Buxi Jagabandhu : The Chief Architect of Khurda Paik Rebellion of 1817

Buxi Jagabandhu

Before occupying Orissa, the whole of Bengal in the north and the Oriya district of Ganjam in the south was already under the British suzerainty. So it became easier for the Britishers to attack Orissa from three sides. On 8th September 1803 the Britishers started from Madras and arrived at Puri on 16th September en-route Manik Patna. With the active aid and co-operation of traitor Fate Mahammed of Malud, Colonel Harcourt reached Narasingha Patna, crossing the Chilka lake. To their great astonishment the Britishers faced no obstacles and hindrances while capturing Puri, the holy city of Orissa. After occupying Puri, Colonel Harcourt marched to Cuttack with his military detachment. Though the British soldiers had to face weak resistance from Marathas near the Atharnala and Jagannath Sadak, they marched ahead towards Cuttack, after defeating the Marathas, who fled away to the jungles of Khurda.

A small detachment of British soldiers under the able leadership of Captain Morgan got down from the ship at Jamapada near Balasore sea shore and occupied the forts of Marathas and the Balasore town. Another detachment of British soldiers under able leadership of Colonel Forgusson marched towards Balasore via Medinapur and joined the Britishers previously stationed at Balasore. The united British force marched from Balasore to Cuttack and with the help of soldiers of Colonel Harcourt occupied the Barabati fort, after defeating the Marathas. In this manner the Englishmen occupied Orissa in the year Colonel Harcourt and Mr. Melvil became the new Administrators of Orissa.

In 1804 the British soldiers attacked the Barunei fort of Khurda and razed it to the ground by cannon firing. The Britishers dethroned Mukunda Dev II, the king of Khurda and arrested him alongwith his chief political advisor Jayi Rajaguru. After a fake trial, the Britishers hanged Jayi Rajaguru at Bagitota of Medinapur and released king Mukund Dev II, who was ordered to stay at Puri instead of Khurda and was entrusted with the responsibility of Jagannath temple management.

Due to the arbitrary fixation of rent on the “Niskar Jagir, lands of the Paiks, increasing of land rents indiscriminately and accepting the land revenue in cash in stead of “Kaudi” and the exclusive British right of procuring salt from the sea and Chilika lake and due to the oppression and harrasment both by the English rulers and Bengalee Amalas, the Paiks (warrior community of Orissa) of Khurda revolted against the Britishers in the fateful year of 1817 under the able leadership of Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mahapatra Bharamarbar Ray, a Military General of Gajapati Mukund Dev-II of Khurda. The British Govt had taken away illegally the valuable estate of Rodanga from the possession of Buxi Jagabandhu through a calculative consipiracy. Krushna Chandra Singh, a Bengalee official serving under Charles Grome the then Collector of Cuttack was staying at Cuttack after purchasing the Rahanga Estate. He conspired with his brother Gourhari Singh and a close relative Chandra Prasad Singh to grab the landed property of Rodanga Estate.

Buxi Jagabandhu was depositing the rent of his Rodanga Estate at the treasury of Cuttack Collectorate. But he later on started depositing the rent of Rodanga Estate at Puri in stead of Cuttack as per the proposal of Krushna Chandra Singh as because Puri was nearer for Buxi. While depositing the rent of his Rodanga Estate it was willfully recorded in the Govt. Records as “Rahanga Ogher”. In the year 1809 it was notified by the Govt. for sale of the Estate, “Rahanga Ogher.” Krushna Chandra Singh purchased the aforesaid property in the way of lease and sent his men to possess the Rodanga Estate forcibly. But due to the strong resistance of Buxi, Krushna Chandra Singh failed in his attempt to take possession of Rodanga Killa. In the year 1813 Rodanga Estate was again leased out in favour of Krushna Chandra Singh. In this connection Buxi sent a petition to the then Settlement Commissioner Mr. Richardson seeking justice from him. But the British authority remained callous in this matter. In order to fight against injustice and wrong of the British rulers Buxi Jagabandhu united the Paiks, Daleis, Dalabeheras and Paik Sardars of Khurda, who were also deprived of their “Niskar Jagirs” (Rent-free landed properties given to them by the king of Khurda).

In the year 1817, about 400 armed and loyal tribal subjects of Ghumusar King Srikar Bhanja rose into rebellion against the Britishers and forcibly entered into Banapur area as because the king had been detained in the prison by the British rulers. It was a golden opportunity for Buxi Jagabandhu who marched towards Banapur alongwith the Paik army. All the Daleis, Dalbeheras and Paik Sardars of Khurda joined with Buxi to fight against the Britishers and to drive them out from Khurda soil. The Paiks set fire Banapur police station and other Government buildings and killed the police and British supporters and looted the Govt. treasury. The British salt agent Mr. Betcher, stationed at Banapur managed to flee from the spot leaving behind his commercial ship at Chilika, which was also looted by the Paiks. The Englishmen who were at Khurda left for Cuttack out of fear for their lives, being informed about the marching of Paik army towards Khurda from Banapur. The rebel Paik army proceeded towards Khurda from Banapur.

The rebel Paik leaders mercilessly killed the British supporter and traitor Charan Patnaik of Rathipur village under Khurda. The rebellion spread like wild fire to all parts of Khurda including Panchagada and Bolagada. Getting secret news from intelligence the English Magistrate Mr. Impey sent Leiutnant Pridox to Khurda and Leiutnant Faris to Pipli to crush the rebellion. On 1st April 1817 Mr.

Impey arrived at Gangapada near Khurda alongwith Leiutenant Travis and some English soldiers and returned back to Cuttack out of fear, seeing the elaborate military preparation of the rebellious Paiks and reported to his immediate authority as follows.

“This instant I returned after a most fatiguing march of a day and night from Khurda. I can only write for the information of his Lordship in Council that my retreat was forced and that the whole of Khurda territory is in a complete state of insurrection.” Leiutnant Faris was killed at Gangapada by the rebellious Paiks and Leiutnant Pridox left Khurda for Cuttack panic-stricken when he was attacked by the Paiks under the able leadership of Buxi Jagabandhu.

Balabhadra Chhotray, the king of Gadapadmapur, joined the rebellion on 7th April 1817 after Pipli was occupied by the revolutionaries. Captain Willington was deputed to protect Puri town from the occupation of the revolutionaries and to know the activities of king Mukunda Dev II. On 9th April 1817, Captain Le Fevre marched alongwith 550 Sepoys and reoccupied Khurda without any resistance. On that particular day large number of Paiks entered into Puri under the leadership of Buxi Jagabandhu and set fire to Government and Court buildings etc. The Englishmen left Puri out of fear and proceeded to Cuttack. The Sebayats and Pandas of Jagannath temple proclaimed in public that Orissa became free from British rule. In order to reinstall king Mukunda Dev II as the ruler of Khurda, Buxi Jagabandhu alongwith large number of Paiks met the king at Srinahar, Puri. But in stead of agreeing with the proposal of Buxi Jagabandhu, the disturbed king sought military help from the British rulers through a secret letter.

In order to crush the rebellion, military law was promulgated in Khurda, Lembai Pragana and Kothadesh area by the British rulers. Major General Gabriel Matrindel was appointed as the Military Commissioner on 16th April 1817. Captain Le Fevre went to Puri from Khurda and arrested king Mukunda DevII and made him captive on 28th April 1817.

Major Hamilton imprisoned Mukunda Dev II and his son in the fort of Barabati. The rebellion took gigantic form and spread to Gop, Tiran, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Asureswar area inspite of strong measures adopted by the Britishers. Under the able leadership of Buxi Jagabandhu the Paiks looted the properties of British supporters and killed them mercilessly. In Gop area under the leadership of Karunakar Sardar, the Paiks attacked and drove out the police. Captain Faithfull was to crush the rebellion there. In Kujanga area king Madhusudan Sendha had secretly helped the Paiks. There Madhusudan Mangarj, Bamadev Pattajoshi and Narayan Paramguru had taken the leadership of Paiks. On 13th September 1817 Captain Kenet marched to Kujanga alongwith two thousand British soldiers and crushed the rebellion with the help of traitors like Balunkeswar Das and Krupasindhu Chhamu Karan.

For trial of war captives and rebel Paik leaders a committee was formed with W. Ewer and Gabriel Matrindel as members. They were ordered to prepare a report depicting the reasons of Paik Rebellion and to suggest necessary measures in order to prevent the out break of any future rebellion.

On 30th November 1817 king Mukunda Dev II died inside the prison. The king of Kujanga was set free by the Britishers as he surrendered himself before them and helped the British Govt. in nabbing the rebel leaders. Though many rebel leaders were granted royal pardon, Buxi Jagabandhu, Krushna Chandra Bidyadhar, Gopal Chhotray, Pitabas Mangaraj, Padmanav Chhotray, Bishnu Paikaray and Pindaki Bahubalendra were excluded from it. Rewards were declared in their names in order to nab them either dead or alive. As many as 123 Paik leaders were deported to remote islands. Bamadev Pattajoshi and Narayan Paramguru of Kujanga were awarded with 14 years of rigorous imprisonment and Parsuram Routray, the killer of traitor Charan Pattanaik was awarded death sentence.

Buxi Jagabandhu, the chief architect of Paik Rebellion left Khurda and entered into the dense forest of Ghumusar. Later on he went to his father-in-law’s house at Shergad, and again hide himself in the deep jungle of Boud and Daspalla. The British Govt. proclaimed rewards to nab Buxi Jagabandhu either dead or living, Major Roughsedge made contacts with the king of Boudh for arresting Buxi Jagabandhu and hearing the news of preparation for his arrest Buxi returned to the Ghumsar jungle leaving Boudh territory immediately.

Brigedier General Thomas, after receiving secret information of Buxi Jagabandhu’s presence in a Kandha tribal village of Ghumusar, made a sudden combing operation and gheraoed the area but failed in his attempt to arrest Buxi. Due to the continuous failure of British Govt. in arresting Buxi Jagabandhu, the British Commissioner was compeled to made an official proclaimation that, no harm would be done from any quarter including the Govt. in case Buxi desired to surrender. But the proclaimation yielded no result as Buxi Jagabandhu had little trust on the words and activities of Britishers. In order to compel the surrender of Buxi, the British rulers in the year 1819, imprisoned the two wives of Buxi Jagabandhu, his minor son, his Gumasta and personal home servant in Barabati fort. But such tactics of the British rulers became futile. So in 1820, the British Govt. released the family members of Buxi from the prison of Barabati fort. Lastly the British Commissioner T. Pakenham sent a letter to the king of Nayagada for convincing Buxi Jagabandhu to surrender. The British Govt. made out some conditions for the surrender of Buxi. In case of his surrender the Govt. was obliged to grant a monthly pension of Rs.150/- for his maintenance and he would stay at Cuttack with his family members. In case of his going outside of Cuttack. Buxi would have the prior permission of the British Commissioner.

As there was nothing offending in the aforesaid conditions, the king of Nayagarh advised Buxi Jagabandhu to surrender himself before the British authority. On 25th May 1825, Buxi Jagabandhu surrendered himself before the British rulers and stayed at Cuttack alongwith his family members. On 24th January, 1829 Buxi Jagabandhu left the mortal world for the heavenly abode and after his demise the monthly pension granted for his maintenance was cancelled as per the terms and conditions of the British Govt.

Author: Braja Paikray
N.B: This article was first published in Orissa Review, August 2004

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