Odisha Channel Bureau
NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Paika Rebellion of Odisha at Vigyan Bhavan here on Thursday evening.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said that it was indeed a privilege for him to be present on the occasion of inauguration of year-long celebration of Bi-Centenary of the Paika Bidroha of Odisha.
The President congratulated the people of the country and especially those of Odisha on the occasion.
He stated that 40 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, he added.
Mukherjee said that completion of 200 years of this popular uprising was a special event. The legend of the heroics of Baxi Jagabandhu continues to inspire the people of Odisha. It is time, this struggle and sacrifice by a generation of Odia people got its due place in the annals of history, he observed.
The President said that the Paika uprising was in the nature of a rebellion by people of Odisha. “It was aimed at upholding the rights of the Odia people and sovereignty of Odisha. Paika Rebellion was not only the rebellion of Paikas, it was a National War waged by ordinary people at the grassroots level who resented the dispossession of their Sovereign of his rights and the consequential repressive measures that followed,” Mukherjee said in his address.
“As we celebrate 200 years of the Paika Rebellion, it is time to remember the great history of our country and pay respect to our great heroes. Along with Baxi Jagabandhu 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 Mangaraj, Samanta Madhaba Chandra Routray (Dalbehera of Tapanga), Pindiki Bahubalendra, Krutibas Patsani and many more heroes of Paika Bidroha,” he said.
The President congratulated the Government for recognising this great event of our cherished history of freedom struggle.
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.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who attended the celebration of the heroic Paika Rebellion, paid rich tributes to Baxi Jagabandhu, Jayee Rajguru and all the brave Paikas who valiantly fought the imperial British rule and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Nation.
In his address, Patnaik informed that the bravery and war strategy of our brave Paikas was second to none. The 1817 uprising under the leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu is a glorious chapter in our history, he added.
“Paika Rebellion, popularly known as Paika Bidroha, took place 40 years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. It was truly a broad-based, well-organised pluralistic people’s struggle against the oppressive rule of the British East India Company, which transcended the boundaries of caste, creed and class. It played the role of the torch bearer and catalyst in shaping a people’s movement of resistance, which ultimately led to the Indian Independence Movement,” he said.
The Chief Minister urged that Government of India should recognise this historic event as the First War of Indian Independence. Such recognition would be a befitting tribute to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Paika Rebellion, he reiterated.
Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, and Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attended the function.