Odisha government today urged the Union government to declare the Paika Rebellion as the first war of Independence in Indian history, in the wake of the bi-centenary of the freedom struggle observed this year. Odisha Cabinet today convened a meeting at the state secretariat headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik which approved a proposal to recommend the Centre to declare Paika Rebellion as the first war of Independence in Indian history. “Though the Paika Bidroha took place forty years before the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, it needs to be rightly appreciated as the first war of Independence. The bravery of the Paikas and others to oust the mighty Britishers from Odisha is the tale of courage and patriotism. The nature of the revolt was widespread and it was a rebellion in which all sections of people participated. It played the role of a torch bearer and catalyst in shaping future freedom movement,” Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said. Notably, the resistance against the British rule began from Ghumsur and subsequently spread to Banpur in Khurda, Pipili, Puri, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Keonjhar. Paikas, zamindars, malangis, peasants and tribals participated in the freedom struggle. As per the then Commissioner G Toynbee, many zamindars believed that British rule would be very soon over because of the rebellion. Prof BC Ray, an eminent historian of Odisha, who researched on Buxi Jagabandhu’s rebellion in the School of Oriental African Studies, London had said that Paika rebellion of 1817 was better organised than many such early movements in other areas of India. In real sense, the rebellion of Khurda in 1817 is the first well organised rebellion against the British. Last year, the state government had announced to erect Amar Jyoti pillar on the foothills of Barunei hills, the centre of activity of the Paikas during the revolt.The Odisha Sun Times Bureau : 18th. July,17


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