Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu attended as Chief Guest of the event.
New Delhi: Paying rich tribute to Shaheed Jayee Rajguru, the first Martyr from the state of Odisha to lay down his life fighting the British, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President of India said We are here today to commemorate the 211th martyrdom Day of Shaheed Jayee Rajguru. Jayee Rajguru made the supreme sacrifice of his life on this day for the independence of this country, sparking a massive “Paika Vidroh” or war against the British in Odisha and other parts of the country. On this occasion, I join you all in paying my humble tributes to the Shaheed for his sacrifice to the cause of the freedom of our country. I also compliment the Shaheed Jayee Rajguru Foundation for organising the function to pay our homage to this outstanding national leader. The first war of independence had also raised its head in the Khurda kingdom in Odisha. This is popularly known as the Khurda Rising of 1804. It was truly a landmark people’s war in many ways. The hero of this earliest war of Indian independence was Jayee Rajguru”. The Vice-President was addressing the function organized by the Shaheed Jayee Rajguru Foundation in collaboration with the Odia Samaj and Odisha Forum at Constitution Club in Delhi this evening to commemorate the 211th death anniversary of Jayee Rajguru.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship , who attended the function as the Guest of Honour extolled the valour and patriotism of the warriors of Odisha known as ‘Paikas’, who staged the First War of Independence to challenge the might of the British. Jayee Rajguru, a great Sanskrit scholar, strategist and the regent of the minor King of Khurda, not only raised a large army of Paikas but also led them from the front to defend the honour of the motherland and in the end became a martyr, being brutally executed by the British.
Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy, former Union Minister of Steel and Chief Patron of the Shaheed Jayee Rajguru Foundation referred to the contribution of the Foundation. He said “In 2008 the long cherished dream of people of Odisha became a reality when Jayee Rajguru’s portrait was unveiled in the central hall of Parliament by the then Prime Minister”. He further added, “The patriotism that had been exemplified in his own life and later in his brutal death, continued to stir the hearts and minds of his beloved countrymen. The fire of revolt and resistance continued to shake the morale of the British even after his extermination”. Shri Biswabhusan Harichandan, former minister, Government of Odisha also attended the function. A book ‘Jayee Rajguru and Anti-Colonial Resistance in Khurda’, authored by Dr.Bijay Chandra Rath, Historian, was released by the Hon’ble Vice-President of India on the occasion. A souvenir to mark the event was also released. On this occasion, a bust of Shaheed Jayee Rajguru was presented to the chief guest & other dignitaries, by Shri Dayananda Mahapatra, a member of the Shaheed’s clan. Shri Srideb Nanda, Managing Trustee of the Foundation presented the vote of thanks.
The commemoration was followed by a Dance Drama ‘Odia Paika’, which enthralled the audience.
Coastal Odisha, the last independent bastion of India lost its independence to the British following the Treaty of Deogaon in 1803. But shortly after this, the people of Odisha staged a valiant fight against the expansionist British administration in 1804. Known as ‘Khurda uprising’ this first war of independence was led by Jayee Rajguru, who mobilized the people of the land with each household volunteering to enlist one member in the army of ‘Paikas’ raised to fight the invaders.
It was a people’s war in the true sense and Jayee Rajguru led it from the front to defend the motherland. In the end he made the supreme sacrifice with his life. Although the historians have not given due recognition to the contribution of this great martyr, the saga of Jayee Rajguru has lived in the folklore and has been orally passed on from generation to generation even in the interiors of coastal Odisha. In recent past some scholars have started showing interest to unearth the facts relating to the glorious struggle of the valiant Paikas under the leadership of Jayee Rajguru.