BHUBANESWAR: Politics over Paika Bidroha of 1817 intensified with the state cabinet today giving green signal to a proposal for declaration of the rebellion as the first war of independence in the history of India.
The cabinet meeting, presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, was convened only to approve a proposal in this regard.
Earlier in the day, kin of 150 martyrs of the war against British left for New Delhi to attend a special function on July 20 to mark 200th anniversary of the Khurda Paika Rebellion. The gala event will be inaugurated by President of India Pranab Mukherjee
Senior BJP leaders Biswabhushan Harichandan and Prithivraj Harichandan met the delegation at the railway station before their departure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Odisha in April 16, had felicitated the descendants of 16 families involved in the uprising. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also mentioned it in his budget speech of 2017-18.
A proposal to declare 'Paika Bidroha' as the first war of independence will be placed before the Centre as
recommended by the cabinet, minister of state tourism and culture Ashok Panda told mediapersons here.
The cabinet resolved that the 'Paika Bidroha' took place 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and it needs to be rightly appreciated as the first war of independence. It was an organised and well-structured rebellion that posed a threat to the East India Company, the minister said and added its impact continued for a considerable period.
Stating that the nature of the revolt was widespread and it was a rebellion in which all sections of people
participated, Panda said it played the role of a catalyst in shaping the future freedom movement. It was a well-organised rebellion against the British and its impact was far reaching. Of such earlier resistances and rebellions, the Paika rebellion stands out prominently as it was essentially a people's movement, he said.
As the resistance continued as an underground movement till 1936, it was not a short-lived resistance but a legacy that persisted. The rebellion which started from Kondhs of Ghumsur, subsequently spread to Banpur, Khorda, Pipili, Puri, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Keonjhar. Besides, it was a rebellion in which all sections of people participated.
The cabinet resolved that it would be indeed befitting tribute to declare the Paika rebellion as the first war of Independence on the occasion of 200 years of this historic event.