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Events of Paika Rebellion of 1817 AD

On 29 March, 1817, began the Paika rebellion in Khurda. On that day a group of 400 men, denominated Kandh of Ghumsur in Ganjam, had entered the district of Cuttack, where they have been joined by the Paikas and Dulbeheras of Pergunnah Khurda under the guidance of a person named Jagabandhu and had committed various acts of rebellion. The insurgents attacked the police station and government buildings at Banapur and killed more than 100 men and looted government money amounting to Rs. 15,000. They attacked Charles Becher, the Salt Agent of Southern Division and plundered his boats on the Chilka lake.

Rebellion in Khurda

The Paikas of Khurda under the leadership of Buxi Jagabandhu joined the Chuhars Kandhs of Ghumsur. They burnt the government buildings and sacked the government treasury of Khurda. The insurgents proceeded towards Lembai and murdered Charan Patnaik at Rathipur. Within notime, Khurda and the neighbouring areas were at the mercy of these rebels. Barricades were erected by them and Gangapara Pass, the main line of communication between Cuttack and Khurda, was guarded by the rebellious Paikas.

Steps of Edward Impey

The activities of the insurgents made the British authorities aware about the alarming situation at Khurda. To meet the emergency, Edward Impey dispatched troops to Khurda and Pipli under Lieutnants Prideaux and Faris respectively. Accompanied by Lieutnant Travis, he marched with a detachment of sepoys towards Gangapara on 1 April 1817. It was impossible on the part of the British troops to cross the barricade and advance towards Khurda. On the otherhand, the hidden Paiks inside the jungle attacked the British sepoys off and on and forced them to retreat.

Assaults of the revolutionaries

Instructed by Captain Wellington, Lieutenant Faris chased the insurgents and consequently, he was shot dead along with one Indian Subahdar. Pipli fell into the hands of the rebellious Paiks. The police stations and government offices were burnt down. On 7 April, 1817, some insurgents under the leadership of Rajballav Chhotrai attacked Hariharpur and beat the Tahasildar of Kothdes black and blue. They also drove away the new zamindars of Balarampur and Budhakera. A large number of common people of Lembai, Pipli and Kothdes joined the insurgents and penalized the zamindars who sided with the British. They also burnt the villages and destroyed the crops. The insurgents captured Rani Mukta Dei of Sambalpur who had settled in her Panehgarh Jagir under British shelter and looted her house. Further, by the instruction of Buxi, they murdered Jagabandhu Patnaik and the members of his family who were spying against Buxi.

Proclamation of Mukundadeva as the king

Being successful in different places like Khurda, Lembai, Pipli, Gangapara, Kothdes, Hariharpur etc., the insurgents entered into Puri town. They burnt and broke down the public and private buildings as well. On 14 April, Buxi, with a large number of his followers, reached Puri. The priests of the temple welcomed him. They denounced the British authority and proclaimed Raja Mukundadeva as their ruler who was indifferent to this sort of affair. The correspondences of Impey to the Government at Bengal reveals that the revolt gradually spread to Gope, Kujang, Pattamudai, Golra, Harishpur, Praharajpur etc.

Measures taken by Le Fevre

Looking at this, the British government opened its Pandora’s box for suppressing the rebellion. Martial law was extended to Puri, Pipli, Lembai etc. Captain Le Fevre, with strong military detachments marched towards Puri and on the way, he burnt several Paik villages. The Raja and his son Ramachandradeva were captured and brought to Cuttack by Le Fevre. This action of the British government broke down the morality of the insurgents. However, the reaction against the British government became rampant at Pattamundai, Kujang, Gope and other places. Captain Wellington now directed the troops to suppress the revolt. Captain C.R. Kennet was dispatched with a detachment to suppress the revolt at Gope, Golra and surrounding areas nearby. Captain A.Macleod proceeded to Pattamundai to control the rising tide of the insurrection at Pattamundai. At last, the Raja of Kujang surrendered and Captain Kennet was successful in capturing Narayana Paramaguru and Bamadeva Patajoshi and their followers who were other key leaders of the Paik rebellion. They were sent to the fort of Barabati. With this, normalcy was restored in Pattamundai, Asureswar, Praharajpur and other places.

New tactics of the revolutionaries

The suppressive measures of the British authority led Buxi and his followers to take shelter at Nayagarh and Ranapur. But the combined military operation from Ganjam and Cuttack made Buxi and his followers to change places of their hiding very frequently. At last, Buxi gave a new proposal to his followers like Krushnachandra Bhramarabara Rai, Damu Subudhi, Gopal Chhotrai to go the jungles and to fight from there. The insurgents prevented the Sarbarkars to enter into any revenue deal with the British. The resistance to the British authority, first came from the Khonds of Banapur who ransacked the camps of the British officers. From Banapur, the fire spread to Khurda, Puri, Balakati, Gope, tiran, Bolgarh etc. The government tried to suppress this insurrections. Attempts were taken to capture Buxi Jagabandhu. Major E. Roughsedge, with the assistance of Lieutnant D. Ruddell, tried to capture Buxi and his followers who escaped from Baud by the help of the Raja of Dasapalla in September, 1818, with his faithful followers like Biswanath Harichandan, Adikanda Bidyadhara, Dinabandhu Santara, Gopal Chhotrai, Padmanava Chhotrai and others.

Measures taken to capture Buxi

As a precautionary measure, the British authorities threatened the Raja of Nayagarh with the warning that his estate would be confiscated, if he helped the insurgents. In the meanwhile, some followers of Buxi were captured. Rewards of Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 2,000 for capturing Buxi Jagabandhu and Krushnachandra Bhramarabara Rai respectively, were announced by the British authority but in vain. Lastly, by the suggestion of the Commissioner of Cuttack, it was proclaimed by the Governor-General-in-Council that an allowance of Rs. 200 per month would be given to Buxi, if he surrenders. Buxi responded to it by sending a representation through his adopted son to the government stating the foul ways by which he was dispossessed of his property, the whimsical rule of major Fletcher at Khurda, salt monopoly of the British government in causing widespread discontentment among the people of Khurda etc. but the government paid deaf ears to it.

Creation of circumstances for Buxi’s surrender

In the meanwhile, two wives of Buxi and many of the followers of Buxi were captured. However, Buxi did not surrender. W. Blunt, the Commissioner of Cuttack recommended to pardon Buxi and his. staunch supporter Krushnachandra Bhramarabara Rai. Basing upon the report of Blunt, the Governor-General-in-Council ordered that if Buxi and his friend would surrender, they would be pardoned and their pension would be fixed at Rs. 100 and Rs. 50 respectively per month and they would live near Cuttack and could not go outside without the permission of the magistrate. Wilkinson, the magistrate of Khurda, communicated this to Buxi and his friend through the adopted son of the rebellious leader to surrender within two months with effect from 1 December, 1822. Though, the order was received by Buxi in January 1823, he did not agree to the proposal. For long two years, he maintained silence. His friend Krushnachandra deserted him. His followers were captured or surrendered with the hope to get government service. At last, Buxi decided to surrender.

Negotiation between the British Government and Buxi Jagabandhu

During this period, W. Blunt, the Commissioner of Cuttack, sent Waz Mohammed, the Sheristadar of the Office Superintendent of Tributary Mahals, to negotiate with Buxi. At Nayagarh, both of them talked and Buxi surrendered with his followers at Cuttack on 27 May, 1825. Buxi was pardoned along with his followers. His monthly allowance was fixed at Rs. 150. He lived, virtually as a prisoner at Cuttack. He prayed for the restoration of his former possessions and to allow him to reside at Rorang but the prayer was not granted by the Governor-General-in-Council. Buxi breathed his last on 24 January, 1829 at Cuttack.

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