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Rallies & garlands for Sai on birthday

People garland the statue of Veer Surendra Sai in Sambalpur on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Sambalpur, Jan. 23: Glowing tributes were paid to freedom fighter Surendra Sai on his birth anniversary observed throughout the western part of the state today.

Hundreds of people gathered at his birthplace, Khinda, in Sambalpur, to pay homage to one of the heroes of the freedom struggle.

The Surendra Sai Smruti Sansad of Khinda organised a meeting to remember Sai. State leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh and several legislators of the region attended the gathering.

Cultural programmes were organised in the evening.

Several programmes were held in Sambalpur also. Many people garlanded Sai’s statue at Jailkhana Chhak in the city. Many students and youths took part in a rally organised in the afternoon.

Similarly, the Sambalpur district administration and the Odisha Sanskrutik Samaj, a social organisation, jointly organised a meeting in the evening in memory of the great hero.

“The role of Veer Surendra Sai in the resistance movement against the British is a landmark in the history of the freedom movement in Odisha. His achievements and heroism in the freedom struggle have few parallels in the history of India,” said Deepak Panda, a writer and historian.

Sai was born in a royal family in January 23, 1809. He rebelled against the British when he was 18-years-old. He was captured in 1840 and jailed at Hazaribagh in Bihar.

During the Sepoy Mutiny, the rebels broke the Hazaribagh prison in 1857 and Sai was set free.

Sai continued to rebel against the British.

In 1860, he was imprisoned in Asirgarh jail near Khandwa, where he died on February 28, 1884. He had spent 37 years of his life in jail, which is a rare thing in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. His contribution to the freedom movement is unmatched, Panda said .