Bhubaneswar: The ‘Paika Bidroha’ in erstwhile Khordha Gada in the year 1817 was not an uprising against the then British regime; rather, it was a freedom movement, asserted Union Minister for Tourism G Kishan Reddy during a programme here Friday.
Reddy was addressing a huge gathering at Chalo Dekhen Apna Desh – a programme organised by the Ministry in which tourism departments of a number of states including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir had taken part.
“There are different historians who describe the uprising differently. No decision has been taken till now on this. However, I can tell you that the Paika Bidroha or Paika Rebellion was not a mutiny or revolt. It was a freedom movement,” the Minister Reddy said.
On being quizzed by some mediapersons present in the programme and also clearing air on the state government’s ongoing and ambitious Srimandir Parikrama Project, the tourism minister said, “I have already spoken to the officers concerned including Director General (DG) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in this regard.”
An Act will be brought before the Parliament in the days ahead to liberalise the existing norms; so, that the problem can be sorted out soon, the Union Minister further said.
Reddy added saying that Odisha has immense scope for tourism and its future is bright. The Black Pagoda (Sun Temple at Konark) has recently been included in the Iconic Destinations Project (IDP) under which the historic monument and its adjoining areas will be developed and beautified in near future, the minister informed.
Describing vividly about future tourism development in the country, Reddy expressed, “I will call a meeting of the Tourism ministers of all the states to be held in New Delhi to discuss different types of tourism as well as the National Tourism Policy (NTP) which the Ministry is going to table in the Parliament soon.”
“Starting from adventure tourism to nature tourism and to wildlife tourism, we are going to encompass all the facets of tourism and constitute a comprehensive policy for the country,” Reddy stated.
It is pertinent to mention, the minister had previously refused the demand of people of Odisha and the ruling BJD government to accord the Paika Bidroha as India’s first war of independence.
Presently, Sepoy Mutiny (Sipahi Bidroha) of 1857 is being regarded as the First War of Independence against British regime.
Paika Bidroha had taken place around 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny. The Paika militants were peasants of the erstwhile Gadajata rulers of formerly Orissa. They were also offering military services to their respective rulers at the times of need.