Madhusudan Das

Madhusudan Das (28 April 1848 – 4 February 1934) was an Indian lawyer and social reformer, who founded Utkal Sammilani in 1903 to campaign for the unification of Odisha along with its social and industrial development. He was one of the prominent figure, helping in the creation of Orissa Province (present-day Odisha, India), which was established on 1 April 1936. He was also the first graduate and advocate of Orissa. He is also known as Kulabruddha (Grand Old Man), Madhu Babu, and Utkal Gouraba (Pride of Utkal). In Odisha, his birthday is celebrated as the Lawyers' Day on 28 April.

Madhusudan Das
Utkala Gouraba Madhusudan Das
Utkala Gouraba Madhusudan Das
Born(1848-04-28)28 April 1848
Satyabhamapur, Cuttack district, Bengal Presidency, Company rule in India
Died4 February 1934(1934-02-04) (aged 85)
Cuttack, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India
OccupationLawyer, social reformer,freedom fighter, minister, industrialist
EducationM.A, B.L.
Alma materCalcutta University
SpouseSoudamini Devi
ChildrenSailabala Das, Sudhanshubala Hazra
RelativesChoudhury Raghunath Das
Parbati Debi (parents)


Madhusudan Das was born 28 April 1848 at Satyabhamapur, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Cuttack during the Company rule in India[1] in a Zamindari Karana family.[2][3] His father was Choudhury Raghunath Das and his mother, Parbati Debi. They had initially named him Gobindaballabh. He had two elder sisters and a younger brother named Gopalballabh. Gopalballabh was a Magistrate at Bihar Province and the father of Ramadevi Choudhury. He was converted to Christianity that caused him boycotted in the village which he had to quit to erect a small house at the end of the village. The house was known as ‘Madhukothi’ or ‘Balipokharikothi’, later on used as the state office of the Kasturba National Memorial Trust, in a part of which was running the Anganabadi, Balbadi. Madhusudan had adopted two Bengali girls; Sailabala Das and Sudhanshubala Hazra. Sailabala was an educationist who had been trained in England, and in whose name the famous Sailabala Women's College of Cuttack was founded.[4] Sailabala was Bengali, and her parents had left her in the care of Madhusudan Das and his wife Soudamini Devi at Calcutta. In 1864, he passed Matriculation from Cuttack and thereafter he was inclined to become a teacher and began his career as a teacher at Balasore for three years. The year 1866 was the year of a acute famine in Odisha, called the "Naanka Durviksha" When more than one lakh people died of hunger. This year he converted himself to Christian and changed his name as Madhusudan Das from his earlier name of Gobinda Ballav Choudhury. Sudhansubala Hazra was also Bengali and she was the first female lawyer of British India. Madhu babu was the resident tutor of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University in Calcutta.[5]

Early life and educationEdit

After his early education, he moved to Cuttack High School (later known as Ravenshaw Collegiate School) which offered English education. In 1864, he passed the entrance examination and went to Calcutta University. In spite of extremely challenging conditions he lived in Calcutta for almost fifteen years, from 1866 to 1881. In 1870, he became the first Odia to complete his B.A.[6] He continued his studies at Calcutta and earned his M.A. in 1873, and an LL.B degree in 1878, thus becoming the first scholar from Orissa to be thus educated.

Professional lifeEdit

Statue of Madhu babu

After returning to Orissa from Calcutta in 1881, he started his legal practice. His insight knowledge on this field helped him to earn sufficiently and spend for the common man. He handled some important cases of his times such as Puri temple administration case, Keonjhar Riots Case etc.[7][8] He was a source of inspiration for the lawyers in Orissa and in India. His birth anniversary is observed as Lawyers' Day in Odisha.

Political careerEdit

Known as 'Madhu Babu' by the common people, he worked for the political, social and economical upliftment of the people of Orissa and worked as a lawyer, journalist, legislator, politician and social reformer. He founded Utkal Sammilani which brought a revolution in the social and industrial development of Orissa. He was elected as a member of the legislative council of Bihar and Orissa Province and under the Diarchy scheme of Government of India Act, 1919, he was appointed as Minister for Local Self-Government, Medical Public Health, Public Works in 1921.

He was the first Odia to become a member of both the legislative council and the Central Legislative Assembly of India. He founded Utkal Sammilani (Utkal Union Conference) which laid the foundation of Odia nationalism. Utkal Sammilani spearheaded the demand for unification of Odia speaking areas under a single administration.[9][10] This led to the formations of state of Odisha on 1 April 1936. He was also the first Odia to travel to England.[11] He founded the Utkal Tannery in 1905, a factory producing shoes and other leather products. In 1897 he founded the Orissa Art Ware Works. With his support, the Tarakasi(filigree) work of silver ornaments achieved commendable feet.[12]

Contribution to literatureEdit

As a writer and poet, patriotism was always at the forefront of his mind, and that was reflected in all of his literary works. He penned a number of articles and poems in both English and Odia. Some of his important poems are "Utkal Santan", "Jati Itihash" and "Jananira Ukti". He was also an influential speaker in Odia, Bengali and English.[citation needed]

Last yearsEdit

He died on 4 February 1934 at the age of 85.[13]


  1. ^ "Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das". Odisha Files. 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013. born on 28th April of 1848 to father Choudhuri Raghunath Das and mother Parvati Devi at Satyabhamapur of Cuttack district
  2. ^ Panigrahi, Hiranya Kumar (14 May 2021). Odisha of My Times: English Translation of "Mo Samayara Odisha" by Krishna Chandra Panigrahi. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-63850-732-1.
  3. ^ Dominance and State Power in Modern India: Decline of a Social Order. Oxford University Press. 1989. ISBN 978-0-19-562098-6.
  4. ^ "National memorial for Madhusudan Das". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. his adopted daughter Sailabala Das
  5. ^ "Our History". 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University who was a student of Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das
  6. ^ Bina Kumari Sarma (1 January 1996). Development of Modern Education in India: An Empirical Study of Orissa. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-81-85880-94-5.
  7. ^ Rout, K.C. (1988). Local Self-government in British Orissa, 1869-1935. Daya Publishing House. p. 54. ISBN 978-81-7035-046-0. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  8. ^ History, Odisha (27 March 2018). "Role of Madhusudan Das in Making Modern Odisha". History of Odisha. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  9. ^ Samal, J. K. (1990). Economic History of Orissa, 1866–1912. Mittal Publications. p. 122. ISBN 978-81-7099-218-9. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  10. ^ Samal, J. K.; Nayak, P. K. (1996). Makers of Modern Orissa: Contributions of Some Leading Personalities of Orissa in the 2nd Half of the 19th Century. Abhinav Publications. p. 48. ISBN 978-81-7017-322-9. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  11. ^ Dash, Chinmayee (28 April 2017). "Important facts to know about Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Death Anniversary of Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das" (PDF).
  13. ^ Sampad, Shilpi; Panda, Namita (1 April 2012). "Forgotten Madhu babu". Calcutta, India. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013. he passed away in Cuttack on February 4, 1934

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