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Pew History & Proto History of Bargarh District,

The district of Bargarh is rich in archaeological splendor and contains a number of archaeological sites ranging from pre-historic to the Early Historic period. The rivers like Jeera, Danta, Ong etc. paved way for the flourishing culture traits in the region. The archaeological survey conducted by the scholars resulted in the discovery of Mesolithic, Early Historic and early Medieval sits with considerable habitation deposit.
The upland is filled with alluvial sediments and here we mostly witness the Holocene deposit. Because of this it is possible to locate Mesolithic and late Mesolithic site in the study region. Regarding pre-historic culture, the area lacks in the formation of Quartzite and other hard stone which were exploited by the Paleolithic people. Siliceous rocks like chart, chalcedony, agate etc are abundantly available in the areas which were used for manufacturing of micro lithic tools due to their easy availability and fine grained quality.
An extensive Acheulean factory site at Barpadar is located on the left bank of the River Jeera. A sizeable collection of artifacts technique of beautiful hand axes and cleavers manufactured in advanced Acheulean technique, along with flake tools, untouched flakes, debit age and raw materials in the form of massive flakes, are formed that indicate that it was a manufacturing-cum-habitation site.2
The Mesolithic sites yielded tool assemblages comprising blade and burin industry as also several varieties of flake tools. Besides heavy duty tools implements like chopper and chopping tools were also found in association with the micro lithic assemblages. The region is also quite rich in the deposit of siliceous rock like chart, chalcedony, jasper, agate etc which are formed on intrusive veins. These siliceous materials were primarily used for manufacturing micro lithic tools. The Mesolithic sites of the Districts are
BARAMKELA (LONG-83*40’ LAT-21*11’),LAUNASARA (LONG-83*40’ LAT-21*11’), JHAMITIKRA (LONG-83*40’ LAT-21*16’), SARSARA (LONG-83*36’ LAT-21*18’), ROHNIA (LONG-83*38’ LAT-21*19’), DHANGER (LONG-83*37’ LAT-21*18’), KHUNTPALI (LONG-83*37’ LAT-21*16’), DANG (LONG-83*45’ LAT-21*22’), DEOGAON (LONG-83*35’ LAT-21*22’), NUAPALI (LONG-83*45’ LAT-21*22’), BARPADAR (LONG-83*27’ LAT-21*22’), TARAKANA (LONG-83*27’ LAT-21*22’), RASALI (LONG-83*27’ LAT-21*22’), URDUNAA (LONG-83*27’ LAT-21*22’), BEHERAPALI (LONG-83*26’ LAT-21*22’), DUANPALI (LONG-83*26’ LAT-21*22’), KHARMUNDA (LONG-83*26’ LAT-21*22’), AILAPALI (LONG-83*27’ LAT-21*22’), JAMJHAPAR (LONG-83*26’ LAT-21*22’), PIPALKHUTA (LONG-83*25’ LAT-21*22’), PARDHIAPALI (LONG-83*25’ LAT-21*22’), BIRNIPALI (LONG-83*25’ LAT-21*22’), JHAL (LONG-83*21’ LAT-21*22’), RANGADIHA (LONG-83*25’ LAT-21*22’), JIRAPALI (LONG-83*20’ LAT-21*2’)
The region also produced rock art in the form of paintings and engravings that is formed in the Barapahar range. The study region yielded several ring stones of various shapes and sizes. To draw a parallel and meaning to the objects an ethnographic study was carried out which revealed interesting aspects pertaining to its use. Several archaeologists have opined that ring stones were used as weights in digging sticks. (H.D.Sankhalia) But another functional aspect of this object is that these ring stones are tied up around the necks of calves, sheep and goats to cure them from epilepsy3.
The western part of Bargarh – Padampur region is also rich in different antiquities. Weapons and using materials of new stones age have been discovered from Deuli, Nagelmal, Shuka, Dangaghat, Darbekela, Patika, Jagdalpur of ong river valley and Tentelkhunt, Kadlijharan, Kharamal of Gandhamardan region4. Among them ring stone, ring, chisel, potteries of red & black ad black were in clouded. More over a number microliths have been discovered by Dr. N.K.Sahu in the ong valley and are preserved in the sambalpur university museum5. At Simuli Khol in Jharbandh we find natural rock caves.
The Mesolithic culture of the region is immediately succeeded by the early historic period. There is a complete absence of copper in the area and hence the chalcolithic population most probably did not adapt to the hilly and upland area. Besides there is also scanty scope of agricultural activities in the area which discouraged the chalcolithic population to settle down as the area was not supportive for the sustenance strategies.
The early historic period is marked with the black and red ware, black slipped ware, red slipped ware, dull red ware etc. which clearly signifies that the part of hinterland Odisha also come into the firmament of urbanization, although as a resource bearing zone.
1. A.K.Ghosh & A.N.Basu., 1969.” An Appraisal on the Pala eolithic industries of Mayurbhanj in the light of recent discovery” (Science & Culture), vol-39,pp.476-9.
2. K.Seth, 1995-96,” a study of Mesolithic sites of highland Orissa, with particular REFERENCES to lower jira valley, unpublished M.Phill. dissertation, sambalpur university.
3. K.C.Tripathy., 1973. “ south Orissa prehistory-the first product of stone age tools” (Asian Perspectives) vol.IVP: PP-47-59.
4. K.C.Tripathy, lithic industries in India. A case study of south western Orissa , new Delhi, 1980,PP-36-52.
5. S.C.Panda NAHO,vol.III,su,1982,P-48.
R.K.Sahu, 2014,” A note on the Mesolithic culture of the jira river valley, western Odisha, India,” (Proceeding of the Odisha history congress) volXXXV,PP-349-357.

Bargarh under different rules:-
There was no kingdom or capital after the name Bargarh till the foundation of a short live Bargarh kingdom by Chauhan king Balaram Dev in 1570 A.D.. In its long history Bargarh remained as a Part of the south Kosal kingdom under different dynasties followed by the Chauhan and British rule. Ofcourse the Rastrakuta inscription reveals the political importance of Bargarh in 12th CAD when it was called Vagharkotta.1
Historical antiquities:-
The development of civilization in the district is evident from the discovery of some stone tools by K.C. Tripathy in 1967 at Bargarh, Rohini, Sarsara, Padampur etc. The oldness of the district is also known from the landgrants issued in which places like Loisara2 Kommashir (Kainsar), Satalama, Turum, Tulenda (Tulandi), Vatapallika (Barpali)3 are found. Moreover we get REFERENCES of Nrusinghanath from the si-yu-ki of Hiuentsang.
Bargarh upto second CAD:-
In ancient time Bargarh district was a part of south Koshala kingdom that comprised mainly the present district of Raipur, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Durg, Bastar and Mahasamund of Chattishgarh and Sambalpur, Bargarh, Bolangir, Sonepur, Nuapara, Jharsuguda, sundargarh and Deogarh of Odisha. As stated in the Padmapurana Laba and Kusa divided the Koshala kingdom after Rama. Kusa got the southern part of Koshala where the modern district of Bargarh was included. In 4th CBC south Koshala was occupied by Nanda king of Magadha Mahapadma Nanda4. The REFERENCES made by Panini to Sambalpur and the finds of pre-mauryan time pumchmarked coins suggest to this possibility. However during the Mauryas it was not under Magadha rather was called Atavika Rajya. The war history and defeated kingdoms mentioned in the Hatigumpha inscription include south Koshala in Kharavelas’ empire where Bargarh was a part. In 1st CAD, ptolemy in his Geography has mentioned about Sambalaka in the territory of Mandalai identified with Sambalpur5.It indicates, the territory of Bargarh during this time was very likely in existence. In 2ndCAD Bargarh was rulled by the satavahanas. The satavahana king Gautami putra Satakarni had built a Buddhist Vihar for philosopher Nagarjuna at po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li otherwise called Gandhamardana at Nrusinghanath is known to us from account of Hiuentsang6.
Megha Rule-
The Satavahanas were followed by the Meghas. The puranas speak of nine Megha kings7 ruled over Koshala during the pre-Gupta period. A king of this dynasty Mahendra Megha was defeated by Samudra Gupta in 4th CAD as revealed by line 19 of Allahbad pillar inscription.
Sura rule:-
After the Meghas, the Nalas ruled over south Koshala, but Bargarh Sambalpur region was not included in their territory as revealed from their incriptions. Here the view of Dr. N.K. Sahu can be considered. He says that in 4th 5th CAD traditional kingdom of south Koshala was divided into a number of petty independent states8. During this time this region was probably rulled by the Suras. A copper plate9 grant of king Bhimsen of thisdynasty has been discovered at Arang dt.G.E. 282 i.e. 602 A.D., donated village Vatapallika identified with modern Barpali and was issued from Suvarna Nadi, substantiate it. Six rulers of this dynasty like Maharaja Sura Dayita I, Bhibisana, Bhimasen I, Dayita Verman Ii, Bhimasen IIetc ruled over it. Bhimasen II issued silver coin bearing peacock device. The actual name of this dynasty is Rajasritulya Kula.
The Sarabhapuriyas:-
In the last part of 5th CAD the Sarabhapuriyas began their rule in south Koshala. King Sarabha was its founder who is identified with Sarabha raja mentione in the Eran pillar inscription in the G.E. 191 i.e. 510-11 A.D.. The other rulers of the dynasty were Maharaja Narendra, Mahendraditya, Prasannamatra, Jayaraja, Mahadurgaraja, Pravara raja, Vyaghra raja, Sudeva raja, Prava raja II etc. King Prasanna matra of this dynasty issued gold coins and founded a new town called Prasannapura. He was the 1st independent ruler of the dynasty and the previous ruler may probably vassal of the Vakataks. Jamlagarh near Nuapara was its capital and later another capital at Sripur near Raipur was founded. Bargarh district as a part of Koshala under the Saravapuriyas remained till the last part of 7th CAD.
The Panduvamsis also called a Somavamsis succeeded the Sarabhapuriyas. Tivaradeva was the 1st ruler who ruled over Koshala from 695 A.D. to 725 A.D. as known to us from his Adhavartta copper plate10. Infact Tivar was the 4th ruler of this dynasty, which was started by Udayana a petty chief in central India. Tivara with his son Nannaraja occupied all kingdoms upto Utkala and called himself Sakala Koshaladhipati. The other rullers were Chandragupta, harsagupta, Balarjuna etc. Harsagupta married to Vasata, the daughter of king SuryaVarman of Magadha. This Vasata had built the original temple of Nrusinghanath at Gandhamardhan hill.
Mahabhavagupta Janmajaya I was another great ruller of this dynasty, who consolidated the eastern part of south Koshala comprising Bolangir, Sonepur. Bargarh and sambalpur. From his time the Panduvamsis are popularly called Somavamsis. Janmajaya I intervened in the succession conflict of the Bhauma Kara dynasty championing the cause of Prithvimahadevi and became successful paving the way for the occupation of Odisha by the Somavamsis. Some other important rulers of the dynasty were Yayati I, Bhimaratha, Nahusa, Indraratha, Yayati II, Udyotakesari etc. It was during Indraratha in the 1st quarter of 11th CAD the famous Chola king Rajendra Chola had invaded south Koshala and defeated him”. After Yayati II the rivalry between Somavamsis and kala churis intensified. So to save the kingdom, soma king Udyota Keshari constituted the Bamanda Mandala where the district of Bargarh Sambalpur were included. It is known to us from his Kudopali grant12 discovered in 1895, at Kudopali near Bheden-Bargarh where the village Loisara identified with a village of same name near to Kudopali, was donated by Ranaka sripunja in Sidanda Mandala identified with modern Chichinda. Thus upto the 1st quarter of 11th A.D. Bargarh was ruled by the Somavamsis. Soma rule is also substantiated by the mentioning of villages like Satalama, Tulandi, Kainshir, Turum in the Somavamsis records.
Rastrakuta rule in Bargarh:-
After the Somavamsis and before the Rastrakutas Sonepur- Bargarh-Sambalpur region was probably ruled by the Telugu Chodas. Because, they have describes themselves as Sakala Koshaladhiswara. Three inscritpions of this dynasty have been discovered of which the Mahada Copper plate issued in Ci.1090 A.D. describes king Somesvara II as Pachima Lankadhipati.13
In the 1st half of 12th CAD Bargarh was ruled by the Rastrakutas. It is known to us from the Bargarh inscription of Rastrakuta Parachakrasalya. The inscription is dated in regional year 5614 which according to Dr. J.K.Sahu was 20th Nov. 1130 A.D.14 (Other view 1131 A.D.). The village donated was Saleda Grama. The inscription has mentioned about three rulers of which the issuer was the last one. He was the son of Dhamsaka and grandson of Kumar Vigraha who was Ranaka means feudatory chief. Kumar Vigraha was proud of his white umbrella and yellow chowrie. He was known as Mahamandaleswar & the Lord of Eighteen Gondramas (?) His son Dhamsaka as mentioned without any royal title supposes to be died earlier than his father. So the next ruler was his grandson Parachakrasalya. They claimed to have hailedfrom an area Latalora, the traditional home land of the Rastrakutas of South.
Two other inscription of this dynasty one at Deogaon (Tarabha) in Bolangir and the other on the bank of the river Tel at Terasingha in Kalahandi have been discovered.15 Thus, it is clear that Rastrakuta King Govinda III had occupied Koshala but did not dethrone the ruling dynasty. Under this circumstance probably some Rastrakuta warriors and generals stayed here and ruled under powerful kings, because while the Ranaka of Deogaon plate was a sub – ordinate of the Somavamsis, the Ranaka of Bargarh Plate was a feudatoey of the Kalachuris. It is noted to be mentioned that for the safety of the kingdom during this time powerful kings were creating new mandalas as for example Bamandamandala by Udyotakesari & another mandala created by Karnadera where Dhama, Ulunda & Birmaharajpur were included. Moreover by 1114, Kalachuri king Jajalla Dev occupied Sonepur Koshala which gave birth to Ganga-Kalachuri rivalry for which a new mandala was created in Bargarh region as per need because the previous Bamanda Mandala was lost with the Kalachuri occupation of the region. According to S.P.Dash Sambalpur Koshala was under the Ratanpur kingdom from 1110 A.D. to 1228 A.D.16Thus, though the name of Mandala is not written Bargarh in 1130 A.D. and before was ruled by the Rastrakuta Mandalika under the Kalachuris.
Ganga Rule
As a part of Ganga-Kalachuri rivalry, South Koshala was occupied by Anangabhim Dev III, in 1220 as known from the Chateswar temple inscription. The Ganga Governor was stationed at Sonepur known to us from the Khambeswari Temple inscription during the rule of Banudev I (1264-1278), the grandson of Anangabhima III.17However, the Gangas neglected South Koshala to give check to the Islamic danger from the North and the South. It provided opportunities to the regional dynasty to raise head in Bargarh Koshala under the Chauhans of Patna.
Political Rajborasambar (Padmapur)
During this time Padmapur region saw the rise of Borasambar Kingdom under Surya Bariha having 476 villages under him. In Nrusingha Mahatma, Laxmana Mishra has given the Credit to 12 Bentakara brothers belonging to Binjhal Caste. According to SP Dash, the tribal communities like the Kondhs, Sawar, binjhal had established Petty states in Borasambar region of which Ramod under the Binjhal Barihas was the largest one. Ramod formed the Borasambar Kingdom by combining all those Petty states.18 Later on Borasambar became a vassal Kingdom of the Chauhans of Patna. Later on King Ramai Dev brought it under him. Thirty Three Binjhal kings ruled over it till 1960 when it was brought under the Govt. of Odisha. Borasambar was invaded by the Marathas when Anchal Bariha was the ruler. It was brought under court of words by the English as Gajendra the eldest son of Bhakta Bariha the 31st king was a minor at the time of his father’s death. Unfortunately all the three sons of Bhakta died untimely. As a result Rajendra the son of Bhakta’s brother came to the throne. In 1895 the Court of words came to an end. Rajendra transferred the capital to Padmapur.19
Bargarh under the Chauhans
Bargarh region was under the direct rule of the Chauhans. So the two subdivisions of present Bargarh, were ruled differently one by the Binjhals and the other by the Chauhans since the end of Ganga rule. The chauhan rule in Patna was founded by Ramai Dev in 1355 A.D. Ten Chauhan kings ruled over the Patna Kingdom. King Baijal Dev built the present temple of Nrusinghanath in 1430 A.D. The Kondh of Borasambar rebelled against Bhojrajdev who to suppress it built the Bhojapurgarh at 30kms distant from Padmapur.Bargarh 123

Bargarh – Sambalpur Kingdom
The Bargarh – Sambalpur Hirakhanda Kingdom was founded by Balaram Dev in 1570 by getting his share either out of brotherly love or conflict from the 10th king of Patna Narasingha Dev. River Ong was the border line. Though there is lovely story behind the formation of the kingdom, the then political situation indicate that to protect the Bargarh – Sambalpur region from the greedy eyes of the Kalachuri King Kalyan Sahai Narasingha Dev permitted Balaram Dev to found a new kingdom.
Accordingly Balaram Dev constructed a fort on the bank of the river Jeera at Bargarh and founded the Bargarh Kingdom. It is said that the place was called “Badgaon”20 and a fort was there under two brothers Varna and Ujara of Sahanra Caste. They were perfect in archery and had earned huge wealth by working hard. They had excavated a big pond called Varna kanta, now called as Khajurkanta located near Khajurtikra infront of George High School. Balaram Dev defeated and hanged them at Shuliapadar to the east of Bargarh with the help influential Gauntias, Birtias, Bhitrias and Khamaris. To suppress the possible people opposition, he appeased the Brahmins by donating the villages Ambapali, Dumerpali, Brahmachari, Sauntpur etc. Balaram Dev renamed the village as ‘Badagada’ (Big Fort), now called Bargarh.21
Later on Balaram Dev transferred the Capita to Nuagarh near Bhatli and finally to Sambalpur. Till the end of Chauhan rule it remains as the capital of Bargarh-Sambalpur kingdom. In 1575 AD after the death of Narasingha Dev and his son Hammira Dev who ruled for only 3 years Patna kingdom was made a vassal state under the Sambalpur chauhans. Balaram Dev’s original kingdom that was extended from Mahanadi in the north to river Ong in the south and river Surangi in Phuljhar in the west to Huma on Mahanadi in the east, 23 became far and wide because of it. He installed Goddess “Samalei” the diety of the aborigines of the locality. The other ruler of the dynasty were Hruday Narayan Dev, Balbhadra Sai, Madhukar Sai, Baliar Singh, Ratan Singh, Chhatra Sai, Ajit Singh, Balabhadra Sai, Abhaya Singh, Jayanta Singh, Maharaja sai, Rani Mohan Kumari & Narayan Singh. The Koshalananda Kavya describes king Baliar Singh as “the Lord of whole Koshala”. He created the Zamindaries of Barpali, Saria and Khharsal. Barpali was given to the son Vikram Singh, Saria to Fate Singh and Kharsal to Gond leader Uddham Singh. It is noted that the Marathas invaded Sambalpur thrice during the Chauhans-1st during Chhatra Sai, 2nd time during King Abhaya Singh and 3rd during Jayanta Singh. In the third invasion they were successful. The English also during this time got right over Bargarh-Sambalpur from the Bhonsle Marathas but did bring the same under direct rule. In 1849 when Narayan Singh died issueless Sambalpur-Bargarh lapsed to the British under the Doctrine of Lapse. King Narayan Singh during his reign in 1843 donated the Bargarh Khamar to Narayan Dash and Krishna Dash son of Balki Dash who was killed by the Gandmarus at Tora.
Maratha occupation & Rule in Bargarh
The Marathas invaded Bargarh-Sambalpur thrice but were successful in 1800 AD. However in 1793, Raja Jayanta Singh to make peace agreed to pay 32,000 Sambalpuri cutcha coin annually as tribute. But due to the so called alleged non respect to Vinkoji Bhonsele, brother of Raghuji II, while passing through Sambalpur to Puri, they attacked Bargarh-Sambalpur in the end of 1799. They forced a strong resistance but finally finding out the weak point of the fort became successful in occupying the region in April 1800AD.24 Raja Jayanta Singh and his son Maharaja sai were captured and sent to Chanda as political prisoner. On the way the Marathas, at Kalapani village near on the bank of river Danta took away Balki Dash to Chanda and made him as the herd boy of 1200 buffalos. Bhup Singh was made its Governor. But soon he behaved like independent king so the Raja of Nagpur sent army against him. Bhup Singh finally joined British against the Marathas.
Tantia Pharnavis became the new Maratha Governor. On 2nd Jan 1804 British General Maj Broughton occupied Sambalpur Kingdom but as per the Deogaon treaty of 1803, the territories of Sambalpur (Bargarh) Patna was restored to Raghuji II in 1806. 25 Bargarh Sambalpur region remained under the marathas till 1817. In the third Anglo-Maratha war the English in1817 defeated them and occupied all the territories lying to the north of Narmada including Bargarh Sambalpur. The Maratha rule was tyrannical. They were collecting heavy taxes and exploiting the people. A group of Marathas called Bargis werelooting the people, burning their houses, killing them, creating utter indiscipline & chaos in the region. People try to hide themselves when looked to the Marathas. The Marathas were coming in groups and called Bargis who were looting to the peoples’ life & properties. However, Maratha rule was short lived & trouble some for which they had no proper system of Administration.
The British Rule
The British though occupied Bargarh Sambalpur in 1817, did not bring it under their direct rule. They released Maharaja Jayanata Singh & his son Maharaja Sai from Maratha confinement at Chanda and gave the throne to Jayanta Singh. But he died in 1818. His son Maharaja Sai became ruler but he was recognised in 1820. During him he was only the figure head of the Kingdom & the real administration was controlled by the English i.e. by Maj Roughsedge. Maharaja Sai died issueless in 1827 and then the question of succession began on the throne of Sambalpur. Out of the three man claiming for the throne, Surendrasai’s right was justified. But the English who had already entered their full hand to Sambalpur kingdom wanted a puppet on the throne. They installed Rani Mohan Kumari on the throne. When the people and local chiefs under Surendra opposed to it in 1833 gave the throne to Narayana Singh, a man of Barpali Zamindari. He died issueless in 1849 & Bargarh Sambalpur merged with British territories under doctrine of Lapse. Against it uprising took place in Bargarh Sambalpur under Surendra Sai. At the 1st stage English were neither judicious nor conciliatory. Their purpose was the collection of revenue. Accordingly they rised the revenue by ¼ indiscriminately. Free land grants & religious land etc. were resumed. Entirely rent free land were assessed at half rate. The revenue collected before 1849 was Rs. 8800 while they now rised it to 74000. The people in large number became Street begger for it.

1. EI, Vol XXX, Pp. 135 ff.
2. I0,Vol-IV, PP 241.
3. Ibid, PP 113 ff, 118 ff, 281 ff.
4. Sambalpur District Gazzetter. P.52.
5. S.N. Mazumdar (Ed), Mandalai in ancient India as described by Ptolemy, P. 169.
6. Watters “On Yuan Chuangs Travels in India, vol. II, pp. 206-7 ff.
7. F.E. Pargiter, The purana text of the dynasties in the Kali Age, P.51 (London)
8. Sahu, Mishra, Sahu, History of Odisha, P.81
9. IHQ, XXII, P.63
10. IO, Vol. IV, Pp.39-42
11. K.A. Nilakantha Sastri, The Cholas, Pp.248-9
12. IO, Vol. IV, Pp. 237-241
13. EI, Vol. XXVIII, Pp. 285-292
14. POHC, 1978, P.23
15. JORS, No. 3, 1985, Pp. 29 ff, Manikyapuri Museum plates Bhawani Patna
16. S.P.Dash, Sambalpur Itihas, P. 105
17. EI, Vol. XXXII, Pp. 325 ff
18. S.P. Dash, op. cit, P.434
19. Ibid, p.436
20. Swapneswar Dash, Surendra Sai, P.11
21. Ibid (According to him Varna & Ujara were of Bhaija Caste)
22. According to Swapneswar Dash Nuagarh was preceeded to Bargarh
23. S.P. Dash, Op.cit. Pp. 314
24. N.R.R., Vol. I, P.34
25. Ibid; P.43

The British though occupied Bargarh Sambalpur in 1817, did not bring it under their direct rule. They released Maharaja Jayanata Singh & his son Maharaja Sai from Maratha confinement at Chanda and gave the throne to Jayanta Singh. But he died in 1818. His son Maharaja Sai became ruler but he was recognised in 1820. During his rule he was only the figure head of the Kingdom but the real administration was controlled by the English viz. by Maj.Roughsedge. Maharaja Sai died issueless in 1827 and then the question of succession began on the throne of Sambalpur. Out of the three men claiming for the throne, Surendra Sai’s right was justified. But the English who had already entered their full hand to Sambalpur kingdom wanted a puppet on the throne. They installed Rani Mohan Kumari on the throne. When the people and local chiefs under Surendra Sai opposed to it in 1833 gave the throne to Narayana Singh, a man of Barpali Zamindari. He died having no issue in 1849 &Bargarh Sambalpur merged with British territories under the Doctrine of Lapse. Against it uprising took place in Bargarh Sambalpur under Surendra Sai. At the 1st stage English were neither judicious nor conciliatory. Their purpose was the collection of revenue. Accordingly they raised the revenue by ¼ indiscriminately. Free land grants & religious land etc. were resumed. Entirely rent free lands were assessed at half rate. The revenue collected before 1849 was Rs. 8800 while they now raised it to Rs.74000. The people in large number became Street beggar for it.
26. EI, Vol XXX, Pp. 135 ff.
27. I0,Vol-IV, PP 241.
28. Ibid, PP 113 ff, 118 ff, 281 ff.
29. Sambalpur District Gazzetter. P.52.
30. S.N. Mazumdar (Ed), Mandalai in ancient India as described by Ptolemy, P. 169.
31. Watters “On Yuan Chuangs Travels in India, vol. II, pp. 206-7 ff.
32. F.E. Pargiter, The purana text of the dynasties in the Kali Age, P.51 (London)
33. Sahu, Mishra, Sahu, History of Odisha, P.81
34. IHQ, XXII, P.63
35. IO, Vol. IV, Pp.39-42
36. K.A. NilakanthaSastri, The Cholas, Pp.248-9
37. IO, Vol. IV, Pp. 237-241
38. EI, Vol. XXVIII, Pp. 285-292
39. POHC, 1978, P.23
40. JORS, No. 3, 1985, Pp. 29 ff, Manikyapuri Museum plates Bhawani Patna
41. S.P.Dash, SambalpurItihas, P. 105
42. EI, Vol. XXXII, Pp. 325 ff
43. S.P. Dash, op. cit, P.434
44. Ibid, p.436
45. Swapneswar Dash, SurendraSai, P.11
46. Ibid (According to him Varna &Ujara were of Bhaija Caste)
47. According to Swapneswar Dash Nuagarh was preceeded to Bargarh
48. S.P. Dash, Op.cit. Pp. 314
49. N.R.R., Vol. I, P.34
50. Ibid; P.43


It was during the rule of Mohan Kumari who succeeded Maharaj Sai in 1827 as a result of her misrule tribal uprising began in the district. Her administration was noted for favouritism, caprice & oppressiveness. She took away the rights of the Brahmins, Gonds and Binjhals the most powerful tribes of the region. Their lands were encroached upon, their traditions were interfered with and their appeal for return of their estate was turned down by the British. Deep-seated discontentment took the shape of the prolonged warfare although nationalism was not the motivating force. Freedom from foreign rule and hatred towards them were clearly displayed incourse of their struggle for rights. The organised attempt headed by the tribal chiefs of this region sent a strong message to other parts of Odisha against British Rule.
In 1827 when Maharaja Sai died having no issue and the British did not install the right man Surendra Sai on the throne.Under him the tribal zamindars particularly who thought their privileges will be threatened started rebellion against royal power. In this movement of Surendra Sai, the 1st man who joined their hands with him were from the District of Bargarh. They were Basekela Bheden Zamindar, Avdut Singh and Lakhanpur Zamindar Balabhadra Singh Deo. Avdut Singh was the 1st man opposing queen Mohan Kumari met in a battle near Papanga hill on 16th of December 1830.1However, he was defeated and fled to Debrigarh. Papanga hill was vacated from the hand of the rebels and the Zamindary of Avdut Singh was taken away. Before returning to Bheden, Avdut Singh on 22nd Dec. 1830 along with Balabhadra participated in a battle against the Ramgarh Battalion. Jamadar Gangadhar Mishra of the battalion advised him not to go against the Rani. Buton 27th Dec. 1830 he attacked him in which three sepoys were injured.2However, as a part of the attempt made by Captain Wilkinson to establish peace in Sambalpur Avdut Singh got back his Zamindary on 5th March 1831.
In the meantime, in 1833 the English sent the queen to Cuttack with pension and gave the throne to indolent Narayan Singh, for which the rebellion of Surendra Sai was intensified. Debrigarh in Barapahar under Lakhanpur zamindary became the centre of the rebels. Lakhanpur being surrounded by Barapahar range had the impregnable peak Debrigarh with a height of 2267ft and a flanked stone roof cave called Barabakhra with an ever flowing stream. It had the capacity to provide shelter to 500 people for which it was the place of shelter not only for the rebels but also for the rulers of Sambalpur in time of danger. Balabhadra Singh Deo was the zamindar of such a strategic place. Militarily, he had a strong archery troop perfect in Guerrilla warfare. He was a staunch follower of Surendra Sai and a nail on the way of the English and king Narayana Singh. They wanted to supress him at any cost but when failed took to treachery through Pahadu Ganda a follower of Surendra Sai. On 12th Nov. 1837, in the moonlit night of Rasapurnima while Surendra, Balabhadra, Balaram and others were planning for the future; being informed by Pahadu, the combined forces of the English, Narayana Singh and zamindars of Rampur and Barpali attacked them suddenly. Surendra Sai and others were able to escape but fighting heroically Balabhadra Singh Deo was killed. He was the 1st martyr of the district of Bargarh.3
It annoyed Surendra. He attacked over Rampur and killed the father and son of zamindar Durjaya Singh. But while returning faced the English in a battle at Deheripali and finally sent to Hazaribag jail.
In 1857 the 1st war of independence in India began. In Bihar the revolution was so formidable under two leadersviz. kanwar singh of Jagdishpur and Raja Arjun Singh of Porahat. At Hazaribag also rebellion broke out. The mutinous Sepoys under Jamadar Madhab Singh broke open both the district jail and the agency jail of Hazaribag and set the prisoners free from both the jails. It was on 30th July 1857 Surendra Sai and Udanta Saicame outfrom the agency jail where they were imprisoned for life since 1840 but his uncle Balaram died in the jail.
Surendra Sai and his brother returned to Sambalpur and united the supporters. It was a time in Sambalpur kingdom with growing discontent among the people , zamindars & Gauntias. The rule of Narayan Singh could not guarantee peace & good governance. The people from all corners of the district suffered considerably. Meanwhile in 1849 when Doctrine of Lapse was implemented on it the Zamindars and Gauntias opposed in union. When they realised that the British would not restore the native ruler they were in anger. In such a situation while their dream leader returned, they now came forward with doubled effects to consolidate their stand and motivated the people at the base level to support their cause against the British. The movement they started was unique in its nature. Because in all other kingdom of India where the kings were deprived of their throne, fought alone with their own army or with the help of mutinied sepoys but in case of Sambalpur all the federal heads i.e. confederated states & Zamindars united and fought for the restoration of their ruler.
In this new movement of Surendra Sai the district of Bargarh was the nucleic centre of the movement. The Zamindars and Gauntias participated from the district of Bargarh were the three worthy sons of Balabhadra Singh Deo, Gajaraj, Nilambar & Kamal, Ghens Zamindar Madho Singh and his four valorous sons Hatte Singh, Kunjel Singh, Airi Singh and Bairi Singh. Mundomahul Zamindar Ananta Singh, Paharsrigida Zamindar Janardhan Singh, Kharsal Zamindar Dial Sardar, Kharmunda Zamindar Markanda Bariha, Bheden Zamindar Manohar Singh Padhan, Bonda Zamindar Khageswar Singh Deo, Patkulunda Zamindar Pitambar Singh along with many other Gauntias and common people.
In the meantime Surendra Sai appealed the Commissioner of Chhotnagpur through the Assistant Commissioner of Sambalpur Capt. Leigh to pardon him and to return the throne of Sambalpur. But instead army was deployed to capture him. It compelled the rebels to fight the British. They decided to lock Sambalpur. It was the most important element of their war strategy. The communication between Sambalpur – Ranchi, Sambalpur – Cuttack &Sambalpur – Nagpur were cut off. The Nagpur Sambalpur via Bargarh communication was blocked by Ghens Zamindar Madho Singh & his sons at Singhoda Ghatti- the frontier line of the district of Bargarh. However, the fort of Debrigarh in the Barapahar range was the most prominent place. The three sons of Lakhanpur zamindar were in charge of it.
In the 1st war of independence the zamindar family of Ghens and Lakhanpur contributed wonderfully. Neither of them were less to each other in their valour, sacrifice, movement and selflessness. Ghens zamindar Madho Singh2 his four sons Hatte Singh, Kunjel Singh, Bairi Singh and Airi Singh along with his son in law Narayana Singh and his son Govinda Singh zamindar of Sonakhan Raipur had participated in the movement;the sacrifices of Narayana Singh was a heart touching eventas because he had marital relationship with Ghens, he was supposed to be anti-English. Due to the conspiracy played by the zamindar of Deori he was arrested and shot dead in the town of Raipur, on 29th December 1857 by the English. His son Govinda Singh who had married to Purnima, daughter of Kunjel Singh and granddaughter of Madho Singh, had joined the movement and was finally arrested and hanged in the town of Raipur. The place at present is called “Jayastambha chowk”5.His wife Purnima committed suicide by putting herself into the well. His mother Tulsi was also participated in it. The sacrifice made by this family is ever memorable. Because they had every opportunity to roll themselves in prosperity, moreover they had no political relation with the kingdom of Bargarh-Sambalpur. However, sacrificing all that selflessly they joined the movement to give due respect and weightages to the relation of blood with Ghensss zamindary of Bargarh.

The sons of Madho Singh had provided ample help to Surendra Sai by way of blockage the Singoda Ghatti. It had become the death knell for the English Captains. It turned the English revengeful. In late 1858 they attacked and burnt down Ghenss.Madho Singh himself was arrested while proceeding to the village Matiabhata. Later on 31stDecember. 1858 he was hanged on the jail chowk of Sambalpur6.This day is at present observed as “Veerata Divas” in Odisha. Before this his fourth son Airi Singh died. Singoda Ghati then was controlled by his other three sons Hatte, Kunjel and Bairi Singh. Hatte Singh was known for his valour. But he had lost his hearing power being injured by a piece of stone in the battle with Captain Shakespear in 1858. Gradually he became weak. Udanta Sai advised him to surrender. He did so and got back his zamindary7. But after the surrender of Surendra Sai, as he was thought up, has secret relation with his second brother Kunjel Singh who did not surrender, was arrested on 20th Jan. 1865. After forged trial he was sentenced for life imprisonment and deported to Cellular Jail at Kalapani i.e. Andaman Nicobar. He was the 1st and the only Odia deported to Kalapani during the 1st war of independence8.
Kunjel Singh did not surrender till the end. Finally he was arrested and hanged in Sambalpur jail. The third son Bairi Singh was also hanged without any trial. However, the death of fourth son Airi Singh was an episode of limitless cruelty. He fell victim to the treachery played by Srimad Chaukidar, Shanu Bhat, and Phagni Bhaten. The cruelty they did for Airi Singh with a hope to get zamindary from the English is very rare in history9. Airi Singh was assigned with the work to collect and supply food materials to the rebels in the Singoda ghatti. Moreover he was the medium of communication between Surendra Sai and Madho Singh. The above traitors informed about them to the English staying at Saheba Dera. A few English soldiers came with them did not find Airi Singh. At the moment the faithful dog of Airi was coming out of a hole. The traitors became certain that Airi Singh has hidden himself inside there. They put dry wood, leaves and branches into it. Placing a big stone at the mouth set fire into it. Airi Singh died inside the hole out of suffocation.With his death without doubt, half of the war of independence by Ghens zamindary got finished. The news was given to Kunjel Singh at Debrigarh by “pithkabri”. Kunjel Singh returned to Ghens by that night and became more desperatelistening everything about Airi Singh who succumbed to death due to suffocation. He attacked the Bhat couple, killed Phagni but Shanu Bhat being injured escaped. The place is at present called Bhaten Dunguri and the hole as “Sai Duel”. The killing of Phagni Bhat was the only woman murder sofar in the country, during the 1st war of independence.
In the 1st war of independence the contributions and sacrifices made by Lakhanpur zamindary was no less important. The nucleic centre of Ulgulan Debrigarh was situated in this zamindary. After the death of Balbhadra Singh Deo, it was under the control of his three valorous sons Gajaraj, Nilambar and Kamal. It was such a fort where the enemies had to face guaranteed defeat. As it was impregnable and far from easy communication the rebels were taking shelter peacefully. It was a strategic place for them. They had taken away sleep from the eyes of the English. Of the three brothers Gajraj and Nilambar were imprisoned in 1864 and sent to Raipur jail. But Kamal Singh did not surrender. He was the last flame in the Ulgulan of Surendra Sai and the 1st war of independence in Bargarh and India aswell. He continued the war even after the surrender of Surendra Sai. He had declared that he will take rest only after the occupation of Sambalpur throne by Surendra. Keeping sharp sword in the hand he was moving in the Barapahar range to bring freedom to the motherland. He was just like a nail in the throat of the English. It is known to us from the letter of Major Impey where it was written that the English are lacking of arm forces to capture Kamal Singh by running behind him10. The secretary of Chief Commissioner in his letter no. 1273 dated 8.5.186011 to the Foreign Secretary of India had confessed that Kamal Singh was the source of the rebellion continuing years together in the region. To capture him the Govt. had announced a cash prize of Rs. 2000/-. About his sad demise two different views are there. It says once he was wandering at Sarangarh in disguise of a Fakir. The king of Sarangarh who was a loyal of the English identified and captured him. He handed over him to the English!12 He spent his last life in the jail of Asurgarh. The Chief Commissioner rewarded the king with Rs. 2000/- and a certificate of appreciation. The other view says, being tired due to hungry belley for the last three days while he was sleeping under a peepal tree at Sambardarha a traitor from the village Bardol cut down his head and gave it to the English for which he was rewarded with the villages Bardol and Tarakana as Maufi Brutti !13The English hanged the headless body in the branch of a peepal tree at the entrance of the village Lakhanpur. Even today the place where he was beheaded is called “Mundakati”. It reveals the glorious role played by Kamal Singh in the 1st war of independence.
The family left Lakhanpur with the abolition of zamindary. Narayana Singh made it his khas village and turned it into a khamar. The son of Kamal Singh Kalyan Singh stayed at Kushmuda, that of Gajraj Singh at Antaradi and Nilambar’s son at Dwari village of Ambabhona. Dalganjana Singh the son of Kalyan Singh was the last flame of the line of Kamal Singh. The evidences of their staying at Kushmuda are even today available. A field is called there as Daugharar Tikira”. Dau is the title used by this family. Their revered Goddess Panrapat and Pundapat are till now worshipped as village deity of Kushmuda. A stone worshipped by the villagers to the south of the village is called “Dau Davata” or Kamal Singh Deo. Facts and figures are not available so far about the descendant of Nilambar Singh living at Dwari. However the family line of Gajaraj Singh living at Antaradi continuing. Divya Singh Deo a flame of this line passed away few years ago. He was living in utter poverty. The then Collector of Bargarh Surendra Nath Padhee when got information had been to him. Such was the panic story of a dedicated family who are not given due place in history.
The role and sacrifice made by Kharsal Zamindar Dial Sardar in the 1st War of Independence has made the history of Bargarh glorious. He was the Zamindar of Kharsal zamindary having an area of28 sq.miles15 and included villages like Jharigada, Kusuma, Kusanpuri, Badmal, Koishir etc. The Zamindary was created during the reign of Baliar Singh; Uddham Singh hailing from Gond Mandal i.e. Gondwana region was working in the army of Sambalpur Chauhans.16 Because of his remarkable contribution in fighting for the Chauhans, he was rewarded with the Zamindary of Kharsal. Dial Sardar was the son of Sobha Singh17 of the line of Udhham Singh. Dial sardar to take part in the blockade of Surendra Sai had blocked the Delhi-Allahabad-Bilaspur-Saria-Bhukta Ambabhona route near Dwari ghatti. He was a wrestler and was perfect in guerrilla warfare. His secret place of shelter was situated at Bhaludunguri near Kharsal-Badipali villages. It is called “Diyal Khol” and has the capacity to keep hundred people in an area of around 50 sq.ft. since he was one of the important Sardar (Strong fighting leader) of the Ulgulan, he instead of Diyal Singh became famous as Diyal sardar. He was captured and hanged on 3rd March 1858 by the order of G.F. Cockburn the Commissioner of Cuttack. His two sons Gardan and Mardan were also hanged. The place in between Sukuda and Kesheipali where their bodies were hanged in a Pipal tree became famous as Phasidiamal or phasimal. His Zamindary was abolished. However as a part of the Liberal policy of Maj. Impey in 1862; Maha Singh Sardar, another son of Diyal Singh was reinstated to the Zamindary of Kharsal against a deposit of Rs.300/-. Later on Mahasingh gave Kharsal to Hiradhar Nem Singh and he stayed at Kusanpuri.
Paharsrigida Zamindar Janardhan Singh and his two brothers Khageswar Singh alias Nunha Dewan and Fate Singh were another dedicated family of Bargarh district in the 1st war of Independence. Paharsrigida is situated in the eastern part of Barapahar range. It had some strategic places like Patnigarh, Morchabandha, Rajabasa, Duan Dera, Ranigumpha32 etc. Morchabandha was situated in a dense forest in between two hills. At the front it was covered with a wall of 30’ in length and 7 feet in height. It was like an entrance to the real place of shelter, Patnigarh. It was also fortified by stone wall. To have a vigilant watch over the English soldiers the front jungle was cleared by them. At Rajabasa Surendra and others were assembled for future plan & prospects. Ranigumpha had the capacity to give shelter to thousand people. Such a strategic place was Paharsrigida.
On 12th February 1858 Capt. Woodbridge and Capt. Wood attacked to Paharsrigida ghatti but were defeated. Ramgarh battalion was completely destroyed. Janardhan Singh killed Capt. Woodbridge. Capt. Wood escaped. After two days the headless body of Capt. Woodbridge was recovered by Eisine Warlow.18 He died on some time after January 17th and before 16th May 1862. His two brothers surrendered to the English in May 1862.
Bisekela-Bheden is situated to the South-East corner of Bargarh. Abdut Singh was the Zamindar of it, when Surendra sai started his Ulgulan in 1827. Avbut Singh was 1st man in Bargarh-sambalpur region to support Surendra Sai and fought against the queen Mohan Kumari. He was the son of Sirdar Singh Rai and grandson of Loha Singh Rai. His son Manohar Singh Padhan played a significant role in the 2nd phase of the Ulgulan. He had appointed drummers & instructed to beat it in different ways as instructed to caution him about the movement of enemies to his Zamindary. It is known to us from the “Ghutna Pathar” legend of the area. To capture him the English collected information on him through Babu Khansama of Rusuda. When Manohar came to know it once when Khansama was proceeding to Bargarh was killed in a place between Nuapali & Kharsipali. The place for the reason is called Khansama Tikra. Manohar was attacked suddenly in late 1858 by Col. Foster. Resisting courageously he died.
Surendras Jamadar and Jamindar of Sohela Mohan Singh had a prominent role in the movement. He had surrendered in May 1862 when he was guaranteed to get back his Zamindary. But Maj. Impey did not do it for which Mohan Singh with draw his Surrender and joined Kamal Singh.
Khageswar Singh dao, the Gauntia of village Banda with his two brothers Muraliminaketan Dao & Mohan Singh Dao exhibited adventurous actions in the ulgulan Khageswar was perfect in traditional warfare. He was using a special disc made of iron. He was always saying “ esan marbah Bujuri manla”. It means he was saying that I will kill the English like this & was cutting down small trees at a distance of 15’-20’ by that disc. He was constructing a stone wall of around 100sqfeet surrounding to his house. However, he was arrested in the right of 23rd Jan 1864 suddenly by Capt. Stebard, Lieutenant Rightout, Lieutenant Boi & Mr. Backer, as per the information given by Dayanidhi Meher. He was sentenced for life imprisonment. His Zamindary was not reinstated to his family.
Beside Salikram Bariha of Ghensss, Zamindars of Kharmunda patkulunda etc played important role in the uprising of 1875. During the ulgulan besides purnima& tulasi of Ghensss, Sariti Jhara, a lady of jhara caste of Barapahar region played a very important role in the movement. However nothing more is known about her. But it is sure that, Surendra Sai’s ulgulan was impossible without the support & participation of masses like Sariti Jhara.
1. Lss, o’malley, BODG, Sambalpur,p.79.
2. Ibid
3. N.K.Sahu dates, it 31stjuly 1857. N.K.Sahu Surendra Sai,p.139.
4. Madho singh’s 5th son Narayan Singh was a minor at that time & had not participated.
5. Baraputra, 1996,p.2.
6. Now it is observed as veerata Divas.
7. A. Dash, Veer Surendra Sai(odia) p.140.
8. Manoj Das, Anta ranga Bharata,p.122
9. Hema Chandra Acharya, Katha O Khtha, Sambada 11.1.2004,p.5.
10. A. Dash, op.cit. p.173.
11. Letter of the secretary of chief commissioner to the foreign secretary of India .letter no.1263 dt. 8.5.1865.(National Archive).
12. Ibid
13. Baraputra, 1995.p.6.
14. Ibid
15. S.P.Dash, Sambalpur Itihas, p.257
16. Statement made by Maha Singh Sardar before M.Russel dt. 4.4.1873.
17. Report of captain R.T. Leigh to commissioner(Temporary) of Chhotnagpur Capt. E.T Dalton no-113 dt.9.2.1858.
18. Letter of J.P. Eisinewarlow from camp paharsrigida no1 dt. 15.2.1858,to Capt. Michloills.
19. N.K.Sahu, op-cit. p.182.
20. Ibid.p.345.
Bargis and Gandamarus:-
Bargis and Gandamarus were two groups of disturbers who had caused panic situation in Bargarh region before 1857 Ulgulan of Surendra Sai. The Marathas when ruled over Bargarh Sambalpur region a political havoc was created. The Maratha men and anti-socials looted the life and properties of the people, They kidnapped people, children and beautiful woman and girls1.They were called Bargis because they were coming in one one “Barga” or group to loot the people. They were also called Pindaries2. The people life became stand stillbecause of them.
Similarly, during raja Narayan Singh another such disturbances was created in the name ‘Gandamarus”. Since, among those plunderers majority were from Gond communities it is named so3. Many says it was instigated by Surendra Sai but during this time from 1840-1857 he was in the jail of Hazaribag. So it was the work of antisocials. Royal weakness inspire it and the royal officials in many cases secretly joined with them. Like the Bargis the Gondmarus loot the people, killed them, destroyed and burnt down their housesetc. The most notorious act of the Gondmarus was the murder of Balki Dash the Gauntia of Katapali (Bargarh) at Tora in 1843 for his heroic work to suppress the Gandmarus by constructing the “ GandamardanaBhadi” at Katapali4. He was killed by Mahapatra Roy and Bandya Roy. The last one was the then zamindar of Lakhanpur and grandfather of Khageswar Singh Dao5. For this sacrifice of Balki Dash, Raja Narayan Singh donated Bargarh as rentfree to the sons of Balki Dash, Narayan Dash and Krushna Dash on 28th Nov. 1843, Tuesday (Vikram Samvat 1901, Margashira Saptami 3rd day of the week)6. It is written in the copper plate grant as Rakata patta or Mundakata patta. The Gondmarus also killed Bamadev Padhee father of Ex Tahasildar of Bargarh Satyabadi Padhee7.
1. S. Dash, Karmaveera Balki Dash, p.80.
S.P. Dash, Sambalpur Itihas. P.331.
2. A. Dash, Surendra Sai, p. 62, S. Dash, op.cit. p. 80.
3. S. Dash, op.cit. p. 80.
4. A. Dash, op.cit. p. 63.
5. Ibid
6. Ibid
7. Ibid

Freedom Movement in Bargarh:-
With the foundation of Indian National Congress in 1885, freedom movement in India began, that lasted on 1947, Aug. 15th, with the independence of India. The whole period from 1885-1905is divided into three phases viz.- 1885-1905, 1905-1920 and 1920-1947. In the 1st two phases the participation of Bargarh district was not encouraging. During this time movement in the district was represented in the form of language agitation. However they participated in the freedom movement under Gandhiji since 1920 very actively.
Language Agitation:-
With the inclusion of Bargarh-Sambalpur in the Madhya Pradesh division the problem on language started. The officials appointed here were from Hindi belt who faced problem in Odia belt and demanded before their higher authority to use Hindi. The news was reported by Chandra Sekhar Behera working in the Nagpur Secretariat to Dharanidhar Mishra of Sambalpur and Satyabadi Padhee the ex-Deputy Magistrate of Bargarh ! Two Memorandums were sent one from Sambalpur and second from Bargarh People2 to reconsider the demand of Odia people. But it was not heard and the Govt. from 15th Jan. 1895 implemented Hindi in place of Odia as official language3. From 1st Jan 1896 it was also implemented in both Dewani & Nizamat Adalat4.Against it agitation in different forum started. “Sambalpur Hitaisini” from Bamanda published on its negative impact on people. Gangadhar Meher of Barpali published two writings, “Bharati Rodana” and “Utkala Bharatinka Nibedana” in Sambalpur Hitaisini that encouraged the people. Both the poems of Gangadhar Meher were also published in Utkal Dipika and Sambada Vahika. The implementation of Hindi was also protested by the ruler of Padmapur Zamindary. Satyabadi Padhi from Bargarh helped in every activity to Dharanidhar Mishra in organizing meeting at Sambalpur on 13/06/1885 & to adopt Resolution against Hindi.
In 1897 the then Tahasildar of Bargarh Sher Mohammad Khan in alliance with Tahasildar Sambalpur directed the lawyers and officers to use Urdu in office work.5 In 1901 Andrew Freser became the Chief Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh. In 1878 as the young ICS Officer he began his career as the SDO of Bargarh.6 He had closeness with Odia language & its people. Moreover, in 1901, the census charge was given to a young Odia Baikuntha Pujari. His father Dashrathi Pujari had worked as the assistant of Freser was in the good book for his honesty. Now fresher submitted report favouring Odia for which Lord Curzon decided in favour of Odia Language.
In 1901 leading people like Madan Mohan Mishra, Braja Mohan Pattanaik submitted an analytical Memorandum to the Chief Commissioner Andrew Freser. They had indicated that while for Sironcha Tahasil in MP, Telugu is the language for what reason for large Bargarh-Sambalpur division Odia the mother tongue has been abolished. As the people are not sending their students to Hindi medium schools 82 primary schools have been closed.7 When Freser came to know it, made an enquiry of it. He restarted 50 Odia schools. In 1901 Sept. at Shimla when the All India Education Conference was held he talked to Curzon to have a personal investigation to Sambalpur language agitation. He came to Sambalpur for it on 26.11.1901. People welcomed him and put forth their demand. He submitted his report on 15.10.1901 favouring Odia in Sambalpur Bargarh & its inclusion in Odisha division.8,the Govt. accepted it & implemented Odia in Bargarh-Sambalpur from 1st Jan 1903 & informed it through the main Signatory Madan Mohan Mishra9. Moreover, in 1905 during the partition of Bengal, because of the recommendations of Freser & linguistic unity of Risely circular on 16th Oct. 1905 he merged the Bargarh Sambalpur area with Odisha division. It was the 1st step towards the unification of Odia speaking tract, remaining in different divisions.
The real movement for the freedom of the country began in Odisha after 1920. Because before that Odisha was not important in the political map of India as it was a divided land. Western part was in Madhya Pradesh, Southern part in Madras and Cuttack, Puri, Balasore were included in Bengal province. Those provinces were trying to abolish Odia language and culture – so the people were busy in language agitation instead of freedom movement.
Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement & Quit India Movement in Bargarh
Freedom Movement in Bargarh began in 1921 under the banner of Sambalpur. In 1920, in the Nagpur Session of the Congress, three leaders of Sambalpur Dharanidhar Mishra, Chandra Sekhar Behera & Dashrathi Mishra had participated. As per the decision taken there the Utkal Pradesh Congress Committee & also the Sambalpur district Congress Committee came into being from the new year 1921 that led to the beginning of freedom movement in the region.
Under Gandhiji three important movements were held. The 1st one was Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920. The Non-Cooperation proposal was presented and passed in the Nagpur Session of the Congress in December 1920. It had two phases of programme of actions. First was the withdrawal of support from Govt. in different activities & 2nd was the constructive work. The district of Bargarh played a prominent role in this movement. Chandra Sekhar Behera was the then district president. On 2nd January 1921 the students of Zilla School hold a meeting to boycott the school and did it from 3rd January 1921. The leading students were Bhabanishankar Mishra, Nrusingha Guru, Jagannath Mishra, Kruthartha Acharya, Abdul Mazid & others. A National School was established at Freser Club & Nilakantha Dash became its principal.
The movement like wild fire spread to different parts like Bargarh, Attabira, Bheden, Padampur, Borasambar etc & students boycotted the schools. In Bargarh Fakira Behera of Baragarh was the sole leader. He was arrested for burning foreign clothes in the front of Thana (Police Station) & imprisoned in the jail of Hazaribag. Ghanashyam Panigrahi of Manpur resigned from Govt. job. Gopabandhu Choudhury though not belonged to Bargarh, resigned from the post of Deputy Magistrate of Bargarh. Nityananda Padhee of Padampur reading in Class XI at George High School, Bargarh withdrew himself from the school. In the Borasambar-Padampur region many great leader like Gouranga Meher, Hazaru Patel, Nityananda Padhee, Uddhaba Charan Sahu, Banshidhar Sahu came out. However the “Bigul” was blown by Gouranga Meher in the village Bheunria.10 In fact Gouranga and his friend Hazaru and Banshidhar putting an end to school education became ‘Fou Yanna’ primary members of the Congress. Gouranga Meher was given the charge to teach spinning & weaving at the National School, Sambalpur. The other leaders were Chaturbhuj Sharma, Daptari Nayak etc. Tilak Swaraj Fund was another feather of this time. In the district of Sambalpur during it 5434 persons were the members of the Congress & 2878 rupees were collected for this fund.11
Bhagirathi Pattanaik of Barpali joined the freedom movement in 1922. Due to his Economically weak condition in 1923 he joined the Kakinada session of congress by walking. In 1925, Ghanashyam Panigrahi organised a Harizam assembly at Ambapali. 12 In 1928 Gandhiji visited Sambalpur & leaders of Bargarh worked for the success of his visit.
In 1930 began the salt Sayagraha. A Satyagraha committee was organised under the chairmanship of Sri Ghanasyam Panigrahi. Four batches of Satyagrahi under Sambalpur Bahini had been to inchudi to violet the salt laws, included many from the district of Bargarh. In the 2nd team was Bhagirathi Pattanaik of Bargarh & in the 4th group Ghanasyam Panigrahi, Laxmana Giri, Gouraga Meher etc were there.
In 1932 Satyagraha Bargarh became the hot bed for which the British resorted to lathi charge. In Bargarh national movement took vigorous form at Barpali,Remunda, Panimora, Samaleipadar, Bhenuria etc. Yambovati Devi wife of Bhagirathi Pattanaik, burnt some bundles of foreign cloths in the Barpali Bazar for which she was sent to jail for six months. In 1932 Jan, 26th, to observe the 3rdIndependence Day as decided by the Lahore Session of Congress 1929 the Satyagrah is of Bargarh occupied the SDO court & imprisoned him. The police freed the SDO & sent the Satyagrahis to jail.
In the Borasambar region Gauraga Meher was included in the fourth batch to violate self-laws. Jayakrushna Sahu of Satidhipa joined Soro at Balasore.13 Also Uddhava Ch. Sahu of Gastidihi & Nityananda Padhee of Kulenti joined the movement.
On 1st April 1937 “Hartal Day” was observed in Bargarh Barpali, Padampur, Bheuria, Fatamuda etc.14 a meeting was held by Fakira Behera in Jira river bed. Bhagirathi Pattanaik championed the move in Barpali. All shops were closed in those areas.
On 7th Jan. 1940 a grand meeting was held at Remunda under the patronisation of Mangalu Padhan. 8000 people from Bargarh, Attabira, Bhatli, Ruchida, Barpali attended it. Bordhram Dube was the centre of attraction. Sradhakar Supakar hoisted the national flag & national song was recited by Bhargavri Devi & Gandharvi Devi. During the individual Satyagraha Fakira Behera, Mangalu Padhan, Ghanashyam Panigrahi, Upendra Panigarhi, Baikeratha padhi, Binayaka Padhi, Padmalochan Behera, Prabhavati Devi, Gangadhar Sarap, Bhagirathi Pattanaik, Mahesh Chandra Sahu, Dasarathi Mohapatra and many others were sent to jail for individual Satyagraha Quit India Movement was so tremendous in the district of Bargarh. Many leaders like Ghanashyam Panigrahi, Rajendra Panda, Tirthbasi Purohit, Mangulu Padhan, Laxman Jayaswal, Bali Sahu, Pravat Giri, Ramachandra Puri, Fakira Behera and many others were arrested for having joined the movement of 1942. Attempt was made to burn down the Bijepur Police Station. Wide spread unrest was there in Barpali, Remunda,Bargarh,Panimora,Borasambar, Padampur, Bhatli, Ruhida, Temri etc.15 The most important attraction was the joining of 42 persons from a remote village Panimora out of which 32 were imprisoned. The 16years old girl of Samaleipadar had occupied the chair of SDO Bargarh. Later on she was arrested. Bhagirathi Pattanik made Bargarh,Manpur,Remunda, Balitikra,Tukula, Samaleipadar, Padampur, Bheuria, Satidhipa etc. as the places of August Revolution.16 It also spread to Deuli, Kansigha, Kulanti, Temri, Palsada, Jharbandh, Shakti, Kotna, Amthi, Paikmal, Jamla etc. of Borasambar. Among the leaders from there were Mayadhar Purohit, Ugrasen Banchhor, Bairagi Rana Chandra Singh, Bharat Singh, Gautam Sahu, Purna Ch. Sahu, Sartuka Dash, Sachidanana Padhee.
In all the three movements & individual satyagraha 105 people from Bargarh actively participated in the movement. Three towns Bargarh, Padmapur and Barpali & twenty four villages of the district participated in the movement. Among them the highest no. of people participated was from Panimora followed by Bargarh & Remunda.

However, the role played by women in the district was tremendous. Krishna Devi a Punjabi lady with Mahatma Gandhi came to Sambalpur and stayed at Bargarh for many days. Fakira Behera at this time donated his Bargarh Talipada house to make Congress Office. It was inaugurated by Krishna Devi & called “Krishna Bhawan”. Jambobati Devi joined the Movement in 1931. She was the 1st women fighter of the district. She was arrested in 1932 and in 1933 & was kept at Sambalpur & Bhagalpur Jail. Because of Krishna Devis’ influence Gandharvi Devi daughter in law of Fakira Behera, Ila Meher wife of Kunja Bihari Meher of Tukurla, Sriyavati Devi wife of Ghanashyam Panigrahi participated in the movement. In 1937 when Malati Devi had been to Bargarh, the daughter of Dhanpati Dash, Pravabati had joined the movement. At Samleipadar another girl of 12 years old Parvati Giri joined the movement. Dwitia Giri, Mangala Giri & Tulasi Giri were from her family. Besides in the 1st War of Independence Tulasi, Purnima & Sariti Jhara participated in their respective capacities.

1. S.P.Padhi, Akshaya Taraka Chandrasekhar, Sambalpur, 1973, P.35
2. Ibid. p.36
3. Padhi & Supakar, Sambalpurre Bhasa Andolan, Sambalpur, 1974, P.3
4. Proceeding, Home Judicial, No. 2358236, dt:15.01.1895 (National Archive)
5. C.R. Mishra, Freedom movement in Sambalpur, p.199
6. Padhi & Supakar, Op. cit. P.27.
7. Letter No. 546 dt:18.04.1901 from A.William Dy. Secretary to the Govt. of India to Chief Commissioner of Central Province (NAI)
8. Report of Andrew Freser Dt.05.10.1901 last para (NAI)
9. C.R. Mishra, op.cit. P.245
10. Dr. B.P. Sahu, Swadhinata Sangrama re BoraSambara ra Bhumika, P.17
11. J.K. Sahu, Sambalpurere Swadhinata Sangram & Nrusingha Gurunka Bhumika, 2003, P.35
12. Ibid, P.59
13. Rabindra Kumar Gadtia, Muktipathara Yatri, P.32
14. C.R. Mishra, Freedom movement in Sambalpur, Pp. 346
15. Ibid. 382
16. R.K. Gartia, Op. cit, p.60

We get a number of inscriptions in the form of Copper Plate grants from different find spots of the district. Besides, inscription found outside the geographical zone of present Bargarh district too refer to different places of the district, signifying their relative importance.
The earliest available one is the Kudopali grant discovered from the place of same name near Bheden. It was discovered in 1895 and secured by Mr. RAB Chapman, ICS the then officiating Commissioner of Sambalpur. It was edited by Dr. Kielhorn in EI, IV, Pp.254-59 ff1. It was issued by Ranaka Sripunja belonged to Mathara family who had probably migrated from Kalinga2 and ruled under the Somavamsis. The donated village Loisara may be identified with the village Larasara near the excavated spot and the district Sidanda Mandala with Chichinda near to it. It was donated to Bhattaputra Sri Narayana, Son of Janardana of Kaundiyagotra & Mitravaruna Pravara3.
Somavamsi king Mahabhavagupta’s Ruchida Copper plate grant is a remarkable one. It was discovered from the village Ruchida in Bargarh district. The front side of the copper plate possesses a prayer to Lord Purusottama, which is very rare. It signifies the popularity of Jagannath cult in the region.
Satalama a village near Barpali was donated by king Janmajaya in his Nagpur Museum plate4to Santhakara of Guatama Gotra. The spot where it was found is not known but has been sent to Nagpur Museum. Kasarda Visaya mentioned in it is the village Kusurda5 near Panimora not far from Barpali.
Janamejaya issued the Arkigrama Grant. The seal of the grant bears the Gajalaxmi and the name Sri Mahabhavagupta. Arkigrama and Tulumaba of the inscriptions are identified with Turuma and Arigaon situated on either side of Jeera in Bargarh district6.
A copper plate of Mahamandalika Parachakrashalya has been found at a place called Bonda near Bargarh. It was edited by D.C. Circar in E.I., XXX, pp. 135-140. The village donated was Shelda and year was a local year 56 which is identified by Dr. J.K. Sahu as 1130 A.D. The name Baghakotta mentioned in it is identified with modern Bargarh. It indicates to Rastrakuta rule in the region.
The Chauhans issued at least one hundred fifty maufi grants during their period7. The earliest one is the Nrusinghanath Temple inscriptions of Raja VaijalDev I. The date of the inscription is 17th March 1413 A.D. It records the donation of village Loisingha and one hundred cows to the temple.
Raja Balier Singh granted 21 grants of which one to Jambeswar Mahadev in Kalapani and second to Burharaja De at Panga here in Bargarh District8.
Raja Abhaya Singh granted 13 grants of which Bateswar Mahadeo in Chakli and Balunksswar Mahadeo and JagannathJi in Talsrigida were in Bargarh district9.
Raja Jayanta Singh granted 36 grants. His grants to Burharajamahadev in Barapahar, Kedarnath and JagannathJi at Ambabhona were in Bargarh district10.
The Bargarh copper plate of Narayana Singh was issued in 1843. It records the donation of Bargarh in favour of two sons of Balki Dash, viz.Narayana Dash and Krishna Dash11.
1. I0, vol. IV, P. 241.
2. Ibid I; part II, P. 1-80ff.
3. I0, vol. IV, P. 237ff.
4. Ibid. P. 118.123.
5. S.P. Dash, sambalpurItihas, P.85.
6. Ibid. p. 86-87.
7. Dr. P.K. Nayak (ed) New aspect of Hist and culture of South Koshala, p. 25.
8. Ibid. P. 27.
9. Ibid. P. 28.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.

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