Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday requested the Centre to consider the proposal of declaring the Paika Rebellion of 1817 as the First War of Independence in Indian history.
The move by the Chief Minister came a day after the state Cabinet approved a proposal to recommend to the Centre to declare the Paika Rebellion as the First war of Independence in Indian history.
The Paika Rebellion took place in Odisha in 1817, which is 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny.
“I request the Government of India 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 our historic independence from foreign rule,” said Patnaik in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
He said it would be a befitting tribute to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Paika rebellion.
“The Paika Rebellion (1817 AD) of Odisha, which took place 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny (1857 AD) 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 very nature and characteristic features,” said the Chief Minister.
He said the Paika Rebellion, popularly known as ‘Paika Bidroha’, was a broad-based and well-organised 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, measured by its form as well as content, provides a marvellous analogy with the subsequent freedom movement and its outcome,” he added.
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 their further consequences need to be traced back to the earlier instances of organised rebellion against the East India Company, said the Chief Minister.
He said that of such earlier resistances and rebellions, the Paika Rebellion stands out prominently as it was essentially a broad-based people’s movement.
It played the role of a torch-bearer and catalyst in shaping a people’s movement of resistance, which ultimately led to the Indian Independence Movement, said Patnaik.