Orissa News

Oriya literature also found its expression under the Marathas, due to local patronization of the princely chiefs and of the Maratha rulers. The Kavya and Padya literature, prose and biographical literature, Puranic and historical writings, besides devotional poetry, made great headway. Chaitanya Bhagavat of Ishwar Das, Chaitanya Mangal of Sadananda, Samara Taranga of Brajanath Bada Jena, and Kanchi Kaveri of Purushottamdeva were some of the notable works of the period. A number of Sanskrit works were also translated into Oriya by such literary figures as Krishna Singh, Kavi Gopal, Jaya Singh, Madhusudan Jayadev, Balabhadra Mangaraj and Keshav Charan Patnaik. Notable works were also written in Sanskrit. Naishadhiya Maha Kavyam and Usha Anirudha Natakam of Chaini Chandra Sekhar Rajguru, Gangavamsanucharitam of Rajguru Vasudeva Rath, commentary on Mrichha Katikam and Meghadutam of Maha Mohapadhyaya Narahari Panda, Bhanja Mahodaya Kavyam of Kavivara Nilakantha Misra and Braja Yuba Vilasa and Bhagavat Lila Chintamani of Kavi Bhusan Kamalalochan Khadgaraya were among the worthy Sanskrit works of the time. The economic misfortunes of Orissa however began under the Maratha due to rapid decline of her external trade. With the rise of the British power in Bengal and with their simultaneous control of sea trade, the export of grains and other commodities from Orissa that had been carried on by Orissa merchants for a long, declined sharply. The Maratha could not do anything to safeguard the maritime trade of Orissa. However the internal trade of the land was in a good condition as the Maratha Government’ took proper care for roads and canals.

Apart from this the Marathas were also responsible for providing facilities to travelers by constructing roads, planting trees, digging ponds and erecting rest houses and also experimenting with the postal service. The Maratha rule lasted in Orissa for a brief period of half a century only. This period coincided with the rise of the British power in Bengtal. In the middle of 17th century A.D Bengal fell to the British and it was all too natural that Orissa with her strategic location was going to be a main menu in their list of things.In 1803, following the second Martha war, Orissa was annexed to the British Indian Mainland.

British Rule on Orissa

The Britishers had established a trade centre at Hariharpur, as early as 1633. Their subsequent establishment at Baleshwar on river Burhabalanga and at Pipili on river Subarnarekha developed into flourishing centres of trade as well as of power.

Lord Clive accquired the deewani of Orissa,Bengal and BiharHowever it was the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Buxar in 1764 , that gave expression to the ambitions of the British traders to rule over the entire Indian subcontinent. Orissa being so near to Bengal automatically came under the orbit of that design, once Bengal had fell.

When Lord Clive acquired the Dewani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II on the 12 th August, 1765, the ‘Orissa’ of that transaction meant only the district of Midnapore. Most of the state still remained under the possession of the Marathas and Lord Clive was quick to realize the strategic importance of this land as a link between Bengal and Madras.He therefore opened a negotiation with the Marathas to get possession of the land by peaceful means. He sent his emissary, Thomas Motte to meet Bhawani Pandit, the Maratha Subedar at Cuttack with a message that exchange of adequate money, the Bhonsle Raja Janoji should handover Orissa to the East India Company. The Maratha obviously, didn’t pay any heed to this.

Clive’s successor in Bengal, Warren Hastings tried to persuade Janoji’s successor Madhoji Bhonslae to reconsider the issue without success once again although the Maratha ruler permitted the movement of the British troops through Orissa towards the south, under the command of Colonel Pearse. Lord Cornwallis adopted the same policy of persuasion, but achieved no result. Madhoji’s successor, Raghuji Bhonsle II, however, was made to agree to permit the British troops to pass through Orissa once again during the Third Mysore War. The British failed to get Orissa through diplomacy, but their soldiers could see and know Orissa during their movements for future need. His successor, Lord Wellesley, however adopted an aggressive stand by deciding to acquire Orissa by war. The conquest of Orissa was completed in 1803 without much difficulty. With their previous knowledge of the topography of the land and finding no effective resistance from the Maratha army, the British took only a month’s time from 14 September to 14 October, to complete their work of conquest.