Madhusudan Das was born in a zamindari family on 28 April 1848 in a place called Satyabhapur in Cuttack district which was in Bengal Presidency during the British Raj and presently in the state of Orissa. He was popularly known as Madhu Babu among the common people. He was the first graduate in Orissa. He was a converted Christian. He dealt with various social political and economic matters in Orissa. Towards the 20th century he became an indisputable leader of Orissa.
Contribution to the freedom struggle:
He gave a new dimension to the congress movement. He believed in the constitutional form of agitation against the British Raj but at the same time appealed to the British sense of justice and fair play to redress their grievances. The All India Congress session of 1901 was the last that was attended by Madhusudan Das. Even after that he continued to work with Congress. He was solely responsible for the revival of with Utkal Union conference. Congress leaders in Orissa participated in a Salt campaign in order to defy the existing Salt laws as a measure of the Civil Disobedience movement. Popular resentment against the salt taxation policy was first expressed through an organised public meeting which was held at Cuttack in 1888, 89. Madhusudan Das, in his presidential address drew a revealing comparison between the tax incidence in England and our country.This mammoth public meeting witnessed the boiling anger of the people and the depth of Madhusudan’s political wisdom. He was a nationalist and a true patriot. He supported and actively contributed to the national movement.
His name is a great prominence when the history of modern Orissa is spoken about. His love for his country and his land earned him high estimation. His selflessness and courage was appreciated by Aurobindo Ghosh in these words:“ The new organized life of Orissa will become an immense addition to the force of nationalism under a very capable and high spirited leader, Madhusudan Das.”
Ref: Madhusudan Das: his life and achievements by Pragati Utkal Sangha, Rourkela.
Written by: Fionna Samji