October 11th is an unforgettable day in the history of Odisha. 73 years ago that
Baji Rout, a young ferr boy from Nilakanthpur village of Dhenkanal was killed by
the British soldiers. The death that shook the nation and added fuel to the
ongoing freedom struggle made Baji Rout the youngest Martyr of freedom struggle
in India. It was around 8 pm on October 10th in 1938 when British police
arbitrarily arrested some people of Bhuban village and took them to the Bhuban
Police station .
Protesting against this injustice, leaders of the
Prajamandal gheraoed the police station, demanding immediate release of the
arrested people. The British police instead opened fire at the agitators that
killed two people. However after this incident the British police lost its heart
and tried to flee the place. The opted to go to Dhenkanal via Nilkanathpur Ghat
it was the shortest route to Dhenkanal.
On the wee hours of
October 11th, they reached Nilkanthpur Ghat when it was raining. The thirteen
year old Baji Rout was on guard of a country boat at that time. He was ordered
by the troop to ferry them across the river Brahamani immediately. Baji who had
had already heard details of the brutality of the troop understood that had
resorted to villagers and had understood if the British troops were to be
obstructed, then they needed to be stopped from going across to the other bank.
He therefore refused to ferry them across.
The troop threatened to
kill him if he did not ferry them across immediately. Baji however rejected
their orders again. One of the British soldiers hit Baji Rout head with his gun
butt that fractured his skull severely. He collapsed, but he rose again
gathering whatever little strength and courage was left with him, and raising
his voice to the highest pitch beyond even his strength, warned the British
troops not to ferry them till alive. A soldier pierced his bayonet into the soft
skull of the brave boy even as another started firing ruthlessly.
While one of the bullets hit Baji and he lay dead, his other friends Laxman
Malik, Fagu Sahoo, Hrushi Pradhan and Nata Malik were also killed. The incident
shook the entire nation. People from within and outside the state lauded the
supreme sacrifice of the barve martyr. The funeral procession of Sahid Baji Rout
started from his native village of Nilakanthpur to Khan Nagar in Cuttack. It’s a
shame that 73 years on the youngest martyr of Indiahas not received due
recognition from the Government of India. Though he is mentioned in the who’s
who of Indian Martyrs being published by the government ofIndia, this young
martyr definitely deserves more.