Utkal Reporter Bureau
Bhubaneswar|20 July 2017
The president of India Sj Pranab Mukharjee inaugurated the “bi-centenary celebration of Paika Vidroh” took place in 1817 in Odisha 40 years before the 1857 revolt, that was “later termed as the first war of independence of India”.
The central government is observing a year-long celebration to commemorate the 1817 Paika rebellion.
The inauguration was held in the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi by the Ministry of Culture on July 20 to mark the 200th year of the of the great event of our cherished history of freedom struggle.
Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram, Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik, Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma were present at the inaugural function
.The President said “it was a National War waged by ordinary people at the grassroots level against the British Colonialism who resented the dispossession of their Sovereign of his rights and the consequential repressive measures that followed”
Forty years before the revolt of 1857, which was later termed as 1st War of Indian Independence against British Colonialism, a battle was fought under the leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu of Odisha. Many scholars, researchers and historians have opined that the Paika Rebellion of 1817 was India’s first organized armed rebellion against British Raj, stated the President of India.
He congratulated the government for recognising the great event and said, it is time to remember the great history of our country and pay respect to our great heroes. Along with Buxi Jagabandu it is time to pay respects to other great warriors of Paika Bidroha who fought side by side such as Dinabandhu Samantray Mohapatra, Dama Subudhi Manjaraj, Samanta Madhaba Chandra Routray (Dalbehera of Tapanga), Pindiki Bahubalendra, Krutibas Patsani and many more heroes of Paika Bidroha.
He said that the year-long celebrations should be documented for future guidance at the end of the year. He also urged historians to concentrate on indigenous source material available in folk songs and folk stories narrated over the years by one generation to another.
. Paikas were essentially the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace. They unfurled the banner of rebellion against the British under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817 to throw off the British yoke.
Rulers of Khurda were traditionally the custodians of Jagannath Temple and ruled as the deputy of Lord Jagannath on earth. They symbolised the political and cultural freedom of the people of Odisha. The British, having established their sway over Bengal Province and Madras Province to thenorth and south of Odisha, occupied it in 1803.The Gajapati King of Odisha Mukunda Deva-ll was a minor then and initial resistance by JaiRajguru, the custodian of Mukunda Deva-II, was put down brutally and Jai Rajguru was torn apart alive.
A few years later, it was the Paikas under Baxi Jagabandhu, the hereditary chief of the militia army of the Gajapati King, who rose in rebellion, taking support of tribals and other sections of society. The rebellion started in March 1817 and spread quickly. Though Paikas played a larger role in the rebellion against the British, it was by nomeans a rebellion by a small group of people belonging to a particular class. The tribals of Ghumusar (part of present day Ganjam and Kandhmal Districts) and other sections of the population actively took part in it.
The President stated, the Paika Bidroha (Paika Rebellion) of 1817 in Odisha briefly shook the foundations of British rule in the eastern part of India.