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Odisha MPs reiterate demand to declare Paika rebellion as first war of Independence, call govt stance ‘insult’ to state

Stating that those who fought the battle continue to inspire 4.5 crore Odias over the last two centuries, the delegation of MPs said in the memorandum, “It is time that this struggle and sacrifice by a generation of Odia people got its due place in the annals of history.”

Written by Aishwarya Mohanty | Bhubaneswar |
Updated: December 7, 2021 10:27:20 am
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal speaks in Lok Sabha. (Photo: PTI)

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Monday reiterated its demand to the Central government to declare the 1817 Paika rebellion – Paika Bidroha – as the first war of Independence.

The demand comes days after the Centre refused the demand in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. On Monday, BJD MPs met Union Minister of State for Culture, Arjun Meghwal and submitted a memorandum terming the government’s reply in RS “an insult to the rich history and culture of Odisha” and asking it to reconsider its decision.

However, the Centre had announced that the rebellion will be included as a part of the curriculum for CBSE class 8 students.

The Paika Bidroha, which took place 40 years before the 1857 sepoy mutiny, involved peasants who fought the British after their economic structure was challenged.

Stating that those who fought the battle continue to inspire 4.5 crore Odias over the last two centuries, the delegation of MPs said in the memorandum, “It is time that this struggle and sacrifice by a generation of Odia people got its due place in the annals of history.”

“The Paika Bidroha led the path in energising and mobilising the people of India and created strong resistance against the British Raj, which ultimately led to the British having to leave India and India gaining independence from foreign rule,” it stated.

In 2017, the state Cabinet had passed a resolution to formally approach the Centre to classify the paika rebellion as the first war of Independence. The demand was reiterated in 2019 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“People of Odisha were shocked, anguished and pained when they recently came to know that the Centre had refused to declare Paika Bidroha as the first war of independence,” the memorandum stated.

Reacting to the proposal to include the rebellion in the CBSE class 8 curriculum, the MPs said, “Further painful is the reply that this historic Paika Bidroha would be reduced to just a ‘case study’ in the class 8 history text book of NCERT which deals with the 1857 event, thereby rendering the momentous Paika Bidroha just as a footnote to the 1857 event.”

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