Jayi Rajaguru

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Jayi Rajaguru
Jayi Rajaguru 01.png
Old sketch by Dharanidhar Behera of Cuttack
Native name ଜୟୀ ରାଜଗୁରୁ
Born Jaykrushna Mahapatra
(1739-10-29)29 October 1739
Harekrushnapur, Puri, Odisha, British India
Died 6 December 1806(1806-12-06) (aged 67)
Medinipur, Bengal, British India
Cause of death Execution
Nationality Indian

Jayakrushna Rajaguru Mohapatra (29 October 1739 – 6 December 1806) popularly known as Jayi Rajaguru[1] was a prominent figure of the Indian independence movement in the state of Odisha. A princely-priest by profession at the court of the raja of Khurda, Rajaguru was the first person to revolt against the British Raj in the province. While collaborating with the marathas for recaptured the British-occupied province, a maratha messenger was caught by the British army and Rajaguru's secret strategies got exposed. Upon failure of his removal from the king's court, the British force attacked on the fort of Khurda and captured Rajaguru. He was later sentenced to death by tying his legs to branches of a banyan tree in "Baghitota", Midnapore.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Rajaguru was born on 29 October 1739 (occasion of Anala nabami as per the Odia calendar) in Biraharekrushnapur a village in the Puri District [4] of Odisha to father Shri Chandra Rajaguru and mother Smt. Haramani Debi. He was the Royal Priest, Commander-in-Chief and the real administrative representative of the king of Khurda, Gajapati Mukundadev-II. He was the first martyr of India against the British.[5]

Royal responsibilities[edit]

Being an excellent scholar in Sanskrit like his grandfather Gadadhar Rajaguru and a great Tantra Sadhak, he was appointed as the Chief Minister-cum-Rajaguru of Gajapati Dibyasingha Dev in the year 1780 at the age of 41. He was a lifelong bachelor. He was also the royal priest of Gajapati Mukunda Dev-II.

In 1779, during the war between the Khurda King and Januji Bhonsala at Badamba Garh, Narasingha Rajaguru was killed who was handling the army. In this precarious condition Jayi Rajaguru was appointed as the head of the administration and the chief of Army of Khurda and carried out his duties till his death.

Revolt against the intruders[edit]


Taking advantage of the weak administration during the battles, the attack of Burgis was become intensified on the people of Khurda. This was intolerable to the patriot Rajaguru. He personally moved from village to village to encourage the moral strength of the Paiks (soldiers). He organized village youths and trained them in military practices and making arms and ammunition. The developed a five-point programme (Panchasutri Yojana) to fight against the Burgis.


However, the main trouble started in 1757 when the British won the battle of plassey and occupied the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Medinapur in Odisha. In 1765 they occupied a vast region of Andhra Pradesh from the Parsis and the Nizam of Hyderabad. They built a fort in Ganjam south to Khurda. For the purpose of transportation between Ganjam and Medinapur, they attacked Khurda in 1798 with the help of Shyamsundar Dev, the treacherous brother of the king of Khurda. Even with the sudden death of Khurda King Gajapati Dibyasingha Dev at that particular time, Rajaguru did not let them to succeed in their effort. Rajaguru Supported Mukunda Dev-II and made him the king of Khurda.

The District Magistrate of Ganjam Col. Harcourt made an agreement with the king of Khurda for the communication of Ganjam and Balasore. It was agreed that the British would pay one lakh Rupees ( 1, 00,000) towards compensation to the king and to return the four Praganas which were under the control of the Marathas since 1760 A.D. But, they cheated in both the ways. Rajaguru tried his best to get the both, but was unsuccessful. In 1803-04, he marched with two thousand armed Paiks to Cuttack to collect the money but was only paid 40,000 and was refused to get the Praganas.


Filled with rage Rajaguru rearranged his army and occupied the four Praganas on his own with an intention to drive the British out of his state, his country. But, the British tried to capture Khurda by force. As a result, in September 1804 the King of Khurda was deprived of the traditional rights of Jagannath Temple which was a serious shock to the King and the people of Odisha. Consequently, in October 1804 a group of armed Paiks attacked the British at Pipili. This event alarmed the British force. In the mean time Rajaguru requested all the Kings of the State to join hands for a common cause against the British. The Kings of Kujanga, Kanika, Harishpur, Marichipur and others made an alliance with the King of Khurda and prepared themselves for the battle.

Finally, the historical fight occurred between the military of Khurda and the Britishers. Fight continued for a long period and Rajaguru was arrested from the Khurdha fort and was taken to Barabati fort. He made his all out effort to keep his king safe but finally, Mukunda Dev-II was arrested on 3 January 1805. Then Rajaguru and the King were sent to Midnapore Jail from Cuttack, fearing further violence in the State.

Trial and execution[edit]

Considering the petition submitted by the king from the prison, the British counsels released Mukunda Dev-II and sent him to Puri for settlement. The trial of Rajaguru was conducted at Baghitota in Medinapur. He was declared guilt for waging a war "against the lawfully established Govt. of the land". He was ordered to be hanged till death; but was killed on 6 December 1806 in a procedure in which executioners tied his legs to the opposite branches of a tree .[6]


  1. ^ Praphulla Kumāra Paṭṭanāẏaka (1979). A Forgotten Chapter of Orissan History: With Special Reference to the Rajas of Khurda and Puri, 1568-1828. Punthi Pustak. 
  2. ^ Prafulla Kumar Pattanaik (1 January 2005). The First Indian War of Independence: Freedom Movement in Orissa, 1804-1825. APH Publishing. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-81-7648-911-9. 
  3. ^ Prasanna Kumar Mishra (1983). Political unrest in Orissa in the 19th century: anti-British, anti-feudal, and agrarian risings. Punthi Pustak. 
  4. ^ "Jai Rajguru". orissadiary.com. Retrieved 7 February 2013. Jayee Rajguru was born on October 29, 1739 in an eminent scholarly family in the village Bira Harekrushnapur, near Puri 
  5. ^ Rout, Hemant Kumar (2012). "Villages fight over martyr's death place - The New Indian Express". newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 7 February 2013. historians claim he is actually the first martyr in the country’s freedom movement because none was killed by the Britishers before 1806 
  6. ^ "Controversy over Jayee Rajguru's place of assassination | Odisha Reporter". odishareporter.in. 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013. was assassinated by the British government in a brutal manner on December 6, 1806 [permanent dead link]

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