In 1809, Veer Surendra Sai was born in his family’s home in the Sambalpur district. He was a direct descendant of Madhukar Sai, the Chauhan dynasty’s 16th-century Maharaja of Sambalpur. His father was the sixth in line to the Sambalpur throne. Sai led a brave resistance against the British, yet the majority of Indians have never heard of him. Even before the 1857 Revolt, he had begun a fight against foreign control, and he continued it for a long time after the conclusion of the revolt.
Enduring Long Years in Prison
Veer Surendra Sai was part of the famous 1857 Revolution. There aren’t many historical examples that compare to Surendra Sai’s heroism and his extraordinary sacrifice for the good of his countrymen. He played a pivotal role in advancing the Revolution of 1857 and 1858 in the hill regions of Western Odisha. After winning the Crimean War and putting down the Indian Revolution in 1858, the British rose to become a formidable force in the world. Up until 1862, Veer Surendra Sai waged an unyielding battle against the powers of imperialism. He served as the torchbearer throughout this crucial four-year time in the Indian Revolution’s last phase. From an early age, Surendra Sai was an unrelenting opponent of the British Raj and a rebel by nature. His 37-year revolt against the British began in 1827, when he was just eighteen-years-old, and lasted until 1862, when he ultimately surrendered, and even beyond that, until he was finally apprehended in 1864. Throughout his revolutionary career, he spent 17 years in prison in Hazaribagh jail. After his final arrest, he was sentenced to a further 20 years in prison, which included 19 years imprisonment in the isolated Asirgarh hill fort till he passed away. Throughout his life, he was not only a great revolutionary but also a charismatic leader of the populace. Surendra Sai championed the cause of the oppressed tribal people who were used as instruments by the British to build their political dominance in Sambalpur and who were exploited by the higher caste Hindus. Surendra Sai wanted to expel the British from Sambalpur. By the end of 1858, the Indian Revolution was over, and the British had established law and order throughout the country. However, Surendra Sai persisted in his revolution since he was unable to be put down. The British military resources were mobilised against him, and the brilliant Generals who had been credited with putting down rebellions in other parts of India were sent to Sambalpur to put an end to his uprising. But every attempt was unsuccessful, and Surendra Sai was able to thwart the British’s ability and plan for a considerable amount of time. After serving for three years in Sambalpur, Major Forster—a reputed general who had been given full military and civil authority as well as a Commissioner’s powers to subdue Surendra Sai and his adherents—proved to be unreliable and was dismissed by the British Government in 1861. Major Impey, his successor, was able to see the pointlessness of waging war against Veer Surendra Sai. He made the bold claim that Surendra Sai had never been defeated and would never be. The Deputy Commissioner of Sambalpur’s comment demonstrates Surendra Sai’s power and magnificence. In actuality, his valiant struggle against a much stronger power over a period of four years following the suppression of the Indian Revolution in 1857–1858 is a singular accomplishment. The British cut off the rebels’ access to all sources of food and other necessities of life in addition to seizing their entire food supply. However, it was unable to quench Surendra Sai’s spirit of resistance.
Throughout his revolutionary career, Veer Surendra Sai spent 17 years in prison in Hazaribagh jail. After his final arrest, he was sentenced to a further 20 years in prison, which included 19 years imprisonment in the isolated Asirgarh hill fort till he passed away
Enduring Unimaginable Suffering
With the support of the Indian Government, Major Impey renounced the idea of a bloody conflict and carefully adopted a policy of peace and goodwill. However, they had to confront Veer Surendra Sai. This great revolutionary, who had never seen defeat, surrendered with complete confidence in the sincerity and morality of the British Government. However, after Impey’s passing, things abruptly changed, and British officials resumed their hostile behaviour against the great hero. On April 30, 1862, Sambalpur was placed under the control of the newly established Central Provinces. Surendra Sai immediately made the decision to surrender. But he quickly lost hope, and the new regime reversed the previous liberal stance. The officials discovered that despite his surrender, the lion continued to be a lion. The British administrators were shocked to learn that Surendra Sai’s capitulation did not put a stop to the movement. They abruptly arrested Surendra Sai and all of his family members, friends, and supporters after resigning in order to plan a conspiracy. Six of Veer Surendra Sai’s followers were later imprisoned in the Asirgarh hill fort. Like Napoleon, the great hero spent his final years on Saint Helena. On February 28, 1884, Veer Surendra Sai died at Asirgarh Jail. Veer Surendra Sai was a great martyr who sacrificed everything close to and dear to him in order to fight nearly alone against the most powerful imperialist forces, and he endured unimaginable suffering his entire life. Along with being a great revolutionary throughout his life, Surendra Sai was a charismatic tribal leader. He was always in favour of the downtrodden tribal people who were being exploited by the British officials.