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Veer Surendra Sai

Veer Surendra Sai
Veer Surendra Sai (23 Jan 1809 -  28 Feb 1884) was born on 23 Jan 1809 in a Village called Bargaon in Sambalpur district, son of Dharma Singh and he was one of seven children. Veer Surendra Sai was an Indian freedom fighter who sacrificed his life fighting against the British and died in obscurity. Surendra Sai was a direct descendant from Madhukar Sai, the fourth Chauhan king of Sambalpur and therefore was eligible as a candidate to be crowned as king of Sambalpur after demise of King Maharaja Sai in 1827.

Veer Surendra Sai was the child of the historic Revolution of 1857, as Napoleon was the child of the French Revolution of 1789. The heroic achievement of Surendra Sai and his uncommon sacrifice for the cause of his people have few parallels in history. His role in shaping the cause of the Revolution of 1857 and 1858 in the hill tracts of Western Odisha was highly inspiring. The British became a formidable power in the World after the victory of the Crimean War (1856) and their success in
crushing the Revolution in India in 1858. Veer Surendra Sai carried on an uncompromising war against the forces of imperialism till 1862. These four years were
the momentous period for the last phase of the Indian Revolution and Surendra Sai was the torch bearer.

Surendra Sai was a born rebel and an uncompromising enemy of the British Raj from his young age. His revolution against the British commenced from 1827 when he was only eighteen years of age and continued till 1862 when he surrendered and even after that, until he was finally arrested in 1864 - a total period of 37 years. He suffered imprisonment in Hazaribagh Jail for 17 years in course of his revolutionary career and after his final arrest for another term of 20 years including his detention of 19 years in the remote Asirgarh hill fort till he breathed his last there.

The Indian Revolution collapsed by the end of 1858 and law and order was restored by the British throughout India, but he continued his revolution. The military resources of the British were pulled up against him and the brilliant Generals like Major Forster, Capt. L. Smith and others earned credit in suppressing the rebellion elsewhere in India were brought to Sambalpur to stamp out his revolution. But all attempts failed and Surendar Sai succeeded in foiling strategy of the British for a long time. Major Forster, the reputed general who was vested with full military and civil power and the authorities of a Commissioner to suppress Surendar Sai and his followers, was removed by the British authority in 1861 after three years in Sambalpur.

Sambalpur was brought under the jurisdiction of the newly created Central Provinces on 30 April 1862, Surendar Sai decided to surrender soon after that. However, he was said to have been disillusioned and the new setup indulged in reversal of the old liberal policy. The administrators found that the surrender of Surendar Sai did not bring the revolution to an end. They stepped down to organise a conspiracy and made sudden arrest of Surendar Sai and all his relations, friends and followers. Veer Surendar Sai and six of his followers were subsequently detained in the Asirgarh hill fort. Veer spent the last part of his life in captivity. In 1884 on 23 May, Surendar Sai died in the Asirgarh fort, away from his native land.

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