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MadhuSudan Das – Who saved Jagannath temple from British hands and handed it to Puri Maharaj Gajapati #UtkalaGouraba #Odisha #Puri

In 1885 the Raja of Puri Sri Dibyasingh Dev was transported for life being convicted in a murder case. The then Government instituted a civil case against the Raja for taking over possession of the Puri Jagannath temple. The Dowager Rani Surjyamani Pattamahadei challenged this as the mother guardian of minor Raja Mukund Dev. Mr. Madhusudan Das, though was a Christian, defended the Rani in this case for the protection and preservation of age old sanctity of the Puri Jagannath temple and the Raja of Puri who is held in great esteem by the entire Hindu world and who performs the most important work, the Chhera Panhara (brooming of the Lord Jagannath Rath) before the beginning of Rath Yatra ceremony.

The Rath Jatra ceremony of Lord Jagannath would have lost its sanctity and historicity of Utkal connected with this ceremony would have been affected very much. The lower Court however gave the decree in favor of the Government. Therefore, the District Judge appointed a receiver to take over the possession and management of the temple.

Mr. M.S.DAS went to Calcutta to consult the eminent Barristers of that time about this case. Three eminent Barristers Gurudas Banerji, Evans and Woodruff whom Mr. Das showed the records advised him not to proceed further in that case as they saw no chance of the defendants success in the High Court. Despite this disappointing advice Mr. Das did not lose his faith in God. He himself prepared the case briefings and printed the papers at his own cost and thereafter consulted some other Barristers who gave opinion. Then an appeal was filed in the High Court. A Division Bench which heard this case had set apart three days for appellants lawers to argue the case. On the day of hearing the Court room was packed to its capacity as the case had aroused all India interest.

The Barristers of the Rani finished their arguments within three hours instead of three days. The Judges who heard the case were simply charmed 12 August – 2015 Odisha Review by the brief and effective style of the argument and thanked the Barristers in the open Court. The Barristers who were magnanimous persons and men of high character told the Court that the praise for this brief and argument was mainly due to Mr. Das, a young lawyer from Cuttack. The Judges were much pleased with Mr. Das and invited him to an evening party where he was introdued to other judges and eminent persons of Calcutta. Immediately after that the Lt. Governor of Bengal invited him to the Government House for having compromise with the Rani over the Puri temple affair.

In 1988 a deed of agreement between the Raja of Puri and the Government was made. Mr. Das had won a great victory for the Jagannath temple and Puri Raja holding high traditional honour and dignity of the historic Temple of the Hindu world. Two other cases in which Mr. Das had exposed the conspiracy and mischief of the local British officials were equally important. Madhu Babu was home tutor of Ashutosh Mukherji, who subsequently became Sir Ashutosh and most illustrious educationist of Bengal.

Sir Ashutosh had lifelong respect and regard for Mr. Das as Madhusudan gave free private tuition. Madhu Babu was also teacher of Shyamaprasad Mukherjee. SP Mukherjee was the founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Madhusudan Das passed away on 4th Feb 1934. On 13th feb1953 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave speech at Cuttack.

Madhusudan Das was a great man not only of Orissa but the whole India; I had been hearing his name for last fifty years. Though I had no opportunity to meet him directly yet I have seen him from a distance. He was a very great friend of my father. During this period whenever the affairs of Orissa came up for discussion and consideration, the name Madhusudan absorbed all this and came in to prominence. You all know all that he had done for Odisha.

utkal-gourab-madhusudan-das saved puri jaannath temple from british eodisha.org

“According to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India “I first met M.S.Das when I came to preside over the Bihar Students Conference which was held at Motihari in the year 1912.We travelled together on our own way to Champaran and conversation I had with him in the train and on the steamer left an indelible impression on my mind about his personality, intellectual depth, fearlessness and love and devotion to country. In a long life full of varied activity he was ever striving to serve the people and as he told me, although he ruined himself financially he never sent his hat round for the public help.” According to Dr. Harekrishna Mahtab “Madhusudan was inspired by two cardinal virtues of Christianity-humility and forgiveness. Though a Christian, he believed in the essential equality of religions.”

Reference: Madhusudan Das: His Life and Achievements