Demonetisation by British govt triggered Paika Rebellion in Odisha: Study

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 2:

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hugely criticised for his bold step to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in the country, a research study revealed that the demonetisation was the cause behind Paika Rebellion in Odisha, which is claimed to be the first freedom movement of India against British rule.

The book, which is scheduled to be released by State Archive on June 9 to mark 200 years of Paika Rebellion, has described about some interesting fact about the movement.

According to the research, the demonetisation of currency by the then British government in Odisha in the year 1817 had triggered the Paika Rebellion.

Earlier, Kaudi (conch) was regarded as the currency during Maratha rule in Odisha. After East India Company occupied Odisha, some changes were made in the governance. The British government imposed tax on the cess-free land enjoyed by the Paika community and lowered the value of Kaudi to introduce silver coin as the currency in the state. With the introduction of new currency and low value of previously existing currency Kaudi, the prices of foods and other products increased. Subsequently, the Kaudi was scrapped and common people were the victims of inflation. It triggered resentment among the soldiers against British government and promoted for the movement, said eminent Historian Atul Chandra Pradhan, one of the editors of the book.

As the availability of silver coins was minimal, it caused difficulties for the tax payers to pay taxes to the British government. This was another factor to lay foundation of the Paika Rebellion in Odisha.

Besides, revenue policy of the government, restriction on salt production and sale and some personal reasons of Buxi Jagabandhu were other factors behind the movement led by the crusader, he added.

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