Odisha govt urges Centre to declare Paika Rebellion as ‘First War of Independence’

Bhubaneswar: In a significant effort to establish Paika Rebellion, the historic armed revolt by the Paikas against British East India Company’s rule in Odisha in 1817, as the first war of Indian Independence, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard.

Mentioning that Paika Rebellion took place 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny, Patnaik has written in the letter that the Paika Revolt possesses justified nature and characteristics to be called as the first war of independence.

“The Paika Rebellion (1817 AD) of Odisha, which took place 40 years before the “Sepoy Mutiny” (1857 AD) eminently qualifies to be called as the “First War of Indian Independence” not simply because it took place four decades prior to the Sepoy Mutiny but due to its very nature and characteristic features,” the CM wrote.

“Paika Rebellion, popularly known as Paika Bidroha, was a broad based and well organized plural struggle against the oppressive rule of the British East India Company. It involved all sections of the people. It cannot be a mere coincidence that Paika Rebellion measured by its form as well as content provides a marvellous analogy with the subsequent freedom movement and its outcome,” Patnaik said in the letter.

“Since the colonial rule of India had its origins in the East India Company, the genesis of the events that led to the Sepoy Mutiny and their further consequences need to be traced back to earlier instances of organized rebellion against the East India Company. Of such earlier resistances and rebellions, the Paika Rebellion stands out prominently as it was essentially a broad based people’s movement. It played the role of a torchbearer and catalyst in shaping a people’s movement of resistance, which ultimately led to the Indian Independence Movement,” he said.

“Considering the above, my Cabinet in a special meeting held yesterday has decided to propose to the Government of India to declare the Paika Bidroha as the First War of Indian Independence. I think, that would be a befitting tribute to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of  the Paika Rebellion. I request the Government of India to consider this proposal positively so that the people of India appreciate, in correct perspective, the events that led to the Indian Freedom Struggle and our historic Independence from the foreign rule,” he concluded.

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