July 18, 2017 9:45:42 pm
Odisha government on Tuesday 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 today recommended the state government to place the demand before the Centre to declare Paika Rebellion as the first war of independence in Indian history,” Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda told reporters.
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, he said adding 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, Panda said adding it played the role of a torch bearer and catalyst in shaping the future freedom movement in the country.
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, he said. “It was truly a pluralistic people’s movement which transended the boundaries of caste, creed and class,” the minister said.
As per the then Commissioner G Toynbee, many zamindars believed that British rule would be very soon over because of the rebellion. Quoting Prof B C Ray, an eminent historian who researched on Buxi Jagabandhu’s rebellion, he said 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,” Panda 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,” he added.
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