PRAJAMANDAL MOVEMENT IN THE EX-GARJAT STATE OF SONEPUR

 

The movement called “Praja Mandal” or State Peoples’ Conference gained momentum during 1937-38 in different princely state of Odisha such as Nilgiri, Talcher, Dhenkanal, Pallahara, Rampur, Gangpur etc. against the autocratic rule of the British supported feudatory rulers. While Baji Rout, the boy activist was Shot dead by the British force at Dhenkanal, the Praja Mandal activists killed political agent major bazelgatte, by ferocious beating at Rampur. In Gangpur 23 Munda Tribals fell to police firing.

 

Praja Mandal movement in Sonepur was suppressed by the autocratic ruler Sudhansu Sekhar Singh Deo by expelling leader like Gouri Shankar Rajguru, Mangulu Padhan, Ranjan Gauntia, Girdhari Barai, Chandra Sekhar Panigrahi, Upendramani Baboo, Chaturbhuja Mishra, Dashrathi Prasad Ratha, Mohan Mishra, Ramchandra Satpathy etc. On 12th Dec 1938, those leaders were called open by Laxman Satpathy to meet at Brahman Turum Village to formally constitute the Sonepur State Peoples’ conference or Praja Mandal. The meeting hosted by the village gountiya Dolamani Dash. Bhimsen Bhoi from Ainlamunda played promiment role in this organization. Pitambara Bhoi from the same village was his loyal follower and activist. Likewise Banchhabata Pujari from Rampur actively participated in the movement. Bhimsen Bhoi and Banchhabata pujari were sentenced to imprisonment and put in the jail. Laxman Satpathy along with his co-activist Like Dhanamanta Mallik, Ramchandra Satpathy, Chaturbhuja Mishra, Dasharathy Prasad Ratha, Nandalal Sethi, Mohan Mishra and Satyananda Hota etc. also suffered jail terms under the Defense of India act 1939.

 

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE PRAJA MANDAL MOVEMENT

1.       Girubari Meher of Binka fell police bayonet on 30th January 1947 while demonstrating on behalf of her weaver community for demand of cotton. She was the first women martyr of the movement.

2.       Bali Chamar a cobbler from Binka was much vocal in support of the movement. He was a popular activist shouting self composed slogans on the streets of Rampur to arouse peoples’ sentiments in favour of the movement.

3.       Nilanchal Pradhan of village Badkarle.

4.       Bijaru Bhoi of village Tangerkarle.

5.       Damghosh Padhan of village Tangerkarle.

6.       Dayanidhi Bhoi (Gauntiya) of village Chanabeda.

7.       Upendra Saraf of village Rampur.

8.       Bhika Padhan and others (8) of village Balenpali.

9.       Prabhakara Panigrahi of village Bhabanipali.

10.   Muralidhar Sahu of village Mayabarha.

11.   Jogendra Seth of village Badkarle.

12.   Pramananda Behera of village Rampur.

 

Finally, the Praja Mandal movement terminated with the merger of the Princely states on the 1st day of January 1948 and Sonepur gained independence.

Reference:- Article by Rameswar Naik Entitled, “Freedommovement in Sonepur : “Praja Mandal and Role of Laxman Satpathy”   Published in new aspect of history of Odisha (NAHO) vol.ix, Journal, P.G department of History, Sambalpur University, 2000. 

Source on activist of Praja  Mandal movement in Sonepur.

Rameswar Naik, Reader in History

S.C Majhi, Social Activist

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