Sharmili Mallick

On October 10, 1938, a 12-year-old boy was shot dead by the British troops in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district making him the youngest martyr of India's freedom struggle.

However, when names fighting for the country’s independence are recalled, history has probably failed to give its due to Baji Rout who took bullets on his head for refusing British troops to ferry them across river Brahmani on the fateful night.

Born on October 5, 1926, Baji Rout hailed from Nilakanthpur under Bhuban block of Dhenkanal district and joined ‘Banar Sena’, the children’s wing of Prajamandal (Party of People).

The Fateful Night- October 10, 1938

Baji Rout was a boatman at the Brahmani river ghat and as an active member of Prajamandal, he had volunteered to keep watch on the movement of the British troops by the river at night.

On the dead night of October 10, 1938, Baji, who was in charge of a country boat at the ghat and was sleeping when a group of British police officials, approached him to ferry them on the other side of Brahmani River. However, the courageous 12-year-old boy refused to obey the orders.

Angry over his refusal, the Britishers asked him again to ferry them across the river on his boat but Baji remained stubborn. A policeman open-fired at Baji on his head leading his death on the spot.

Tributes To Baji Rout

Many political leaders including Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik, National BJP Vice-President Baijayant Panda paid tributes to the youngest martyr of India's freedom struggle, Baji Rout today on his 94th birth anniversary.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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