious pickle and Nali papad from his favorite pan shop where he would also take a masala betel (paana). Sometimes I would ask for ten Nali to wear in my fingers and when given proudly would walk down to home. That was a regular affair until I began studying in school and in bigger classes when I was able to go to school along with my friends. For some health reason I had to take injections every alternate days. I would go to doctor's clinic with none other than Aja. He would promise one Rasgulla from Kara Bhaina's sweet shop after the injection episode is done. And when I would get the big sized Rasgulla from Aja, forgot the pain of being pierced by injection needle.

During my school days I felt being departed from Aja and Ayee at a particular phase as they began staying in a house in Heragouri sahi. Occasionally they visited us and also we visited them but that was not sufficient for my brother and me. Their absence made us lonely and craving inwardly for company. Then we didn't have good friends around. So I managed playing cricket with my younger brother and his friends most of the time and reading stories in pass time. When Ayee or Aja would visit I felt like heaven. Then I would present lots of gossips stored for them. Initially I didn't like Ayee Aja's rented house at Heragouri Sahi but when I got acquainted with the ambiance I hesitated to return home with Bou (mother). Like a perfect obedient grand daughter I would search the misplaced supari cutter for Ayee, would arrange and rearrange the things in the betel box while putting a Pan garnished with a lot of chamanbar(a sweet pan masala) in my mouth, would join Ayee (GM) helping prepare mud stove for the processed rice(Ushuna Bhata), would collect the guavas being plucked by Ajumamu. And every time would get a lot of praises from Aiee. Aja would read news paper and listen to News from Radio or simply watch the drumstick trees like a philosopher. I enjoyed his smiling glance, that was as if something though had undergone a lot many tests of time was still peaceful, resilient and dependable. 

After our elder uncle Bijumamu's marriage Ayee (GM) stayed in Bhubaneswar and Aja since in no circumstances would leave Puri and his Gandhian companions stayed with us. He was with us until my matriculation. His love for us was nonpareil. During the time when he was with us I could experience his great personality. Then I was growing so also my mind. I came to know that he was a freedom fighter who once joined the non-cooperation movement and in harsh circumstances was jailed for three years. I came to know that even then he was highly respected by the people in and around Puri. Yet I was surprised at his ordinariness. He was so low profile a person to tell anything about himself! Yet his daily routine itself was speaking aloud of him. He was a man with high discipline. His 45 year old Gandhian watch would tell his sense of discipline. I never have heard about his watch for sometime not functioning. His watch was also sincere and disciplined like him. I remember an incidence when he was just late by 5 minutes to a meeting and to compensate the delay in reaching the destination he tried to go by jumping from a small wall and finally broke his hand.

I discovered a sense of bondage between Aja and his little possessions- A Gandhian watch, a tiny trunk containing few papers carrying the memories of his struggling past including his Khadi wears, few papers, some money and a little comb in the pockets and his reading glasses. Those were systematically placed at their respective places everyday. The only thing not coming within his bonding was his pair of slippers. He never remembered the size and shape of his pair of slippers. So when visited a meeting or ceremony would certainly come home with someone other's slipper. His simple life was a glaring example of high moralities in him. His simple living was associated with high thinking that is true spirit of a Gadhian. I have seen all the good qualities of a human being in him since very childhood. To talk about cleanliness he was an icon. He used to clean the drains by himself, used to wash the bathing place everyday; even he had cleaned the public drain when the sweeper was absent. He never would listen to anyone so far his Gandhian principles were concerned. He would wash his Dhoti and Kurta to perfect dazzling white. And I have never seen him using any bathing shop. Everyday he would massage til oil all over his body and would take bath in cold water and his skin dazzled like glowing moon. He used to wake up, morning walk, bath and take breakfast in perfect time. Anybody would tell the accurate time just looking at Aja's activities. Everyday he visited few relatives place including my aunt(Tunimausi), Kachery (the court the meeting place of his old friends), Patitapabana and Bharati Bhaban (a book store near the temple). That was part of his regular routine and he never missed the time. He was like the thread of relationship among all the relatives present in Puri. He gave regular visit to all of them by walking only. Rarely he hired a rickshaw.

 By nature a soft spoken man he would listen to everyone's problems and happiness. He never left a chance to help others if within his capacity or else would silently give a compassionate glance as if he was taking inwardly others' sufferings. He guided both of us (my brother and me) regarding punctuality, discipline, obedience and truthfulness. I was amazed with his truthfulness backed by simplicity. Sometimes he forgot where and when he was telling the truth. I have seen him being bitterly criticized or greatly praised. But his simplicity was like lotus leaf which would accept neither mud nor water! When he was sad or angry it was for few seconds. He was having a perfect child like pure heart. He neither criticised anyone nor did he participate in any such type of discussion. For him finding faults in others was a real sin. He used to say, "Don't ever criticise, let your actions help others rectifying their faults."

Time passed on. Ayee(GM) with her indomitable will power and with Uncles' support was able to construct the Duttatota house where Aja and Ayee stayed for rest of their lives. Their whole aim was to remain bonded with Lord Jagannath. So scarcely they would visit anywhere outside Puri, other than village Baliput and both the uncle's houses. The house was wonderful. A holy abode, every inch of which was displaying a positive aura of two noble souls and their imperishable love for each other. And I was a part of their lives since the year 1991 to 2001. They would never let me spare from their eyes. I too didn't miss my parents and younger brother who were staying just 2 kms away from grandma's home. I completed my graduation staying with them. That was an unforgettable period of my life when I was starting my day with the chants of morning prayers of Ayee and " Jagabandhu Pari Jane Samanta Nahin Nahin ta "- (their is no other king like Lord Jagannath) prayer of Aja. After regular morning walk and ablution Aja used to recite the above line of the song with folded hands. That was all his prayer for the day long. I was wondering how deep this line is! All the truth immersed therein.. For that simple man what best could be a prayer than that! Due to some reasons he didn't go inside temple (perhaps it has some history linked to his past as a Karmi), only  everyday he gave a visit to the Patitapabana. (the effigy of Jagannath meant for Patitas or fallens- it was established during the reign of Bhoi king Ramachandra Dev who married a then Muslim rulers sister to save Lord Jagannath temple from their evil eye.)

All the grandchildren were the pearl of his eyes. But I was very special both to Aja and Ayee. He would never deny anything what I ever asked him. Until my stepping into college I never had visited anywhere by train. That was my long cherished dream to go somewhere only by train. So I requested Ayee to fulfill my desire. But she was reluctant as she held that bus journey was pretty comfortable and less time consuming to visit nearby places like Bhubaneswar. Then I started crying. Aja soothed me and promised to take me to Bhubaneswar by train using his freedom fighter train pass. The specific date was fixed. Our destination was elder uncle Bijumamu's house near Acharyabihar at Unit-9 Bhubaneswar where one day stay was fixed and the train decided to take us to and fro was Nilachala Fxpress. That day I woke up pretty early at 4 o'clock before Aja's time of morning walk. We took morning breakfast together after Ayees Puja(worshiping). My Tunimausi(Aunt), and Mausa(Uncle) were accompanying us to station. They made us seated comfortably in our bogey. We started at 7.30A.M. The train started with usual speed. That was a matter of pride for me to travel by train for the first time that too without any ticket. I felt myself like king being with Aja. Constantly I was observing the speed of train and was talking incessantly worthless things to make his head reel. But my talking ceased when the train stopped and didn't move an inch near Biraharekrushnapur. It stopped for several hours making both of us tired and hungry. At last the train started to move and made us reach at the land of Bhubaneswar at sharp 1P.M. when the Sun was waiting for us to consume all our remaining energy as well as body fluid. All were worried for us and waiting. Finally we reached home comfortably and took our lunch to soul's satisfaction. Mayeein had prepared delicious recipes for us. The day passed in sheer happiness and we were to return home as was earlier decided. In spite of uncle's repeated denial Aja was firm at fulfilling his promise to me. And both of us were pretty confident on train's attitude towards us. So uncle dropped us at station well before. We waited for Nilachal Express which was supposed to reach Bhubaneswar platform at 4.30 or so. But the train didn't come. Time passed. I had faith on my Aja more than the train. One by one trains went. But Aja would not enter any other train. In the platform few of his known faces interacted with him and greeted me. Finally I was losing my patience when it was going to be 6P.M.. I requested Aja to go back home. But he soothed me to keep patience. He was a man of perseverance who never was disheartened by the shortcomings and irregularities in the system in which he was working. He was holding to see selflessness,  compassion, patriotism, dutifulness and love all around in the society. He had patience until the last breath of his determination. When it was 8P.M both of us were surrounded by suspicious looking people, few beggars and few mentally ill worn outs. I was quizzing Aja with fear. His face was looking like being defeated from life. He began to cry like a child holding me firm- "Dear I couldn't keep my promise to you." I was fluxed out by Aja's innocent love for me. I pampered him and guided him to Bijumamu's house . Bijumamu was very sorry with the event and at last accompanied both of us to Puri the next day. Like  the abashment of his innocent faith at the Bhubaneswar station, his faith was also abashed by the political system which he believed to be the weapon of service to mankind to establish Ram Rajya of His political Guru- Gandhiji. So willingly he retired from his determination and also from political life.

Aja and me

Later on, when my graduation was completed we had a family trip of 15 people to Pondicherry and associated places. It was only me and Aja who had freedom fighter  Even Ayee was not allowed to use his train pass. My cherished dream of an enjoying train journey at last was fulfilled by Aja. That was the most enjoyable and memorable trip of my life. And Aja, I hold on your dream train will reach station one day. One day there will be Rama Rajya again...:)

When he went to see me at Ravenshaw for the first time, was overwhelmed with joy looking at his own college where he dreamt Independent India. He flashed back several memories of past including the memories of great poets, man of letters, and freedom fighters from this college. But every time he  accompanied with me to bus stand to say a good-bye, would cry like a child as if he was sending me to my in-laws place! He would request other passengers (irrespective of gender) to take proper care of his grand daughter. Sometimes Aja's too much concern  made me awkward but always I yielded to his innocence and purity. When my marriage was held excepting Aja everyone was there. Aja was alone home... he didn't come... because then I was not going to hostel, I was really going to my in-laws.
When I am missing him today, I feel I was living with an Angel.

Due to the presence of Aja and Ayee all the relatives often congregated at Duttatota home. Often Ayee would organise grand feasts for all when relatives including people from nearby places would be invited. Aja talked less yet was always highly concerned for everyone. He forced all to take dinner and sleep in right time. He never deviated from his own words. What he suggested others to do was his own practice and experiences. He was compassionate and kind every possible way. He was an example for all. When in leisure I asked Aja to narrate something interesting to me, he would narrate the events of his meetings with rebel Satendranath Guha, his walk from Puri to Pipili with his school mates to see and invite Mahatma Gandhi, his stay in Brahmapur jail, meetings with Acharya Harihara and stories of his friends' and his struggling life. Then I was listening those like stories meant for me(his grand daughter only) but never thought that those were not stories but facts and was not only for me but for the society as a whole.

After his death only I came to know from various sources about the fact that how selfless he was as a congress worker who never worked for any personal interest or influenced by any internal/external power or coaxing. He was popularly known as Khadadia Gandhi, who was a journalist, a columnist, a teacher and a selfless social worker. He was a bright student who got scholarships at every level of academic life. He was also widely known for his good command in both Odia and English languages. He was not very successful in his political career because of his very nature of detachment. The whole purpose of life was service of humankind in every possible way. So power and money was immaterial for him. Somehow he was not able to give proper attention to his own family during his active days. But God always arranges better things for good people who always think of others' well being. He dedicated major portion of his life working for poor villagers and coordinating constructions of roads, hospitals and schools, provision drinking water, drainage etc in remote villages. In his efforts his village Baliput grew to a neat and beautiful village having many good facilities. I remember how people of Baliput highly respected him. When accompanied with him or Ayee, I also got touch of similar respect and From elder uncle Gopal Mamu's one of the writings I knew an incidence about a Bhoi  in Baliput cutting the fingers of a British Sepoy after listening the news of Aja's imprisonment. It made me thrilled about how intently people loved him. Due to that love and blessings of the people his whole life was a bliss. During the last period of his life, I have seen signs of detachment and renunciation in him until his death. For me he was a sthitapragyan as Lord Krishna has described in Gita and a living Angel whom I would always miss!

                 Let the blog be my humble homage to that noble soul.

Pictures of Baliput Village via jodaling

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salutations to the patron saint of Independence struggle in Odisha- “Jayee Rajguru”

In the drastic outflows of time no human survives forever but the glorious acts of few among them make their name immortal for years to come. The future world is defined only by the virtues of such people. They become source of inspiration for the future generation. One such angelic person on this earth was Jayakrushna Rajguru Mohapatra who also is widely know as Jayee Rajguru. He was the first freedom fighter and martyr in the freedom struggle of India who fought against the mighty British power undaunted. He was a valiant hero on this land. He was a great scholar of Vedas, Natya Shastra and spiritual scriptures justifying well the name of a true Brahmin. He was a Brahmachari (unmarried person) whose life was guided by certain values and noble principles just like Pitamah Vishma of Mahabharata. His devotion to his duty for the royal minister, his abysmal love for motherland and scarifies for the humanity as a whole justifies his being a true Hindu. The story of his savage murder executed by the then British rulers reminds the death of Jesus Christ. The lessons of his life as well as his death is carved in golden letters deep inside the hearts of Odias till date.

Jayakrushna Rajguru Mohapatra widely known as Jayi Rajguru was born on Amla Nabami, in the holy month of Kartika ( year 1739) in a village named Bira Harekrushnapur Shasana which is only six kilometers away from Puri. Shasana reffered to those villages in which Gajapati kings of Puri were performing sacrifices (Yagyan) and also granted land to selected Brahmins. The village Bira Harekrushnapur Shasana was established by Gajapati king Harekrushna Deva. During the reign of Gajapati king Harekrushna Deva (1715-1729 AD), Pundit Kaushik Gadadhara Rajguru Mohapatra was a great name in Indian spiritual literature arena. The village Bira Harekrushnapur was granted by the king on request of his queen to Pundit Kaushik Gadadhara Rajguru Mohapatra who also was the royal priest and Guru of the queen besides being a great intellectual of that time. Jayakrushna Rajguru Mohapatra was his grandson who became immortal in the history on India’s Independence Struggle for his great sacrifice, valor and patriotism.

Jayi Rajguru’s father Chanda Rajguru Mohapatra was the Royal priest of Khurdha king just like his father and ancestors. “Rajguru” was a prestigious title bestowed by a Gajapati king to one of his ancestors for his extraordinary knowledge and that system of carrying the special title along with surname continued as a tradition in Jayi Rajguru’s family. The meaning of “Rajguru” title is- King’s chief preceptor, guide and governor whose advises the kings were supposed to carry out. The name of Jayee Rajguru’s mother was Haramani Rajguru who was a very spiritual kind of woman. Jayi Rajguru got education in Emara Matha and Govardhana Pitha of Puri which were the then education hub of Odisha. He became a scholar in Natya shastra, Vedas, scriptures and various other Sanskrit literatures. After the untimely demise of Jayee Rajguru’s father, his mother Haramani wanted him to succeed his father as the royal priest. The then king of Khurdha, Dibyasingh Deba hearing about the knowledge and distinctive qualities of Jayee Rajguru, called him to his court and adorned him with the post of Royal priest. Gradually when the king discovered the qualities of wit, patriotism, devotion, grit, courage and power in him, appointed him as his prime minister, main adviser and commander-in-chief. After the king’s death dispute cropped up for the throne since  the prince Mukunda Deba was a minor. Jayee Rajguru as his guardian and commander-in-chief of the army suppressed the revolt and crowned Mukunda Deba as Gajapati king. He acted as the regent of the prince. At that time Gajapati kings were regarded as the moving Gods (ଜଗନ୍ନାଥଙ୍କର ଚଳନ୍ତି ପ୍ରତିମା) or the representatives of Lord Jagannath. So guiding the Gajapati king carried a state of high honour and responsibility. Forgetting about his own family and forgetting to get married Jayirajguru whole heartedly managed the Khurdha kingdom on behalf of the minor king. The sole aim of his life became protecting the honour of lord Gajannath and the honour Gajapati king, safeguarding the interest of the subjects of the kingdom and to protect the motherland from the savage  English people. During his administration he tried hard to raise funds and military power to safeguard the sovereignty of the kingdom.

In 1798 AD Lord Wellesley came to India and he conquered Odisha during the second Anglo-Maratha war. The bad time of Odishan history was raising its head. The fifth year of coronation of Mukunda Deba in 1803AD, British people occupied Odisha. The principal army for expedition to Odisha was ordered to assemble at Ganjam under the commandant of Lord Campbell. He immediately eyed upon the independent Khurda kingdom. But he new it was not that easy to concur the Khurdha province as the king was having huge sentimental support from the subjects including the valiant Paikas (Odiya local militia who always remained ready to die for motherland) on account of their undaunted bondage with Lord Jagannath. So they tried several polished tricks like giving assurance to help protecting the religious sentiments of Odiyas pertaining to Lord Jagannath, suppressing the Maratha administration against which there was wide discontent among the Odiyas and returning the important four pragannas (Lambi, Rahang, Serai and Chabiskud) to the Khurdha king. The Khurdha kingdom had been divested of four important revenue generating pragannas, which the king had surrendered to the Marathas in lieu of some past debts payable to them. Khurdha king eagerly wanted to get back those Pragannas which also included Puri which was a matter of prestige for him. The temple priests of Puri also were very much dissatisfied with the Marathas. Taking advantage of these situations the British administration headed by Col. Harkot (who took over  the office of Lord Campbell on account of his illness) tried to negotiate the king Mukunda Deba. But Jayi Rajguri being very intelligent and cunning was well aware of the polished tricks of Britishers. So he was taking necessary actions to convince the king for not signing any pact with the British power. British administrators by knowing about the determination and patriotism of Jayee Rajguru, arranged a meeting with the king of Khurdha only when he had gone to his Uncle’s home. Taking advantage of absence of Jayee Rajguru they cajoled the king every possible way and made him sign with a tricky pact in which there was assurance from them to free the four Praganas along with giving the Raja 1 lakh Rupees for the free passage to Puri. When Jayee Rajguru came to know about the deal signed between the King and the Britishers, he became very much unhappy and started nagging the king for his carelessness and lack of foresight. Gajapati king also was ashamed and realized his own misconduct. After the British taking over Puri, Jayee Rajguru visited the British administration placed at Cuttack time and again to put forth the demands of the king and to remind the deal signed by them to free the pragannas to the king. But the British administration was not with an intention to keep its words. Col. Harcourt paid a sum of only Rs, 40,000 to Jayee Rajguru. The hurt Jayee Rajguru spend those money on the welfare of Paikas and alerted the king about the evil intention of British administration to occupy Khurda. In the meanwhile the British Government made the semi independent kingdoms sign an agreement of giving annual peshcash to them which the Khurdha King did not sign. Col. Harkot also wrote several letters to the king mentioning that his Dewan (Jayee Rajguru) was misguiding him. In one of his letter dated 23rd October 1804 he wrote- “It appears that the Raja is not inimical to us, but his Diwan is extremely so and he controls everybody and everything at Khurdha.” He also forced Khurdha king to send the peshcash which the Raja denied. As a result an open war became very prominent.

Jayee Rajguru took the ongoing difficulties as a challenge. He assembled the Paiks against the British administration. The great son of the soil took every possible steps to safeguard Khurdha and the Khurdha King. He also was practicing Dhumrabati Sadhana (a tantric practice) and got his blessings to face the evil enemies with grit. The war that was held in 1804 between the mighty British power and the Brave Paikas guided by their brave leader Jayee Rajguru became difficult for the Britishers. But unfortunately due to few unfaithful greedy people both Jayee Rajguru and Mukunda Deba were captured and imprisoned by the British at Barunei fort. The British court presented a long charge-sheet against the king and his commander-in-chief. Jayee Rajguru was accused of being the master mind behind all the activities inside Khurdha kingdom. The king with great fear of the Britishers put the blame on his father like prime minister Jayee-Rajguru to escape from the punishment. Jayee Rajgu boldly took all the charges upon his forehead to save the life of the Gajapati King. He requested the British administrators to release the king. The life of Gajapati king was saved but Jayee Rajguru subjected to capital punishment. He was taken to Baghi tota in Midinapur where near a small waterway his legs and hands were tied forcibly with two branches of a banyan tree and brutally tore his body into two pieces. Jayee Rajguru sacrificed his life for his loyalty to the state and king, his resentment over the injustice, his fight for self respect of the Odiyas. His life and death became oil for the flaming desire of getting Independence for India subsequently. The patriotism, knowledge, loyalty and bravery would be imprinted in the hearts for millions of people for all times to come.
  • Sahid Jayee Rajguru Smaranika published by Nikhila Utkala Brahmana Mahasabhaa (Puri)
  • Utkala Prasanga