Dhenkanal (princely state)
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
Dhenkanal (princely state) is now Dhenkanal district, which is situated in Orissa State, India, with Dhenkanal town as its district headquarters. This article describes the history of the princely state.
16th century 
In the year 1529 A.D. during the rule of Gajapati Maharaja of Utkal Sri Sri Pratap Rudra Deb, his Southern Division Commander and Bebarta galloped to Dhenkanal, situated 150 KM north of Puri, leading the force of cavalry and foot soldiers. There was a fight with the soldiers of the Chief who was ruling Dhenkanal. The battle was won by Gajapati’s Commander who was appointed by Gajapati Maharaja as the Raja (King) of Dhenkanal and Bebarta was also appointed. The Raja became hereditary ruler of Dhenkanal and Bebarta (Minister) post was also hereditary. Proper administration was installed, maintained and there was perceptible improvement in all matters of the State. The Maratha attack was effectively resisted. Raja Bhagirathi Pratap was a very popular and effective ruler, who was decorated with hereditary title of Mahindra Bahadur.
20th century 
Raja Sri Sura Pratap Singh Deo Mahindra Bahadur's eldest son, Prince Shankar Pratap, became Raja in the year 1926. He was young and still studying. Subsequently he went to England to study Bar at Law. After his return to Dhenkanal, he put his mind to administration.
While Raja Sri Shankar Pratap Singh Deo Mahindra Bahadur was in England, his younger brother, Pattayat Nrusingha Pratap Singh Deo was ruling over Dhenkanal. He built his 100 room palace at Jatan Nagar with forced labour. The labourers were tortured badly. Raja's Accountant also extracted money from common men. After all these incidents people expected an improved state of affairs after Raja Sri Shankar Pratap would return from abroad and take over administration from his younger brother.
Raja Sri Shankar Pratap was more repressive as a result of which, common people rose in revolt. The revolt was organised and mobilized mainly by Harmohan Patnaik, who was the grandson of Dhenkanal Bebarta Jagannath Patnaik and Dewan Damodar Patnaik. Harmohan Patnaik formed the Dhenkanal Praja Mandal and was elected as its President. This was the first Praja Mandal  of British India and then Praja Mandals sprang up in all princely states of India as public organizations to resist the practices of the then Rajas and Maharajas.
Killing of Baji Rout 
The British military force was mobilized by Raja Saheb to repress a revolt. A young boy named Baji Rout refused to ferry the British military force by his boat. The British Officer opened fire and killed Baji Rout and five villagers. This incident inflamed the nearby villagers and the revolt spread to the entire Dhenkanal State.
Charter of rights 
Praja Mandal mobilized mass gatherings and a charter of rights was drawn. During the years of struggle, the Indian National Congress also became associated with the Dhenkanal movement. Arrests and imprisonments were a regular occurrence. Whenever Raja Saheb's forces imprisoned Harmohan Patnaik, the people surrounded the Palace in great numbers. Raja Saheb felt threatened and released Harmohan Patnaik unconditionally.
Independence of India 
The independence of India in the year 1947 put a stop to all this. Raja Sri Shankar Pratap Singh Deo Mahindra Bahadur accepted Harmohan Patnaik as an adviser. Subsequently, princely states were taken over and Rajas and Maharajas were deposed. Raja Sri Shankar Pratap was elected as Member of newly formed Orissa Legislative Assembly. Ranee Smt. Ratna Prabha Devi was an M.L.A. for two terms. Raja Sri Shankar Pratap's son, Brigadier Kamaksha Prashad Singh Deo, became a Member of Indian Parliament and a Minister in the Government of India's cabinet. He was the President of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee. Dhenkanal has produced engineers, professors, judges and literary luminaries and is a prosperous district of India.