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Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru was born on 19 August 1903 in the Rajguru clan of the Ganga dynasty in Parlakhemundi to Harikrushna Rajguru and Sunamani Devi. He started his education at the age of five. From his childhood he was a man of independent mind. Though a meritorious student, he could not be qualified in the matriculation examination, intentionally. However, he passed the Oriental Title Examination in ‘Oriya & Sanskrit’ from the Andhra University.

In 1929 he joined as the manager of first theater of Odisha Parala Padmanabha Rangalaya. Then he worked as the president of the Ganjam District Education Council from 1942 to 1945. He also worked as an assistant at the Kalinga Historical Research Society at Bhawanipatna from 1947 and later joined Odisha State Museum to work as a curator (1950–61) and later as an epigraphist (1963–70). He was also a member of the working committee of Odisha Sahitya Academy and the chairman of Paralakhemundi Municipality.

Eminent Personality of Odisha : Padmashree Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru
Eminent Personality of Odisha : Padmashree Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru – Art by Saswat Debadutta

In 1946-47, a research institute was formed with the collective efforts of Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru and the kings of Balangir and Kalahandi. The fund was made available jointly by the above royal heads. This was before the princely states had been annexed into the Indian Union.

Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru went to retrieve inscriptions engraved on stone or metals whenever and wherever he heard of them being found at various places. He would decipher them and read the text and get them published in Journals published by Bihar OdishaHistorical Research Society, Andhra Historical Research Society and Kalinga Historical research Society. All the above research works published by him then have found place in Bibliotheca Indicia of Holland. It was him who had stressed upon the need for Asuragada excavation.

Dr. Satya Narayana Rajguru had also played an important role in the movement for formation of the Odisha State. Upon being directed by Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati Dev, he had been to Gopalpur to present a memorandum before the O¶Donnell committee. He had testified before the same commission in 1930. Similarly, in the year 1958, when he was working with the Odisha State Museum, his office was shifted to Paralakhemundi for two months to enable him submit a memorandum and testify before the SRS Commission that was set up after the Andhra Pradesh government demanded the region of Parlakhemundi as its part. He had
submitted a memorandum on behalf of the Orissa government to the Panicker and Kunjuru Committee and also testified as a witness before it. This had taken place in the present Circuit House building in Parlakhemundi.

Rajguru is known to have done notable research on the history of Odisha and is credited with findings on the early of life of Jayadeva, the thirteenth century Sanskrit poet and the author of Gita Govinda. He translated The Palanquin Bearers, a poem by Sarojini Naidu into Odia language under the name, Palinki Bahaka and has published several other works, some of which are prescribed text for university studies.

Some of his notable works are:

‘Swapane Chumban’, ‘Janani Utkal’, ‘Radhavisek’, ‘Odialipira Kramabikash’, ‘History Of Gangas’, ‘The Korasanda Copper Plate Grant Of Visakhavarmma’, ‘History Of Eastern Gangas Of Kalinga’, ‘Heirographic Letters Of Naraj’, ‘The Odras And Their Predomenancy’, ‘The Historical Research In Orissa’, ‘The Konduli Copper Plate Grant Of Narasimha Deva Of Saka 1305’, ‘Sumandal Plates Of Dharmaraj’.

Some of Award of Rajguru

The Andhra Mahasabha conferred him with the ‘Bharati Bhushan’ award. He was also awarded by the Ganjam Sahitya Sammilani (1968), Orissa Sahitya Academy (1968), “PADMASHREE” by the President of India Shri V.V.Giri (1974), D.Litt. by the Berhampur University and a life member in the University Senate (1975), Utkal Pathak Sansad (1977), Orissa Congress (1980), “SARALA SANMAN” (1989) for his outstanding and meritorious research work.

Satyanarayana Rajguru was a man of multidimensional character. He was a poet, a writer, a dramatist, a stage director, an actor, a freedom fighter, a linguist, an orator, an historian and a research scholar.

By A P Subhakanta Samal

Teacher, Proud Odia. Passionate about History and heritages of Odisha. Founder and Chief editor of Shubhdristi (ଶୁଭଦୃଷ୍ଟି), A bi-monthly Odia e magazine and literature portal.