Paper: General Studies Paper-I
Section: History of Modern India
Topic: Important Personalities who shaped Freedom Movement in Odisha
Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das and Odia movement.
Madhusudan Das born on 28th April 1848 in Satyabhamapur of Cuttack in a well to do family. He was the first BA, MA and BL of Odisha. He was popularly known as Madhubabu. He worked untiring for the political, social and economic upliftment of the people of Odisha. He founded Utkala Sammilani which brought a revolution in the social and industrial development of Odisha. He took variant stand for unification of scattered Odia tracts. He was architect of Odia movement and pioneer in the field of industrial development.
His important works related with Odia Movements:
- In December, 1903, Madhubabu formed the Utkal Union Conference a non-political organization. It was open to all Odias of feudatory States, British Odisha and those domiciled in Odisha.
- At the behest of Madhusudan, Lord Curzon took a decisive step towards uniting the scattered Odia tracts under Bengal administration.
- Madhubabu set up Utkal Tannery on an experimental basis in his residential house at Cuttack. Nearly 300 workers were employed. This pioneer Odisha industry lasted for 25 years. Nevertheless the industry had trade contracts with foreign countries like England, Europe and Japan
Freedom struggle and Ramadevi
Ramadevi Choudhury born on 3 December 1899, also known as Rama Devi was a freedom fighter and a social reformer from Odisha. She was called Maa (Mother) by the people of Odisha.
She joined the Indian independence movement in 1921. She was highly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and took an active part in Non Cooperation Movement. She used to go from village to village to encourage women to join the independence movement. The same year they joined the Indian National Congress and started wearing khadi.
In 1930, she took active part in the Salt Satyagraha movement at Odisha level. She went to Inchudi and Srijang, with other activist. She and her colleagues were arrested in November 1930 and placed in different jails by the British. She was arrested several times (in 1921, 1930, 1936, 1942) with other women independence activists like Sarala Devi, Malati Choudhury and others and was sent to jail.
She attended the 1931 Karachi session of the Indian National Congress and, at that time, requested leaders to hold the next session in Odisha. In 1932 after her release from Hazaribagh jail, she was actively involved in Harijan welfare. She stated the Asprushyata Nibarana Samiti under instructions from Gandhiji, for the eradication of untouchability. The institution was later renamed the Harijan Sewa Sangha.
She was closely involved in Gandhiji’s 1932 and 1934 visits to Orissa as well as the visits of, Kasturba, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and others. She started an Ashram at Bari, which Gandhiji named Sewaghar.
During the Quit India Movement of 1942, members of Rama Devi’s entire family, including her husband, Gopabandhu Choudhury, were arrested. After the death of Kasturba Gandhi, Gandhji assigned her work as the representative of the Orissa chapter of the Kasturba Trust.