PM Modi launches Paika Rebellion Chair in Utkal University
PM Modi announced setting up of a Chair on the Paika Rebellion, in Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. He also released a commemorative stamp and coin on the Paika Rebellion.
The Paika Rebellion of 1817 in Odisha briefly shook the foundations of British rule in the eastern part of India. Paikas were the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha and rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace.
The British had established their sway over Bengal Province and Madras Province to the north and south of Odisha and occupied Odhisa in 1803. The Gajapati Ruler of Odisha Mukunda Deva-ll was a minor then and the resistance by Jai Rajguru, the custodian of Mukunda Deva-II, was put down brutally.
As British began consolidating their rule and started tinkering with the revenue system, they faced the anger of the people of Odhisa. A few years later Paikas under Baxi Jagabandhu, the hereditary chief of the militia army of the Gajapati King rose in rebellion by taking the support of tribals and other sections of society in March 1817. Paikas attacked British symbols of power, setting ablaze police stations, administrative offices and the treasury during their march towards Khurda, from where the British fled. The Paikas were supported by the rajas of Kanika, Kujang, Nayagarh and Ghumusar and zamindars, village heads and ordinary peasants. The Rebellion spread quickly.
British were initially taken aback and then tried to regain lost ground but faced stiff resistance from the Paikas. There was a widespread suppression. Rebels fought a guerilla war till 1819 but were captured and killed. Baxi Jagabandhu was finally arrested in 1825 and died in captivity in 1829.
The Paika Rebellion enjoys a cult status in Odisha. Children in Odhisa grow up with hearing stories of the brave fight against the British.