From the Jacket
This work, drawn largely from Oriya sources, provides a much-needed analysis of an important but often neglected topic. This is the first book that provides a comprehensive assessment of the many-sided contributions of Gourisankar Roy, Baikunthanath De and Maharaja Krushna Chandra Bhanj who were some of the foremost among the makers of modern Orissa. It explores and triumphs, and studies the thoughts and deeds of Orissa in the second half of 19th century Orissa, social, political and cultural. The text is accessible to a broad readership and will be of service to students and scholars at all levels.
About the Author
Joy Krushna Samal was born in Balasore in 1943. he was awarded M. A., Ph. D. and D. Litt. Degrees in History. He received career award from the University Grants Commission to work on the history of the Princely States of Orissa in 1983-1986. He worked as a Visiting Professor to Tibilis University in U. S. S. R. in 1989. He was the President of South Indian History Congress. He has delivered lectures at several universities in and outside India. He is Professor of History, Berhampur University, Orissa. An eminent historian, his published works included: Orissa under British Crown: 1858-1905, History of Education in Orissa: 1905-1936, Administrative History of Orissa: 1866-1912, Princely States of Orissa: 1905-1947, Economic History of Orissa: 1866-1912, History of Modern Orissa, and Agrarian History of Orissa Under the British Rule. His edited works include Comprehensive History and Culture of Orissa in two volumes.
Pradip Kumar Nayak was born in Balasore in 1957. He obtained his Ph. D. degree from Berhampur University. He is Lecturer in History in Siddheswar College, Balasore. Currently he is engaged in post-doctoral research in Land Reforms and Social Changes in Orissa.
The present study aims at capturing the glimpses of the interplay of all historical forces that make up the structure of biographies of eminent persons rising to social eminence to act upon the history of a race or an ethnic state evolving towards a quasi-sovereign nationhood. Here that ethnic unit is Orissa; history is the progression of events during the cultural renaissance of the Oriya-speaking community from 1866 to 1905 A.D. and around; the persons are Baikunthanath De, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Krushna Chandra Bhanj, Radhanath Roy, and Gourisankar Roy. At the outset we better highlight the aims and objectives of a not-too- ambitious project, and this may help bring out the bearings of such explorations on the history of Orissa.
That no historical study can be undertaken without certain assumptions that initiate all research undertakings is beyond any shadow of doubt. To be brief these are the basic assumptions that inspired us to adopt a particular approach to the study of an aspect of Orissan history which has received great attention of many scholars from Dr. H.K. Mahatab to Dr. P.K. Mishra in the 80's. The first cardinal proposition is that the study of the biography of eminent persons has a great historical relevance in as much as it concretely reflects shape and force, the structure and functions, and the total flux of events that make the history of a community at a particular period. Correlated to this and in no less correspondence with this is the assumption that eminent individuals are not only the products of historical forces, but also in their eminence in the hegemonic structure they too impart to history its shape and force, its momentum towards change and the emergence of new factors. In respect of Orissan history this has not yet been attempted though biographies have been written and historical studies have at times incorporated biographical materials in profusion.
Apart from these considerations we have succinct reasons why we believe that this kind of study may be worth pursuing in the context of recent trends in historical research in Orissan history.
Especially many scholars since Dr. Mahatab did his pioneering research in Orissan history have explored the period of the British intervention that brought out several socio-cultural changes in the life-style of Oriya-speaking community. Dr. J.K Samal with his voluminous study under the title "Orissa under the British Crown" opened up the frontiers of research with immense success. Dr. K.M. Patra has preceded him by exploring the conditions of this state under the hegemony of East India Company. Dr. P.K Mishra made an exhaustive study of the formation of Orissa in his memorable research. Apart from such pioneering works, books and monographs have been produced to give a full account of the history of the modem period, with all sources explored, all available materials pressed into service. But these eminent historians have rarely been concerned with the possibility of looking at Orissan renascence through the spectrum of biographical records. We feel earnestly that the rise of Orissa is due to several factors which in their convergence, and collateral pressures, gave rise to the historical consciousness that Orissa has a socio-cultural and ethnic identity of its own. Of all the factors that flicked off the rise of an ethnic consciousness the prominent one may be the intervention of the newly-educated elite of Orissa that disseminated nationalist feelings and inspired the masses to press for the formation of a separate Orissa which came into being in 1936. Of all the people at work, actively engaged in the very mission for change, intent on a cultural awakening we have selected five great personalities of Northern Orissa as samples for our limited study. Since Orissan history of this phase seems extremely sectorial or fragmented, each researcher choosing his own model of interpretation, we insert one more to complement what has already been achieved.
Perhaps to correct the posture of historical studies any exploration along this suggested line will someday emerge more useful than in the present context. Often in our context researches have suffered from the fallacy of segmentation more often than not. Either political, social, economic or cultural aspect of history of Orissa under the British regime has preoccupied most of the scholars in their ambitious projects during the post-independence phase till today. The outcome has often been quite stimulating, fruitful and historiographically rewarding. But an aspectal study can only highlight an interplay of certain homogeneous factors. In some cases the political events are assumed to be the cardinal factors that compose the flux called history while in others cultural factors acquire preponderance. In some cases economic factors have been prioritized while in others social structure has usurped all other forces and aspects of history as a record of facts making up the matrix exposed to the keen gaze of historiographers. In any such case the total history of Orissa does not come into picture at all. The present is an attempt at structurising the totality without lilting any of the factors or aspects.
It is assumed that public figures, persons of great social eminence, shape and mould the history of their times, and hero-model of historical interpretation is only an exaggerated account of this generalisation. It is better to test this hypothesis than evolve it into a covering law, and our study may contribute at least some iota of truth to the commonly held assumption that great men are not the products of history but rather the agents of historical change, the carriers of momentum that deflects the course of events towards several directions in correspondence with the amount of pressures they may bring to bear on the life-style of a community. The hero- model is not being applied as a working hypothesis; no hypothesis is intended here; rather the study remains a very humble effort to record the facts as historiographically accurate as far as practicable; yet it is valorised by the very assumption that persons of eminence play their historical role.
It should better be admitted that this study is the outcome of a shift in stress, a change in historiographical enterprise in the Orissan context of research. In the fitness of the project a few more observations should be made before the conceptual design and the format of this thesis are brought forward into the ambit of analysis and discussions. Choosing the biographies of five distinguished persons, contemporary to one another, needs justifying. The simple reason is this. The persons under survey belong to the hegemonic structure of Orissan community undergoing a crucial phase in the history of its ethnic evolution during the most critical period of the modem times before Orissa became a separate province in 1936. Besides, all these persons belong to the highest echelon of Orissan social hierarchy of that particular phase. Other reasons for our concentration on the biographies of the five eminent persons of Orissa are as follows.
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