History of Orissa
¤ Medieval History
According to the Puranas Kalinga is known to be a powerful kingdom as
early as the time of the Kurukshetra battle. Mahapadmananda conquered
and instituted Kalinga to his extensive empire. Although Kalinga lost
her independence, she became economically prosperous under the Nanda
rule. The last Nanda king was overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya, the
founder of Maurya rule in Magadha. Kalinga under the Mauryan.
¤ The Reign of Ashoka
The son of Vindusara - Ashoka The Great.... who invaded Kalinga in
261 B.C. and succeeded in occupying Kalinga. The Kalinga War was one
of the most dreadful and ponderous nature taking the lives of as many
as 1,00,000 people. 1,50,000 were taken as prisoner of war, while
about the same number died as a consequences of the war. Ashoka could
not the bear the horrendous slaughter caused by the war and therefore
took up the path of non-violence and become the follower of Buddhism.
Ashoka tried to placate the unconquered Atavika people and desired to
conquer their heart by love. That was the principle of Dharmavijaya
and was followed by Asoka after the Kalinga War. Kalinga became one of
the administrative provisions in the empire of Magadha with
headquarters of a Kumara (Viceroy) located at Tosali.
Asoka believed in generous administration and a well organized
government. Buddhism spared over Kalinga and was accepted as a state
religion. Ashoka also took a great deal of interest in developing the
art of stone masonry, edicts were engraved on the Dhauli and Jaugada
rocks to teach the religious principles to the people. Asoka died in
232 B.C. and the Maurya empire lasted up to 185 B.C.
¤ Mahameghavahana Kharavela
In the second half of the 1st century BC, the third ruler of this
dynasty was Kahravela. The Hatigumpha inscription in Udayagiri near
Bhubaneswar purveys detailed accounts about the life and flourishing
of Kharavela kingdom. On the premature death of Kharavela's father, he
took up the administration and become the most successful ruler of his
The Hatigumpha inscription records the work of Kharavela up to his
thirteenth ruling year after that records are not available. He was
probably succeeded by his son Kudepasiri. It is known from some
recently discovered inscriptions of Guntupalli and Velpuru in Andhra
Pradesh that the Mahameghavahana dynasty continued to rule over
Kalinga and Mahishaka up to the 1st century AD.
¤ The Satavahanas and the Murundas
The Satavahana king Goutamiputra Satakarni ruled Kalinga early in the
second century. According to some scholars, Mahrarja Rajadhiraja
Dharmadamadhara's gold coin was found from Sisupalgarh excavation who
is considered as a Jaina king belonging to Murunda family which ruled
over parts of Bihar and Orissa. The Bhadrak stone inscription of
Maharaja Ganabhadra datable to the third century AD also indicates the
rule of the Murundas in Orissa.
Thereafter the Murundas of Kalinga were conquered by the rising Naga
dynasties of Kausambi, Ahichhatra, Padmavati and Vindhyatavi.
¤ The Durjayas
About the middle of the sixth century A.D. a chief named Ranadurjaya
established his rule in South Kalinga with Pishtapura as his capital.
The Mudgalas of Tosali were conquered by the Durjaya king
Prithvimaharaja. The kingdom was subsequently destroyed by Sasanka who
was ruling in some parts of Orissa .
¤ The Upcoming Of The Mandala States
Some semi-independent province known as the Mandalas developed in
between the kingdom of Bhaumas and the Somavamsis remained
faithfulness to the Bhauma rulers. The ruling dynasties of those
Mandalas were (1) the Bhanjas of Khinjali Mandala (2) the Bhanjas of
Khijjinga Mandala (3) the Sulkis of Kodalaka Mandala (4) the Tungas of
Yamagartta Mandala (5) the Nandodbhavas of Airavatta Mandala (6) the
Mayuras of Banei Mandala and (7) and Gangas of Svetaka Mandala.
The Royal Gangas
The Eastern Gangas who started their rule in Kalinga about the end of
the 5th century AD continued as a small power till the time of
Vajrahasta V who came to the throne in 1038 A.D.
Mukundadeva came to the throne in 1559 by betrayal and slaughter. He
belonged to the Chalukya family. In 1560 Sultan Ghiyasuddin Jallal
Shah of Bengal invaded Orissa and marched up to Jajpur. Mukundadeva
defeated him and drove him out of Orissa. During that time Akbar was
planning to conquer Bengal and made alliance with Mukundadeva for that
purpose. In 1567 when Akbar was busy in the invasion of Chitor, Sultan
Karrani invaded Orissa. The Mughal Governor of Bihar, Munim Khan
became nonchalant and Mukundadeva confronted the invasion of Bengal
single-handed. He was defeated by the Sultan Karrani and took refuge
in the fort of Kotsima, where Sultan Karrani tormented him.
Mukundadeva made a treaty with Suleiman Karranim and fought against
Ramachandra Bhanja where he lost his life at the hands of Ramachandra
Bhanja. Later on Ramachandra was also defeated and killed by Bayazid
and Orissa was conquered by the Afghans of Bengal in 1568 AD.
¤ Since 1568 up To Independence
The year 1568 is considered as an important state in the history of
Orissa that can be divided into the glorious era --- gratifying past
and the dark, obscure period which was ahead. Orissa maintained her
political vigor with successive powerful ruling dynasties and made a
distinction of her own within the wider intricacy of Indian
civilization. In the fields of art, architecture, religion, philosophy
and literature, ancient Orissa made notable achievements.
¤ The Declining Phase of Orissa
Not very late internal disorder, wars and invasions altogether were
the main cause to bring about the downfall of mediaeval Orissa. Orissa
was one of the last of the Indian territories to surrender to the
Muslims rule. The Muslim ruler of Bengal, Suleiman Karrani succeeded
in vanquishing the land of Orissa in 1568, ending thereby the
independence of this powerful Hindu kingdom.
¤ The Rulers of Afghan
Orissa came under the rule of the Afghans with the victory of Karrani
in Orissa. But fortunately the new rulers could not establish their
authority in the effective manner. Suleiman Karrani died in 1572. Daud
Karrani, his younger brother took up the throne as the ruler of
Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. During this time Mughal Emperor Akbar whose
aim was to extend his empire, had his eyes over the state for the long
time as he got the opportunity he fought a battle and captured Orissa.
There started the rule of Mughals Empire in Orissa.
¤ The Glorious Phase of Mughal Rule
Mughals could never had a very strong footing on the land of Orissa
due to its terrain. Akbar was contented that the territory of Orissa
is added into its province. Thus, in most parts of Orissa, local
rulers enjoyed their autonomous authority and semi-independent status.
Akbar, true to his liberal policies and principles, even paid respect
to Raja Ramachandra Deva-I of Khordha, authorizing him to enjoy the
courtly position of a subordinate king.
Orissa constituted into a separate province in 1607and Cuttack was
declared its capital during the rule of Akbar's son Jahangir and his
successors. Orissa enjoyed this status till the end of the rule of the
Orissa was ruled by Mughals for about two centuries, but there was no
endeavor on their part to convert the people to Islam. When the Mughal
Empire began to decay, the Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Aliverdi
Khan, became independent. The Marathas played a major role in
declining of the Mughal Empire. There started a conflict between
Aliverdi and the Marathas, which finally ended in the Maratha
acquisition of Orissa.
¤ Marathas Brought Great Development To The Region
The Maratha administration of Orissa functionally began from the year
1751. Maratha brought lot of developments into the region. They
encouraged pilgrimage to Orissa from other parts of India, due to the
increasing esteem and fame of the Jagannath Temple. The great
festivals of Puri received sufficient patronage. Marathas aslo had a
great role in the boosting up of Oriya literature. It made a rapid
progress-- the Kavya and Padya literature, prose and biographical
literature, Puranic and historical writings, besides devotional
poetry, made immense advancement.
But this glorious phase of Maratha rule could only lasted for not
more then half a century. There rises the British power in the region.
¤ Finally Orissa Came In The Hands Of British Rule
In 1633, the British setup a trade centre at Hariharpur, one of the
first of their settlements in India. Their subsequent establishment at
Baleshwar on river Burhabalanga and at Pipili on river Subarnarekha
grew into booming trade centres.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Buxar in 1764 the craving of
the British Empire reached its heights, and they wanted to acquire as
much of Indian territories as possible. With all means of hook and
crook slowly and steadily they started capturing the territories of
Indian sub-continent and Orissa being so near to Bengal was never a
hassle. The treaty of Deogarh, signed on 17 December 1803, ended the
Maratha rule and Orissa was under the regime of British Rule.
Orissa in fact had been much deformed and reduced in size and
population when the British rule began. There left only the three
coastal districts - Baleshwar, Cuttack and Puri.
¤ Great Orissa Famine
The indications of famine were quite prominent since October,1865. It
was a complete default of the British Government to realize the
urgency of the situation. The government was even fail to meet the
food demand, that led to a mortality of one million. Nearly one man in
every three in Orissa died in the famine. Orissa took time to recover
from the effects of the Great Famine. Thereafter British were
compelled to pay some focus towards the development of the affected
¤ Freedom Struggle In Orissa
The Indian National Congress was born in 1885, the Orissa was all
ready for taking up a initiative in the advancing of the Congress
beliefs and programs.
Orissa marched on the path of freedom struggle with the rest of India
for national independence. With the active participation of Oriya
inhabitants, started the struggle of freedom movement in a daring
spirit. The current of the Non-Co-operation Movement swept over
Orissa. Gandhiji's visit to Orissa in 1921 was a major success as he
got the tremendous response for his struggle from all sections of the
people. The message touched the hearts of the rural mass as well as
the elite of Orissa. Many of the renowned lawyers gave up their legal
profession --- Gopabandhu Choudhury, Surendra Nath Das and Muhammed
Hanif gave up their government jobs. Pandit Nilakantha Das left the
job of Calcutta University to serve in a national school. Orissa
national movement was further strengthened by the visit of other great
leaders like, Motital Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose in 1922.
As the ultimate effort of the National Congress to secure the
complete independence, the Quit India Movement was started in August
1942, Orissa had an active role in this revolution. The revolution in
Orissa arose in the hearts of poor and common people who required no
leadership to rise, but occupied an impulsive determination to take
part in revolution.
With the coming of the independence in August 1947 the issue of the
merger of the states was taken up immediately, for which the grounds
had long been prepared by the Praja Mandal Movements.
With the merger of the states, the new Orissa became nearly twice as
big in size, and with the addition of 50 per cent more people to its
existing population, it became one of the major territories of the
Indian sub-continent. Today Orissa has far reached its goals,
treasuring immense resources of unlimited minerals, dense forests,
fertile lands and numerous rivers.