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Odisha to seek first freedom struggle tag for Paika revolt

The Odisha Government will soon approach the Centre to identify Paika revolt of Odisha in 1817 as the first War of Independence of India instead of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

To support the claim, the Odisha State Archives has prepared a 700-page book ‘The Paika Rebellion: A Documentary Study’ which promises to offer a deeper insight into the revolt that was started by the Paikas 200 years back in 1817 against the Britishers at Barunei near Khurda.

The revolt subsequently spread to Ghumsar in Ganjam district and Kanika, Kendrapara and Kujang in the undivided Cuttack district but was not recognised like the Sepoy Mutiny that occurred 41 years later.

The book has brought together all facts that recognise Paika mutiny as the first Independence revolt that took place when the British East India company wrested the rent-free land that was given to the Paikas for their military service to the Khurda kingdom.

As many as 60 archival documents written by eminent Odia and international historians are included in the book besides interviews of Government officials. Reports related to the cause behind the Paika mutiny and its impact have also been documented in the book.

The book will be released by Culture Minister Ashok Panda on Friday to mark the International Archives Day.

Later this year, a national level seminar on Paika revolt will be organised at New Delhi which will be attended by eminent historians of the country. The Culture Department will place the book as a documentary evidence at the seminar and urge the Centre to declare the Paika revolt as the first War of Independence in India, said Culture Secretary Manoranjan Panigrahy.

It is a single volume publication that is entirely based on archival documents of the State Archives, said Superintendent in-charge of the State Archives Bhagyalipi Malla.

On Friday, the Culture Department will organise a State-level seminar on Paika revolt at the State Archives. The State Archives in association with Lalit Kala Akademi will also host an exhibition of photographs of the records and popular leaders who took part in the Paika revolt.

This apart, an e-library will be inaugurated at the State Archives which would offer an easy access to archival documents to users. The archive has a collection of 60,000 books which have been catalogued.

“As manual selection of documents from the books is difficult and time consuming, the e-library will be of immense help for users,” Malla added.


Credit: The New Indian Express||9 June, 2017
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