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Declare Paika Rebellion as First War of Independence: Odisha

Bhubaneswar, July 18 (IANS) The Odisha cabinet headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday approved a proposal to recommend to the Centre to declare Paika Rebellion of 1817 as the First War of Independence in the Indian history.

With the nation celebrating the bi-centenary of the freedom struggle, the state government approved the proposal to recommend to the Centre to declare Paika Rebellion as the First War of Independence of India.

“As 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,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda.

He said 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 torchbearer and a catalyst in shaping future freedom movement. The government would provide all documents substantiating the rebellion as the first War of Independence in Indian history,” Panda said.

He said it was a well organised rebellion against the British and the impact of the rebellion was far-reaching.

“It would indeed be a befitting tribute to declare Paika Rebellion as First War of Independence on the occasion of 200 years of the historic event,” said Panda.

Notably, the resistance against the British rule began from Ghumsur and subsequently spread to Banpur in Khurda, Pipili, Puri, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Keonjhar. Paikas (the traditional landed militia of Odisha), zamindars, malangis, peasants and tribals participated in the freedom struggle.

“The social framework of the Paika Rebellion was pluralistic and multidimensional. The subsequent Indian freedom movement bore the hallmarks of this spirit of inclusiveness,” said Panda.

He added, “The connecting threads that link the entire journey of Indian Independence Movement cannot miss the visible impact of Paika Rebellion both in from and content.”

–IANS
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