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


  1. Poignant tale but truly he shall remain an inspiration for ages to come... immortal. How many of us would happily embrace death, selflessly for one's motherland and yet not flinch? Such life stories are indeed models of inspiration for today's youth.
    Very meticulously written...


  3. Col JC Mahanti (Retd)August 16, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    I agree Raj Guru was sentenced nut I doubt if he was executed in the brutal way as described. Many historians disagree.