Odisha Under Jahangir

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With the death of Akbar, Jahangir ascended the throne in 1605 A.D. He did not follow the liberal policy pursued by Akbar. He intervened in the internal administration of Khurda and the temple of God Jagannath. Odisha became a separate Suba. Hasim Khan was appointed as the Governor of Odisha. He prepared a plan to march against Purusottamadeva, the Raja of Khurda. Before he implemented this plan, his subordinate Raja Keso Das Maru Marched against Purusottamadeva for materialising the dream of his master.

Occupation of Puri


At the time of Car festival, when the images of God Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra were in the Gundicha house, Keso Das Maru entered into the Jagannath temple with his Rajputsoldiers having a plea to visit the temple. He tortured the priests of the temple and seized property estimated more than two crores of rupees. At this shocking news, Purusottamadeva of Khurda marched with his grand army consisting of infantry, cavalry and chariots. Though, the temple was besieged by the soldiers of Purusottamadeva, the Rajput soldiers of Keso Das Maru threw rags soaked with oil and ghee setting fire in these materials. All in a sudden, the chariots of Purusottam caught fire and soldiers on their top were burnt alive.

Conditions of the Treaty

At last, the King of Khurda surrendered before Keso Das Maru with the following humiliating conditions:
1. To send his daughter to the imperial harem.
2. To pay three lakhs of rupees as Peshkash to the imperial exchequer.
3. To give his own sister in marriage to Keso Das Maru.
4. To pay one lakh rupees as Nal Bandi (light tribute or present) to the Raja and his followers.

Purusottamadeva had no alternative but to agree to these proposals. Accordingly, Keso Das married the sister of Purusottamadeva and went to Puri. From that place he sent news to Khurda to send other articles of demand which Purusottam fulfilled immediately. This exalted his position before emperor Jahangir who prompted Keso Das to the rank of four thousand horses and offered a robe of honour, a jewelled sword with belt, a horse etc.

Kalyanmal’s Khurda occupation

With the termination of the governorship of Hasim Khan, Raja Kalyanmal was appointed by Jahangir as the Governor of Odisha in 1611 A.D. He cast his glances over the kingdom of Khurda which was ruled by Purusottamadeva who was guided by Rajaguru Vidyadhara. With
diplomacy, Kalyanmal invited Vidyadhara to Ghantasila Tangi and made him a captive. All in a sudden, he attacked Khurda. Hard pressed by the situation, Raja Purusottama sued for peace.

Terms of the Treaty

The terms of the treaty were as follows:
1. The Raja would surrender to him.
2. The daughter of the Raja would be sent to the imperial harem.
3. The king should agree to pay three lakhs of rupees as Peshkash to the imperial treasury along with Sesha Naga, the renowned elephant for the use of the emperor.
4. The king must attend the emperor in person.

Purusottamadeva agreed to all these proposals. However, Raja Kalyanmal was removed from his service in 1617 A.D. by Jahangir.

Khurda occupation by Mukarram Khan

After kalyanmal, Mukarram Khan was appointed by Jahangir as Governor of Odisha in 1617 A.D. After the assumption of charges, he was grossly indulged in iconoclastic activities. He injured the statue of Sakhi Gopal. At his approach, the Sevakas removed the idols from the temple of Puri and took them to Gobapadar. Purusottamadeva, the king of Khurda became furious and wanted to deal with this whimscal Governor. The attack of Mukarram Khan was so vigorous and fatal that the king fled away from Khurda and sought asylum with the king of Rajahmundry. It appears that Khurda was termporarily annexed to the Mughal empire. His conquest of Khudra was highly appreciated in the Mughal court and emperor Jahangir rewarded
him by sending valuable gifts.

Death of Purusottamadeva

With his removal in 1620 A.D. Husain Ali Khan became the Governor of Odisha for a short while. After him, Ahmad Beg was appointed in the same post in 1621 A.D. Purusottamadeva gathered support from the local chiefs of Banapur, Ranapur and ruler of Rajahmundry. At this, Ahmad Beg proceeded up to Banapur via Khurda. While holding a camp near Banapur, Purusottamadeva breathed his last. He was succeeded by his son Narasimhadeva.

Khurram’s visit to Odisha

When Narasimhadeva proceeded towards Garah Manitri for the safety of royal family, Ahmad Beg invaded Khurda. By this time Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) revolted against Jahangir and from the Deccan he came to Odisha via Golkunda. At his approach,Ahmad Beg fled to Burdwan and then to Akbar Nagar. Narasimhadeva and his supporters greeted Shah Jahan with humility. Being overpleased at the behaviour of the king, Shah Jahan left for Bengal. His plan to conquer Allahabad and Oudh was foiled due to the alertness of Mahabbat Khan. So, suddenly he returned to Golkunda via Odisha. After his return, Ahmad Beg again became the Governor of Odisha and remained in that charge till 1628 A.D. Jahangir’s rule is important for two reasons so far as Odisha is concerned. Firstly, Odisha became a separate administrative unit free from Bengal. Secondly, the king of Khurda lost the sympathy of the Mughal emperor and thus, was under the direct rule of the Mughal authority.


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