31 August 2009

The History of Nabarangpur: The district part of the modern undivided Koraput district with its hills and impenetrable fastnesses was a part of the ancient Atavika land referred to in the Special Roak Edicts of Ashok. From these Edicts is know that Atavika people were a great source of strength of Kalinga in the third century B.C. Ashok occupied Kalinga is 261 B.C. but the land of the Atavikas which could not be conquered remained outside his empire. The emperor in his Special Rock Edict, No.2, clearly referred to the Atavika people as his unconquered neighbors. The fierce and war-like people of the territory were a constant source of anxiety for him and he was trying his best to appease them his military prowess and initiated a sublime idea of conquering the hearts of those people by paternalism flavoured with love. Very little is known about the history of this region after Ashok till the rise of the Mahameghavahana dynasty in the first century B.C. when Kalinga regained her political predominance. Under the Kharavala, the third ruler of this dynasty, Kalinga become one of the strongest powers in India and the Atavika land comprised an important part of her growing empire. This territory appears to have been referred to as the “ Invincible Vidyadhara Region” in Hatigumpha Inscription of Kharavela. This inscription reveals that Kharavela in his fourth regnal year pulled the resources of invincible Vidyadhara territory that had been the military recruiting ground for the former kings of Kalinga and marched to the west to subdue the Rathikas and Bhojakas. From this record it is clear that the forest clad territory lying to the west of Kalinga formed a great source of strength for the kingdom in ancient times. Nothing more, however is known about the history of this Atavika during the pre-Christian centuries. The Nasik Inscription of Vasisthiputra Pulumavi dated in his 19th regnal year 149 A.D. indicates that this region formed part of the extensive empire of Gautamiputra Satakarni (106-130 A.D., ref ep. Ind. VIII P.67 ff no. 2). During 3rd century A.D. Koraput region passed from the hands of Satavahanas to those of the Ikhvakus. By the middle of 3rd century A.D. Vakatakas came to prominence Parvarasena I conquered eastern and north -eastern region very likely brought Baster -Koraput area to his dominion. During 4th century A.D. i.e. 350 A.D. this region forming part of the Mahakantara territory was then under king Vyagjararaja to whom sumudra gupta claims to have defeated the territory of Mahakantara is very likely the same as the land of Mahavana referred to in one Nagarjunikonda Inscription and it comprised is the modern Koraput and Kalahandi tracts. The political influence of the Guptas Kings over this region was short lived. In the 4th – 5th Century A.D. the Nalas rose to prominence with their headquarters at Puskari in the modern Umerkote Tahsil of the district, the Nala Kings claimed descent from the famous King Nala of the Nishadas described in the epics. According to historian S.N Rajguru, seal No. 25 found from the excavation of Vita, belonging to a king named Brishadhwaj whose appellation resembles that of the Nala King (Inscrrptions of Orissa, Vol. I part II. Page 109) Brishadhwaj is one of the early Nala kings and Vita seal has been attributed by sir John Marshall to the 3rd or 4th Century A.D. (Archeological survey report, 1911-12 P. 51.) The power of early Nala Kings increased rapidly and by the time of king Varahaja, in the early 5th century A.D. the political supremacy of Nalas extended over Baster-Koraput territories. A coper plate grant discovered from the village Pandiyapathara near Aska in Gajnam district reveals that even as late as 10th century A.D. one Nala King namely Bhimasena, was ruling over the territory known as Khindirasringamandala, comprising parts of modern Ganjam and Koraput district (OHRJ VI P. 97-102), The region was under the rules of different dynasty such as Matharas, Gangas, Somavanshis, Nagas, Matsya, Silavansa, Suryavansha, Vinayakdev founded the rule of a new dynasty which ruled over Nandapur dominion in continuous succession till the end of British period. Vinayakdeo said to have married princess Leelavati, daughter of Pratapa Ganga Raju, the last Silavamsi ruller of Nandapur and ascended the throne of the 32 steps after Pratap Ganga, the rulings of the famous throne of 32 steps found at Nandapur, ascribed to the rulers of this dynasty. The Jeypore ruling family, which bears the surname of Deo and has sun as its emblem descended from VinayakDeo. Chaitanya Deo, was the last ruler of the Solar Dynasty who ruled over the then Nowrangpur taluk and he was issueless the zamindiry again reverted to Jeypore Maharaja family of Jeypore. The thana of Nowrangpur (with that of Gudari in the Gunupur taluka) was granted by Ramchandra Deo-II of Jeypore to his nephews Krishna Deo and Narsimha Deo. With the extinction of the former’s line of succession, the latter’s son Chaitanya Deo, occupied the whole estate. On his death in 1876 his three widows retained possession of the estate, but in 1896 the Maharaja resumed it. In 1900 two of the Ranis(the third had dies) brought a suit in the Agent’s court for recovery of the properties, then the Maharaja appealed to the high court and before any final decision was arrived at a compromise was effected. Accordingly the only surviving Ranee Sulochana Patta Mahadevi got the estate till her death in 1912 after which the estate was incorporated with the estate of Jeypore. During the 20th century Ramchandra Dev-IV (1920-31) was an honorable lieutenant in World War-I, He was issueless and was succeeded by a benevolent, aged scholar King Vikram Dev-IV, the son of Krishna Chandra Dev. During this period the Boundary Commission headed by Sir O’Donnel was entrusted with the task of writing the different Oriya speaking tracts. The Commission went round Jeypore, Paralakhumendi, Ganjam, and Visakhapatnam agency before finalizing. The state After the formation of Orissa province in 1936 Koraput district was created, there were two subdivisions, Rayagada and Koraput. On 1st March 1941 a new subdivision called “the Nowrangpur subdivision” consisting of the talukas of Malkangiri, Jeypore and Nowrangpur, was created. The arrangements of three subdivisions continued till 1962, Nowrangpur subdivision with 5,511.95 square miles was too extensive and was presenting administrative problems, its remote places being as far as 200 miles apart. The former Malkangiri taluk was therefore, declared subdivision. On 1st August 1962. During a recent survey conducted by a research team of Orissa, who visited Nabarangpur and adjacent districts the team is of the opinion that in the ‘Meghaduta’ Kalidas described “Amrakuta’ which is now known as Umerkote, situated in the district of Nabarangpur. Nearly 2000 years ago Umerkote was known as Amarkantak, state the famous poet was born in this region. Besides all the descriptions of natural sites in Meghaduta poem are located in Nabarangpur, Koraput, and Malkangiri districts. The Ramagiri mountain mentioned in the poem is situated in Boipariguda block of Koraput district and geographically Ramagiri is to the south of ‘Amarkantaka, and Savari river, Janaka Tanaya Kunda, Dandakaranya and Maithali of Ramayan era are found in Malkangiri district which was known as Malyabantagiri. During a recent study the local writers and researchers who said that Nalas, who had good rapport with Vikramaditya, ruled Umerkote region. They claimed that Kalidas’s father worshiped the idol of Vishnu, which was found in Kasaribedha village near the ruined fort of Podagada. Four inscriptions of Podagada tell a lot about this history. There has been much debate on the life and times of Kalidas with no definite answer. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and West Bengal too had claimed Kalidas lineage. While Orissa too had been asserting this for long. However it remains to be seen as to how far the research of the team could give definite shape to the State’s claim. A new chapter in the history of the Jeypore country was begun when the district of Koraput was formed and incorporated in the new Orissa, province on the 1st April 1936.R.C.S. Bell, I.C.S., become the first Collector of Koraput, who was for sometimes Special Assistant Agent for the newly formed district of Koraput.