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Former princely states in Orissa deprived
There were 26 princely states where Oriya language with regional variation was spoken. These princely states were not under direct British administration unlike Balasore, Cuttack, Puri, Khurdha, Ganjam, Sambalpur and Koraput.
IT IS said that on linguistic affinity the demand of a separate Orissa province was mooted before the British Government. Orissa province was created in 1936. While the movement for a separate state was going on, the then British Government appointed the Atlee sub-committee to examine and recommend to the Government, the feasibility of a separate province or a separate Oriya state.
 
The committee submitted its report in 1930 where among other recommendations it also pointed out that unless the Oriya speaking princely states were amalgamated with the Orissa province, economically the said province would not be viable. This point caught the imagination of Harekrusna Mahatab and he started planning how to bring the princely states within the fold of Orissa province and thereby to strengthen the economy of the new province, as these princely states were a repository of mineral and forest resources. But the outbreak of the Second World War did not give the opportunity to Mahatab to execute his plan.
 
There were 26 princely states where Oriya language with regional variation was spoken. These princely states were not under direct British administration unlike Balasore, Cuttack, Puri, Khurdha, Ganjam, Sambalpur and Koraput. The regions under direct British administration were then called Mugalbandi or British Orissa and the localities under kings and princes were called Gadjats or Princely States.
 
Besides, in Chhatisgarh there were 16 states under the rulers. About 23 out of the 26 Oriya speaking states of Orissa and 16 states of present Chhatisgarh did not want to join the Orissa province or Madhya Pradesh. There was an apocalyptic fear among the peoples that in the event of their merger with Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, there interest would be jeopardized and there locality would lag behind during post- independence in view of the fact that freedom struggle could not gain momentum in these princely states unlike their counterpart British administered states. Thus, they wanted to form a separate province under the Indian Federation or Dominion. Just after independence, almost all princes conceded their accession with the Indian Dominion, but they too wanted a separate state. Thus, the people and rulers of these 39 Princely States started Eastern States Union, a province under the Indian Dominion. Raipur was selected for its capital and the High Court started to function there.
 
Eastern States Union immediately took the cause of Indravati Dam Project in Kalahandi. As Indravati is an inter-state river, the state union appealed to the Indian Government for clearance. Nevertheless, the recognition of Indian dominion to the eastern States Union as separate province was wanting. Just at that time, Prajamandala Movement broke out in many Oriya speaking states except Kalahandi and few small states, under the direct instigation of the then Congress led Government of Orissa or Harekrushna Mahatab, the then chief minister of Orissa.
 
The leaders of Prajamandala movement were impressed upon by H. K Mahatab and Congress party that their movement is primarily designed to obtain democratic right, self- determination and people’s representative form of a government from their rulers. Princely states like Nilgiri, Dhenkanal, Talcher, Ranapur, Nayagarh, Bonai, Sonepur and Mayurbhanja witnessed the outbreak of this movement and the problem of law and order arose in these states.
 
This became a plea for H. K. Mahatab to argue and impress upon the Indian Government to take way the administration of these princely states and merge them with Orissa province and not to recognize eastern states union as separate province. At his request, Sardar Patel and home secretary, V.P Menon arrived at Cuttack on 13th December 1947 and then called a meeting of 26 Oriya rulers in Cuttack. In the meeting held on 14th December, when Patel and Menon appealed to the kings to join with the Orissa province, the response from the side of the rulers was low key. The next day, Orissa military was prepared to meet any eventuality.
 
P.K Deo, ruler of Kalahandi openly said that since the legislative Assembly of Kalahandi has passed a resolution to join the Eastern States Union, it is difficult on his part to agree to join the Orissa province. The next day the DIG of Orissa Police was ordered to proceed and forcibly occupy the princely state which would not join the Orissa province. Then one by one all rulers put their signature on the merger document. P.K Deo, then Maharaja of Kalahandi, was the last to sign. Under intimidation and threats to people and rulers, Mahatab achieved his objective. The leaders of Prajamandala Movement met Mahatab the next day and condemned him for betraying to the cause of self – determination of the people for which the Prajamandala Movement was working. Mahatab threatened one of the leaders of Prajamandala Movement Pabitra Mohan Pradhan of Talcher with the words, “…. you would be the first person to be shot at in this merger drama ….”.
 
Immediately after the merger, the spontaneous reaction of the people against the merger started in Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, Baudh- Sonepur and some other places. There was lathi charge and arrest at Bhawanipatna and Madanpur Rampur in Kalahandi. People were giving slogans like “Orissa Government, get out, we want separate state”. There was firing at Bamanghati of Mayurbhanj and some people were killed.
 
According to the rearrangement of Orissa province, the princely states and the British administered localities (Orissa province before 1948) were grouped under 13 districts.
 
Even the selection of Bhubaneswar as capital was wrong in view of the fact that capital should be located in the centre of the State. It should be located in central Orissa – Athmallik- Baud. This suggestion was also put forth to the Indian Government. But Mahatab exploited the situation in favour of Bhubaneswar to safeguard the interest of coastal people. Today Bhubaneswar is always in an advantage and these princely states Athmallik, Baud, Kalahandi etc are at the receiving end.
 
Though Kalahandi is infamous for poverty in present day Orissa, the general condition of these princely states was not so miserable before their merger with Orissa province. There was no scarcity of food in these states. During the Bengal famine of 1942, Kalahandi alone had supplied one lakh tonnes of rice to Bengal. On the other hand, the British administered coastal Orissa including Sambalpur and Koraput were poverty stricken due to flood and scanty rainfall every year. However, western education first entered British administered territories as the establishment of colleges show.
 
Suddenly after the merger of Princely States, these British administered areas or previous Orissa province started to develop. The Government of Orissa and Government of India started to build all necessary infrastructures, and the Princely States were sidelined. This policy continues till now by the Orissa Government. This is just like the apartheid policy pursued by the White minority Government of South Africa over the black majority.
 
There are so many examples also that whenever any issue relating to two different zones arises; Orissa Government favours former British ruled areas. The example of Indravati project in Kalahandi and Hirakud project in Sambalpur may be cited as first instance. The idea of Indravati dam project goes to the period of P.K Deo’s rule [1939- 1947] in Kalahandi. The idea of Hirakud Dam project was a later development, but Hirakud Dam project was executed by the Government immediately and the Indravati dam project was suppressed till 1978.

 Indravati irrigation project is not yet 40 per cent completed. Similarly, when Sambalpur University, University College of Engineering Burla and VSS Medical College were established at Sambalpur, the Government did not adopt distributive system in Bolangir, Kalahandi (Princely States) and Sambalpur. Another recent example – the people of Mayurbhanj struggled for more than a decade to get a University from the Government. But we don’t have any such information about the struggle of Balasore for the cause of a University unlike Mayurbhanj. But when the Orissa Government was compelled to establish a University at Mayurbhanj, automatically the Government favoured Balasore too.
 
The last example may be the establishment of the Central University in Koraput instead of Kalahandi despite Kalahandi beng centrally located in KBK districts and Kalahandi is struggling for a Central University since the past two decades. Public sector industries like NALCO, VAL etc were established in Koraput. Paper mill was initially proposed in Kalahandi but shifted to undivided Koraput.

Kalahandi is always at the receiving end by the Orissa Government since it merged with the Orissa province. Joining Orissa province cost Kalahandi in terms of development. This must be addressed.

COMMENTS (9)
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Satyananda Mishra
It is not true that capital should be located in the centre of the state. It is also not true that a suggestion to locate the capital of Orissa in Central Orissa (i.e. Athmallik or Baud) instead of Bhubaneswar, was put forth to the Indian Government. There is no record or historical evidence to prove that such a suggestion was made. As far as princely states were concerned, amalgamation of them to the Union of India was a historical necessity. That is history now. We can not turn the wheel of time back. Now the problem is disparity between Coastal Orissa (Undivided districts of Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Ganjam and Dhenkanal) and rest of Orissa. Rest of Orissa has been treated as a colony of Coastal Orissa. The only remedy to this is division of Orissa. The scheme of division can be as follows. Tribal dominated Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Deogarh districts and Kuchinda subdivision of Sambalpur district can be merged with Jharkhand state. A demand for greater Jharkhand is already in existence. Tribal languages, tribal cultures are same in Jharkhand and these bordering districts of Orissa. The remaining territory of Western Orissa, after transfer of Sundargarh and Deogarh districts and Kuchinda subdivision of Sambalpur district to Jharkhand, is not large enough to become a separate state. There is no consensus among people of Western Orissa regarding the capital of the new state. Till now, there is no unanimity regarding the location of the Headquarter of Western Orissa Development council and the second bench of Orissa high court. Under such circumstances, many in Western Orissa feel that, it will be better to merge the remaining areas of Western Orissa with Chhattisgarh. At present, Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, is nearer than Bhubaneswar, from many parts of Western Orissa. Raipur has commercial links with Western Orissa. People of Western Orissa depend on Raipur, instead of Bhubaneswar, for bulk purchases and purchase of costly items. Moreover, historically Western Orissa and Chhattisgarh was one unit in the past. As far as language is concerned, mother tongue of the people of Western Orissa is neither Oriya nor Hindi but it is Sambalpuri/Kosli. People of Western Orissa generally pronounce Hindi better than Oriya. So, people of remaining areas of Western Orissa will be benefitted if this region is merged with Chhattisgarh.
Rudra Pratap Sahu
Mr Digambara Patra's concern for the development of Kalahandi district had made him envious and he views everything from the angle of distinction between former princely states and British administered regions. In the present context, his contention is not true. Kalahandi district got a Government Engineering College in May 2009 but Bargarh district and many coastal districts of Orissa, so far have no Government Engineering College. Bargarh district was under direct British administration before independence. Presently, Government Engineering Colleges are at Bhubaneswar, Burla and Berhampur, that were former British administered regions and at Rourkela (Sundargarh district), Sarang (Dhenkanal district) and Keonjhar, that were former Princely states. All other districts have no Government Engineering College. So, where is the difference between former princely states and British administered regions? Kalahandi district has Vedanta at Lanjigarh but what about Baud, Sonpur and Nuapada districts. The districts of Puri, Nayagarh, Bhadrak, Kendrapada still do not have any major industries. No railway line passes through Baud district but Kalahandi district has railway line. Here the question of princely states vs others do not matter but it is between coastal Orissa and others that matters. When British Government occupied Orissa in 1803, they made Cuttack as the capital of Orissa. Cuttack continued as the capital till 1949, when the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar. There was no demand at that time to shift the capital to a central location. The hypothesis, that "capital should be located in the centre of the State", as stated by Mr. Patra, is vague and have no merit. There are many examples to the contrary. Capitals of the states of West Bengal (Kolkata), Maharashtra (Mumbai), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Haryana (Chandigarh), Punjab (Chandigarh) and Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram) are not at the centre of these states. There are more examples. Even, capitals of countries like India (Delhi), U.K. (London), U.S.A. (Washington D.C.) etc. are not at the centre. It is not necessary that capitals should be at the centre for all round development of the state. Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh is in the Telangana region. Yet, the people of Telangana region are fighting for separation from Andhra Pradesh and creation of separate Telangana state on the basis of neglect, backwardness and underdevelopment of the region. Thus, it is proved beyond doubt that, the location of capital at a place does not in any way guarantee the development of the region. As stated by Mr. Patra, "Sundergarh and Sambalpur were one district till 1948". The fact is that, Gangpur and Bonai were two princely states like Kalahandi, which merged with Orissa in January 1948 and then the princely states of Gangpur and Bonai were merged together to form Sundargarh district. One can get this information from the official website of Sundargarh district or can refer any good History book. Mr. Patra should improve his knowledge and reasoning before venturing into writing.
Anand Sagar Dash
The concept of dividing Orissa into British administrated Orissa and Princely states are old thoughts. Such discriminating thought was there probably at the time of merger during 1936- 47. Present day’s govt’s perception is not based on it but, two different regions named Coastal orissa, comprising undivided districts of Katak, Puri, Baleswar, Ganjam and Dhenkanal and rest hilly region of Orissa including Western Orissa and Undivided Koraput, Phulbani, Kendujhar and Mayurbhanj districts. British administrated Sambalpur and Koraput districts were never known as Mogulbandi areas. The author should refer some good historical books. The coastal orissa was under Moguls, so that was known as Mogulbandi where as Sambalpur under the Chowhans, was a separate state comprising 18 garhs and was known as Hirakhand. Later it became a district in British empire. During the infamous “Na’ anka Durbhikhya” in eastern India, specially in Baleswar district and coastal orissa, Sambalpur had no abnormal death. (as written in Dist Gadgetor). This is the time when many migrated from coastal orissa to this part, which was untouched by the giant famine. What Kalahandi did that time was different but giving wrong information about others is improper. Finally, Hirakud Dam was not built for the development of Sambalpur but, to save Katak from regular floods that it was facing. Sambalpur had hardly ever seen flood prior to the construction of the Dam. There are some good references available in this regards. Though there are some facts behind the development of Mogalbandi and Gadjat area in Orissa.
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