Chennai, India +91

Duryodhan Jena

(1909 – 2011) – (Odisha)

Duryodhan Jena (Aged 102) was born in 1909 in the Athgarh State village of Nuabandh in Athgarh to Raghunath Dal Singharay and Mani Debi. He was an iconic freedom fighter and social reformer.

Raghunath Dal Singharay was employed as sarbarkar by the Raja of Athgarh. Despite being an employee of the state, Raghunath Dal did not hesitate to criticize and protest against many of the king’s illegal and unjust orders and policies. As a result, he was arrested along with his son Duryodhan, who was also courageous and vocal. Raghunath was mercilessly beaten in jail and was killed in 1938.

However, this did not intimidate Duryodhan. After his release, he intensified the movement against the king. Though he was also employed by the king as a clerk in the state’s Revenue and Forest Department, he resigned from the job to take part in the protest movement.

In 1933, the king introduced a licensing system for selling betel and bidi, which was consumed by all sections of society. Duryodhan vehemently opposed it and asked people not to consume betel and bidi. The king was forced to withdraw the order in the wake of mass protests.

Thereafter, when the Prajamandal Movement began in 1938 under the leadership of Radhanath Rath, Duryodhan was one of his foot soldiers and right hands. He moved from door to door to awaken the people against the tyranny of the king and urged them to join the movement. The movement continued in full swing and could not be suppressed despite mass arrests and oppression. As a result, King Radhanath Bebarta Pattnaik had to abdicate his seat and secretly escaped to Haridwar, where he spent the rest of his life as a monk.

After the merger of the state in 1948, Duryodhan joined Congress and, as Sarpanch, brought many developments in the fields of agriculture, irrigation, plantation, fishery, women’s education, removal of untouchability, literacy, and education in his area. He dedicated nearly eighty years of his life to the service of the people. He passed away in 2011.