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Veer Surendra Sai, an epitome of endless courage and determination fought against British raj with a handful of brave warriors such as Madho Singh, Kunjal Singh, Airi Singh, Bairi Sing, Uddant Sai, Ujjal Sai, Khageswar Dao, Salegram Bariha, Govind Singh, Pahar Singh, Rajee Ghasia, Kamal Singh, Hati Singh, Salik Ram Bariha, Loknath Panda/Gadtia, Mrutunjaya Panigrahi, Jagabandu Hota, Padmanave Guru, Trilochan Panigrahi and many more. He resisted the tyranny of British empire for longer than any other brave soul who fought for his motherland. He spent his time making strategies in the vicinity of Debrigarh which is very close to the present day Burla. On this background, in independent India, a medical college came into being in Western part of Odisha and the alumni, students, faculties are proud to have their college named after him. Surendra Sai was born on 23 January 1809 in a Village called khinda near Lapanga on the way to jharsuguda about 40 km to the north of Sambalpur. His father was Dharma Singh and he was one of seven children. Surendra Sai was a direct descendant from Madhukar Sai, the fourth Chauhan king of Sambalpur and therefore was eligible as a candidate to be crowned as king of Sambalpur after demise of King Maharaja Sai in 1827. Surendra Sai began protesting the British at age 18 in 1827, moved operations to the hilly tracts of Western Odisha in 1857 and continued until he surrendered in 1862 and went to Hazaribagh Jail Before his surrender he spent 17 years in prison and after his final arrest served a term of 20 years including his detention of 19 years in the remote Asirgarh hill fort until he died. Surendra Sai tops the list of the countless martyr who has laid down their lives with a smile to free our motherland from the clutch of the British rule. Veer Surendra sai is better known as Veer Surendra Sai rechristined in the British tongue, the reason better known to them. The history of our nation is yet to pay the deserving tribute to this immortal hero who not only languished for a long 37 years in the jail but also died in the captivity. As goes in the annals of British history Sambalpur was the last part in India won by the East India Company. In the year 1804. In those days of uncertainties and instabilities. Surendra Sai was born on January 23rd 1809 in the royal family as the eldest son of mother Rebati Devi and father Dharma Sai. He displayed his rare talent and extraordinary skill in horse riding and martial arts. He enjoyed the unconditional support of all of his six brother – Uddant, Dhrub, Uijjval, Chhabil, Jajel and Medini all along his life. He was hardly 18 years old when he took up the leadership of building up the force of resistance in and around Sambalpur. Our hero Veer Surendra Sai rose as the leader of the masses as well as the chieftains (Zamindars). Under his able leadership the resented lot got united and posed a great threat to the British army. As a matter of fact British reached out to Sambalpur in 1804, the very previous year they found control over the coastal Orissa, but it took a long 15 years to lay hand on the reins of the throne here. They could place Maharaja Sai as the ruler of Sambalpur in 1820, who was their stooge, after the demise of the then ruler Jayant Singh. Such a move was not acceptable to the then Gountias (village chieftains), Zamindars and even the common men. Then all of a sudden Maharaja Sai died in 1827 and as per the tradition his queen Mohan Kumari took up the rein of the throne. That very year Surendra raised up as a local center of power with immense peoples’ support to stand up against the hegemony of the British interference. Obviously the local resentment extended the desired support LO him. Incidentally Mohan Kumari died issueless and it could provide the British a chance to place their yesman Narayan Singh, the Zamindar of Barpali, on the Sambalpur throne. And then Surendra came forward with strong objection to such a decision with claiming himself as the actual successor of the throne. By such a move he also became a personal enemy to Narayan Singh, who occupied the Sambalpur throne then. With his declaration of war against the king and his supporter British power, Surendra became vulnerable, but he was able to unite the local forces to form an army to face the challenge. He had to fight many a battles against the throne and the British forces but his army always placed him as the Winner. In 1840 the British force could lay its hands on him by arresting his alongwith his brother Udant and uncle Balram Sai at Rampur near Barpali. They were framed charges as the murderers and sentenced for imprisonment. It was a golden opportunity for the British forces, who were then in the verge of taking up the rein of Sambalpur throne. They sent Surendra and his two associates to a far off prison to Hazaribagh and kept under very tight security. The chance of getting free from that captivity was very remote But Surendra had something else in his luck. He remained in that prison for 17 years, from 1840 to 1857.

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