Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Unsung Heroes Detail

Khetrabasi Subudhi

Cuttack, Odisha

August 05, 2022

Khetrabasi Subudhi, one of the heroes of the Prajamandal Movement in Athagarh was born on 15 July 1900 in Ghantikhal village of the then Athagarh state to Chintamani Mohanty and Bimala Debi. But he was adopted by his maternal uncle Panu Balabanta Ray of Khuntani which became his area of revolutionary activities. Since his father was the village headman or sarbarakar of Khuntani whose duty was to collect revenue from 22 villages and deposit them in the royal treasury, later Khetrabasi was also engaged in this profession for which the Raja conferred him the title ‘Subudhi’. Since then he was known as Khetrabasi Subudhi. He completed his education in the lower primary school of his village, but could not pursue higher study for want of financial support.

In Athagarh, after the death of king Biswanth Bebarta Pattnaik, he was succeeded by the prince Radhanath Bebarta Pattnaik whose lavish lifestyle, unnecessary expenditure for the royal household, collection of numerous taxes from the people, and forced labour angered the people against the king who rose in protest. Khetrabasi involved himself in this movement. In 1937, the Prajamandal Committee was formed with 470 volunteers in Khetrabasi the joint secretary. He donated one of his houses in the market of Khuntani to Prajamandal Committee for its office.

After the intensification of the movement against the king, he sought to imprison Khetrabasi. He, therefore, escaped from the state and remained underground in various places outside Athagarh. But the police were able to nab and arrest him. He was sentenced to one-year imprisonment. But in spite of this, he continued his activities till the merger of the state.

After independence and the merger of the state, he remained involved in social work in Athgarh. With his efforts, a number of schools and Athagarh college were established. When a dispensary was opened, it was started in a rented building whose monthly rent was paid by Subudhi from his own pocket. He died on 13 April 1982 at the age of 82.