In India, achieving independence has always been a challenging journey. While some freedom fighters are celebrated and well-known, there are others who remained anonymous or couldn't attain the same level of recognition. One such unsung hero from the state of Odisha is Shruti Biswal.

Born in the village of Chattis Debil, Shruti Biswal was a devoted follower of Ramkrushna Samantasinghara. Ramkrushna, who endured the notorious "Kaala paani" punishment, holds a prominent place in the history of India's struggle for independence. Both of them actively opposed the British Government's imposition of higher taxes on impoverished peasants. However, even after Ramkrushna's arrest, the spirit of resistance persisted, secretly fueled by Biswal.

Shruti Biswal fearlessly embarked on a mission to educate innocent villagers about the British Government's exploitative practices. Despite being a tall and robust man, he disregarded his own safety to convey this message. His influence was most profound in the areas of the Jajpur subdivision and the Mahakuma region of Cuttack District. He organized large gatherings of people on the riverbanks of Kani and Kharasrota, inspiring them to stand against the British regime. Remarkably, he always managed to elude the British Sepoys, who struggled to apprehend him.

While the people's armed rebellion led by Ramkrushna resulted in the confiscation of their properties by the government, Shruti Biswal took a different path. He launched attacks on the government treasury building in Jajpur, engaging in fierce clashes with the security personnel. In response, the British Government intensified their efforts to capture him. However, Shruti's immense strength proved fatal for a Sepoy who attempted to arrest him in his village, resulting in the Sepoy's death.

The death of the Sepoy triggered the British Government to employ treacherous tactics to capture Shruti. Unfortunately, they succeeded in apprehending him and brought him to Cuttack. Shruti faced numerous false accusations during his detention in Cuttack, which lasted for 13 days. Eventually, he was returned to his village, Balia, where he met a grim fate. In a public execution held on June 17, 1858, the final day of the Raja Festival, Shruti Biswal was hanged to death. The British Government used this event as a warning to anyone who dared to defy their rule.

Even today, the inhabitants of Shruti's village refrain from observing the last day of the 3-day long Raja Festival, considering it a tribute to the great freedom fighter Shruti Biswal.

REFERENCES:Various Sources AmritMahotsav

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