Odisha Under Aurangzeb

The anarchy and confusion that reigned in Odisha during Prince Shujah’s reign came to an abrupt end with Aurangzeb’s accession in 1658 A.D. Mir Jumal established law and order in Bengal during his early years in office and appointed Ihtishan Khan as Odisha’s ruler. After assuming the position of Subahdar of Odisha, he issued a proclamation ordering that Khutba be read in the name of Aurangzeb in all Odisha mosques. Following that, he issued an order notifying all Mansabdars, Choudhuries, Quanungoes, and Zamindars of his own appointment. Additionally, he directed that the officers and Zamindars report to him at Narayangarh. Naturally, this order appears to have fallen on deaf ears. He was quickly succeeded as Subahdar of Odisha by Khan-i-Dauran.

Krushna Chandra Bhanja’s assassination

Khan-i-rule Dauran’s in Odisha began on a sour note. Odisha’s recalcitrant Zamindars had ceased to pay revenue to the Mughals. Arriving in Jaleswar via Narayanagarh, he directed that zamindar Bahadur Khan of Hijli and Krushna Chandra Bhanja of Hariharpur pay homage to him. When Krushna Chandra Bhanja spoke defiantly to the Subahdar, the latter sentenced the former to death. By Khan-i-order, Dauran’s all of Krushna Chandra Bhanja’s followers suffered the same fate.

Zamindars are being suppressed

Then began the drama of the local zamindars’ repression. Subahdar defeated zamindars such as Uddanda of Narasimhapur, Chhatreswar Dhal of Ghatasila, and Harichandan Krishna Bhanja of Nilgiri. He proceeded to Remuna to ascertain the state of chaos that had developed in Mayurbhanj following Krushna ChandraBhanja’s death. However, following the surrender of Jayachandra Bhanja, the deceased Rama Chandra Bhanja’s brother, the Subahdar recognised him as the Raja of Hariharapur and bestowed the title of Tikayat upon his son.

Mukundadeva’s Rebellion

Khan-i-next Dauran’s objective was Khurda. Raja Mukundadeva had declared his independence from the Mughals by uniting with the zamindars of Banki, Ranapur, Sarangagarh, Damapara, and the surrounding locality. Khan-i-Dauran fell ill for two months after reaching Cuttack. In February 1661 A.D., after his recovery, he marched ahead to settle a score with Mukundadeva of Khurda. He began by capturing the seven hill forts and wreaking havoc on Khurda. Mukundadeva fled in fear, and his younger brother Kapila Bhramaravara Raya surrendered without resistance to the Subahdar. Other zamindars, as mentioned previously, followed a similar path. Finally, Mukundadeva surrendered to Khan-i-Dauran.

The abrasive steps of Khan-I-Dauran

Khan-i-Dauran continued on to Keonjhar, defeated Raja Laxminarayana Bhanja, and snatched away from him the fort or Panchira that he had occupied during Prince Sujah’s misrule. The Subahdar gradually suppressed the zamindars of Ranapur, Damapara, Sarangagarh, Patia, Kanika, Kujanga, and Maluda, among others. The Subahdar’s rash actions effectively reasserted imperial authority in Odisha, reestablishing peace and stability in the state. After completing the task, he wrote to Aurangzeb as follows: “I have punished all usurpers, oppressors…. of the province and compelled them to submit.” Our officers collect the revenue. The populace is at peace and content, going about their daily lives.” Within a short period of time, he amassed and remitted revenue totaling fifteen lakhs of rupees to the court of Aurangzeb, which made him happy.

Additional Governors

In September 1667 A.D., Khan-i-Dauran died. Tarbiyat Khan succeeded him and remained in charge until 1669 A.D. He was succeeded by Safi Khan, dubbed by English writers as ‘Ruffee Ckanna Naboob,’ of Odisha. Safi Khan was succeeded by Rashid Khan, who was succeeded by Shayista Khan, Aurangzeb’s maternal uncle. Until 1704 A.D., Governors such as Salih Khan, Abu Nasar Khan, Akrarn Khan, Ghaznafar Khan, Askar Khan, Kamgar Khan, and Azim-us-Shan, Aurangzeb’s grandson, ruled Odisha in gradual succession. Murshid Ouli Khan was then appointed Subahdar of Odisha, a position he held until Aurangzab’s death in 1707 A.D. Odisha was then annexed by the Nizams of Bengal.

Junaid’s intolerance

Aurangzeb was a devout Sunni Muslim and an outright religious bigot. Junaid was appointed Muhtasib for the propagation of Islam in Odisha by him. Numerous Hindu temples, including that of goddess Sarala at Jhankada in the modern Jagatsinghpur district, as well as a large number of temples in Jajpur, were demolished on his order. Aurangzab issued an order for the destruction of the Jagannath temple in Puri in 1662 A.D. Raja Divyasimhadeva of Khurda, on the other hand, bribed the Subahdar, who not only falsely reported the destruction of the Jagannath temple in Puri to Aurangzeb, but also sent him a forged image of Lord Jagannath. Aurangzeb was elated by Junaid’s iconoclastic activities. In any case, Aurangzeb’s rule in Odisha was characterised by four distinct characteristics. To begin, the obstinate zamindars were dealt with harshly. Second, law and order have been reintroduced. Thirdly, the Hindu religion was prevented from spreading due to widespread iconoclasm that destroyed numerous important temples in Odisha. Finally, the Bengali Naib Nizams played a significant role in the administration of Odisha.

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