Odisha Under Jahangir

In 1605 A.D., following Akbar’s demise, Jahangir ascended to the throne. He did not adhere to Akbar’s liberal policy. He meddled in the internal affairs of Khurda and the Jagannath temple. Odisha was established as a separate Suba. Hasim Khan was appointed Odisha’s Governor. He devised a strategy for marching against Purusottamadeva, Khurda’s Raja. Prior to carrying out this plan, Raja Keso Das Maru marched against Purusottamadeva in order to materialise his master’s dream.

Puri’s Occupation

When the images of God Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra were in the Gundicha house during the Car festival, Keso Das Maru entered the Jagannath temple with his Rajput soldiers, pleading with them to visit the temple. He tortured temple priests and seized property worth over two crores of rupees. Purusottamadeva of Khurda marched with his grand army of infantry, cavalry, and chariots in response to this shocking news. Though the temple was besieged by Purusottamadeva’s soldiers, the Rajput soldiers of Keso Das Maru threw rags soaked in oil and ghee, which caught fire. Purusottam’s chariots caught fire unexpectedly, and the soldiers on their tops perished in the flames.

The Treaty’s Conditions

Finally, the King of Khurda submitted to Keso Das Maru on the following humiliating terms:

  1. To have his daughter enrolled in the imperial harem.
  2. To make a Peshkash payment of three lakh rupees to the imperial exchequer.
  3. To marry Keso Das Maru’s own sister.
  4. To pay one lakh rupees to the Raja and his followers as a Nal Bandi (light tribute or present).

Purusottamadeva was compelled to accept these proposals. As a result, Keso Das married Purusottamadeva’s sister and relocated to Puri. From that location, he informed Khurda to send additional articles of demand, which Purusottam promptly fulfilled. This elevated his position in the eyes of Emperor Jahangir, who promoted Keso Das to the rank of four thousand horses and presented him with an honour robe, a jewelled sword with belt, and a horse, among other things.

Khurda occupation of Kalyanmal

Raja Kalyanmal was appointed Governor of Odisha by Jahangir in 1611 A.D. after Hasim Khan’s governorship expired. He cast his gaze across the kingdom of Khurda, which was ruled by Purusottamadeva under the direction of Rajaguru Vidyadhara. Kalyanmal enticed Vidyadhara to Ghantasila Tangi and held him captive through diplomacy. He suddenly attacked Khurda. Raja Purusottama, pressed by the situation, petitioned for peace.

The Treaty’s Terms

The treaty’s terms were as follows:

  1. He would subdue the Raja.
  2. The Raja’s daughter would be assigned to the imperial harem.
  3. The king should agree to pay three lakh rupees in Peshkash to the imperial treasury in addition to Sesha Naga, the renowned elephant for the emperor’s use.
  4. The king must personally address the emperor.

Purusottamadeva accepted each of these propositions. However, Jahangir dismissed Raja Kalyanmal from his service in 1617 A.D.

Mukarram Khan’s occupation of Khurda

Mukarram Khan was appointed Governor of Odisha by Jahangir in 1617 A.D. following kalyanmal. Following his arrest, he engaged in flagrant iconoclastic behaviour. He caused damage to the statue of Sakhi Gopal. The Sevakas removed the idols from Puri’s temple upon his approach and transported them to Gobapadar. Purusottamadeva, Khurda’s king, became enraged and desired to deal with this capricious Governor. Mukarram Khan’s attack was so ferocious and fatal that the king fled Khurda and sought refuge with the king of Rajahmundry. Khurda appears to have been temporarily annexed by the Mughal empire. Khudra’s conquest was highly regarded in the Mughal court, and Emperor Jahangir rewarded him with valuable gifts.

Purusottamadeva’s demise

Husain Ali Khan became the Governor of Odisha for a brief period following his removal in 1620 A.D. Ahmad Beg succeeded him in 1621 A.D. in the same position. Purusottamadeva enlisted the assistance of the local chiefs of Banapur and Ranapur, as well as the ruler of Rajahmundry. Ahmad Beg then proceeded to Banapur via Khurda. Purusottamadeva died while holding a camp near Banapur. His son Narasimhadeva succeeded him.

Khurram’s Odisha visit

When Narasimhadeva made his way to Garah Manitri to ensure the royal family’s safety, Ahmad Beg invaded Khurda. By this time, Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) had revolted against Jahangir and travelled to Odisha via Golkunda from the Deccan. When Ahmad Beg saw him approaching, he fled to Burdwan and then to Akbar Nagar. Shah Jahan was greeted with humility by Narasimhadeva and his supporters. Shah Jahan left for Bengal, overjoyed with the king’s behaviour. His plan to conquer Allahabad and Oudh was thwarted by Mahabbat Khan’s foresight. As a result, he abruptly returned to Golkunda via Odisha. Ahmad Beg was re-elected Governor of Odisha following his return and served in that capacity until 1628 A.D. Jahangir’s reign is significant for Odisha for two reasons. To begin, Odisha became a distinct administrative unit distinct from Bengal. Second, the king of Khurda lost the Mughal emperor’s sympathy and thus came under direct Mughal rule.

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