National Symposium on ‘Paika Rebellion’; Claim for Status Relevant, Rebellion’s Significant Role Acknowledged

New Delhi: ‘Paika Rebellion’ of Odisha in 1817 spearheaded by Baxi Jagabandhu and his associates was an armed struggle against the tyranny and oppression of British East India Company. The rebellion before 40 years of Sepoy Mutiny-1857, generally accepted as the first Indian Independence struggle, remained as a torch bearer for the anti-colonial movements in Odisha aswell as for the entire nation and deserves the status of first struggle of Independence in the country, said Scholars and Academicians here.
Participating in the 2 day National historical symposium on the 200 years of the Odisha Rebellion, organised by Department of Culture, Govt of Odisha in collaboration with ‘The Intellect’, a forum of intellectuals in Delhi and Indian Council for Historical Research in India International Centre, the scholars described the rebellion as an armed struggle against British Rule, participated by Paikas, means multi-taskers and fort soldiers along with peasants, tribal, general public, even zamindars. The speakers emphasized on rewriting history with utmost care and exploration will help establish the rebellion as the first war of Independence in the country.
The two day National symposium was inaugurated by Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister, Tourism & Culture, Odisha who suggested scholars to go ahead with their evaluations and studies on the rebellion. He also described on the multi-dimensional programmes undertaken by Odisha Government for celebration of 200 years of Paika Rebellion. Among others, A. V. Swami, Member, Rajya Sabha, Pravas Kumar Singh, Member, Lakasabha, Prof. Bhairabi Prasad Sahoo, Delhi University, Prof. Chintamani Mohapatra, Rector, JNU, Amarendra Khatua, Ex-Director General, ICCR spoke on the Rebellion and supported the demand as relevant with changing scenario in studies of historiography, heterogeneous and plural characteristics of people’s protest.
The effort to substantiate Odisha’s demand to accord status to the Paika Rebellion through debates and deliberations which would throw new light on the forgotten era of Indian Freedom Struggle will mark 5 brain-storming sessions on various themes relating to rebellion for coming days.
The inaugural ceremony also featured an exhibition on the Rebellion that was declared open by Adwait Gadnaik, Director General of National Modern Art Gallery, the release of a souvenir, rendering of “Bande Utkal Jananee”, state song of Odisha and a quiz competition among students. “The Symposium will definitely bring necessary debates in support of Rebellion with more arguments, more records, testimonials and historical indicators”, said Manoranjan Panigrahi, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Dept of Culture, Odisha while presenting welcome address. The programme was graced by a number of representatives, participants, scholars and cultural activists.