Martyrs' family lives in penury

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 24.08.09

Rourkela, Aug. 23 (PTI): They sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle, their heroism acknowledged by the Orissa government, but their heirs are living in penury.

Family of zamindar Madhav Singh Bariha alias Madho Singh, his four sons and only son-in-law in Bargarh district of western Orissa made the supreme sacrifice to free the country from the British clutches.

The state government organises a function on December 31 every year to pay tribute to them and the Martyrs’ Column at Haladipalli near Bargarh town in Sundergarh district stands testimony to their contribution.

But it is not enough for the family members for survival. Most of the land owned by the family were either donated to institutions or was taken away as ceiling surplus. Whatever was left was sold by the family to keep the kitchen fire burning.

Veteran Congress leaders Sriballav Panigrahi and president of Orissa Satyagraha Centenary Celebration Committee said Singh and his sons and son-in-law should be properly honoured.

During the Sepoy Mutiny, inspired by the call of great freedom fighter, Veer Surendra Sai, Madho Singh, his sons, Hatee, Kunjel, Vairi, Airi, and son-in-law Narain, killed a Captain Woodbridge.

Madho was captured by the British and sentenced to death without trial. He was hanged at Sambalpur on December 31, 1858, to avenge the death of the British captain. Kunjal was subsequently hanged in Sambalpur.