The ‘Paika Bidroha’ (Paika rebellion) of 1817 will find a place in the history books as ‘the First War of Independence’ from the next academic session, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said today. Javadekar had first made the announcement yesterday at a function marking the bicentenary of Paika Rebellion, here, adding the Centre has allocated Rs 200 crore to mark the occasion across the country. “Paika Bidroha will find a place as the First War of Independence against the British Rule in the history books. The students should learn factual history of 1817,” Javadekar said at a press conference. Paikas were peasant militia under the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during the times of war. They rebelled against the British rule under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817.
Earlier, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had, in a letter to the Centre, urged that it should recognise ‘Paika Bidroha’ as the First War of Independence against the British rule as it took place four decades before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, which has so far been regarded as the first war of Indian Independence.