Many people criticize the barbaric Islamic invaders for the plight of Hindus. But, people conveniently forget the evil and treacherous role played by many Hindus themselves in demeaning their own civilization.

It is easy to blame others, but difficult to introspect and find our own flaws.

People blame Akbar for establishing the Mughal rule. But, all forget that the role played by Raja Man Singh and Raja Todar Mal in building the foundation of the Mughal role. Both were Hindus. It was Raja Man Singh who destroyed the Chivalrous Rana Pratap. It was Raja Todar Mal who established a robust revenue and tax collection system for Mughals that the empire became financially strong and hence made their armies invincible.

I have another story to tell. And this belongs to Odisha OR Kalinga OR Utkal.

Rajiv Lochan Roy (also called Kalapahad meaning black mountain)

He was a stoutly build, dark in color and an extremely shrewd and talented general under famous Odia king Gajapati Mukundadeva of 16th Century. The Islamic ruler in Bengal (Suleiman Karrani) wanted to subjugate Odisha under its heels.  But Rajiv Lochan stood on his way. In the famous Battle of Triveni (1565) Rajiv Lochan crushed Karrani. After the Battle of Triveni, it was all but clear Karrani cannot take Kalinga by force.

Karrani looked for other means. If he can get Rajiv Lochan to his side, he can not only win Kalinga, but also subjugate neighboring areas.

Karrani had a beautiful daughter named Gulnaaz. When Rajiv Lochan visited the palace of Karrani for the peace treaty, he fell in love with Gulnaaz. Karrani let the affair proceed. Even Gulnaaz fell in love with Rajiv Lochan. When both decided to get married, Karrani wanted to Rajiv Lochan to convert to Islam. Rajiv Lochan became a Muslim and married Gulnaaz.

But after marriage Rajiv Lochan wanted to reconvert to Hinduism and even Gulnaaz was open to embracing Hinduism.

Here comes the role of Priests of the Puri Temple’s Mukti Mandap. They not only refused to let Rajiv Lochan and Gulnaaz to become Hindus, they prohibited him and his children from entering the Temple. Even after repeated requests and sincere repentance, the priests made him an out caste. Rajiv Lochan was humiliated.

He got enraged.

He went back to his father-in-law, Karrani. Karrani made him the commander-in-chief of his own army comprising of Afghans. That army marched to Odisha and defeated the armies of Gajapati Mukundadeva. After the defeat many temples including the Puri Jagannath temple was desecrated and looted by the Afghan soldiers. In those days soldiers fought on the condition that they should be allowed to loot, rape and pillage after victory.

Kalinga came under the fold of Islam. Kalinga as an independent entity ceased to exist till 1936.

Let’s think about the following questions?

  1. If  Rajiv Lochan wanted to reconvert to Hinduism after repentance, why the priests disallowed this?
  2. Why was Gulnaaz disallowed to become a Hindu?
  3. Where were the children of Rajiv Lochan not allowed to enter the Puri temple?

Had the priests thought in a liberal manner and let Rajiv Lochan and Gulnaaz embrace Hinduism, the history of Odisha would have been different. Odisha as an entity would not have ceased to exist for nearly 400 years.

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