Jayee Rajguru: The Forgotten hero of the Paika Rebellion who was brutally killed by the British


Team Udayavani, Jul 16, 2020, 12:10 PM IST

Jayee Rajguru was an Indian freedom fighter, who is the first State Martyr of Odisha. His original name was Jaykrishna Rajguru Mahapatra. He was born on October 29, 1739 near Puri in Orissa to father Shri Chandra Rajguru and mother Smt. Haramani Debi

His ancestors served in the court of the king of Khurda as Rajguru. The members of Rajguru family worked hereditarily as the political, military and spiritual advisors to the King of Khurda. He was appointed as Rajguru at the age of 41 during the reign of Dibyasingha Deva II, the son and successor of King Bira Kishore Deva

In 1798, Dibyasingha Deva II died leaving the throne and administration into turmoil. Later, Mukunda Deva II, the minor son of the deceased King ascended the throne of Khurda in 1798. As the new king was minor Jayee Rajguru acted as regent to look after the affairs of entire administration of the Kingdom.

Jayee Rajguru was assigned various important portfolios of the Khurda Kingdom such as Civil, Military and Revenue administration, religious affairs and the management of the Jagannath Temple etc. He was all in all with the King as head. Jayee Rajguru designated as Dewan, Bebarta and Rajguru.

As during that time British were ruling India, they issued a notice stating that the rulers of all the smaller kingdoms had to accept their subjugation and taxes were also levied on them. However, Jayee Rajguru rejected the notice and also requested all the residents not to bow down before the British but to fight for the honour of their motherland.

Jayee gathered all the people together and carefully planned a defence strategy against the British. Later, it almost became a mass movement with every household contributing a solider called Paika. These were well trained in different war skills.

Rajguru was well aware about the superior quality of weaponry of the British and drawbacks of the conventional weapons of his army men.

In 1804 Jayee and his troops attacked the British force on the banks of Mahanadi River. This led to a serious setback to the British rule. On December 1804 the final ‘Battle of Barunei’ took place on the foothills of Barunei. In the battle the Paikas defeated the 7000 strong British army. The British officials finally resorted to Divide and Rule policy. They offered a few of the locals, large tax free land holding. In return they asked for information on Jayee Rajguru and also about his battle plan.

Later, Jayee Rajguru was captured and arrested. He moved the King to a safe hideout and surrendered to the British. After his arrest the British officials took Rajguru to Medinipur and he was given capital punishment for going against the state and the British officials. Jayee Rajguru fearlessly accepted the punishment.

On December 6, 1806, He was killed brutally. His legs were tied to two different branches of a banyan tree and the branches were let off splitting his body in to two parts. This led to the end of unparalleled bravery, commitment, sacrifice and spirit of patriotism of the great Martyr Jayakrishna Rajguru Mahapatra

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