Odisha government on Tuesday (18-07-2017) decided to make a formal demand to the Centre for declaring Paika Rebellion of 1817 as the first war of independence in Indian history. “The cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on 18-07-2017 recommended the state government to place the demand before the Centre to declare Paika Rebellion as the first war of independence in Indian history.
The Paika Bidroha (rebellion) took place 40 years before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny and needs to be rightly appreciated as the first war of independence. Now it is turn of the Governemnt of Odisha to give the rebellion its rightful right. So, the state government would make its demand with all evidences. The bravery of the Paikas and others to oust the Britishers from Odisha is a “tale of courage and patriotism”. The revolt was widespread and all sections of the people participated in it, it played the role of a torch bearer and catalyst in shaping the future freedom movement in the country.
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 resistance against the British rule began from Ghumsur (now Kandhamal) and spread to Banpur in Khurda, Pipili, Puri, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Keonjhar. Paikas, zamindars, malangis, peasants and tribals participated in the freedom struggle. It was truly a pluralistic people’s movement which transended the boundaries of caste, creed and class.
As per the then Commissioner G Toynbee, many zamindars believed that British rule would be very soon over because of the rebellion. According to Prof B C Ray, an eminent historian who researched on Buxi Jagabandhu’s rebellion, “the Paika rebellion was better organised than many such early movements in other parts of India”.
“In the real sense, the rebellion of Khurda in 1817 is the first well organised rebellion against the British,” the Government of Odisha claimed. “It would, indeed be a befitting tribute to declare Paika Rebellion as the first war of Independence on the occasion of 200 years of this historic event”.
Credit: History of Odisha Bureau
Inputs from: The Indian Express