Shree Chandra Chudamani Raja Harichandan Jagdeb

Born :- 04-Jan-1876
Died :- 11-Jan-1931
Place of Birth :- Dharakot Village, Ganjam

King Chandrachudamani Harichandan Jagdev, a renowned literary figure and a strong patron of Odia culture, was born in the erstwhile Dharakot state under Ganjam district as a worthy child of his father Padmanabha Vidyadhar Samanta and mother Paichhamali Devi. Kishore Chandra Harichandan Jagdev, the king of Surangi state in the same district, who was a widower and childless too, had adopted Chandrachudamani and accepted him as his heir. The king, in order to build up his future as a highly educated administrator and a worthy heir to the throne, arranged for his education in Chhatrapur, Brahmapur, Madras and the United States — all away from the palace. In addition to formal education, arrangements were made to educate him in music, art, agriculture, Sanskrit literature and so on. The palace at Ichchapuram (now in Andhra Pradesh), the royal garden there, and his noble administration as scripted in history are the bench marks of his taste and far sight as a king. He dug extensive water reservoirs in the state to improve agriculture. His efforts to develop the cottage industry, especially the textile industry, were commendable.

King Harichandan Jagdev was a good ruler, a good writer, a patron of culture as well as a patriot. Many of his poetry books received high applause from the senior poets of the time. The prayer songs in his books ‘Radhakant Janana’, ‘Krurashini Janana’, ‘Vishwanath Janana’, ‘Prarthanabali’, ‘Dashamahavidya Malashree’ and ‘Manajnana Champu’ etc. reflect his spiritualistic approach to life while ‘Ashrudhara’, ‘Arddhanga Pakshi’ and ‘Ramabilap’ written following the sad demise of his wife Queen Haripriya Devi, soak the reader's heart in empathy. The latter three books also simultaneously portray his deep sense of patriotism. ‘Swarashodashi’ and ‘Sangeeta Sarvasva’ are authentic instances of his knowledge as a musicologist of the first order. His poems, composed in a style of amalgamation of modernity and antiquity, are simple, juicy, heart-touching and emotional.

‘Paschatya Bhramana’ is a very important piece of work (travelogue) written by King Harichandan Jagdev. He travelled to England in 1911 during King George V’s coronation ceremony defying the prevalent socio-religious barriers. He had in sight the benefits of travelling a far off place, the scope of earning new knowledge and the improvement in the lot of his subjects. During his stay outside, he also travelled to the United States, Paris, Scotland and Ireland. His visit to the West was one of the most controversial issues discussed by the fundamentalist elements, the so called pundits, in the state. During his travels, he focussed mainly on educational institutions, libraries, art galleries, music and theatres. The details of all this can be well observed in his travelogue. Not only did he enjoy the western tour, but also he sought to enrich the whole of Odisha along with his own estate through his new experiences.

The speech delivered by King Harichandan Jagdev while presiding over the fifth session of the Utkal Sammilani, reflects his patriotism. He tried his level best to implement the proposals accepted at the conference.

The establishment of a higher secondary English school (Surangi High School) in Ichchapur, the establishment of Chandrachudamani Press and the publication of the weekly magazine ‘Utkalabasi’, the establishment of a permanent stage for staging of plays written by himself as also by other dramatists, the establishment of lower primary schools in Surangi and Ichchapur to provide free education to poor students, and providing financial assistance to Odia students to pursue higher education abroad are the credentials to his greatness as well as his public welfare outlook.

For the betterment of Odia literature, he included in his royal council poet Kabishekhar Chintamani Mohanty, educationist Kapileswar Das, musician Chitrasena Sangeetabhushan and many other luminaries, and organised literary conferences in his state at specific intervals. A progressive and liberal administrator like Chandrachudamani King Harichandan Jagaddev will forever be remembered by the people of the state for all the contributions he has made to the development of education, literature and culture in the state.


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