Odisha Under Aurangzeb

The chaos and confusion that prevailed in Odisha during the rule of Prince Shujah, came to drastic end with the accession of Aurangzeb in 1658 A.D. During his initial years of administration, Mir Jumal established law and order in Bengal and sent Ihtishan Khan to assume the authority of Odisha. After taking over the charge as the Subahdar of Odisha, he issued a proclamation that Khutba should be read in the name or Aurangzeb in all the mosques of Odisha. Next, he intimated, by order, to all the Mansabdars, Choudhuries, Quanungoes and Zamindars ragarding his own appointment. Further, he ordered the officers and Zamindars to meet him at Narayangarh. Of course, as it appears, this order fell in deaf ears. Within a very short span of time, he was replaced by Khan-i-Dauran as Subahdar of Odisha.

Murder of Krushna Chandra Bhanja

The rule of Khan-i-Dauran in Odisha began with a dismal note. The refractory Zamindars of Odisha had ceased to pay revenues to the Mughals. Coming to Jaleswar via Narayanagarh, he sent order to zamindar Bahadur Khan of Hijli and Krushna Chandra Bhanja of Hariharpur to pay him homage. When Krushna Chandra Bhanja talked defiantly to the Subahdar, the former was put to death by the latter. All the followers of Krushna Chandra Bhanja suffered the same fate by the order of Khan-i-Dauran.

Supression of Zamindars

Then began the drama of supression of the local zamindars. The Subahdar marched against zamindars like Uddanda of Narasimhapur, Chhatreswar Dhal of Ghatasila and Harichandan Krishna Bhanja of Nilgiri and subdued them. He proceeded to Remuna to look into the chaotic condition that had taken place at Mayurbhanj after the death of Krushna ChandraBhanja. However, the surrender of Jayachandra Bhanja, the brother of deceased Rama Chandra Bhanja led the Subahdar to recognize him as the Raja of Hariharapur and to offer his son the title of Tikayat.

Rebellion of Mukundadeva

The next target of Khan-i-Dauran was Khurda. Raja Mukundadeva had turned rebellious against the Mughals by joining his hands with the zamindars of Banki, Ranapur, Sarangagarh, Damapara and the nearby locality. After reaching Cuttack, Khan-i-Dauran fell ill for two months. Being recovered, he marched ahead to settle score with Mukundadeva of Khurda in February 1661 A.D. He first captured the seven hill forts and ravaged Khurda. Out of fear, Mukundadeva fled away and his younger brother Kapila Bhramaravara Raya surrendered to the Subahdar without any resistance. Other zamindars, mentioned above, followed the same path. At last, Mukundadeva, surrendered himself before Khan-i-Dauran.

Khan-I-Dauran’s harsh steps

Without halting a little, Khan-i-Dauran proceeded to Keonjhar, defeated Raja Laxminarayana Bhanja and snatched away from him the fort or Panchira which he had occupied during the misrule of Prince Sujah. With gradual succession, the Subahdar suppressed the zamindars of Ranapur, Damapara, Sarangagarh, Patia, Kanika, Kujanga, Maluda and other smaller ones. By such rash activities on the part of the Subahdar, the imperial authority in Odisha was thoroughly reasserted restoring peace and stability in the land once again. After accomplishing the task, he wrote a letter to Aurangzeb thus: “I have punished all the usurpers, oppressors ….. of the province and made them obedient. The revenue is being collected by our officers. The people are enjoying peace and happiness and playing their trades.” Within a short span of time, he collected and remitted revenue amounting fifteen lakhs of rupees alongwith many valuable Jewells to the court of Aurangzeb that made him happy.

Other Governors

Khan-i-Dauran breathed his last in September 1667 A.D. He was succeeded by Tarbiyat Khan who remained in this charge till 1669 A.D. He was succeeded by Safi Khan known as ‘Ruffee Ckanna Naboob,’ of Odisha by the English writers. Safi Khan gave way to Rashid Khan who was replaced by Shayista Khan, the maternal uncle of Aurangzeb. Then Governors like Salih Khan, Abu Nasar Khan, Akrarn Khan, Ghaznafar Khan, Askar Khan, Kamgar Khan, Azim-us-Shan, the grand-son of Aurangzeb ruled Odisha in gradual succession till 1704 A.D.After that, Murshid Ouli Khan was appointed as Subahdar of Odisha who remained in the post till 1707 A.D., when Aurangzab breathed his last. After that Odisha came under the rule of the
Nizams of Bengal.

Junaid’s bigotry

Aurangzeb was a staunch Sunni Musim and a religious bigot out and out. He appointed Junaid as the Muhtasib for the propagation of Islam in Odisha. Several Hindu temples including goddess Sarala at Jhankada in the present Jagatsinghpur district and a good number of temples at Jajpur were demolished by his order. In 1662 A.D., Aurangzab issued order for the destruction of Jagannath temple at Puri. However, Raja Divyasimhadeva of Khurda bribed the Subahdar who not only reported a pretended destruction of the Jagannath temple at Puri before Aurangzeb but also sent a fake image of Lord Jagannath to him. By these iconoclastic activities of Junaid, Aurangzeb was elated. Anyway, the rule of Aurangzeb in Odisha was marked for four distinct features. Firstly, the recalcitrant zamindars were dealt with iron hands. Secondly, law and order were restored. Thirdly, Hindu religion was not allowed to spread due to massive iconoclastic activities which brought ruin to many important temples of Odisha. Lastly, the Naib Nizams of Bengal played a dominant role in discharging the administration of Odisha.