Quit India Movement in Odisha Prospective
| Dr Rabindra Narayan Behera, Bhubaneswar Odisha - 08 Aug 2020

By Dr Rabindra Narayan Behera, Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneshwar: Aug 08, 2020: 

Quit India Movement, or Leave India Movement, also known as the August Movement, was most successful in Orissa also. The mass movement, which was launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India had became highly successful in the state because of the anti-colonial and anti-feudal nature of Odia people.

Congress leaders from various parts of India who had assembled at Bombay were arrested. Dr. H.K. Mahatab, the eminent Congress leaders of Orissa was one of those leaders who was arrested in Bombay and sent to the Ahmadnagar Jail.

It was a “Do or Die” movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in his Quit India Moment speech demanding the end of British Raj.

In anticipation of plans of attack by axis forces to India and on this Odisha, the Quit India Movement was massively activated in the entire state.

The Axis Powers i.e. German, Italy and Japan were trying to attack the British Government in India. They had a plan to enter Odisha through Paradeep the present Port city of Odisha. Subash Chandra Bose, the son of the soil of Odisha was in exile and supported the Axis powers to give India freedom. For that reason some of the young students of Odisha supported Subash Chandra Bose and accelerated the Quit India Movement in Odisha.

Some of the young students also supported Subhash Chandra Bose, who was in exile and supported the Axis powers i.e. German, Italy and Japan.

In a moment against British Raj many Odia leaders were arrested including Harekrushna Mahatab at Bombay and were put in Ahmadnagar Fort Jail.

The urban area leaders were arrested and their offices were sealed as a result there was revolutionary activities in Rural Odisha by the students.

Gopabandhu Das, Jadumani Mangaraj, Gopabandhu Choudhuri, Rama Devi and others took the leading role in Quit India movement.

Noted leader of Odisha Surendra Nath Dwibedi started underground activities. He circulated revolutionary bulletins which created a massive Nationalist feeling and revolution for freedom by masses. He was then arrested.  

Police also arrested two leaders Surajmal Saha and Bibhudendra Mishra and sent them to Berhampur Jail.

Congress workers asked the Government Officials to resign and persuaded people to stop give taxes to Government.

As there was a vacuum in top leadership the students of Ravenshaw College an ancient College of Cuttack which was centre of all political activities of Odisha, started agitation movement. They boycotted classes and set fire at Institutions, government offices and took violent actions. 

Movement in Gadjat areas: In Gadjat States of Odisha i.e. Nayagarh, Talcher, Dhenkanal, Athagarh, Mayurbhanj massive revolutionary activities started.

In Dhenkanal the freedom fighters set fire in Jils, Police Stations and Institutions. In Talcher the people started Guerrilla war against the British.

Koraput District: A leader like Laxman Naik was emerged who was an ordinary member of Congress.  He took the leadership of Koraput District.

He mobilized the Adivasis organized an army of 200 people with lathis and local weapons to fight against the British.

They damaged liquor shops, attacked Mathili Police Station on 21st Aug 1942. They also attacked Tehsils, PWD Offices, Post Offices, Institutions and Police personals. Police started firing as a result 4 persons died and 4 others including Laxman Naik were injured.

He was later arrested and sent to Berhampur Jail and was executed on 29 March 1943 on the basis of false charges of killing forest guard Ramaya.

Jajpur:  Jajpur the ancient capital of Odisha has always been a hot spot of political activities till now. The then Jajpur Sub-Division and present District made maximum revolutionary activities. Freedom fighters set fire on four PWD Bunglows, six Zamidari Kutcheries, Six canal revenue offices, four post offices, five excisable articles, and police uniforms at twenty six places.

A mob of 10,000 in Jajpur Town proceeded towards police stations and SDO Offices. In other part of present Jajpur District i.e. Kalakala, Darpan, Madhupur and Kanika people set fire in government offices, attacked police and started revolutionary activities.

On the day of Rakhi Purnima 4 freedom fighters sacrificed their lives in anti-British Rally at Kalamatia under Bari Block of Jajpur District.

Balasore District: Police oppression was most in Balasore District. Revolutionary activities were made massively in rural areas including shutting down Zilla School, Government Offices.

Domestic servants were stopped to work in house of Government officials and mass civil disobedience was carried out. Two prominent leaders i.e. MLA Dwarakanath Das and Jagannath Das were arrested.

Six persons were killed and many more were injured in Dhamnagar areas on 21st September 1942. Violence with police started in Khairadihi on 28th September 1942 and two persons were killed in police firing.

Eram Police Operation: Eram was otherwise known as   “Jallianwallabag” of Odisha. On 28th September 1942 people gathered at “Melena Padia” (Open space) and revolted not to pay tax. Around 5000 armed people attacked police.

As a result Police arrested leaders, lathi charged and fired on the mob. Twenty Six persons were killed and fifty four persons injured.

But from unofficial sources the umber is more. Pari Bewa a female a leading freedom fighter sacrificed her life in this movement.  Since then “Eram” is called as “Rakta Tirtha Eram”.

Then civil disobedience started in Odisha. Violent action started in many places of Odisha i.e. Papadhandi & Mathelli in Koraput, Nimapada in Puri District, Bhandari pokhari, Dhamnagar in Balasore District and Kaipada in Cuttack District now Jajpur. 

Quit India movement was not only anti colonial but also anti feudal.  So Odisha contributed a lot on Quit India movement which is still hidden in many places. Our tribute to those who have sacrificed their live for the freedom movement.

Image courtesy – Quora / Google 

(Dr Rabindra Narayan Behera, the Author is a social activist, writer and General Secretary, Anti Corruption of India Foundation, Odisha and can be reached at r_behera2000@yahoo.com


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