There are a number of freedom fighters who played pivotal role in knocking the oppressive British rule out of the nation and Jayakrishna Rajguru Mahapatra, popularly known as Jayee Rajguru is foremost among them as he is considered as the first Odia freedom fighter.
Born on 29th October 1739 in Bira Harekrushnapur of Puri, Jayee Rajguru was appointed as the royal priest of Khurda King Dibyasingha Dev II in 1780 at the age of 41. Rajguru protected the kingdom from Syam Sundar Dev, the brother of Dibyasingha Dev after the latter’s death.
Rajguru ensured the ascendance of the minor son of Dibyasingha Deva-II, named Mukunda Deva-II in 1798.
After Britishers launched efforts to annex at least four ‘Paraganas’ of the Gajapati kingdom of Khurda Jayee Rajguru made an elaborate plan for armed resistance of Britishers. More ‘Paikas’ were inducted to the army and titles like Jagadeva, Tunga, Jhapat Singh, Uttar Kabat, Dakshina Kabat, Bahubalendra, Dian Bagha, Satrusalya, Bahinipati, Maharathi, Khadagray, Bhramarbar, Malla, Sandha, Mangaraj were conferred.
On 22nd November 1804 the Paikas resisted the Britishers at Pipli and Delanga. Strong resistance was also made at Gangapada, Taratua and Tangiapada. Jayee Rajguru was captured by treachery in Ranpur forest while he was organizing the Paikas for fight and sent to jail.
The British East India Company killed Rajguru in a most heinous and cruel manner on 6th December 1806 by tying his two legs to branches of a Banyan tree to tear his body into two parts in Bajitota of Medinipur.
Argus salutes the invincible freedom fighter of Odisha as the saying, “Jayia Deha Diphala Hela, Nuainlani Matha” echoes even today.