Bhubaneswar: A delegation of BJD Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members met Union Minister of State for Culture, Arjun Ram Meghwal in the national capital Monday. They urged the Centre to reconsider its decision and declare ‘Paika Bidroha’ as the First War of India’s Independence.
“Paika Bidroha, also known as the Paika Rebellion, took place in 1817 and was India’s first organised armed rebellion against the Britishers,” the MPs said in the letter they handed to Meghwal.
“This was the First War of Independence which was fought 40 years ahead of the revolt of 1857 that has been termed as the 1st War of India’s Independence against British colonialism,” the letter stated.
“This battle was fought under able leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar of Odisha. The legend of the heroics of Baxi as well as the valiant Paikas of erstwhile Orissa continues to inspire the 4.5 crore of Odias since the last two centuries,” the letter further said.
People of Odisha wholeheartedly support the proposal and would be overjoyed when the contribution of the Paikas would be recognised which it deserves, the letter read.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Union Government recently turned down the request of Odisha government to declare ‘Paika Bidroha’ as India’s First War of Independence. In response to a starred-question asked by BJD MP Prashant Nanda, Union Minister of Culture and Tourism, G Kishan Reddy had informed the Rajya Sabha that as per the report of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the Paika Rebellion cannot be regarded as first war of India’s Independence.