|Angul Athamallik Pallahara Talcher Freedom Movement|
Angul is like a bridge between western and coastal halves of Odisha where the prehistoric and protohistoric relics are found in village Bhimakand, Kankili, Kulei, Samal, Sanakerjang , Kaliakata, Paranga, Kerjang, Tikarapara and Pallahara. The geographical location of Angul made the Bhanjas of Angulaka-pattana, the Sulkis of Kodalaka Mandala, the Nandodbhavas of Airavatta Mandala,the Tungas of Yamagartta Mandala rule over it. But all through the rules of different dynasties, Angul has retained her cultural identity which is much more prominent than its political establishments.
The Bhaumakaras declined by the middle of the 10th Century A.D. when the eastern part of Odisha including the Dhenkanal region passed to the hands of the Somavamsis of South Kosala. The Somavamsis in their turn, were ousted by the Gangas and Odisha was occupied by Chodagangadedva some time before 1112 A.D. The Ganga rule lasted as long as till 1435 A.D. when a new Solar dynasty founded by Kapilendradeva came to power. About the year 1533-34, Govinda Vidyadhar put an end to the Suryavamsi rule and started the rule of Bhoi dynasty, which lasted up to 1559 when Mukundadeva, belonging to the Chalukya family, forcibly occupied the throne. In 1568, the Afghans of Bengal invaded Odisha, and defeated and killed Mukundadeva after which Odisha came under their occupation. During all this period of dynastic changes, Angul played no remarkable role in history and this territory simply passed from one political authority to the other. During the rule of Suryavamsis and the Bhois & subsequently some new feudal states developed as self-contained political units. These are Angul, Talcher, Pallahara and Athamallik and history of each of these estates is present below.
Like other ex-State areas of the district, Angul was also once a feudatory State. It is believed to have been inhabited at one time by Khonds, who at an early date were driven back into the rocky fastness of Khondmals by successive waves of Hindu immigrants. It seems that many centuries ago the numerous loosely formed principalities in this hilly region passed under the sway of military adventurers, who found the country an easy prey. The earlier rulers were often at feud with one another, and it was easy to provoke a quarrel here, or stir ;up an intrigue there, and then take advantage of the dissension to seize the chief 's fortress, the possession of which in those days meant the Government of the State. There is no record of these different conquests, but gradually a number of states in the mountainous hinterland of Odisha, including Angul, appear to have acknowledged the over lordship of warrior chiefs, who were or claimed to be Rajputs.
The early history of the Ruling family of Angul has remained in obscurity. The kings of Angul belong to the Kadamba family and to Kasyapa Gotra. The earliest known ruler of this line was Raja Dhanurjaya Singh Jagaddeva. It may, however, be said that Dhanurjaya is not the first king of the Kadamba family of Angul as the predecessor of Dhanurjjaya is known to have been defeated by the ruler of Dhenkanal who occupied some border villages like Kharagprasad, Mangalpur and Kamalang. Dhanurjjaya Singh made heroic attempts to restore the prestige of Angul and he not only succeeded in getting back the above villages from Dhenkanal but also marched as far as the village Goulpur situated at a distance of nine miles west of Dhenkanal town and installed there a pillar in commemoration of his victory. The victory pillar was popularly known as 'Dhanu Singh Thenga' and the legend of it is current in the locality till today. Dhanurjjaya died issueless and was succeeded by his younger brother Raja Nityananda Singh Jagaddeva. This ruler was a peace-loving man, and taking advantage of his weakness, the Raja of Dhenkanal invaded Angul once again and forcibly occupied several border villages. Raja Nityananda was succeeded by his son Krushna Chandra Jagaddeva who restored the territories occupied by Dhenkanal and undertook various works for improvement of the State. He constructed the temple of Nagarimohanadeva in his headquarters and made arrangements for the worship of the deities. Krushna Chandra Jagaddeva died in the Amli year 1211, i.e., A.D. 1803, the year of the British occupation of Odisha. As he was issueless, his younger brother Achala Mansingh ascended the Gadi and ruled for a short period of two to three years. In 1803 also Angul was ceded to the British by the Marathas, and its chief entered into an engagement by which he bound himself to maintain submission and loyalty to the Government of the East India Company and to pay an annual peshkash or tribute of Rs.1,250. Achal Mansingh was succeeded by his eldest son Jarawar Singh who also shortly died in the Amli year 1217 i.e., A.D. 1809. After Jarawar Singh, there took place a fratricidal struggle among his step-brother Prithvi Singh who forcibly occupied the Gadi immediately after that. The wife of Jaya Singh committed the Sati rite and a portion of her saree which she wore at the time of entering into the fire is said to have been preserved in the store-house of a Jaganath Temple. Prithvi Singh also was not destined to rule long. In 1813, the Governor-General directed Mr. J. Richardson, the Settlement Commissioner of Cuttack and Mr. J. W. Sage, the Acting Collector to make joint investigation about the troubles of Angul. The officers strongly suspected Prithvi Singh to have murdered Jaya Singh and his sons and they reported that he was a usurper to the Gadi having no legal claim to it. The British Government, therefore, deposed Prithvi Singh and put him under arrest. The Gadi of Angul passed to Somanath Singh, then a young boy of 14. Somanath Singh was the son of Gopinath Singh, the youngest son of Achal Mansingh b his first wife. It appears that Somanath Singh with his mother was kept in the prison by Prithvi Singh and he was released when his claim to the Gadi was recognized by the British Government. He soon acquired an evil reputation as an oppressor among his own men and a filibuster among his neighbors.
Somanath Singh was the last king of Angul and he ruled for a long period of 33 years from 1814 to 1847 when he was deposed by Government. He was a spirited and a head-strong ruler and although ruled his territory with considerable efficiency, he incurred displeasure nor only among the neighbouring Feudatory Chiefs of Dhenkanal, Hindol, Daspalla, Baudh, and Athmallik but also among the British Officers by his head-strong dealings and outspoken nature. Mr. Mill, the then Commissioner of Orissa, remarked about him as follows : "He is an intelligent though eccentric man but is withal proud and head-strong and the most refractory of all Chieftains and the most likely to come into collision with the constituted authorities. He is little disposed to obey orders which clash with his imaginary rights whatever may happen, says Mr. Ricketts, to his fortune and not to his fault - and as being fortune, is to be met as it best may - bowed to and endured".
In 1831, Somanath Singh plundered some villages of Daspalla for which Government directed him to pay Rs.1,450 as compensation. But he strongly refused to pay thins amount. In 1837, there occurred a case of six murders in Angul and the Raja was suspected to have instigated this crime. Mr. Ricketts wanted the Raja to deliver he culprits to the Government but he contemptuously refused to comply with the orders. It was by that time that the Khonds of Ghusmur rebelled against the British Government (1836-37) and the Khond's Chief Dora Bisoi and his nephew Chakra Bisoyi were suspected to have been given asylum in Angul by the Raja. Rather, he endeavored to conceal it by writing to the Commissioner - 'If I sieze Dora Bisoi, what terms will be allowed him?' The answer was promptly given. 'From your writing, I know you have him in your fastness. His life shall be spared, if he is delivered to my officer by such a data, if not, the Cuttack force will march upon you". This threat was effectual. The Raja gave up Dora Bisoi2. In 1846, Raja Somanath Singh forcibly occupied a village of the Raja of Hindol for which he was fined Rs.3,000. The Raja maintained that he had legally purchased the village from the Chief of Hindol, but this was not accepted by the Superintendaent of the Tributary Mahals. The Raja, however, did not pay any fine and disregarded the orders of the Superintendent. The very year (1846), the Khonds of Ghumsur again made a rebellion and the Government once again suspected Somanath Singh to have helped the rebel leaders and although there was no positive proof to establish the guilt of the Raja, suspicion against him became deep rooted. In the beginning of 1847, Capt. Macpherson and his assistant, Candenhead reported that their camp at Kusumgah was attacked by the Khond leader Nabaghana Kahar with the aid of the Raja of Angul. Reports were regularly sent by Capt. Macpherson to the Government of Bengal accusing the Raja of Angul of his complicity in the Khond rebellion. The Raja when asked by the Government repeatedly refused in strong terms to have any connection with the rebels and protested that his enemies were falsely implicating him in he matter. Capt. Dunlop who was sent to Angul to enquire about the case of plunder of the two villages of Daspalla reported that there was no proof of the allegations against the Raja. But the Government was determined to take some action against Somanath Singh and the Commissioner was directed to summon the Raja of Angul to Cuttack for further investigation. The Raja was summoned to Cuttack to account for his conduct, but he refused to obey the summons and at this open defiance, following on a long career of disobedience, mismanagement and oppression, Government decided on the deposition of the Raja and the annexation of his State. Accordingly in December, 1847, a proclamation was published announcing the annexation of Angul and a warrant was issued for the arrest of the Raja. Lokanath Singh Gambhira Samant, the son of the Raja of Angul, met the Commissioner on the 2nd January,1848 and reported to him that his father's attitude of defiance was not liked by him and that the officers in Angul were instigating his father against the Government. He further revealed that about 700 Paiks of Angul under Krupasinghu Garnaik had gone to Kusumgarh in aid of the Khonds.
The British forces thereupon were directed to march towards Angul on the 15th January, 1848 under Colonel Campbell, who invaded Angul in co-operation with a detachment which advanced from the Central Provinces (now Madhya Pradesh) under Colonel Ouseley. The soldiers of the Raja including the Commander Krupasinghu Garnaik fled in confusion, and ushnachakragarh, the residence of the Raja, was occupied without bloodshed. The Raja who had fled from the palace was captured on the Ist February, 1848. A series of charges of aggression and murder being proved against him, he was sent as a State prisoner to Hazaribag where he remained till his death. His State was confiscated by the Government in their Resolution, dated 16th September, 1948. Lokanath Singh, the son of the Raja, was also deprived of his hereditary right for succession and was granted an allowance of Rs.50 per month. Angul thus passed under the direct rule of the British and was administered by the Superintendent of the Tributary Mahals, through the agency of an officer known as Tehsildar, who collected revenue and administered justice, until in 1891 when Angul was constituted a separate district, the Khondmals (now a subdivision of Baudh-Khondmals district) being added to it.
The present Sub-Division of Athamallik was a part of the ex-state of Boudh. The tradition regarding the foundation of Athamallik is that Pratap Dev occupied Hondpa after defeating a Dom Raja. He established a village named Pratappur and declared himself as the Raja of the area. He subsequently divided the territory in 8 divisions, each under a Chieftain called as Mallik as a measure to suppress the unruly tribes. Hence, the Kingdom changed its name from Hondapa to Athamallik which means the land of 8 chieftains. In course of time his successor shifted the capital from Hondapa to Thakurgarh,Nuagaon and finally to Purunagarh (Kaintaragarh) . The palace records show that 42 Kings of this dynasty have ruled the estate in succession from the time of Pratap Deo. Laxmidhar Deo who ruled from 1785 to 1802 de-linked himself from Boudh and declared himself as an independent King of Athamallik. The territory of Boudh together with Athamallik was included in South-West Frontier Agency till 1837 when it was transferred to Odisha division. The Chief of Athamallik was officially known as Zamindar and was being addressed as Samanta. In 1874 the chief of Athamallik was officially recognized as a Raja and he was allowed to have hereditary title of Raja. In 1890 the then Raja Narendra Dev Samasnta was given title of Maharaja as a personal distinction on account of his good administration. Maharaja Bibhudendra Deo was a benevolent King who ruled from 1902 to 1918. He established a number of Primary Schools during his regime. After his death Col. Cobden Ramsay, the Commissioner and Political Agent seized the royal properties, as the Prince Kishore Chandra Deo was minor and appointed a superintendent for management of royal affairs alongwith education and up-brining of minor prince. Primary Schools, Girls’ School, temple of Maheswari, bridges on the road from Kaintaragarh to Boinda,improvement of road from Kaintaragarh to Kiakata,road from Kaintaragarh to Durha, Kacheri road and many big tanks were constructed by Col. Cobden Ramsey. Kishore Chandra Dev was enshrined as king on 24th December 1925 at the age of 21. He devoted himself to the task of brining of all round development of the state . He had brought about many administrative and taxation reforms, the whole state was being administered in 4 praganas and two sub-divisions namely Athamallik sadar and Kishorenagar. Kishore chandra Dev was the last king till the state was merged with Orissa on 1st January, 1948.
According to popular tradition, the first king of the ruling family of Pallahara was Santosh Pal, a Rajput of Dharanagar. He is said to have come on pilgrimage to Puri and on his return visited this territory where a struggle was going on between two aboriginal parties for supremacy over that land. The Sabaras, one of the contesting tribes, selected Santosh Pal as their future ruler and concealed him under a heap of straw (locally known as Pala). Later on, being victorious they formally installed him as the king and regarded themselves as king makers. As the Rajput Chief Santosh Pal was concealed under a heap of straw(pala) , the territory ruled by him was named as Pal Lahara. This tradition seems to be recent. It can not be taken to be authentic. The account of the rulers after Santosh Pal are vague. The Rajas of this territory are known to have assumed the title Ganeswar Pal & Munipal alternatively. About the year 1789 when the ruler Munipal died without a heir the territory was ruled by the queen mother Annapurna and the illegitimate brother of ex-Raja Munipal , named Nanda Pal . After the death of Annapurna in 1815, the Raja of Keonjhar claimed the gadi of Pallahara as he had matrimonial relation with the ruling family of that state. Nanda Pal also supported the claim of Keonjhar. But after his death in 1825, the people opposed the rule of Keonjhar and subsequently made a petition to Col. Gilbert, the then Political Agent of the South-West Frontier, protesting against the interference of Keonjhar. Col Gilbert supported the cause of the people and ordered the Raja of Keonjhar to withdraw his forces from Pallahara. One Baidyanath Pal was selected by the people as their ruler. The next ruler Chakradhar Munipal was very faithful to the British Government. When the Bhuiyans of Keonjhar revolted against their Chief in 1867-68, Chakradhar Munipal rendered much help in suppressing the Bhuiyans and in recognition of his service he obtained the personal title of Rajabahadur from the British Government. He also got the hereditary title of Raja in 1874. He died in 1888 and as his son Dwitikrishna was then a boy of four years, the territory came under the management of Court of Wards till 1908 when Dwitikrishna Ganeswar Pal assumed the administration of the State. But on account of his mismanagement the State was once again taken away by the Government in 1911. Dwitikrishna died without any male issue in 1912 and was succeeded by Sarat Chandra Munipal, one of his close relatives. The state however, continued to be under the management of Court of Wards till 1925 when the new Raja got full administrative control. During the rule of the Raja Sarat Chandra Munipal, Pal-lahara merged with the State of Orissa on 1st January,1948, and now it is being administered as a sub-division.
According to tradition, the progenitor of the ruling family of Talcher was Narahari Singh, one of the five sons of Arjun Singh, king of Jaipur in modern Rajasthan. Narahari Singh came to Orissa on pilgrimage in 1471 A.D. as a result of a fratricidal quarrel and later on he went to Bhimanagari on the bank of the river Brahmani where he succeeded in making himself a ruler of the place. Such tradition as pointed out in the History Chapter of Mayurbhanj has no historical basis as the antiquity of Jaipur does not go beyond the 18th century A.D. There is no doubt that this traditional account was created in later times probably with a view to attaching a Rajput heritage to ruling families during Harisingh’s invasion of Orissa.
The ruler of Talcher belong to the Solar dynasty and in all probability the earliest ruler of this line was scion of the family of the Suryavamsi Gajapati kings of Orissa who ruled in 15th-16th centuries A.D. If Narahari Singh , the first king of the Talcher family, be ascribed according to the above tradition to 1471 A.D, he may be said to have acaquired overlordship of Bhimanagari Dandapat during the ruler of Gajapati Purushottamadev (1446-1497). Nothing definite can , however, be said about this. Narahari Singh is said to have ruled from 1471 to 1480 and after him his son Udayanarayana Singh became the ruler in Bhimanagari. The Gajapati king was pleased with his valour and bestowed on him the title of Birabara Harichandan. The ninth ruler of this line was Padmanabha Birabara Harichandan who renamed the state as Talcher after the name of the family GoddessTaleswari. Padmanabha Harichandan is remembered as a pious ruler and is said to have constructed many temples in his state. He ruled from 1575-1598 A.D. and died at the age of 48. The twelvth ruler Ramachandra Birabar Harichandan ruled from 1711 to 1729, and owing to his generosity and liberal administration he was being compared by his people with Ramachandra of epic fame. He died at the age of 72 and was succeeded by his son Pitambar Birabara Harichandan who is remembered for various works of public utility. He died in 1740 as an octogenarian. The fifteenth ruler of the line was Krishna Chandra Birabar Harichandan who came to the Gadi in 1752. Orissa had been occupied by the Marhattas in 1751 and Krishnachandra signed a treaty acknowledging their over lordship and agreeing to pay an annual tribute of Rs.1,000. During the rule of Ramachandra Mansingh Harichandan, the seventeenth ruler of the line, Orissa was visited by a great famine and the people of Talcher suffered as there was no organized measure to bring relief to them. Ramachandra Mansingh ruled from 1766 to 1774 and during the last year of his rule another familne occurred in Talcher with a heavy toll of human life. He died childless at the early age of 32 and was succeeded by Nimai charan Champati Singh Birabar Harichandan. This ruler ruled only for four year (1774-1778) and in spite of his best efforts he failed to remove the famine conditions from his State. As he died issueless, the courtiers and officials installed on the Gadi a minor boy named Bhagirathi whom they declared to be an adopted son of the ex-ruler. This led to some trouble and the boy left the state for some time but returned after a short period and ruled the state under the guidance of Vighneswar Raiguru who acted as a Minister. Bhagirathi Harichandan had a long rule which lasted till 1846. He was succeeded by Dayanidhi Birabar Harichandan who devoted most his time to study of scriptures and religious books. He helped the British Government in their occupation of Angul and earned from the Government the title of Mahindra Bahadur. It was during his rule that the famine of Na-anka occurred in 1866,but this pious ruler took all possible measures to save the people from starvation. He died in 1873 at the age of 72 and was succeeded by Ramachandra Birabar Harichandan. This ruler was fond of Sanskrit culture and his court was adorned by many Sanskrit Pandits. He was also interested in history and geography and compiled a small book on History of India entitled ‘Bharatara Sankhipta Itihasa’ which was prescribed as a text-book in the middle Vernacular classes of Orissa. Being an enlightened ruler, he established Courts of Judicature, Accounts Section, Tauzi, Nizarat, Police Station, Jails etc and insisted on regular maintenance of records as well as observance of official rules. He started the work of land settlement in 1898. He also established Departmentas of Public Works, Health, Education, Excise, and Forests. He encouraged Local Self-Government and set up a Municipality to look after the health and sanitation of Talcher Town. In 1887 he constructed the Victoria Hall, Circuit House in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of Queen Victoria. He died in 1891 and was succeeded by his son Kishore Chandra Birabar Harichandan.
Kishore Chandra was born on 9th June 1880. He was a boy of 11 when he succeeded to the Gadi on 18th December 1891. He was invested with full ruling powers on 9th June 1901. He received his education in Ravenshaw Collegiate School, Cuttack. His private tutor was Babu Raj Kishore Patnaik. His legal adviser was late Madhusudan Das. He was proficient in the art of music, both vocal and instrumental. He was a generous ruler. When famine occurred in 1911,he distributed paddy to the needy people from State Granary and encouraged the rich to help the famine stricken people. The George Hospital at Talcher was established by him in 1912 in commemoration of the Delhi Durbar. He established a High English School in 1915, which is said to be the 7th High School in the then Odisha, besides establishing one Girls’ Middle School, Elementary Training School and many other schools in his state. He introduced the legislative system and established a legislative body called Byabastha Parishad. Half of the members of this body were elected by village headmen and half nominated by the ruler. He set up a council and nominated 3 councilors to run the administration of the State. The ruler himself was the President of the council and the 3 councillors were Dewan Bahadur Pramod Chandra Deb (Vice-President), Babu Jagan Mohan Mishra and Babu Braja Bihari Mohanty. There was separation of the judiciary from the executive. His eldest son Hrudaya Chandra Dev was the Sessions Judge. Kishore Chandra established a special court (Dharmadhikya Court) to dispose of cases relating to religious matters. The chief priest Pandit Kapileswar Pattjoshi was in charge of this court. He introduced municipal system in Talcher town and Panchayat system in every village. He beautified the town by erecting many gates and laying out a pleasure garden known as ‘Rani Park’ covering an area of 5 sq.miles. This was a natural zoo. He remodeled the palace and made it double storied. At Talcher , a special Post and Telegraph office was established. During his rule, the railway line was constructed from Cuttack to Talcher coal mines (1925), which paved the way for economic development of this region. He gave leases to Villiers Ltd, and to Railways for extraction of coal. He had electricity generated from thermal power at Talcher and supplied electricity to the palace and Talcher town in 1924. He started orphanage in his State. Kishore Chandra was an enlightened ruler. He was also a writer in Oriya. He established a machine press at Talcher. He presided over the Utkal Sammilani in its Balasore session (1905) and was for sometime President of Rajkumar College, Raipur. After having an ascendancy for 54 years, he died on the 7th November,1945.
On the death of Kishore Chandra, his eldest son Hrudaya Chandra Deb Birabar Harichandan succeeded to the Gadi on the 7th November,1945. He was born on the 27th February,1902. He had his education in the Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, where he graduated. He married the second daughter of the Raja of Bodogodo (Ganjam). He was the last ruler of Talcher and ruled for hardly two years. During his rule, the State merged with Orissa on 1st January,1948. He died on 11th September,1970.
Angul was politically awakened long before the rise of nationalism in India and commencement of Gandhi Era of freedom struggle. A feudatory chief of a tiny state had shown unprecedented courage to defy the British authorities who condemned him as an eccentric, proud & headstrong ruler. The provisions of Angul Regulation Act, 1891 imposed on the people of Angul, introduction of painful laws like Bethi, Begari, Magana etc by the feudatory chiefs of Talcher, Pallahara and Athamallik were unbearable for the people.
Girijabhusan Dutta, who stayed in Angul from 1911 to 1938, drew the attention of the Viceroy to the repressive rules prevailing in Angul. Some freedom fighters like Hrushikesh Tripathy, Ratnakar Nayak, Ananda Ch.Pradhan and Dr. Krupasindhu Bhokta built a cottage on the Sunasagada hillock under the guidance of Girijabhusan Dutta and defied the Regulation Act. They courted arrest. Dr. Krupasindhu Bhokta, Gopal Ch. Pradhan, Ananda Ch.Pradhan and Ratnakar Nayak joined Salt Satyagraha at Inchudi (Balasore) and broke the salt law. Visit of freedom fighters like Jadumani Mangaraj and Surendranath Dwivedy in 1931 inspired the local freedom fighters. Some of the people of Kosala village had attended the meeting of the above leaders at Angul and on return to their village founded Kosala Congress Seva Dal. In the year 1932 on the day of Ramachandi Yatra at Kosala some leaders like Hrushikesh Tripathy, Ratnakar Nayak, Rasananda Pradhan and Antaryami Behera took oath to disobey Bethi, Begari etc amidst a vast gathering. They were arrested and made to walk the whole distance from Kosala to Angul. The political scenario in Angul got a new shape during the visit of Gandhi in 1934. The Deputy Commissioner Mr. A.F.Shirlling did not permit Gandhi to enter into town or to address any gathering. Gandhi was on his Pada Yatra from Sambalpur to Puri via Angul and Banarpal to abolish untouchability. The official constraints could not prevent Gandhiji and the public met Gandhiji in a mango grove near Ranigoda village.
In Sept, 1938 there was a great agitation in ex-state area of Talcher. The Prajamandal movement was launched by Late Pabitramohan Pradhan on 6th Sept,1938 in village Kosala in Angul Sub-Division. They demanded recognition of their fundamental rights such as right to form Association & hold meeting, abolition of forced labour and various gifts ,modification of tenancy rights and forest laws. The Raja of Talcher inflicted oppressive measures. Large number of people left Talcher and took shelter in the neighbouring British territory of Angul. It has been estimated that about 65,000 people out of a total 85,000 left the state. This political exodus attracted keen attention of Mahatma Gandhi and leaders of Indian National Congress as well as Government of India. Refugee camps were opened for them and relief operations were carried on by various associations and organizations.
The people’s agitation in Talcher spread to other neighbouring states and no-rent campaign was also started in several states. The All Orissa Garjat Day was observed on 29th Oct, 1938. In Feb, 1939 large number of people left Talcher for Angul, thus swelling the number of refugee. The problem of the refugees demanded serious attention of Government and a conference was called at Angul on 21st March, 1939,which was attended by the Revenue Commissioner, Odisha, Asst. Political Agent and the representatives of Congress. But the Raja of Talcher did not accept the terms of compromise proposed in the conference. The ruler was advised by the political department to adopt conciliatory attitude and accordingly constitutional reforms were proclaimed by the then Raja of Talcher on 23.6.1939. The policy of appeasement of Chiefs could not satisfy the people. The Indian National Congress supported the agitation of the state people and a resolution was passed accordingly in its Haripura Session in 1938. In Feberuary, 1939, the All India States’ People Conference met at Ludhiana and elected Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as its President. This conference declared that the struggle of the state people should be carried on under the guidance of the National Congress. The August revolution in Talcher took a violent trend and the people rebelled against the despotic rule of their chief. In Talcher the entire state excepting the headquarters came under the control of Prajamandal Government and the ruler was forced to seek help from political department. On 6th Sept. 1942, the people armed with crude weapons clashed with the British army and air force. The British authorities rendered all sorts of military assistance to maintain the statuesque of the state. The mob was dispersed due to use of machineguns from the air by aeroplanes. This measure could suppress the movement. However some Prajamandal leaders who had gone underground kept the freedom movement burning. With the commencement of Quit India Movement, the people of Talcher wanted to plunge in the national stream. Pabitramohan Pradhan, the leader of the Prajamandal escaped from the prison at Talcher on 31st August 1942. He started working as an underground leader. An emergency meeting was held at Paniola camp of Angul on 2nd Sept, 1942 and the Prajamandal workers decided to fight openly against the British Raj.
The Prajamandal decided to capture the Darbar on 6th August and liberate the administration from the clutches of the Raja. They collected some arms and ammunitions. Sri Bichhanda Ch. Pradhan had to take the lead of such a grand campaign. Due to their effort all the state administrative machineries were made defunct. Communication system was totally disrupted. The militia of 8 hundred people assembled at Hatatota, 1 km away from the Garh or palace. When firing failed to disperse the mob, machine-gunning from air was resorted for. Four heroes became the martyr on this historic day. They were Basudev Sahoo, Krutartha Pradhan, Matia Sahoo & Bhajana Nayak.Though the mob failed to capture the palace, yet their agitation continued. Machine guns were used from the air to quell the agitators during the August Revolution of 1942.
The feudatory states did not want to lose their independent sovereign states after 15th Aug. 1947, when India emerged free from British yoke. The Raja of Talcher was not prepared to grant a popular Government nor was willing to merge with the province of Odisha, Again the Prajamandal leaders started mobilizing popular revolt against the chief. The warrant against Pabitramohan Pradhan was lifted on 29th Aug, 1947,who took the leadership. But due to the advice of Gandhi the Prajamandals were asked to wait and persuade the states for merger. Persuasion of Sardar Ballav Patel, H.K. Mahatab and Sarangadhar Das ultimately came out to be successful. The ruler of Talcher, H.C.Dev Birabar Harichandan signed and executed the agreement of merger on 15th Dec, 1947. The merger became effective from 1st Jan, 1948. Though the ‘Direct Action’ to capture the Government failed, the people of Talcher came out to be victorious. Their long freedom struggle against the oppressive authorities created a glorious chapter in history.