Krushna Chandra Gajapati

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Krushna Chandra Gajapati
Narayana Deb KCIE
ମହାରାଜା କୃଷ୍ଣଚନ୍ଦ୍ର ଗଜପତି ନାରାୟଣ ଦେବ
Prime Minister of Odisha
In office
29 November 1941 – 29 June 1944
Preceded byBishwanath Das
Succeeded byHarekrushna Mahatab
In office
1 April 1937 – 19 July 1937
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded byBishwanath Das
Personal details
Born(1892-04-26)26 April 1892
Paralakhemundi, British India , Madras Presidency
Died25 May 1974(1974-05-25) (aged 82)
Paralakhemundi , Odisha
Spouse(s)Maharani Naleeni Pattamahadevi , princess of Kharsawan State
Parent(s)Goura Chandra Gajapati Narayan Dev
Radhamani Devi
Alma materNewington College, Madras
Reign1913 CE – 1947 CE
1947 CE – 1974 CE (titular)
PredecessorGoura Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deo II
SuccessorRamachandra Gajapati Narayan Deo
HouseEastern Ganga dynasty (Paralakhemundi branch)
Painting of Gajapati Maharaja Krushna Chandra Dev

Krushna Chandra Gajapati KCIE (26 April 1892 – 25 May 1974), also known as Captain Maharaja Sri Sri Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayana Deba KCIE, was a key personality and regarded as the architect, founding father of an Independent Odia Language speaking state Odisha. He was a scion of Paralakhemundi Estate (then Ganjam district of Odisha and Srikakulam taluk of Andhrapradesh) and the owner of Delanga estate of Puri district of Odisha. His family belonged to the great Eastern Ganga Dynasty. He was the first Prime Minister of Orissa. The present-day Gajapati District of Odisha was named after him.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Krushna Chandra was born on 26 April 1892 to the Zamindar of Paralakhemundi, Goura Chandra Gajapati and his wife Radhamani Devi.

He received his elementary education at the local Maharaja High School of Paralakhemundi and then went to Newington College in Madras for higher studies. During his studies in Madras, he lost his father.[2] After the completion of his education he returned to Paralakhemundi and in the year 1913 married the princess of Kharsawan State. In the same year he succeeded as the next zamindar of his estate on 26 April 1913.

Role in the formation of Independent Odisha State[edit]

Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das, Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das, Fakir Mohan Senapati and other eminent members of Utkal Sammilani demanded a separate Odisha state with an amalgamation of Oriya speaking areas in the then Orissa-Bihar-Bengal province.[3]

Finally, with the efforts of this Utkal Sammilani, the separate state of Odisha was formed on 1 April 1936.[4] From that day, 1 April is celebrated by the Odia people as Utkal Divas. His estate in Vizagapatam district was partitioned into two – with the capital and major parts coming under Orissa whereas the remaining Telugu-majority areas remained in the Madras Presidency. In 1937, the first Governor of Odisha, Sir John Austin Hubback invited Krushna Chandra to form the cabinet. He became the first Prime Minister of Odisha from 1 April 1937 to 18 July 1937, elected again for the second time from 24 November 1941 to 30 June 1944.

Social and philanthropic services[edit]

He was instrumental in the establishment of the Utkal University, the SCB Medical College, the famous Central Rice Research Institute in Bidyadharpur, Cuttack and later MKCG Medical College & Hospital in Berhampur. He set up many hospitals, schools, colleges, industrial institutions, modern agricultural farms and provided a record number of 1281 irrigation sagars or water-tanks in his agriculturally dominant native taluk. For this reason, the undivided Ganjam District was given the title 'the rice-bowl of Odisha'. Under Gajapati, scholarships were awarded to thousands of poor and meritorious students in humanities, science, agriculture, medicine, and engineering, among others.

Apart from these, Maharaja was a well-known patron of the arts and research scholars in various fields. He supported the historical research of Padmasri Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru and the production of gramophone records of the renowned Odissi musician Gayaka Siromani Apanna Panigrahi, who was his court musician (rajasangitagya) as well as a friend. He was devoted towards ancient poets, especially Kabi Kalahansa Gopalakrusna of Paralakhemundi. Maharaja was himself an expert in ancient Odissi music and literature and has a number of original compositions to his credit, such as 'Manu Jau Nahi Ma', 'Radhadhara Sumadhura' and others.

Political services and honours[edit]

Krushna Chandra served as a Captain in the First World War. He received a rare Sanad in 1920 from the then Viceroy and Governor General of India, in recognition of his services rendered to the Indian Army during the Great War and as a mark of commendation. He was a Member of the Royal Commission on Agriculture, under the Chairmanship of Lord Linlithgow. He was also a Member of the Madras Legislative Council.

He was awarded honorary Doctorates by the Utkal University and the Berhampur University, and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in the 1946 New Year Honours.[5]

Krushna Chandra died on 25 May 1974 at the age of 82. He was accorded a state funeral by the Government of Odisha and was cremated with full honours at Paralakhemundi.


  1. ^ "District Portal of Gajapati".
  2. ^ "Shri Krushna Chandra Gajapati". 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. At the age of 12, his father, Goura Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deo, died and ... Krushna Chandra Gajapati was still a minor[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Gajapati Maharaja". Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Utkal Divas also called Orissa day is being celebrated on April 1st today". 2012. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2012. Utkal Sammilani lead by Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das, Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Pandit Nilakantha Das, Bhubanananda Das and many others played a key role in the formation of Odhisa state
  5. ^ "No. 37407". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1945. p. 10.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Post created
Bishwanath Das (2nd term)
Prime Minister of Odisha
1 April 1937 to 19 July 1937 (1st term)
29 November 1941 to 29 June 1944 (2nd term)
Succeeded by
Bishwanath Das (1st term)
Harekrushna Mahatab (2nd term)