Proposal of declaring the Paika Rebellion of 1817 as the First War of Independence in Indian history was requested by Naveen Patnaik, Odisha Chief Minister. The request came into limelight after the state Cabinet gave a go ahead for proposal to recommend to the Centre to declare the Paika Rebellion as first war of independence. The Paika Rebellion took place in Odisha in 1817, which is 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny.
In a statement he requested Government of India to consider this proposal positively so that the people of India appreciate in lucid perspective, the events which led to the Indian freedom struggle and historic independence from foreign rule. He said it would be a befitting tribute to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Paika rebellion.
Chief Minister emphasized that Paika rebellion , which took place in 1817 AD in Odisha, took place 40 years before Sepoy Mutiny ( 1857 AD ) and eminently should be called as “First war of independence” due to the nature and characteristic of war. He said the Paika Rebellion, popularly known as ‘Paika Bidroha’, was a broad-based and well-organised 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 the Paika Rebellion, measured by its form as well as content, provides a marvellous analogy with the subsequent freedom movement and its outcome,” he added.
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 the earlier instances of organised rebellion against the East India Company, said the Chief Minister.
He said that 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 torch-bearer and catalyst in shaping a people’s movement of resistance, which ultimately led to the Indian Independence Movement, said Patnaik.