Reported by Rashmi Ranjan Das
Baleswar, Nov 14:
Differences of opinion on the date for the observance of the merger of the princely state of Nilgiri with the Odisha province remain unresolved even to this date.
While the Nilgiri Prajamandal Smruti Surakhya Committee observed the 68th anniversary of the merger on Thursday, the titular raja of Nilgiri insisted that it is 1 January 1948 and not 14 November 1947 which is the actual date of the merger.
As per historical records, Nilgiri, formally merged with the Odisha province on 1 January 1948 although the state government had taken over the administration of the feudatory state on November 14, 1947 following unrest and violence in this Garjat territory.
The descendant of the erstwhile royal family of Nilgiri Jayanta Mardaraj Harichandan says that the merger day should be observed on 1st January because it was on this day in 1948 that the merger took effect .
Justifying his contention, Harichandan said “While the agreement of merger was signed on December 14, 1947 in presence of the then Union Home minister Sardar Ballavbhai Patel and the then Premier of Odisha provice Dr Harekrushna Mahatab. But it came into force on 1st January, 1948 when Nilgiri was officially merged with the Indian Union”.
“I have the documentary evidence to prove my contention. Besides, the district administration has also provided the same records in its website”, he informed.
Historian Prof Bijay Kumar Rath who has done extensive research on the merger of feudatory states in Odisha has strongly supported Mardaraj’s contention. “Since the merger came into effect only on the 1st of January, 1947, that should be accepted as the Merger Day,” he told OST.