BHUBANESWAR: Politics over ‘Paika Bidroha’ of 1817 intensified with the State Cabinet on Tuesday 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 to be held on July 20 to mark 200th anniversary of Khurda Paika Rebellion. The gala event will be inaugurated by President 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 for Tourism and Culture Ashok Panda told mediapersons here.
The Cabinet resolved that though the ‘Paika Bidroha’ took place 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, 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 that 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. Of such earlier resistance and rebellions, the Paika rebellion stands out prominently as it was essentially a people's movement, he added.
As the resistance continued as a underground movement till 1936, it was not a story short-lived resistance but a legacy that persisted. The rebellion which started from Kondhs of Ghumsur, subsequently spread to Banpur, Khurda, Pipili, Puri, Kujanga, Pattamundai and Keonjhar.
The Cabinet resolved that it would indeed be a befitting tribute to declare the Paika rebellion as the first war of Independence on the occasion of 200 years of this historic event.