• IASbaba
  • December 9, 2021
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Part of: Prelims and GS-I- Modern India

In News: Government has clarified that the 1817 Paika rebellion of Odisha could not be called the first war of Independence, but can be considered it as a beginning of a popular uprising against the British and will included as a case study in the Class 8 NCERT history textbook. 


  • The Culture Ministry had received a reference from the Odisha Chief Minister asking that the Paika rebellion be declared the first war of Independence.
  • The ministry said the matter was examined in consultation with the Indian Council of Historical Research, under the Union Education Ministry, and according to the comments by the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Paika rebellion could not be called the first war of Independence.
  • However, from a historical point of view, it can be said that the ‘Paika Bidroha’, which was set off in March 1817 and continued until May 1825, had set an example for the classes as well as the masses in India to follow later on.

About Paika Rebellion

  • 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 estates mostly 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 Kondhs rose in revolt against the British under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra Bharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military general of 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.
  • Bakshi Jagabandhu escaped to the jungles, and stayed out of reach of the British until 1825, when he finally surrendered under negotiated terms.

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