Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to declare the 1817 Paika Bidroha of Odisha as the first War of Indian Independence on the occasion of its 200th year celebration.
“The Paika Rebellion took place in 1817, 40 years before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. The Paik Rebellion eminently qualifies to be called as the First War of Indian Independence not simply because it took place four decades prior to the Sepoy Mutiny but due to its characteristic features,” the Chief Minister wrote.
He mentioned that Paika Bidroha was a broad-based and well-organised plural 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 provides a marvellous analogy with the subsequent freedom movement and its outcome.
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 further consequences need to be traced back to the earlier instances of organised rebellion. The Paika Rebellion stands out prominently as it played the role of a torchbearer and catalyst in shaping a people’s movement of resistance, which ultimately led to the Indian Independence Movement, argued the Chief Minister.
“With this consideration, my Cabinet in a special meeting held on Tuesday has decided to propose to the Union Government to declare the Paika Bidroha as the First War of Indian Independence. It would be a benefitting tribute to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the rebellion,” pointed out the Chief Minister.
He requested Singh to consider this proposal positively so that the people of India appreciate, in correct perspective, the events that led to the Indian Freedom Struggle and the historic Independence from the British rule.