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Baji Rout; The Youngest Freedom Fighter of  Dhenkal district, Odisha

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Nilakahthapur, a river-side village of Brahamni River in Bhuban of Dhenkal dist., where the teenage hero of freedom movement Baji Rout was born in 1925. His childhood days were not so happy and joyful. Unfortunately he has lost his father Hari Rout in the early periods of his childhood. He was brought up by his Mother who used to do rice-husking job in the neighborhood village.

Baji Rout is quite unknown outside Odisha. but, he is the youngest freedom fighter/martyr of our country. This 12 yr old boat boy was shot dead by British police when he courageously denied to ferry them across the rive Brahmani on the night of 11th October 1938 at Nilakanthapur Ghat (Bhuban, Dhenkanal dist).
 

The cruelty of the then king of Dhenkanal Shankar Pratap Singhdeo was at the peak. Taxes have been levied on the poor villagers and the soldiers of the king were used to snatch the incomes of poor villagers. The people under his rule were looking for the end of this merciless ruling. It led to the Prajamandal Agitation under the head of Baishnav Charan Pattanayak, popularly known as Veer Baishnav. Baji joined this revolt despite of his teen age.

Police and the armed forces of King were in search of Veer Baishnav. They have attacked the Bhuban village several times in search of him. On October 10,1938 they have attacked the village once again. They have used all the means of torture and brutality on the public to reveal the information regarding Baishnav but all went in vain. They have arrested some persons and took them to jail. But the prajamandal woke up and protested against this arrest. The soldiers opened fire at the agitators immediately to disperse them, that killed two people named Raghu Naik and Quri Naik.

However, after this incident the forces thought their life is in danger and tried to flee away. They wanted to go Dhenkanal via Nilakanthapur ghat , which was the shortest route. On the wee hours of the raining night of 11th October 1938, they reached Nilakanthapur Ghat of Bhahmani River. They have ordered Baji Rout, a 13 year old boy to ferry them across the river. As he was aware of the incidence, he denied bravely. Instead of ferry them, he started shouting and tried to warn the villagers regarding the presence of the troops. Despite of their threatening, the boy rejected strongly to obey their order. The angry police force shot him dead along with four others.

At the very teen age of playing, Baji Rout has sacrificed his life for the nation. History doesn’t tell much about him. But his patriotism and love for his country has made him theyoungest martyr of freedom struggle in India

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