DHENKANAL: When the fight for Independence was gathering steam across the State, freedom fighter Brajakishore Mohapatra brought together villagers of Dhenkanal to take part in the Prajamandal (people’s) Movement to revolt against the unjust tax hike by the king in 1938.
“The kings then lived in a lavish manner and extracted money from the poor people in the form of taxes. People were also made to work in their palaces for free. After long years of such torture, people of Dhenkanal could no longer bear the harassment and decided to revolt”, recalled the 96-year old freedom fighter. Mohapatra, a resident of Kesaria village, was one among the Prajamandal leaders in the area who raised voice against the oppression of the king.
“When Baji Rout, India’s youngest martyr, was gunned down by the Britishers during Prajamandal fight against the oppression of the then Dhenkanal ruler, I and late freedom fighter Baishab Patnaik took out a procession carrying Baji’s body to Cuttack from Nilakanthapur village here and thousands of angry villagers had joined us”, he recalled. After Independence, Mohapatra joined the CPI.