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.
Jaya Krushna Mahapatra was the Rajguru of King of Khurda. He was popularly known as Jayee Rajguru. It is pertinent to mention that the Khurda kingdom comprising the coastal districts of Odisha was the last bastion of independent India which fell to the British only in the year 1803. By then the rest of India had already come under the British rule. Incidentally, 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 sense. The hero of this earliest war of Indian independence was Jayee Rajguru.
The story of Jayee Rajguru is awe inspiring and demonstrates the heroic patriotism of many of our ancestors who sacrificed their lives for our motherland.
The Khurda Rising of 1804 which Shaheed Rajguru led from the front was truly a people’s war. The Rajguru prepared the army for it and appealed to the people to come forward and be ready for sacrifice to save their Motherland. Every household contributed a soldier, trained in different war skills, and people grouping themselves under his leadership. These fighters from the common masses, formed an army to fight the colonial rule were known as Paikas. Jayee Rajguru attacked the British forces in 1804 on the banks of the river Mahanadi. In a fiercely fought battle, a handful of Paika soldiers fought valiantly against the 7000 strong British army. The battle skill, valour and sacrifices of Jayee Rajguru and his followers are still remembered by the people even after 200 years.
It is inspiring to remind ourselves of the great heritage of freedom struggle. Brave and loyal sons and daughters of our country have shown extraordinary commitment to the cause of freedom. They gave their day for our today. Our glorious yesterdays illuminate and make our todays brighter.
Rajguru was the epitome of dharma. He not only counselled the king in fulfilling Raja Dharma but also carried out his own dharma or duty to save the king even at the risk of losing his own life. Not fearing his own capture, Jayee Rajguru moved the King to a safe place with his trusted lieutenants, so that the symbol of sovereignty of his land could be protected. Jayee Rajguru exhibited his abiding love and eternal loyalty of the highest order.
He was the first martyr from Orissa in the freedom struggle and also one of the earliest martyrs in our Freedom Movement.
Jayee Rajguru’s brilliant leadership, incisive diplomacy and his contribution to the social, religious and political life of his state makes for an inspiring chapter in the national history.
Remembering the act deed of such life will inspire patriotic values in the youth and citizen’s of this country. We should ensure that such historical events should be a part of our education system.
Jayee Rajguru was not only a brave warrior but a Great Sanskrit Scholar of his time and was an astute Rajguru. We are proud that such noble individuals have lived in our country and left behind a glorious saga of sacrifice. As a nation we shall be ever grateful to such heroes.
With these words, I once again pay my humble tributes to the memory of this brave son of India. Let us emulate the ideals and values of Jayee Rajguru, which will be the true respect to the supreme sacrifice made by him.
In fact, we should protect the freedom that has been won with so much of sacrifice and, with the same patriotic fervour, reshape our country to ensure all citizens of this great country have essential freedoms enshrined in our constitution.
We should look at the illustrious past and the current progress to mould a better future for our people. I see this as the eloquent lesson taught to us by heroes like Rajguru and our freedom fighters who are also ‘gurus’ in a way, because they teach us ‘values’ through their ‘actions’.
Lord Krishna had exhorted Arjuna to shed diffidence and fight on. That’s the courage we need today. Courage of conviction. Courage to face realities, however unpleasant. Courage to take action, however difficult.