- The Centre through a written reply in the Rajya Sabha Thursday said the Paika rebellion cannot be called the first War of Independence.
- Since 2017, Odisha has demanded that the rebellion of Odisha be declared as the first war of Independence.
- At present, the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 is called the first war of Independence against British Rule.
About Paika Rebellion(Paika Bidroha):
- It took place in 1817 nearly 40 years before the first sepoy mutiny.
- Paikas were mobilised under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar
- The Paikas were peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who offered military services to the king in return for rent-free land (nish-kar jagirs) and titles
- The British established themselves in Odisha when the East India company dethroned the King of Khurda, Raja Mukunda Deva in 1803.
- The king planned a rebellion against the British in 1804 and roped in the Paikas for the same.
- But the plan was discovered by the British who confiscated his entire territory.
Reasons for Rebellion:
- The Paikas lost their estates when the new colonial establishments and land revenue settlements of the British came into force.
- The continuous interference in the economy and revenue systems led to exploitation and oppression of the peasants and farmers eventually triggering a rebellion against the British.
- Over the next few months, the revolt continued but was eventually overpowered by the British army.
Outcome of the Rebellion:
- Initially the East India Company struggled to respond; but they managed to put down the rebellion by May 1817.
- Many of the Paik leaders were hanged or deported.
- Jagabandhu surrendered in 1825 and died in jail four years later
Demand of Odisha:
- To declare the Paika rebellion as the first war of Independence
- According to the state cabinet’s proposal, the rebellion was described as a mass agitation and the first struggle for freedom in the country against the foreign rule in which the people of Odisha had actively participated.
- The Centre had considered the proposal and examined the matter in consultation with the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) under the Ministry of Education.
- The Union Government has declared that the Paika Rebellion cannot be called the first War of Independence as per the ICHR recommendations
- However it have considered that the rebellion which started in 1817 continued till 1825 “is one of the beginnings of popular uprisings against the British in India”