Here we detail about the top fourteen things that will give the reader an overall knowledge on the History of Orissa.
They are: 1. Kalinga War 2. Kalinga Under the Chedi Dynasty Kharavela 3. Gupta Rule in Orissa 4. Hiuen-Tsang’s Accounts of Orissa 5. Orissa on the Eve of Muslim Conquest 6. Maratha Rule in Orissa 7. Orissa on the Eve of British Conquests 8. Early British Administration 9. Growth of National Consciousness in Orissa and everything else.
History of Orissa
1. Kalinga War:
During the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, the Mauryan Empire extending from Hindukush in the North-west to Mysore in the south faced a challenge from an independent kingdom of Kalinga. But Chandragupta was busy in consolidating his empire, thus could not get time to deal with Kalinga. His son Bindusar also remained busy in suppressing the internal troubles originated by the nobles and chiefs.
Kalinga in the meantime established her colonies in Burma, Philippines, and Indian Archipelago and became a strong overseas power. Besides, the elephants, corps of Kalinga was regarded as the best of their type as has been mentioned by Kautilya. Thus Kalinga proved to be a potential enemy power to Magadha.
Both Chandragupta and his son Bindusar failed to incorporate Kalinga in their vast Magadhan empire. Ashoka after his coronation decided to invade Kalinga and started organising his military resources as a preparation of war.
Scholars do not maintain unanimity about the causes of the Kalinga war but there is one cause which is generally accepted by all that was an act of aggression. Ashoka was an war-like prince and eliminated all his brothers through violence and blood-shed. After establishing his position over the throne he engineered the plat of completing the Magadhan empire in the whole of India including Kalinga in 261 B.C.
In the face of the extensive Mauryan empire including Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Nepal and Kashmir the existence of Kalinga as an independent country could not be tolerated by Ashoka. It prompted Ashoka to invade Kalinga and incorporate her in the Magadhan empire and to remove the potential political enemy and to accomplish the traditional principle of Digvijaya. The Kalinga war of 261 B.C. was thus a war of aggression which happened to be the foremost cause of the war.
The economic prosperity of Orissa accelerated the cause of the war. The overseas possessions of Kalinga and the trade link of the Kalingan businessmen with many foreign countries threatened the economic and commercial interest of Magadha. Further, the hostile attitude of the business community of Kalinga resulted in a serious damage of the Magadhan economy.
According to Taranath the traders of the eastern seas captured the jewels of Ashoka that made emperor Ashoka impatient to attack Kalinga. The economic prosperity of Kalinga due to maritime trade excited his cupidity. Ashoka then decided to invade Kalinga to acquire sea-ports for the naval supremacy of Magadha. Thus the war with Kalinga was not only the outcome of his aggressive policy but also of economic necessity.
The immediate cause is believed to have been the infatuation of Ashoka with Karubaki a girl of fisherman community. The story goes that Ashoka fell in love with a beautiful fisherwoman named Karubaki and wanted to marry her. In order to gain the hands of Karubaki he decided to acquire the homeland of this beautiful woman by force and this led to the Kalinga war. In the queens edict the name of Karubaki who happened to be the mother of Tivar has been mentioned and the above story must have been framed on the basis of this edict.
The long awaited war started in 261 B.C. and the nature of the war has been clearly described by Askoka in his Rock Edict XIII. This edict throws light on the sufferings and causalities of Kalinga and is completely silent about the loss of Magadha. He states that the Kalinga war resulted in one hundred thousand people killed, one hundred and fifty thousand carried away as captives and double the number died of starvation and disease that followed the terrible war.
However, this picture indicates that the Kalingan army was a vast one and the country had a large population. This war brought terrible disaster to the army. It also brought sufferings to the civil population including the Brahmins.
Nothing is known whether Kalinga was a monarchy or a republican country at the time of Ashokan invasion. There is no reference at all in the Ashokan inscription about the king of Kalinga whom Ashoka defeated. Dr. R.K. Mukherjee is of the opinion that Kalinga was a republican country and it had an extensive area and a vast population so that the causalities in the Kalinga war were so great. This seems to be true but as we have no other evidence to substantiate this, it cannot be fully accepted. But the number of soldiers killed and taken as captives is true as has been mentioned in the Rock Edict. XIII.
The victory of Ashoka in the Kalinga war resulted in the loss of independence of Kalinga. Kalinga was incorporated in the Magadhan Empire and was constituted an administrative province of the Empire. A prince was appointed as the viceroy of Kalinga. A council of Ministers was also appointed to assist the viceroy in the matter of administration.
The headquarters of the viceroy (Kumara Viceroy) was located at Tosali which has been identified with the modern village Dhauli, near Bhubaneswar. Tosali was also selected as the seat of city judges. Beside Tosali the township of Samapa developed as the second important city from administrative point of view.
A number of Ministers and an important administrative officer with the designation of Rajavachanika, were placed at Samapa for better administration. He issued special instructions to the officers of Kalinga to be very careful in administration and to be sympathetic towards the people of Kalinga.
His desire for a better administration based on humanitarianism in this newly conquered territory Kalinga has been clearly reflected in one of his special Edict at Dhauli. The designations of other officers appointed for Kalinga as gleaned in numerous inscriptions are Pmdesika, Rajukas, Yuktas, Mahamatras, Anta Mahamatras, Nagara Vyavaharak etc. Besides the Dhamma Mahamatras were appointed to take care of Ashoka’s dhamma in Kalinga. Among the officers the Rajukas enjoyed enormous administrative powers to inflict punishments and award rewards.
The atavikas or the forest folk who lived in the adjoining forest regions however were not brought under the direct administration of the imperial powers of Magadha. The rulers of these territories were allowed to maintain their internal sovereignty but Ashoka was always taking special interest of these forest folks. His desire for a better administration in Kalinga based on humanitarian consideration has been properly reflected in Rock Edicts at Dhauli and Jaugada specially known as Kalinga Edicts.
The one great result of the Kalinga war was that Chandashoka became Dharmashoka and Ashoka found a place in the world history. Ashoka became a pacifist and became an ardent follower of Buddhism. After Kalinga war his desire for the practice of Dhamma, intense love for Dhamma started to have taken place. There is no definite belief as to who converted him into that religion. According to Ceylonese traditions one Tisa was his preceptor but northern traditions believe that Upagupta converted him into Dhamiashoka. After his conversion Ashoka became engaged in the missionary activities for the widespread of Buddhism inside and outside India.
The role of three important schools Theravada, Sarvastivada, and Mahasanghika established by Ashoka in Kalinga were of great importance throughout India. Emperor Ashoka constructed the monastry of Bhojakagiri in Kalinga for his brother. Sarvastivada school of Buddhism made significant progress in Kalinga due to his patronization. Through this process of the spread of religion Kalinga became familiar to Cylone.
The spread of Buddhism in Orissa started in right earnest after the Kalinga war. Soon after Kalinga war he became a Buddhist and started propagating Buddhism throughout India and outside. It is Kalinga which gave him a new faith therefore this country also became the region of his special propaganda and proselytization.
After Kalinga war Ashoka firmly believed that it was through Buddhism that the uplift of the spiritual and moral conduct of people could be achieved. But the ‘Dhamma’ which he promulgated in his Kalinga Edicts is not specifically Buddhist. It is ‘Rajadharama’ which formed the basis of Ashoka’s idea of religion. Besides Kalinga Edicts the other Edicts of Ashoka are certainly Buddhist in character and were intended for the spread of Buddhism and Buddhist ideas in the newly conquered country Kalinga.
At the top of the Dhauli Edict the figure of an elephant symbolizes the birth story of Gautama Buddha according to which his mother Mayadevi before his birth saw a white elephant descending from the heaven and entering into her womb. The elephant figure at Dhauli was perhaps intended to remind the people of the birth story of Gautama Buddha and thus it is an indication that Ashoka did patronize for the spread of Buddhism in Kalinga.
We find further evidences that Ashoka promulgated his edicts and set up pillars in Kalinga with the purpose of spreading Buddhism and Buddhist ideas. The Buddhist Stupa, in and around Sisupalagarh which has been identified by many scholars as the capital city of Kalinga, can be connected with the Ashokan age.
Kalinga war inaugurated a new taste in the stone masonary. The art of stone masonary of northern India influenced greatly the Kalingan stone masonary. The Rock Edicts at Dhauli and Jaugada were engraved and a polish was added to the surface that made the Edicts dazzling in the Mauryan style.
The delicate potteries with the typical Ashokan polish discovered from Asurgarh speak high of the Mauryan taste. Some scholars are of the opinion that the lingam in the Bhaskareswar temple at Bhubaneswar is a specimen of Ashokan pillar. Thus the inflow of the skill and style of Ashokan art and architecture brought a new dimension in Kalingan art and architecture.
It is not unlikely that Ashoka also built some Buddhist stupas in Kalinga. In Sisupalagarh in the side of the road leading from Bhubaneswar to Puri, there is still a great circular mound which originally seems to have presented a stupa which can be said to have built during the period of Ashoka. A few more relics that have been brought to lime light by the excavation of Sisupalagarh may also ascribe to the Ashokan age. Sisupalagarh was an ancient fort, the remains of which are now to be found at a place in Sisupalagarh, two miles from Bhubaneswar.
Some scholars propose to identify this ruined fort with Tosali mentioned in Ashoka’s inscription at Dhauli which had become the capital of Kalinga and a seat of Mayuryan administration during and alter the reign of Ashoka. Thus the skill of the construction of stupas in Kalinga can be connected to the period of Ashoka.
Ashoka’s inscriptions at various places in Kalinga and a few material objects left to throw a light spot on the dark period of Kalinga history. The political history of Kalinga alter the death of Ashoka in 232 B.C. is also not clearly known. The Mauryan administration in Kalinga appears to have ended in 185 B.C. after the murder of the last Maurya king Brihadrath by the Commandar-in-Chief Pusyamitra Sunga.
The major rock inscriptions of Ashoka to be available at Sahabazgarhi, Mansehera, in the North Western frontier of the present Pakistan, at Girnal near Junagarh in Kathiawad and Kalsi near Dehradoon contain a series of fourteen edicts. The same number of edicts are also found in Ashokas inscriptions at Dhauli and Jaugada, but the edicts No. 12 and 13 to be found in all other inscriptions have In-on omitted from the Dhauli and Jaugada version.
But special Kalinga edits arc made available. The first Kalinga edicts at Dhauli are addressed to the ‘Mahamalras’ at Tosali and in the Kalinga edict at Jaugada it is addressed to the Mahainalriis of Samapa. The second Kalinga edict at Dhauli has been addressed to ‘Kumaramatya’ (the Prince Viceroy) as well as to the Mahamatras at Tosali but the same edict at Jaugada has been addressed only to the ‘Mahamalras’.
The English translation of these two special edicts known as Kalinga Edicts as made by Dr. Hultzsche is given below for better understanding about the attitude and administrative behaviour towards the people of Kalinga after Kalinga war.
The First Kalinga Edict:
“At the word of Devanampriya, the Mahamatras at Tosali (who are the Judicial officers) of the city have to be told (thus). Whatever is recognized (to be right) that strive to carry out by deeds and to accomplish by (various) means. And this is considered by me the principal means for the object viz. (to give) instruction to you. For you are occupied with many thousands of men with the object of gaining the affection of men.
All men are my children. As on behalf of (my own) children desire that they may be provided with complete welfare and happiness in this world and in the other world, the same I desire also on behalf of (all) men. And you do not learn how far this (my) object reaches. Some single person only learns this (and) even he (only) a portion, (but) not the whole. Now you must pay attention to this, although you are well provided for.
It happens in the administration (of Justice) that the single person suffers either imprisonment or harse treatment. In this case (an order) cancelling the imprisonment is (obtained) by him accidentally while (many) other people continue to suffer. In this case you must strive to deal (with all of them) impartially. But one fails to act (thus) on account of the following dispositions, envy, anger, cruelty, hurry want of practice, laziness (and) fatigue. (You) must strive for this that these dispositions may not arise to you.
And the root of all this is the absence of anger and avoidance of hurry who is fatigued in the administration (of Justice) will not rise but ought to move, to walk and to advance. He also will pay attention to this must till you. See that (you) discharge the debt (which you owe to the king) such and such is the instruction of Devanampriya.
The observance of this produces great fruit (but its) non-observance (becomes) a great evil. For if one fails to observe this there will be neither attainment of heaven nor satisfaction of the king. For how (could) my mind be pleased if one badly fulfills this duty. But if (you) observe this you will attain heaven and you will discharge the debt, which you (owe) to me and this edict must be listened to (by all) on (every day of) the constellation Tishya. And if (you) act thus you will be able to fulfill this (this duty).
For the following purpose has this rescript been written here, (viz.) in order that the Judicial officers of the city may strive at all times (for this), (that) neither undeserved frittering nor undeserved harse treatment are happening to (men). And for the following purpose I shall send out every five years (a ‘Mahamatra’) who will be neither harse nor fierce (but of gentle action) viz. in order to ascertain weather (the judicial officers) paying attention to this object are acting. Thus as my instructions (implies).
But for Ujjayini also the prince (Governor) will send out for this same purpose all persons of the same description and he will not allow (more than) three years (without such a depution). In the same way (an officer will be deputed from Takshasila also. When these ‘Mahamatras’ will set out on tour then without neglecting their own duties they will ascertain well (viz.) whether (the Judicial officers) are carrying out this also thus as the instruction of the king (implies)”.
The Second Kalinga Edict:
“Devanampriya speaks thus. The Mahamatras at Samapa have to be told (this) at the word of the king. Whatever I recognize (to be right) that I strive to carry out by deeds and to accomplish by various means. And this is considered by me the principal means for this object viz. (to give) instruction to you.
All men are my children. As on behalf of (my own) children I desire that they may be provided by me with complete welfare and happiness in this world and in the other world even so in my desire on behalf of all men. It might occur to (my) unconquered borders (to ask) ‘what does the king desire with reference to us.’ This alone is my wish with reference to the borderers (that) they may learn (that) the king desires this (that) they may not be afraid of me but may have confidence in me, that they may obtain only happiness from me not misery; (that) they may learn this (that) the king will forgive them what can be forgiven ; that they may (be induced) by me to practice morality ; (and that) they may attain happiness both (in) this world and in the other world.
And for the following purpose I am instructing you (viz. that) I may discharge the debt (which I owe to them) by this that I instruct you and inform (you) of (my) will, i.e., (of) my unshakable resolution and vow. Therefore acting thus (you) must fulfill (your) duty and must inspire them with confidence in order that they may learn that the king is to them like a father (that) he loves them as he loves himself (and that) they are to the king like (his own) children.
Having instructed you and having informed (you) of (my) will i.e. (of) my unshakable resolution and vow, I shall have (maintained) officers in all provinces for this object. For you are able to inspire those (borderers) with confidence and (to secure their) welfare and happiness is this world and in the other world. And if (you) act thus you will attain heaven and you will discharge the debt (which you owe) to me.
And for the following purpose has this rescript been written here (viz.) in order that the Mahamatras may strive at all times to inspire (my) borderers with confidence and (to induce them) to practice morality. And this rescript must be listened to (by all) every four months on (the day of) Tisya. And it may be listened to even by a single (person) when an occasion offers. And if (you) act thus you will be able to carry out (my orders).
2. Kalinga under the Chedi Dynasty Kharavela:
The history of Kalinga following the decline of Mauryan supremacy is obscure and yet to be known exactly when Kalinga regained her independence. The Hatigumpha inscription in Udayagiri near Bhubaneswar records, the achievement of a mighty ruler of Kalinga named Kharavela. Who belonged to the Mahameghahahan family of the Chedi class.
The Chedis were originally ruling is Madhaydesha or Magadha and it has been suggested that a branch of this royal family of the hoary antiquity came to Kalinga and established it power over Kalinga. There is no information readily available to say as to when did they migrate to Kalinga but from the Hatigumpha inscription it becomes apparent that Kharavela was the third member of the Chedi family of Kalinga. The date of the reign of Kharavela is highly controversial one. Some scholars put this date in the 2nd Century B.C. and some others in the 1st Century B.C.
Other group of scholars drags him down to the 1st Century A.D. In Hatigumpha inscription in the 3rd line there is a reference of Satakarni, against whom Kharavela lodged a war. In the 6th line the epigraph refers to a canal opened by a Nanda king, one hundred and three years back which Kharavela re-excavated and brought to his capital from Tanasuli.
Again in the 13th line of the same epigraph the name of Bahasatimita of Magadha has been referred to who was defeated by Kharavela. Since there is an agreement about the reading of Satakarni, Nandaraja and Bahasatimita, the correct identification of anyone of them will take a long way in fixing the date of Kharavela.
If the 6th line is taken into consideration (one hundred three years before) the fifth year of Kharavela’s reign will fall in 154 B.C. and the beginning of his reign has to be fixed in 159 B.C. according to the 13th line Bahasatimita or Brihaspatimitra was the king of Magadha after the end of Pusyamitra Sunga’s reign, who was badly defeated by Kharavela.
The reign of Kharavela thus falls beyond 148 B.C. (147 B.C.). When we take the name of Satakarni into consideration there is no doubt to say that Satakarni belonged to the Satakarni dynasty of the Deccan who was ruling over the Deccan region in the 2nd Century B.C. As Kharavela was a Contemporary monarch of Satakarni he belonged to the 2nd Century B.C.
It is just to believe that the dynasty of Kharavela in Kalinga and that of Satavahana of Deccan rose simultaneously into prominence after the decline of Mauryan empire. In the Hatigumpha inscription it is mentioned ti-vasa-sata which means 103 or 300 years. The reading of ti-vasa-sata as has been interpreted by many scholars as 103 years. Hence the fifth year of Kharavela’s reign will be (257- 103). 154 B.C. and the beginning of his reign have to be probably placed in 159 B.C.
A detailed account about the life and achievements of Kharavela up to thirteenth regnal year is known from the Hatigumpha inscription of Udayagiri. The activities prior to his coronation are full of interesting events. Kharavela succeeded his father after his premature death in 149 B.C. at the age of fifteen. He assumed the title of Yubaraj and managed the administration presumably with the help of a regency.
During his early days he received proper education in Lekha (literature), Rupa (coinage), Ganana (Mathematics), Vyavahara (Law) and Vidhi (Regulation of the country). Besides he gained proficiency in the art of dancing, music and military technique. After attaining 24th year he became Maharaja in about 40 B.C. He was the third member of the Mohameghavahan family of Chedi dynasty.
The Hatigumpha inscription presents a clear picture of Kharavela as a ruler of Kalinga. Kharavela in his first year of coronation repaired the gates and ruined structures of Kalinganagari his capital which was damaged by a severe cyclone. He caused to be built embankments and repaired all the gardens of his capital. These undertaking of public utility cost him thirty-five hundred thousand coins.
In the second year of his reign he undertook a well-planned expedition with a huge army consisting of cavalry, elephants, infantry, and chariots towards the west and threatened the city of Musiknagar or Risikanagar on the Krishna River. He did not take notice of the mighty ruler Satakarni, a Satavahana king. It is clear that he had no ill feelings towards Satakarni and had friendly relations with him.
In the third regnal year he entertained the people of his capital with dancing, singing and feasts. A reference has been made in the inscription about the holding of a Samaj as that included animal fights, feasting and merrymaking etc.
In the fourth year he captured the capital of a prince named Bidyadhar and subjugated the Rastrikas and Bhojakas of Berar and Maharashtra region, respectively.
In his fifth regnal year he re-excavated a canal which was built by the Nandaraja, 103 years before and brought a branch of the canal to his capital. He performed a Rajasuya sacrifice in the capital and remitted taxes of the subjects.
The events of the next three years of his reign are not clear and during this period a son was born to him probably on the 6th regnal year.
In the eighth regnal year he started a campaign to the north and destroyed the supremacy of Gorathagiri in the modern Gaya district. The hill forters of Gorathagiri guarding Rajagriha were demolished and the city was put to a great loss. Next he caused a severe damage the city of Rajagriha identified with modern Rajgir in the Nalanda district of Bihar. This attack frightened the Yavana (Indo-Greeks) king who had a desire to attack Pataliputra and he was forced to retreat to Mathura.
In the ninth year of his reign he constructed a vast palace called Mahavijaya Prasad at his capital town at the cost of thirty-eight hundred thousand rupees.
The activities of Kharavela in the tenth and eleventh year are not clear in the epigraph. However, some scholars believe that during these years he was busy in public welfare activities. Some scholars say that in the tenth year he marched against northern India and returned with huge quantity of jewels and valuables.
In the eleventh year Kharavela directed his army against Tamil confederacy in the south which was in supreme command in the south. The Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputres, Keralaputras and Tamraparni were defeated.
The twelfth regnal year witnessed devastating expedition towards the north and Kharavela proceeded upto Pataliputra attacked the city and subjugated king Bahasatimita or Brihaspatimitra of Magadha. After this he brought back the Kalinga Jina image to his capital as a trophy of his victory. He also collected plenty of wealth from the treasury of Anga and Magadha. The Kalinga Jina which was taken away by Mahapadmanada from Kalinga to Magadha and its restoration was considered to be very glorious from the religious and military points of view.
In the last regnal year (thirteenth) he engaged himself in religious activities, excavated cavas in the Kumari Parvata (Udayagiri Hills) for the Jaina monks and distributed white garments among them. It is very difficult to say whether Kharavela continued to live after his thirteenth regnal year. The Hatigumpha inscription is completely silent about this with an abrupt end of his prasasti during these thirteen years.
3. Gupta Rule in Orissa:
The mighty Gupta ruler Samudragupta conquered south Kosala (the upper Mahanadi valley) during his southern campaigns. Along with south Kosala he also conquered the territories of Svamidatta of Kottura, Damana of Erandapalle and Devarastra. All these territories have been identified with the places of Ganjam district and the adjoining Telugu-speaking tract.
Samudragupta directed his army in this campaign through a difficult forests clad routes of Mahakosala and Mahakantara which has been identified with the present Kalahandi, Koraput districts of Orissa and Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh. It is difficult to say why Samudragupta followed this difficult path instead of marching through the plain and easy coastal route of Balasore, Cuttack and Puri districts.
Samudragupta finally reached the coastal strip of Orissa and subjugated the Orissa kings alongwith some southern monarchs with their leader Visnugopa of Kanchi. Allahabad Prasad is very clear in describing the fact that Samudragupta after receiving valuable presents liberated the kings and restored their kingdoms under the principle Anugraha. Thus Samudragupta’s invasion was a passing cloud which did not affect much of the political condition of Kalinga though it brought Kalinga to the cultural orbit of Gupta Empire.
After the death of Samudragupta in about 380 A.D. there is no evidence of any relation of Orissa with Gupta Empire. However, we find the use of Gupta Era in many Orissan copper plate grants. In Sumandal copper plate grant of Prithivi-Vigraha, the copper plate grants of Sambhuyasas and the Soro copper plate grants the Gupta Era has been referred.
From the use of Gupta Era in the inscription of Orissa it is inferred by scholar Dr. D.C. Sircar that Orissa was within the political orbit of the Gupta Empire. But scholar like Dr. N.K. Sahu did not accept this idea and contrary to that he said that Orissa never acknowledged the political supremacy of the Guptas. Further in the Jairampur copper plate inscription the name Maharajadhiraja Gopa Chandra the son of Maharajadhiraja Dhana Chandra has seen mentioned. They were the rulers of the northern Balasore region. Thus it can be concluded that if northern Balasore region did not constitute a part of Gupta Empire how could
Kalinga (Ganjam region) form a part of Gupta Empire. Thus the speculation about the suzerainty of Gupta rulers over Kalinga has no historical authenticity.
The Gupta art and architecture to some extent has influenced the Orissan-art and architecture. The Orissan-sculptures which bear Gupta and post-Gupta characteristics are found in many temples of Bhubaneswar and in the temple of Mukhalingam. The structural technique of Sarnath temple at Venaras has demonstrated a minor influence on the Lingaraj temple as Lingaraj temple is a slight deviation from the old style of Kalingan temples. A mixture of Nagara and Kalinga style is noticed in the Lingaraj temple. Similarly, the Mukhalingam temple bears the same symbol of the influence of Gupta art particularly in shikhara.
The epigraphic records which belong to this age are very rare but some scholars say that epigraphic records of Gupta period are found in the village Sitabhinji in Keonjhar district. In this village and in a neighbouring village Dangaposi a number of natural rock shelters in the hills attracted siva ascetics. In these rock shelters number of edicts is found which relates to the Gupta period.
A tempera painting on the ceiling of rock inscriptions represents a royal procession in which a royal figure, seated on elephant with a goad in his hand, is preceded by a batch of footmen, one horseman, and a dancing woman and followed by an attendant Koman.
There is a line of painted writing below the scene which gives the name of the king as Maharaja Sri Disabhanja. The age of the painting is completely influenced by the imperial Gupta age. A line of inscription to be found on the forepart of a colossal lion figure discovered from the vicinity of Bhaskareswar temple at Bhubaneswar can also be paleographical assigned to the Gupta age when the conflict between Budhists and Saivas was going on.
The similar type of paintings is found in Ajanta caves which belonged to the Imperial Guptas. The other important antiquity of Mukhalingam bears the characteristics of the early Gupta Age. M.R. Chanda discovered a fragment of a stone inscription from Ratnagiri in the Cuttack district which he said to be a Gupta script.
These are the objects which relates Gupta period to Orissa. Thus it is just to say that even though Orissa was not a part of Gupta political Suzerainty, Orissan-art and architecture, sculpture and painting were influenced by the Gupta Age.
The Budhist ruins at Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgriri in Cuttack district provide evidence to show that the monastic establishments in these hills started at least from the 5th-6th century A.D. Scholar like R. Chanda in his Memoris of Archaeological survey of India has published a fragmentary inscription in the cursive Gupta script of same time probably recording a tract which indicates that the place existed as a Buddhist Tantrik establishment in the Gupta period.
Thus it can be said that the Tantrik form of Buddhism was in progress in Orissa during Gupta age and Samudra Gupta did never lake any initiation in the matter of religion as his political influence passed like a cloud over Orissa.
4. Hiuen-Tsang’s Accounts of Orissa:
The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang (Yuan Chiang) visited Orissa in 639 A.D. He proceeded from Karna-Suvarna, the capital of Gauda in the southwest direction and covering a distance of 140 miles reached WU-Cha or Odra. His accounts clearly say that Orissa or Kalinga was then divided into three separate kingdoms such as Wu-cha (Odra), Kong-yu-To (Kongoda) and Ki-ling-ka (Kalinga).
From his accounts it is also clear that Andhra and Kosala were two distinct neighbouring kingdoms. It is further known from his accounts that Midnapore was then a part of Orissa. The coastal regions of Orissa consisting the modern districts of Midnapore (Bengal) Balasore, Cuttack and a part of Puri district remained under the suzerainty of Harsavardhan. Harsavardhan appointed a military Governor from Datta family to administer this country.
About the people of Odra country the pilgrim says that they were tall .and yellowish-black in complexion. The present Oriya race is generally short stature and brownish-black in complexion. The language of Odra people is different from the languages of Central India.
As regards to the religion the Chinese pilgrim says that majority of the people of Odra country were Mahayana Buddhists. The country had one hundred Buddhist monasteries and about ten thousand monks. According to his narration there were only 50. Deva temples in which the followers of different sects worshipped together. He being a follower of Mahayana Buddhism had more interest in the spread of Buddhism than Brahmanical religion.
Hiuen-Tsang mentions the name of two important centres of Buddhist learning in the Odra country. One of these two contained a famous monastery, called Pu-Sie-Po-ki-li (Puspagiri) which is yet to be identified. Mr. R. Chanda however identified this Puspagiri with Udayagiri, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri area of Cuttack district.
At present this locality is also known as Puspagiri. This area contains a large number of Buddhist ruins which speaks (hat this area was a Mahayana Buddhist Centre. The second place of Buddhist Importance as mentioned by him is Cheli-Talo or Cheritra which is identified us Sri kshetra or Puri.
Some scholars identify this with Chitrotpala a branch of liver Mahanadi. But both the places do not contain any substantial Buddhist ruins to justify the identifications. Many Buddhist and Brahamanical monuments still exist in Orissa which belong to that period.
Hiuen-Tsang further narrates that when Harsavardhan returned to Odra desha after subjugating Kongoda was questioned by Hinayanists of Odra. Consequent upon this event Harsavardhan invited Silabhadra the Chancellor of Nalanda University with four others to meet the challenge of the Hinayanists of Orissa.
From Orissa, Hiuen-Tsang visited the kingdom Kon-yu-To or Kongoda which was then ruled by Sailodbhavas. Kongoda kingdom comprised the districts of Ganjam and Puri. It was a hilly region on the sea board. The people of Kongoda were of black complexion and the language they used was different from the Central Indian language.
This language had a Sanskrit origin. The capital city of Kongoda was very strong having a strong standing army. These descriptions of Hiuen-Tsang indicate that Kongoda was a powerful kingdom. He then gives a dear picture of Ki-ling-kia identified with Kalinga. Kalinga at that time was not a part of An-to-Lo or Andhra. The pilgrim makes a brief account of Kalinga and said that the country was having an area of less than one thousand square miles. The people were rude in behaviour, fast and clear in their speech and in their talk and manner they differed from the people of Central India.
This description gives a clear conclusion that the people of this country were deeply influenced by the neighboring people of Andhra country, lie further says that Kalinga presented large dark elephants which happened to be a main commodity of trade as said by Muslim Geographers of 9th and 10th Century A.D.
From Kalinga he proceeded to Kosala (South Kosala) through dense forests. The country was surrounded by high mountains full of dense forests. The capital of this kingdom was having a rich heritage. The main purpose of his visit through many difficulties was to see the important places of Buddhist importance associated with Nagarjuna and Kusan king Kaniska.
There were about more than one hundred Buddhist monasteries and about ten thousand Buddhist monks residing these monasteries. There was a great monastery and a big stupa in the kingdom built by Asoka where Nagarjuna used to reside. He does not say the name of the capital but only refers to the name of Po-Lo-Mo-Lo-Ki-Li which has been identified with Bhramaragiri situated in the old Rewa-state.
This monastery had lofty halls each with four courts, with temples containing gold life size images of Lord Buddha, supplied with running water. Prof. Ray Choudhary is of opinion that King Gautamiputra Satakarni of Satavahana dynasty patronized Nagarjuna in South Kosala. From South Kosala, Hiuen Tsang proceeded towards the kingdom of Andhra.
Hiuen-Tsang’s above description of Orissa is no doubt meager but even then it throws an illuminating light on the socio-religious conditions of the people of Orissa. As he was a devout of Buddhism and was never interested in the political affairs of Orissa and other parts of India he does not give any interesting history of the capitals of the kings or the ruling dynasties. Yet he earned our gratitude for having left to us his brief account of Orissa of the first half of 7th Century A.D.
5. Orissa on the Eve of Muslim Conquest:
Govinda Vidyadhar (1542-49 A.D):
Govinda Vidyadhar makes his appearance in the history of Orissa in 1511 as a traitor. His treachery compelled Prataprudra to siege of Mandaran where Sultan Hussain Shah had taken shelter. He was a general of Prataprudradeva. He murdered the sons of Prataprudra and ascended the throne between September 1541 and September 1542. Madalapanji tells us that he belonged to the Bhoi dynasty. The Bhois belonged to the writer class later on known as Karans.
Ramachandradeva, the Raja of Khurda, the son of Danai Bidyadhar, a Lieutenant of Govinda Vidyadhar has been described in Madalapanji as a Bhoi king belonging to Yaduvamsa of Lord Krishna the hero of the Mahabharata. In Sarala Mahabharat the Bhois has been described as Gopalas. It seems that the Bhoi ruling family of Orissa belonged to the Gopala caste and subsequently after assuming the power they became Karanas.
Govinda Vidyadhar does not seem to have been recognised as the Gajapati by his feudatories. This is very clear from his inscription on the Jagamohan of the Jagannath temple. His reign period as per Madalapanji was only for seven or eleven years. He also retained the ornamental titles of the Gajapati kings like Managovinda Vira Sri Gajapati the over lord of Gauda, Kamata, and Kalabarga. He also styled himself as Suvarna Kesari in the Simachalam inscriptions.
It is stated that he spent eight months in the south in fighting with the Sultan of Golkonda. During this period Raghu Bhanja Chhottaray revolted against him in the north and assisted by Abdul Shah besieged the Katak fort but was driven out from the fort by Govinda Vidyadhar being defeated.
Raghu Bhanja Chhottaray was the son of the sister of Prataprudradeva who seems to have rejected Govinda Vidyadhar as the successor of Prataprudra. He was probably the brother of the Raja of Mayurbhanj. Govinda Vidyadhar was succeeded by his son Chakrapratap.
Chakrapratap (1549-57 A.D.):
Chakrapratapdev ruled Orissa for a period of twelve years. He was an useless king. He entrusted the responsibility of the kingdom to Danai Vidyadhar who was the lieutenant of Govinda Vidyadhar. He was a notorious king and humiliated the Brahmins. His son Narasimha Jena poisoned him to death.
Narasimha Jena (1557-58 A.D.):
He succeeded his father and ruled Orissa for only one year. Nothing is known about him. The only memorable event of his reign was the rebellion of Mukunda Harichandana and his brothers. The Harichandan brothers in disguise of women killed him with a dagger.
Raghuram Chhattaray (1558-60 A.D.):
After the death of Narasimha Jena his son Raghuram Chhottaray was placed over the throne who ruled Orissa only for one year. Madalapanji describes that there was a tripartite struggle for the throne among three aspirants Danai Vidyadhar, Mukunda Harichandan and Raghubhanja Chhottaray. Mukunda Harichandan finally succeeded. Danai Vidyadhar was put in the prison and Raghubhanja Chhottaray was defeated and made a prisoner. Mukunda Harichandan after eliminating other two rivals killed Raghuram Chhottarary and ascended the throne in 1560 A.D.
Mukunda Harichandan (1560-1568 A.D.):
Madalapanji tells us that Mukunda Harichandan popularly known as Mukundadeva belonged to the Chalukya family. He claimed his descent from the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi established by Pulakesin II of Vadami. In the inscriptions of the Bhimesvara temple at Draksarama in the East Godavari district.
Mukundadeva is described as the son of Sarvaraju and the grandson of Singharaju. He is known as Telinga Mukundadeva. Farista makes a reference of a feudatory dynasty ruling in the Sarvasidhi Taluk of the Visakhapatanam district. Bahuvalendras and Harichandanas of this dynasty were ruling over this Taluk. Mukundadeva possibly belonged to this dynasty who was originally the feudatories of the Gajapatis of Orissa.
Mukundadeva became a prominent figure in the history of Orissa by defending the fort of Katak (Cuttack) from the attack of Raghubhanja Chhottaray. Since then his influence in political activities of Orissa increased. He hailed from Telingana for which he is popularly called as Telinga Mukundadeva.
So far five inscriptions of Mukundadeva have been discovered. The fourth inscription is a proof to say that his Orissan kingdom extended upto Godavari river till 1568 A.D. Thus this inscription historically is an important evidence of his reign. It further states that Gajapati Mukundadeva defeated the king of Gauda and after that he performed the Tulapurusa ceremony (the ceremony of weighing against gold).
He remitted taxes on marriages. This inscription further states that Mukundadeva extended his kingdom upto Triveni in the north before 1567. He constructed some steps on the Trivenighat on the Ganges which is still known as Mukundaghat. Prof. R.D. Banerjee tells us that there is still a considerable influence of the Oriyas at Triveni in the Hoogly district of West Bengal.
Mukundadeva was an able ruler. He successfully managed to keep the Gajapati empire intact. He restored internal peace and security in his kingdom. During the early part of his reign he allowed shelter to Ibrahim Sur the greatest enemy of Sulaiman Karani the Sultan of Bengal. This unwise decision incurred the displeasure of the Sultan.
Secondly Mukundadeva established cordial relation with the Mughal emperor Akbar the great. In 1566 he welcomed Raja Man Singh the envoy of Akbar and sent Paramananda Ray. For these reasons Sultan Sulaiman Karani invaded Orissa in 1568. He sent his son Bayazid assisted by Kala Pahar for this invasion. Mukundadeva was not prepared for this invasion and sent Raghubhanj Chhottaray to resist the invadors. Raghubhanj Chhottaray seems to have been released from the prison by Mukundadeva. Inspite of all precaution Bengal army reached Katak and Mukundadeva having no other alternative submitted before the Sultan.
Raghubhanj turned to be a traitor as before that resulted in the defeat of Mukundadeva. Madalapanji describes that two divisions of Bengal army marched against Orissa one of which faught against Mukundadeva and the other proceeded towards Katak (Cuttack) led by Bayazid and Kalapahar.
Mukundadeva was defeated and was forced to take refuge in the fort of Kotsima (Kotsimul) on the western bank of the river Damodara in the Hooghly district. Bayazid and Kalaphahar defeated Koni Samantasimhara, who were in charge of the fort. Mukundadeva hearing the news of the fall of Cuttack hastened to the capital but due to the rebellion engineered by Ramachandra Bhanja, he had to submit before the Invador. Mukundadeva them marched against the rebels of Sarangagarh (near Baranga-Rly Station and killed him).
Madalapanji states that the traitor Ramachandra Bhanja or Ramachandradeva played an important role in the defeat of Mukundadeva and ultimately killed him. He was a local chief who was in charge of the important fort Sarangagarh (near Baranga). After the fall of Cuttack the Muslim army occupied Orissa.
Another tradition says that Mukundadeva faught with the invading army at Gohiratikira near Jajpur and was killed in the battle field. Some other tradition tells us that two generals of the king Sikhi and Manai Mahapatra engineered plans to show the secret route in the jungle to Kalappahara to attack Mukundadeva from the rear that brought his death. This has been corroborated in the Khurda manuscript. The kingdom of Orissa thus passed to the Bengal supremacy in the month of Margasira in the 11th (Eleventh) Anka of Telinga Mukundadeva.
Mukundadeva ruled Orissa for eight years only but became an important figure in the history of Orissa for his abilities. He by virtue of his administrative calibre became the master of the Gajapati kingdom stretching from the river Ganga in the north to the Godavari in the south. He is remembered as the creator of many Brahmin Sasanas. He established many sasanas (villages) in and around Puri for the habitation of Brahamins. He also constructed many structures in the Jagannath Temple complex.
Mukundadeva patronised Jivadeva Kavidindima, a famous court poet of Prataprudra. Bhakti Bhagavata written by Jivadeva acknowledged the quality of Mukundadeva’s reign. Saesare Fredericke a merchant of Venice who visited East India paid high tribute to Mukundadeva. He said that “Orissa was a fair kingdom and trusty”.
According to Badaoni, “the Rajah of Orissa was maintained distinguished for his army and military pomp”. Thus Mukundadeva the splendour of his court and managed the administration effectively. He was a great king both in war and peace.
To make a reference about the Muslim invasion of Orissa it is worthwhile to describe the activities of Kala Pahar. Kala Pahar destroyed a part of the Jagannath Temple upto the Amalkasila. Madalapanji states that when the servants of the temple got the information of the fall of the capital Kataka they took away the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Suvadra to a secret place in the island of Chilika Lake but Kala Pahar got the information about this secret place and captured the images and took them to Bengal on an elephant.
A Vaishnava saint Bishar Mahanti followed him and managed to recover the Brahmas from the half burnt images which were burnt by Kala Pahar. He brought the Brahmas back to Orissa inside a Mridanga.
There is a tradition in Bengal that Kala Pahar was originally a Hindu Brahmin. Dulari the daughter of the Sultan of Bengal fell in love with him and ultimately married him. Kala Pahar had two Hindu wives and he intended to remain a Hindu even though he married the Muslim girl. He came to Puri to perform the ceremony of expiation in the temple of Jagannath but Brahmin Pandits did not permit him to perform it. Kala Pahar’s reaction made him a fanatic against Hindu religion. This tradition however been challenged by many scholars. Prof. P. Mukherjee observed that “the Muslim chronicles conclusively prove that Kala Pahar was a full blooded Afgan and not a Brahmin renegade”
Kala Pahar is a popular figure as a destroyer of Hindu monuments of Orissa. As a matter of fact he destroyed many temples of Orissa but not all temples. It was not possible on his part to visit every nook and corner of Orissa with a view to destroy the temples. Moreover he was very much busy in the affairs of the war for which he did not have the time to move to every part of Orissa for this purpose only.
Causes of Decline of Orissa:
Rise and fall of ruling dynasties are the logic of history. The fall of the mighty empire of Orissa was not an escape to it. The Hindu kingdom maintained its independence up to 1568 when northern parts of India including Bengal and Bihar went to the grip of Turkish invaders.
Prof. R.D. Banerjee attributes that the long stay of the Vaishnava saint Sri Chaitanya in Orissa is the main cause of the decline of Medieval Orissa. The saint destroyed the structural pattern of the society of Orissa introducing a train of false faith in men. Sri Chatanya alone should not be blamed for this decline because of the fact that Oriyas of the sixteenth century did not accept the teachings of Sri Chaitanya blindly.
From the inscription it is clear that the king and the people of Orissa had already accepted the Sahajiya (Easy) form of Vaisnavism of the Gitagovinda prior to the coming of Sri Chaitanya to Orissa. It is thus not proper to say that the teachings of Sri Chaitanya demilitarised and demoralised the Oriya race in any manner. There is also no evidence to show that Prataprudradeva lost his military spirit under the influence of Sri Chaitanya. He was constantly engaged in warfare till his complete defeat by Krishnadeva Ray in 1519 A.D.
It is after the treaty with Krishnadeva Ray that he became intensely religious minded. The loss of the empire, the death of his son and the sad plight of his daughter married to Krishnadeva Ray must have all combined to depress the fighting spirit of the king and therefore he found solace in the teaching of Sri Chaitanya who had great influence on him.
Prataprudradeva’s army became exhausted in the long drawn war between him and Krishnadeva Ray and in fighting different fronts in the far-flung territory stretching from the Hoogly district in the north to the Nellore district in the south. His lenient behaviour towards Govinda Vidyadhar, a traitor has partially helped the process which hastened the decline of Orissa.
The new approach to the religion, the degradation of the Jagannath cult and the general degeneration of the Oriya society and the degradation of the moral conduct of the people combined became responsible for the fall of Orissa. The fall was so great that the people have not yet recovered the last glory of Orissa.
6. Maratha Rule in Orissa:
The disintegration of the Mughal empire created a short of anarchical atmosphere in Orissa. There prevailed a state of insecurity and anxiety among the people. The administrators, in charge of Orissa, failed miserably to counteract against the Maratha invasion. The aggressive Marathas used this country as a spring board to get their economic ambition fulfilled by repeated invasions.
Mir Habib (Mir Habibullah Khan) went to Raghuji Bhonsle at Nagpur and sought his help for an invasion against Bengal. On his request Raghuji decided to divert his attention against Alivardi Khan and entrusted his Prime Minister Bhaskar Ram popularly known as Bhaskar Pandit for this invasion.
Bhaskar Pandit accompanied by Mir Habib entered into Orissa through Barmul pass with a large Maratha army and occupied Barabati fort on 19 April, 1742. From Barabati Bhaskar Pandit moved towards Burdwan via Midnapur. Alivardi at that time was not prepared for the onslaught and escaped.
Mir Habib followed him up to Murshidabad and with the help of about 700 Maratha horsemen plundered the city to avenge the treachery of Alivardi Khan who murdered Sarfaraj. He collected plenty of money and rescued his family members.
In Orissa, the Marathas did not face any resistance from any quarter. Shaikh Masum, the representative of Alivardi was too weak to meet the Marathas and he was easily killed by the Maratha troops. Then Alivardi found no way out and appealed to the nominal Mughal emperor Mohammad Shah at Delhi.
The Nawab of Oudh and Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao of Poona were asked to help Alivardi at his distress. Against these odds, Alivardi reorganized his army and defeated the Maratha army at Katwa and then marched towards Cuttack. Bhaskar Pandit in order to safeguard the booty had withdrawn via Chilika.
That enabled Alivardi for the easy recovery of Cuttack. He stayed in the Barabati fort for about two months and returned appointing Abdul Nabi Khan a powerful Afghan leader of Murshidabad as the Naib Nazim of Orissa. The return of Alivardi resulted in a sudden attack of Raghuji on Orissa.
Raghuji then marched towards Bengal to collect chauth from Alivardi. This design was foiled by the joint venture of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao and Alivardi Khan. Raghuji then returned to Nagpur with his army.
Raghuji Bhonsle and Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao concluded a bilateral treaty in 1743 that allowed Bhonsle to exploit Bengal and Orissa. This prompted Raghuji to have a fresh attack on Alivardi’s kingdom. In the attack Alivardi killed Bhaskar Pandit treacherously in 1744. Consequent upon this Raghuji launched a fresh campaign against Alivardi to take vengeance of the murder of Bhaskar Pandit.
Alivardi was defeated. Raghuji demanded 3 crores of rupees as compensation. Mir Habib succeeded in occupying Orissa upto Midnapur. The presence of Maratha troops in Midnapur was considered as dangerous to the security of Bengal. Thus Alivardi resolved to oust the Marathas from Bengal. He led a campaign against Cuttack and captured the Barabati fort in June 1749. He quickly returned to Bengal.
After his return Mir Habib with the help of a huge army of 40,000 Maratha soldiers marched against Bengal. A prolonged war continued. Alivardi was growing old and due to his constant illness he could not wage an effective war against the Maratha adventurers. With the result he ensued for peace with the Marathas and finally a treaty was signed in 1751.
According to the treaty provisions, Mir Habib was accepted as the Naib Nazim of Orissa by Raghuji and Alivardi. The revenue of Orissa was decided to be paid to Raghuji as payment of arrears. Besides Alivardi was asked to pay rupees 12 lakhs every year as chauth to the Bhonsle.
River Sunamukhia was fixed as the boundary line between Bengal and Orissa. This agreement thus brought an end to the wars between the Marathas and Alivardi during 1741 to 1751. The administrative responsibility of Orissa could be shifted to the control of the Marathas and Orissa remained under their protection from 1751 to 1803. Maratha Governors were appointed to look into the administration of Orissa who were also designated as “Tax Framers”.
The Marathas inherited the Mughal system of administration in Orissa. Orissa under them was divided into two political divisions, one of which was distinguished by the name of Garjat and the other by that of Mughalbandi. These possessions were bounded by sea on the east, the Maratha province of Chhattisgarh on the west, the Chilika lake and Ganjam district on the south and the districts Jaleswar and Midnapur and Birbhum on the north. More than one third of the country was covered with jungles. The Garjat was held by 24 tributary chieftains.
The Raja of Khurda was the descendant of the royal family of Orissa and was the most powerful chief. He continued to exercise the regal privilege of conferring titles on the inhabitants of Mughalbandi and Garjat countries which was never objected to by the Marathas. Khurda was divided into number of jagirs.
The holders of the jagirs were called jagirdars. They were bound by the terms of their tenure to perform certain services about the person and the court of the Raja. They were required to pay a light quit rent cowree (Kauris). The Maratha authorities rarely interfered in the internal administration of these chieftains. But in case of lunacy or inability to rule, a chief was occasionally replaced by another suitable person chosen from the same family.
A very numerous important class of the Jagirdars who were of course the hereditary chiefs of the military of the country were Dala Beheras. Next sub-ordinate to them were Dalais. Every estate had a principal garh or fortress of brick, stone or mud to which was attached a band of Paik. The Paiks were the native hereditary militia class and were trained in the use of arms and were always ready to follow the command of their hereditary chiefs.
These tributary chiefs were intermediate superiors between the Maratha Government and the tenants of the soil. They were paying a stipulated quit rent either in cash or in kind. But there was no definite principle for collecting tribute from the feudatory chiefs. The Maratha Government acted as an umpire in case of boundary disputes between two chieftains.
They were secured in their forts. Most of the forts were surrounded by dense jungles. Many of the feudatory chiefs were often irregular in payment of the tribute and sometimes showed a spirit of insubordination to the Supreme Government in Orissa. There were instances of such insubordination. During the rule of Sheo Bhatt Sathe, the Raja of Dhenkanal murdered Buli Khan, an adopted son of Sheo Bhatt. At the same time, the Raja of Nilgiri plundered the inhabitants of some parts of Balasore.
In 1781, the Raja of Dhenkanal stopped the payment of tribute and organised an open resistance against the Maratha Government. The Raja of Kujanga was habituated in plundering vessels on the coast and acquired vast wealth. Briefly speaking, the Rajas of Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Kujanga, Kanika, Dhenkanal, Talcher, Hindol, and Anugul were in habit of creating troubles against the Maratha Government.
The plain coastal tract extending from Subarnarekha in the north upto Chilika in the south was known as Mughalbandi. Mughalbandi was divided into 150 parganas under the control of 32 Amils. Each pargana was generally sub-divided into two, three, four or more Mahals. The assessment and collection of the revenue of the parganas was done through a number of officers variously designated as Choudhuris, Kanungoes, and Talukdars.
They were hereditary officers. They were enjoying rent-free lands and were also granted some commissions from revenue collections. The Talukdars collected revenue from the raiyats of Pahikast villages and through the Mukadams the Mukaddami ones. They were required to keep the raiyats happy, prosperous and satisfied. In case of any oppression over the raiyats if detected they were punished.
The general administration of Orissa was kept under the Subahdar who was appointed directly by the Raja of Nagpur. He possessed both the civil and military power with him. He had his headquarters at Cuttack. The fort of Barabati was in charge of a Qiladar. The Qila contained artillery, cavalry and infantry forces. To ensure quick mobilisation of the force, the Marathas had as many as 2,000 cavalry posts of Orissa.
Under the Subahdar, there were a number of military officers designated as Faujdars. The Faujdar also enjoyed both civil and military authority. He was in charge of the general discipline of the division. He watched the movements of the strangers and supervised trade. These Faujdars were alfeo granted lands as their remuneration. The Faujdar was assisted by zamindars with troops during emergency situation.
Marathas encouraged image worship. The worship of Lord Jagannath at Puri received special attention of the Marathas. A number of villages and lands were assigned to the temple to meet the expenses of the rituals and ceremonies. Due to their patronisation pilgrims came in large number to visit the temple of Jagannath.
They did not want to bring any change in the time- old custom of the worship of Lord Jagannath. The Marathas were not indifferent to Muslim institutions. Rupees six thousand was reserved for charitable purposes every year on Brahmins, Mathas, Poor travellers and Mosques. The Kadam Rasul of Cuttack was regularly getting financial aid for its smooth management from the Maratha government.
During the Maratha rule a new type of nobility developed. A class rose into prominence due to the grace and favour of the Maratha Subahdar. Hunting was a special right granted to this class of nobility. Maratha revenue system was not harsh and it did not bring misery to the people. They generally respected the time old customs.
Annual settlements were conducted for collection of land revenue. Remission of land revenue was granted at the time of natural calamities. Taqavi (Taqavi) loans were also granted to the peasants during the years of calamity. Kauri was regarded as the chief currency and land revenue was collected in Kauri. Revenue collectors were specially instructed to keep the raiyats in good condition.
Like revenue administration, Maratha judicial system was very simple. Proceedings of both civil and criminal cases were simple. Shastras or time honoured customs determined the nature of punishment. The Amil was the judicial officer having power to try both civil and criminal cases. Minor cases were disposed of at the village level through Panchayats.
Justice was promptly delivered. No record of proceedings was maintained. Justice was easily available. Sometimes punishment was cruel and such examplery punishment frightened the people not to indulge in crimes. The Amil had certain revenue jurisdiction also. He was like a Revenue Commissioner in charge of several Parganas. The hereditary revenue officials like Chaudhuris, Kanungoes, etc., were controlled by him.
For maintaining law and order he was assisted by Khandaits who were in possessions of contingent of Chowkidars. Thus, under the Marathas Orissa enjoyed a simple judicial and revenue system. The Amils were granted rent-free lands known as Nan-kar lands (on remuneration) in lieu of their service to the Maratha Government.
The Marathas tried to improve communication in Orissa. The well known road that connected Bengal with Cuttack ran through Midnapur, Jaleswar, Busta, Ramachandr pur, Balasore, Soro, Bhadrakh. Dhamnagar received due repairs during this period. The Marathas opened Annachhatras and granted rent-free lands to the Brahmins.
They offered money to Sanyasis. Stirling remarks that “the administration of the Marathas was fatal to the welfare and prosperity of the country and exhibits a picture of misrule anarchy, weakness, rapacity, and violence combined which makes one wonder how society can have kept together under so calamitous a tyranny” is thus not fully justified.
7. Orissa on the Eve of British Conquests:
In 1803, the British East India Company’s troops occupied this country after breaking down the feeble Maratha resistance. The Brahmins and the Maratha officials were conciliated with liberal promises and the eighteen Garhjat tributary mahals were also incorporated within the province of Cuttack which embraced about 23,907 sq. miles and an estimated population of about 1,462,500 people. The easy conquest of the province was followed by difficult task of consolidation of the British hold over Orissa.
Maratha misrule and maladministration led to the decentralization of the Governmental responsibility over the growth of a non-productive parasite class on the medieval agrarian economy of Orissa. Towards the end of 18th century resistance movement by the Zamindars and their paiks against the bureaucratic oppression of the Maratha Fauzdars or Bargis resulted in the complete dislocation of the socio-economic condition of the people.
The Maratha revenue administration was cruel and harassed the people. Villages were put in auction. The peasants were left to the mercy of the Maratha army officers or Bargis. The unfortunate country people gave up all hopes to protect themselves from the attack of the troops. They sometimes confined themselves in jungles and sometimes built mud fortifications around them and sometimes did not put light to get rid of the Maratha attack. The elaborate administrative system with the Subahdar at the helm of the affairs and Amil at the head of each division supervising the work of Talukdars and Muqaddums remained only as a matter of convention.
8. Early British Administration:
After the Treaty of Deogaon, Harcourt and Melville, the commissioners became very much interested to organise the civil administration for settling the affairs of Cuttack. In 1804, the territories of Orissa were divided into two divisions—the northern and southern with river Mahanadi as the dividing line between them.
For each division a single British officer was appointed as the Judge, Magistrate and Collector. He shouldered all administrative responsibilities in his division. He was to work under the direction of a special commissioner. Such arrangements continued till September 1805 when new regulations were promulgated to regulate the civil administration on a permanent basis. The office of the special commissioners was abolished and the superintendence of the revenue affairs passed into the hands of the Board of Revenue at Fort William in Calcutta.
Orissa thus remained as a part of the Bengal Presidency till 1911 when the capital was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. Under the new arrangements Gorge Webb became the collector and Robert Ker became the Judge and Magistrate of the whole province. Robert Ker was also appointed as the Superintendent of the Tributary Mahals (Feudatory states) of Orissa. He was asked to look after the Government salt department till the appointment of J. King, the Salt Agent in Orissa in 1805.
The location of Puri as the administrative headquarter since 1805 being situated in a corner of the province posed some problems. Some Muslim Zamindars complained against the location and non-availability of accommodation and mosque for prayer in Puri town. Under the pressure of Muslim and Hindu Zamindars, the headquarter was shifted temporarily to Cuttack in 1814.
Finally, the collectorate of Orissa province was shifted to Cuttack in 1816 which became the nucleus of the British administration. According to the Regulation I of 1818, the office of the commissioner was established at Cuttack with the Board of Revenue, Board of Trade and Provincial Court of Appeal and Circuit. On 23rd October, 1828 Orissa province was divided into three districts, such as Balasore, Cuttack and Puri.
In 1829, Cuttack was declared the 19th commissionership of Bengal presidency comprising of Puri, Cuttack, Khurda, Balasore, Midnapur, Nuagan and Hijli. The commissioner was also entrusted with the charge of the Superintendent of the Tributary States. Districts of Orissa were further divided into sub-divisions in 1859.
9. Growth of National Consciousness in Orissa:
The spread of English education in the second half of nineteenth century resulted in the emergence of a purposeful and organised national consciousness in the divided Orissa. The famous Woods’ despatch and the establishment of the Calcutta University in 1857 provided necessary impetus for the growth of public interest for English education.
Further, the establishment of the Ravenshaw College at Cuttack in 1868 provided great incentive for the spread of higher education among the aspirants of Orissa who were deprived of the college education due to the distance from Orissa to Calcutta and high cost of living in the Calcutta city Educated Oriyas and the domiciled Bengalis constituted the elite class in the society of Orissa.
This elite class collaborated together in the socio-political activities of the seventies of nineteenth century. Chandramohan Maharana, Ganapati Das, Mani Mohapatra, Gopal Chandra Praharaj, Madhusudan Das, Abhiram Bhanj, Nandkishore Bal, Gopabandhu Das, Radhanath Ray, Gourisankar Ray, Ramsanker Ray, Pyarimohan Acharaya, etc., were the representative of both communities of the elite class. They played significant roles in the growth of Oriya nationalism in an inspiring manner.
Oriya nationalism had its origin in the language crisis. In 1848-49, the Collector of Cuttack had approved Bengali as official language on the initiation of some Bengalis. An idea began to spread among the high officials that Oriya as a language was not separate from Bengali and was the derivation of the Bengali language.
Uma Charan Haldar, Deputy Inspector of Schools, pleaded for the use of Bengali as the medium of instruction in the schools. He argued that Bengali books available in plenty could be used to avoid the paucity of Oriya text books. He further said that Oriya language be written in Bengali script. One Kantilal Bhattacharaya, teacher in Balasore High School, published a book telling that Oriya was a mere dialect of Bengali having no separate identity.
This controversial theory was blindly supported by Rajendralal Mitra, an eminent Bengali scholar. Goldsbury and John Beams strongly opposed this move and supported the claim that Oriya language was distinct from Bengali.
The pro-Oriya group spearheaded their views against such move in Ullasini Sabha and in some weekly newspapers like Utkal Dipika and Sambada Vihika. This created an unprecedented awakening in the dormant minds of the Oriya intelligentsia class. The journals which symbolized the awakening of the people discussed also many socio-religious and political problems. It also fostered the sense of unity in the minds of the Oriya speaking people under different administrative set-up of the British Government.
Many religious and educational organisations were established in Orissa after the growth of education and the establishment of printing press. Those organisations became mouthpieces of the rising intelligentsia class to spearhead people’s interest in different fields. The first such organisation was the mutual improvement society established at Cuttack in 1859.
Some English men residing at Cuttack attended the meetings of the society and took active interest in the discussions pertaining to socio-cultural problems. After the historic Orissa Famine, a quite good number of such organisations came up rapidly. Cuttack Debating Club (1869), Utkalollasini Sabha (1869), Utkal Bhasa Uddipani Sabha (1873), Bhadrakh Desh Hitaisini Sabha (1874), Ganjam Nisha Nishadhini Sabha (1875), Orissa Islam Association (1875), Balasore National Society (1878), Utkal Sabha (1882), Orissa People’s Association (1882), Orissa Graduate and under Graduate Association (1888) Orissa Christian Association (1896), and Utkal Hitaisini Sabha were some of the important associations which served a most useful purpose in the formative stage of the Oriya nationalism.
In organising the socio-political activities of the people of Orissa during the last part of the 19th century, the Utkal Sabha or the Oriya Association played a formidable role. In the early part of the present century, Utkal Union Conference presented a very significant role in handling the delicate political situation for the creation of the Orissa province. Madhu Sudan Das provided dynamic leadership to these two organisations.
In 1882, a big public meeting was organised in Cuttack town to express the feelings in favour of the adoption of the local self-Government system by Lord Rippon. Large number of people participated in the meeting. Madhusudan Das, Hariballava Ghose, Priyanath Chatterjee, Madhusudan Rao and Bipin Bihari Mitra, etc., spoke in the meeting and expressed that the people of Orissa were in readiness to shoulder the responsibilities of the management of the local self-Government.
They demanded that the people should be allowed to elect their representatives to form the local bodies. Similar type of meeting was held in Puri in August 1882. This showed the interest of the people to participate in the Government. Utkal Sabha gradually became instrumental in moulding public opinion to the province.
The first meeting of the Utkal Sabha was held in the premises of the Cuttack Printing Company on 16 August 1882. In the meeting many leading men of Cuttack town were present. They nominated office bearers and resolved to extend their full support to the local bodies of Cuttack district.
Chaudhuri Kashinath Das and Gauri Sankar Ray were unanimously elected as the President and the Secretary respectively. There were two Vice- Presidents and few members of the Executive Committee. Madhu Sudan Das was associated with this organisation from the beginning and he was the brain behind the Association.
Most of the meetings of the Sabha were held in the premises of the Utkal Dipika and through this paper Gauri Sankar Ray highlighted about the activities of the organisation. In a meeting held on 21st May 1883, it was resolved to support the Ilbert Bill and sent a petition to the Governor General pledging their support for the acceptance of the Bill.
Utkal Association (Utkal Sabha) in 1886 appealed the Government to reconstitute the legislative council in order to give more representations to the Indian people. In course of time, the Sabha concerned itself more and more with the specific problems of the Oriya speaking people instead of general issues concerning India. Madhu Sudan Das generated the spark of energy among the minds of the people to struggle against the British authorities.
10. Creation of Orissa Provinces:
Regional Kingdoms assumed political prominence since 1568. The Bhois of Khurda, the Bhanjas of Ghumsur and Mayurbhanj, and the Chauhans of Sambalpur assumed independent powers. The Mughals and the Marathas tried but failed to bring political unity of disintegrated Orissa.
The British East India Company conquered Orissa phase by phase. In the first instance, they conquered the southern part, then they invaded the coastal region and finally they added Sambalpur region in their administration. The political dismemberment of Orissa became an accomplishment which agitated the minds of enlightened Oriyas. They tried their best for the amalgamation of Oriya speaking tracts into one administrative unit and then the formation of a separate province.
The economic resources of the province remained scattered and caused great inconvenience for the Government to tackle the situation arising out of natural calamities like flood, famine and cyclone, etc. Provincial administration of Bengal, Madras and central provinces faced difficulties in dealing with linguistic minorities. The Oriya naturally got neglected. The cause of the Oriyas, their language and culture was espoused by local newspapers like Utkal Dipika of Cuttack, Prajabandhu of Rambha and Sambalpur Hitaisini of Bamra.
In 1875 Raja Baikuntha Nath De of Balasore and Bichitrananda Patnaik of Cuttack submitted a lengthy memorial for the unification of the scattered Oriya speaking tracts under single administration. In November 1888, Sir S.C. Bayley, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, visited Orissa and at that time he was presented with a memorial by the Utkal Sabha of Cuttack in this connection.
But the Lieutenant Governor rejected the idea outright. The memorials of the Oriya speaking people and their leaders, the agitation in the Oriya press and the suggestions of high English officials failed to get any results in this regard. The crisis came to a breaking point when the Chief Commissioner of Central Provinces decided to substitute Hindi language in place of Oriya for official use in the district of Sambalpur in 1895 as per the resolution No. 237 of 15th January 1895.
Such decision against the interest of the majority of Oriya population in the district created spontaneous and unprecedented storm not only in Sambalpur but also throughout Orissa. On 20th June 1895 the Utkal Sabha sent a memorial to Lord Elgin, the Governor General protesting against that arbitrary measure.
Such protest went unnoticed and by the end of 1895 Oriya was abolished in the courts of Sambalpur which became the worst form of gagging yet unknown even in the worst despotic form of Government. This decision naturally wounded the sentiments of the Oriya-speaking people very much and efforts in all directions were made to reverse the Government decision. It is interesting to mention that in July 1895, H.G. Cooke; the commissioner of Orissa supported the movement for amalgamation of Oriya speaking tracts. It was the first official support.
Cooke suggested that:
(1) Sambalpur district of the Chhattisgarh division of the central Province;
(2) Tributary states of Patna, Sonepur, Rairakhol, Bamra and Kalahandi; and
(3) The whole part of the Ganjam district in the states of Kimidi and Ghumsur be amalgamated with the Orissa division.
This suggestion was completely based on ethnological and philological considerations but unfortunately this was ignored by the Government. The agitation for the restoration of Oriya language in the courts continued undisturbed in Sambalpur. In July 1901 some leading men of Sambalpur like Madan Mohan Mishra, Brajamohan Patnaik, Balabhadra Supakar and Bihari Das under the leadership of Dharanidhar Mishra, leveled serious charges against the Government for their arbitrary language policy.
A deputation from Sambalpur consisting of Madan Mohan Mishra, Barabhadra, Sura, Brajamohan Patnaik, Bihari Das and Sripati Mishra met the Governor General at Simla to apprise him of the problems. The Government restored Oriya to its rightful place in Sambalpur but did not consider the transfer of Sambalpur to either Orissa division or to create of chief commissionership for Orissa.
Early in 1903, a small group of educated enthusiastic Oriyas met at Rambha town on Chilika lake. Encouraged by the Raja of Khallikote, they decided to establish the Ganjam Jatiya Samiti. The first meeting of that Samiti met in April 1903 in the town of Berhampur.
Representatives from the Oriya speaking tracts in different provinces attended the meeting. About the same time, the Utkal Sabha of Cuttack organised a meeting under the Presidentship of Utkal Gaurab Madhu Sudan Das. This meeting attended by many people resolved to appeal the Government to transfer the Oriya- speaking tracts to Orissa division, and to raise the Orissa division to a chief commissionership like that of Assam retaining the judicial supervision of Calcutta High Court and the educational connection with the Calcutta University.
The representatives of the Oriya speaking tracts of Madras, the Central Provinces and Bengal met in the conference at Cuttack on 30-31 December 1903. This was the historic gathering of the Utkal Sammilani amidst unprecedented enthusiasm which spearheaded the Oriya movement till the formation of a separate province in 1936. The conference was presided by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj Sriram Chandra Bhanjadeo.
Madhu Sudan Das, the real brain behind this, was the Secretary of the Sammilani. The Utkal Sammilani in a resolution welcomed the Risley circular regarding territorial adjustment. The Oriya movement which thus began in 1903 became the pioneering attempt in India to create a province on the philological consideration.
13. Growth of Education in Orissa During the British Times:
During the time of British occupation of Orissa in 1803, there was scarcely a single-native who was properly educated. The establishment of English Medium Schools, Colleges and Universities gave rise to a middle class intelligentsia with the new hope and aspirations in Orissa as elsewhere in India. By the first half of the 19th Century, such a climate was available in only the presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras and their neighbouring areas. The western ideas entered into Orissa very slowly.
In the matters of education, no interest was shown by the East India Company Government for a long time. But the missionaries had begun their educational activities in the early twenties of the 19th Century. The Baptist Missionaries of Serampore arrived at Cuttack on 12th February 1822 and started their work in the field of education for the children of Europeans and natives.
In the month of June, they established the first Oriya school at Cuttack with only 50 students in the first four months. The number of such type of schools increased to 15 by the end of 1823. The total number of students in these schools was 368 including 63 girls. These schools, however, were intended to impart religious instructions to students.
In October 1823, the missionaries again established an English charity school at Cuttack with the help of the Europeans living in Cuttack with a view to impart English education to a few native pupils. For a long time, the missionaries alone took interest in the establishment and management of schools in Orissa.
First Phase (1835-54):
The interest of the Company Government in providing education in the province could be roused in 1835 when Lord Bentinck took a historic decision regarding the introduction of the English language in the country. In pursuance of this decision, an English school was established at Puri in November 1835.
A teacher from Calcutta was appointed to work in this school. Only 25 students were admitted in the beginning. The school was kept under the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency. The number of students gradually increased and by 1838-39 there were 75 students in the school.
However, the Education Committee was not in favour of the continuance of the school at Puri on the ground of non-availability of local teachers. But the main cause was that the Government was not willing to spend liberally for the spread of modern education in Orissa.
Henry Ricketts, the Commissioner, strongly criticized the Government for their negligence and apathy in the matters of education for the people of Orissa. He strongly recommended for immediate Government assistance for the establishment of a Government school at Cuttack.
He in his letter to the Government said that “There is no place in our dominions where liberality and assistance on the part of the Government is more called for and I earnestly recommend that the same aid should be afforded as has been asked for Cuttack. We owe this province a debt which will be best paid by liberally supporting the proposed schools”.
Henry Ricketts had great admiration for the people of Orissa as they were industrious and trustworthy. He believed that the spread of education would definitely improve their standard in every field. He thus said that if schools in number be established and properly attended to, the Oriyas will soon show their degeneracy but the evil consequence of misrule.
The charity school established and managed by the missionaries at Cuttack was also in financial crisis and the missionaries desired to hand over the management of the school to the Government. The school was taken over by the Government in 1841 and soon after this; the school at Puri town was closed. Thus, by 1841, there was only one English school in Orissa.
The situation remained static for a long time. The inhabitants of Balasore demanded for the opening of a English school in Balasore town. They expressed their willingness to contribute money to meet the establishment cost. A.J.M. Mill, the Commissioner, even recommended for the establishment of the school but unfortunately the proposal was rejected by the Government.
The enrolment of the students in the Cuttack school did not increase up to expectation which went up to 121 in 1851. Attempts were made by providing scholarships, prize, and books to attract more students. In 1851, the school was named as the Cuttack Zilla School and on 1st November 1853, the Government opened one Zilla School each at Puri and Balasore towns. Thus, by the beginning of 1854, there were three Zilla Schools in the headquarters of three districts in the coastal tract of Orissa. These schools prepared the students up to entrance standard in those days.
Lord Hardinge took the decisions to establish a number of vernacular schools throughout the Bengal Presidency in 1844. Accordingly, eight vernacular schools were started in three districts of Orissa. On the other hand, the parents were not interested to send their children to these schools as the schools were managed by the Christian Government due to their religious prejudices. Besides, the poverty of the people was also responsible for this apathy. A.J.M. Mills, the Commissioner, did not like to close the vernacular schools and his successor Gouldsbury also took some special interest in the spread of education in Orissa.
He suggested the Government that no fees should be realized from the poor students and they should be supplied with books at half rates so that the parents might be attracted to send their children to the schools. In-spite of all such measures, the vernacular schools or Hardinge schools, as they were known, could not prosper.
Second Phase (1854-81):
In 1854, the famous Wood’s Despatch initiated the modern educational system in Orissa. It outlined a detailed programme for the growth of education in the country. It suggested for the creation of a separate department of education, establishment of Universities, and introduction of Granto-in-Aid system and the encouragement of Anglo-Vernacular education. Slowly and steadily, Orissa derived benefits from this educational policy of the Government.
In 1855, the Education Department of the Government of Bengal was created to carry out this new policy effectively. Gordon Young of the civil service became the first Director of Public Instruction. On the eve of the transfer of power from the control of the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858, the education in Orissa was in an extremely backward condition ; more backward than in any other division of Bengal. English education by the time had become firmly established in Bengal and Bihar.
Orissa was unfortunate to receive such education when the number of schools throughout Orissa had to be counted by units. At that time, there were about 600 employees in all the offices of Orissa. Of that, 216 were Oriyas. With the introduction of Grants-in-aid system as per the Woods’ Despatch, rapid progress was noticed in the field of school education in the country but the situation did not improve in Orissa. In 1856, Cockburn alleged in these words. “The province of Orissa seems to be overlooked and neglected”.
So he suggested to place Orissa under a separate and distinct local inspector for better supervision of the schools instead of placing it under the jurisdiction of the Inspector of Schools of South Bengal with his headquarter at Calcutta. Cockburn further suggested for the establishment of a number of Government schools and a normal school at Cuttack to impart training to the teachers of Orissa schools. He also wanted that school text books should be printed and sold at cheap rates to the students of Orissa.
The most remarkable event connected with the vernacular education in Orissa was the opening of the training schools at Cuttack in 1863 under the superintend fence of the Deputy Inspector of Puri. The monthly establishment cost of the school was Rs. 60 out of which Rs. 30 was paid to two pandits—one Bengali and one Oriya—and the balance Rs. 30 was spent for the trainees in the form of stipends. There were 23 students in the school in 1864 and on the completion of their studies, they were appointed in elementary village schools.
The historic “Orissa Famine” exposed the indifferent attitude of the Company Government in respect of education towards Orissa. Virtually, Orissa remained a backward country than any other province of India of equal importance as remarked by the Commissioner of Orissa Mr. T.E. Ravenshaw.
There were only 77 schools of all grades and the number of pupils was 3.536. There was total absence of any attempt of the Government to provide the people, with the means of education when the Government was spending huge amount for education in other parts of Bengal. With the result, the Oriyas could not compete with others for official patronage on fair terms.
When Government realised the risk of a general want of enlightened people in Orissa during the period of famine from the reports submitted by European Officers engaged in famine work, adopted a policy of progress for the moral improvement of the people of Orissa.
There existed a number of village Pathashalas or elementary village schools in the length and breadth of the country. On the eve of the British conquest of Orissa, most of them did not have the minimum standard prescribed by the Education Department. The mode of teaching of the village school masters was primitive. After the transfer of power from the Company to the Crown, efforts were made to develop the village pathashalas and to bring them to a prescribed standard through direct management.
It was ascertained that there were 2.074 village pathashalas with 15,547 boys in district of Cuttack and 839 pathashalas attended by 8,224 boys in Balasore district. Keeping the standard of these schools in view, Cockburn pressed the Government for the appointment of an Inspector of Schools for the promotion of vernacular education in Orissa.
In 1867, Mr. R.L. Martin, the Inspector of Schools South-West Division of Bengal, gave a dismal picture of the situation in the province. He felt the need of introducing the village pathashala scheme of Babu Bhudev Mukherjee also called the Normal school system. The main object of this system was to improve the quality of instruction in the schools by tracing their teachers.
He suggested for the opening of a Normal School at Cuttack which ultimately came up in the year 1869. This became the pioneering institution of its kind in the province. The training school was divided into two sections such as Pandit training section and Guru training section.
On 31 March 1870, there were 56 students in the Pandit section and 60 students in the Guru section. The students in the Pandit section learnt Sanskrit, Oriya and Bengali and the Guru section imparted only Oriya language. Thus, the position of Primary education gradually improved. The school was expected to change the pattern of education for the masses who were in habit of receiving their instruction from the abadhanas of the village schools in a primitive style.
Campbell’s Scheme of Primary Education:
In 1872, Sri George Campbell, the Lieutenant Governor, initiated a new scheme for primary education in Bengal to encourage its steady growth among the masses. He made substantial attempt to establish a good system of primary education of the simplest character. A special allotment of 4 lakhs of rupees was placed under the disposal of the local officers to establish schools in remote villages. It was calculated that about 6 or 7 thousand schools or pathashalas could be established at an average expenditure of Rs. 40 or Rs. 50 per school. On 30 December 1872, the decision was taken in that light.
The Lieutenant Governor wanted that the money granted should be fully utilized for the development of the village education that was reading writing and knowing arithmetic in the real indigenous language and character of each province. He was not in favour of appointing highly trained school masters on high salaries.
He rather wanted to give money as a grant-in-aid to village school master purely indigenous. But each was required to keep up a school according to local standards subject to inspecting and examination. For such purpose he considered Rs. 2 or Rs. 3 sufficient per teacher per month as an allowance.
He hoped that the remainder of the ordinary Rs.5 pathashala grant be shared by the village, or landlord or other party interested to make up. But in places where immediate assistance was not made available, the maximum of Rs. 5 was given by the Government till the Municipality was constituted.
In brief, the aim of the scheme was the extension of primary instruction by subsidizing the village pathashalas by monthly grants. The monthly stipends to the village abadhans were misunderstood by some orthodox people.
Campbells scheme also provided for the creation of primary school scholarships. As many as 410 pathashala scholarships of an amount of Rs. 29,520 were granted. The rate of scholarship was Rs. 3 per month and was tenable for a period of two years. The scheme also provided for the agency by which the new grant could be properly utilized.
The administration of primary schools was kept in the hands of the District Magistrates and Sub-Divisional Officers. They were to be aided and advised by regularly constituted school committees. With the introduction of this system Government appointed a Joint Inspector of Schools of Orissa. Subsequently Deputy Inspectors were appointed for three districts.
Further, the inspecting agency was strengthened by providing ten sub-inspectors by IH75-76. To provide trained abadhans (teachers) to the village pathashalas, two more normal schools were established—one at Balasore and the second at Puri in 1875-76. These schools have done immense work to impart practical training to vernacular teachers for the pathashalas. Consequent to this, all the newly aided pathashalas introduced improvement over the old indigenous village pathashalas in many respects.
The Government introduced the Midnapur system in Orissa that was the system of payment by result. This system was introduced in Balasore and subsequently was extended to other two districts of the province. Instead of paying a monthly stipend to the teachers of a selected number of pathashalas the new system established a fixed standard by public examinations to be conducted at certain centres to which students were required to pass.
For every boy or girl who passed that examination, a small fee was given to the abadhan. That was no doubt cheaper and more efficient system as the authorities in the education department believed. This new system involved enthusiasm among all concerned with the primary education.
According to the report of the Collector Cuttack in 1878, the people supported this new system with great favour and the teachers showed their keenest interest. Thus, by the introduction of this examination system, the prejudice against the Government schools had vanished.
In the new scheme of the payment by result, the number of the schools under the Government control increased rapidly. From 832 pathashalas in 1874, the number went up to 4,368 in 1878 and further to 6,092 in 1881. Students’ strength was getting accumulated quickly.
Radha Nath Ray, the Joint Inspector of Schools in Orissa, gave a clear picture of the success of this system in the words that “The success of the payment-by-result’s system though generally attributed to pecuniary rewards which are annually distributed to pathashalas in the primary examination may be traced deeper to an inherent principle of human nature emulation, which it has turned to account in such a manner as no other educational system did before”.
With the rapid increase in number of primary schools under the control of the Government, steps were taken to reorganize the inspecting agency by the introduction of the chief guru system and inspecting pandit system by 1880. The chief guru himself was a teacher in the pathashala and in addition to his duties he was asked to visit several neighbouring pathashalas and to keep the Sub-Inspector of the area informed constantly about the conditions of such schools.
He was thus a link between the abadhans and the inspecting staff. He was also required to assist the inspecting staff in the smooth conduct of the central examination. The inspecting pandits thus were the subordinate staffs to the Sub-Inspectors. He received pay and travelling allowance amounting to about Rs. 20 per month.
Printed books were introduced into most of the schools which simplified the pathashala course to some extent. Writing on paper and slates was also introduced instead of palm-leaf and hard chalk.
From 1881-82, Lower Vernacular schools were included in the primary section and renamed as “upper-primary schools”. The primary schools of the previous years had in consequence become “lower primary schools”. The lower primary schools in 1881-82 were 7,621 with 86,395 students and the upper primary schools were 149 with 3,757 students. Thus, it is very dear that the Government had succeeded in re-organising the primary education on ar. intelligible basis.
The famous Wood’s Despatch desired to encourage secondary education through the grant-in-aid system. It was thought that this grant-in-aid system would encourage private enterprise to open new high schools. But it evoked no response from the public for a long time.
The main reason was that only a few students came up to the standard of entrance examination. In 1867-68, only 10 candidates appeared in the entrance examination from three Zilla schools of Orissa Division and only three students passed through. In the next year 10 students passed out of 13 appeared which was considered to be a grand success. Such a situation continued for a considerable period for which the spread of higher education in Orissa was delayed.
In 1872, there were three higher English schools, 11 aided Middle English schools, one unaided middle English school, 21 middle vernacular schools and 18 aided middle vernacular schools with 2,527 students only. In 1877 all Middle English schools were placed on a vernacular basis. Vernacular was made the medium of instruction in the middle English schools. The text-books were introduced in the language of the people (Oriya) and English was taught merely as a language.
The students, for scholarships both for middle English and middle vernacular were examined by the same papers prescribed for those schools. In 1882, some changes were affected in the scholarship rules. The new rule allowed candidates from all middle schools whether styled English or Vernacular. The prospect of secondary education was further improved by the declaration of the Government Resolution of 29th July 1878. As per the provision of this Resolution, the Deputy Inspector was allowed to visit secondary schools for supervision. By 1882, secondary education had not made substantial progress in Orissa.
There were only 6 high English schools in Orissa. Of which three schools, Ravenshaw Collegiate School and the Balasore and Puri Zilla schools were managed by the Government. The Cuttack European school and the Lakhannath school were maintained on the grant-in-aid rules.
The Cuttack Academy started by Pyari Mohan Acharya was the only private school preparing students for entrance examination. By that time, there were 23 middle English schools, 35 middle vernacular schools with an aggregate of 1,411 students in Orissa. Thus, secondary education did not make much headway in Orissa in comparison to the primary education.
The Indian Education Commission suggested the ways of securing the rapid expansion of secondary education for the entire India. As per the suggestion, the Government declared to supplement the limited funds of the state by calling for the every private agency. Higher and secondary education was to be developed by local bodies. To keep up the standard to education. Government also decided to maintain a limited number of schools and to inspect all the public institutions through its inspecting agency.
The Cuttack Zilla school was converted into a High School or Collegiate School in January 1868. The College department consisted of two classes only in which the undergraduate students were prepared to appear at the first examination in Arts. A law class was opened at the same time. The monthly fee at the College class was Rs. 3 and at the law class Rs. 5. Thus, by the end of 1869, the Cuttack High School consisted of three departments such as College department. Law department and usual classes of Zilla school.
T.E. Ravenshaw, the Commissioner, in 1875 proposed to convert the college department of the High School into a college in which the students would be able to complete the entire course upto B.A. degree. This proposal was placed before Sir Richard Temple during his visit to Cuttack on April 1875.
He was convinced that Oriyas were very much exposed to many disadvantages by their distance from the Presidency College at Calcutta to get higher education. The college was opened in January 1876 with the grant of Rs. 30,000 only. The balance of the expenditure was required to be shared by the people of Orissa. Ravenshaw accepted those conditions on behalf of the people.
In 1878, Krishna Chandra Bhanja, the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj, made a donation of Rs. 20,000 to the college as a permanent endowment. At his request, the name of the college was changed to Ravenshaw College to commemorate the services of Mr. Ravenshaw as the Commissioner of Orissa.
The law department was attached to the college in 1881. It prepared the students for B.L. examination. In 1891, M.A. classes were opened. The total expenses of Ravenshaw College in 1900 amounted to Rs. 21,466 of which the students paid Rs. 5,921 and the balance was met by the Government.
By the establishment of Ravenshaw College, the people of Orissa were introduced to the treasures of western knowledge for the first time. This brought a new lease of life with useful ideas to the young mind. This further resulted in the birth of new self-consciousness among the Oriyas which unveiled a new horizon in the freedom movement.
T.E. Ravenshaw, the Commissioner of Orissa, suggested the Government to open a Medical College by which the province would be benefited to a great extent. In September 1875, Sir Richard Temple, the Lieutenant Governor, accorded his approval and agreed to give Rs. 3,000 in support of the school. In February 1876, the Medical school was opened with 38 students. The medium of instruction in that school was vernacular. Under the supervision of Dr. Stewart, the Cuttack Medical School made a promising commencement and contributed a lasting service to the province.
In 1879, fourteen students appeared in the final examination of which thirteen students were considered deserving for the diplomas in Medicine and Surgery. In 1886, a female class was opened in the School. The Inspector General of Civil Hospital visited Cuttack Medical School and expressed his satisfaction on the progress of the School. By 1905, the Cuttack Medical School fulfilled the expectations of the original founder and the people of Orissa by providing qualified doctors to several hospitals and dispensaries in Orissa. It also trained efficient nurses. Thus, the plan of having a medical college in Orissa could be thought of only after the success of this school.
Mr. Ravenshaw wrote to the Bengal Government about the necessity of a survey school in Orissa. The Cuttack Survey School was thus opened in 1876 with only thirteen students on the rolls. The school rapidly grew in popularity. At the end of 1891, the student strength went up to 41. This survey school continued as the only school of its type till its conversion into a school of Engineering in 1923.
Female Education made a beginning in Orissa by the initiative of missionaries. During the period of famine, the missionaries established orphanages which subsequently developed into centres of female education. In 1875, there were 9 girl schools and one Zanana association for the instruction of girls.
Of these, 5 were in Cuttack, one in Puri and the rest in Balasore. All schools were aided except one. By 1880, all the girl schools reached in the lower vernacular scholarship standard. The expansion of female education was, however, mainly due to the encouragement of girls classes established in primary school for boys.
Gradually liberal grants were provided by the Government on easier terms. By 1904-05, the progress of female education was seen to be not satisfactory. The standard of the girl reached up to middle vernacular scholarship standard. The slow progress of the female education in Orissa was mainly due to the fact that the people were conservative and did not like to send their daughters to the schools meant for co-education, that they usually did not take the same amount of care and interest in the education of their female wards and they insisted on the system of early marriage.
Scarcity of adequate qualified female teachers also played a very negative role in this regard. Even though the progress of female education throughout the 19th century was very slow, yet the inertia had been removed and steadily new consciousness dawned upon the minds of the people. The schools in different parts of Orissa, the Ravenshaw College, the Cuttack Medical School, the Cuttack Survey School and other technical schools sustained to bring about radical socio-cultural changes which again succeeded to rouse the people from their age long slumber in Orissa.
14. Maritime Activities of Kalinga:
From the early times the people of Kalinga were engaged in maritime activities with other countries. Many factors motivated the people of Kalinga for such activities. The lure of foreign trade was the prominent factor and along with this the spirit of adventure, the establishment of colonies and kingdoms and the spread of religion added courage for the growth of maritime activities.
The people of Kalinga entered into lower Burma in large numbers, settled there permanently sharing even the names of some cities of Burma. Such change was the result of the steady flow of immigrants from Orissa as has been described by Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray in his ‘Brahmanical Gods in Burma’.
In Thalon i.e., the ancient Rammanadesa, the land par-excellence of the Tailangas, at last the Brahmanical elements was imported decidedly from Orissa, the ancient Odra or Kalinga. The ancient name attributed to old Promo is Srikshetra, so often mentioned in the Mon records as Sikset or Srikset and by the Chinese pilgrims as Si-li-cha-ta-lo and Srikshetra is the holy land of Puri of ancient Kalinga coast.
The old name for Pegu is Ussa which is but a form of Odra or Orissa. It is thus difficult to disbelieve that Pegu colonized from Orissa or was once dominated by the people who migrated from Orissa. Lower Burma is the land of the people who were and are still called ‘Tailangas’.
The term used as early as 1107 A.D. in Mon records is but a deviation of ‘Telingana’ or ‘Trikalinga’ the name used to mean almost the whole of the Andhra-Kalinga zone. Likewise the earliest colonization of the Malaya Peninsula and Java and probably had been made from Kalinga, for the Hindus of the Peninsula and the islands were and are still known as ‘Kling’.
Emigrants from all parts of India, Eastern India and Orissa, the Chola country and Ceylone began to pour in incessantly in the wake of mainly trade and commerce. The coming of the emigrants changed the social and cultural life which gave birth to a new period known as classical period.
The monuments present in Pagan when closely analysed and examined reveal the influences from Bengal on one side and Orissa on the other. The sculptures found in Burma seem to have very intimate artistic affinities with Brahminical and Mahaynist divinities from Orissa. Srikshetra with the capital Prome became a Hind Kingdom and the kings of Hindu ruling family that established itself there bore such names as Hari Vikrama, and Surya Vikrama which are distinctly Oriya names.
Malaya Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Bali, the group of islands situated in South-East Asia and also the Malaya Peninsula received from early time’s streams of Indian immigrants and mostly from Kalinga. The empire built by Sailendra dynasty that included these islands was a branch III the Sailodbhava dynasty of Orissa in the 7th century A.D. Another significant fact about this time is the adoption of a new name Kalinga from Malaysia at-least by foreigners. The Chinese called the island Holing which is a transcript of Kalinga and as Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray observes, the Hindus of the Malaya Peninsula and Java were and are still known as Kling which is a variant of Kalinga.
It is thus said that although colonists from different parts of India entered into the Malaya Peninsula and this group of islands the colonists from Kalinga predominated among them. Since the Sailendra dynasty of Orissa established a vast empire in the South-East Asia, the people of the homeland of the imperial dynasty must have been encouraged to migrate into these parts in large number changing in course of time their culture and religion including their original names.
In Orissa itself, the history of its maritime activities and cultural expansion has been forgotten through reminiscence of the sea voyages still Kalinga to the folklore of the land. Many stories speak of the merchants (Sadhavas) who went on sea voyages with their glotilla (boitas) and returned home with wealth.
In the month of Bhadrava (August, September) a particular festival known as Khudurakuni Osa is observed throughout Orissa and at the end of it, a story is recited to those who observe fast during the occasion. The story relates to a merchant family consisting of seven brothers and only one sister named Tapoi, the youngest one of the family.
These seven brothers after entrusting their beloved sister to the care of their wives went on sea voyage with their flotilla (boitas) and after a long period of absence returned home with their boats filled with treasures. Their wives welcomed them at the port by the burning lamps and blowing conch shell but to their utmost surprise the brothers did not see their beloved sister in the company of their wives.
After making enquiry they came to know that because of the ill- treatment of all her sister-in-laws except the youngest one, Tapoi had left home in a pitiable condition. The brothers took prompt steps to bring her back and to punish all their wives except the wife of the youngest brother. But on the moment Tapoi breathed her last.
It is said that the particular festival referred to above originated from the day of her death. Many other festivals like the above are still observed in Orissa, which appears to be reminiscent of ancient sea voyage. On Kartika Purnima (October-November) while taking their bath in rivers and tanks in the morning, all Oriyas men and women have even now the custom of floating miniature boats made of the barks of the plantain trees or of paper with the lamp burning inside them, which appears to be symbolic of the sea voyage.
The different kinds of commodities on the ancient people of Orissa used to trade to foreign countries. One kind of pumpkin known as boitikakhara or boitalu which its name indicates was certainly a sea-borne vegetable brought from outside in boitas or boats. This vegetable is used even in the temple of Jagannath at Puri which fully indicates that its entry into Orissa took place at a remote time whereas the vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, etc., of recent arrival are not used in the bhoga of Lord Jagannath of Puri.
During ancient time Orissa was a great maritime power and from time immemorial she had her reputation for seafaring due to the availability of perennial rivers and as such played a prominent role in the transoceanic commerce and maritime history of Orissa. It was great in power and resources on account of its maritime trade and overseas colonies.
Due to the flourishing maritime trade led to the growth of urban centres and urbanisation along the sea coast of ancient Orissa then known as Kalinga. The maritime trade of Kalinga can be traced to the 4th century B.C. A number of suitable ports existed on the sea coast of Orissa. Ports like Palur, Dantapura, Dosarene, Pithunda, Kalingapatanam have been referred to by different sources during the ancient Kalinga.
According to Greek sailor Ptolemy, Palur was a significant port which he used as the base for the preparation of his map and fixed it as the beginning of the Gangetic gulf. The overseas trade had helped generating economic affluence to Kaling in the past during dynastic role. But with the increasing political instability and internal disturbances, the kings in course of time withdrew their patronage and left the ports featherless isolation.
The activities of the sea pirates, loss of profitability of the trade together with the complexity of the society where crossing sea was considered as sinful by the higher castes, all combinedly became responsible for the quick decline of the maritime activities of ancient Kalinga.