Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding recognition of the ‘Paika Bidroha’ in Khordha in 1817 as India’s First War of Independence against British colonial rule.

The resolution was passed following the refusal of a Union minister to accept ‘Paika Bidroha’as the First War of Independence instead of ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ (as called by the British) in 1857.

The resolution will be sent to the Union Government soon for due consideration.

Meanwhile, various political leaders and several Paika organisations in Khordha reiterated their demand to the Union government to declare the Paika rebellion as the First War of Independence against the British rule.

The denial of the Centre to give the First War of Independence tag to Paika Bidroha evoked sharp reactions among various political parties and Paika organisations in Khordha.

They took out a procession with a display of various traditional weaponries from Khordha and submitted a memorandum in that regard to the district Collector. The procession was led by Jatni MLA and Congress leader Suresh Kumar Routray, Begunia MLA and BJD leader Rajendra Kumar Sahoo and former Khorda MLA Dilip Srichandan.

The ‘Paika Bidroha’, which took place 40 years before the 1857 Sepoy Uprising, involved peasants who fought the British after their economic structure was challenged.

Stating that those who fought the famous rebellion continue to inspire all the Odias over the last two centuries, the delegation of leaders said in the memorandum, “It is time that this rebellion and sacrifice by the Odia Paikas should get its due place in the annals of history.”

“The ‘Paika Bidroha’ led the path in energising and mobilising the people of India and created strong resistance against the British rule, which ultimately forced the British to leave India,” said Routray.

“People of Odisha were shocked, anguished and pained when they recently came to know that a Union minister had refused to declare ‘Paika Bidroha’ as the First War of Independence. We reiterate our demand to accept ‘Paika Bidroha’ as the first freedom war against the British,” said Routray.

“All the Central government offices will not be allowed to function in Odisha if their demands are not met at the earliest,” he warned.