Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I – Modern History
- President Ram NathKovind laid the foundation stone for the Paika Memorial which will come up in a 10-acre plot at the bottom of Barunei Hill in Odisha.
- The event marks 200 years of the Paika Rebellion of 1817, an uprising against colonial rule that predates the rebellion of the sepoys in 1857, and is sometimes described as the first war of independence.
- The Paikas (pronounced “paiko”, literally ‘foot soldiers’), were a class of military retainers had been recruited since the 16th century by kings in Odisha from a variety of social groups to render martial services in return for hereditary rent-free land (nish-karjagirs) and titles.
- The advent of the British and establishment of colonial rule brought new land revenue settlements, which led to the Paikas losing their estatesmostly to Bengali absentee landlords
- The British changed the currency system, demanding revenue payments in rupees, which increased pressure on the dispossessed, marginal tribals.
- The British control over salt — which had pre-1803-4 origins, but was extended to coastal Orissa in 1814 — also meant increased hardship for the people in the region.
- In 1817, some 400 Kondhsrose in revolt against the British under the leadership ofBakshiJagabandhuBidyadharMohapatraBharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military generalof Mukund Dev II, and erstwhile holder of the lucrative Rodanga estate
- Paikas fought bloody battles at several places, but the colonial army gradually crushed the revolt.
- BakshiJagabandhu escaped to the jungles, and stayed out of reach of the British until 1825, when he finally surrendered under negotiated terms.