The 1817 Paika rebellion of Odisha would be included as a case study in the Class 8 National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) history textbook, considering it as a beginning of a popular uprising against the British.
Prelims, GS-I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Paika Rebellion
- Causes of the rebellion
- About Paikas
About Paika Rebellion
- The Paika Rebellion, also called the Paika Bidroha was an armed rebellion against Company rule in India in 1817.
- The Paikas rose in rebellion under their leader Bakshi Jagabandhu and, projecting Lord Jagannath as the symbol of Odia unity, the rebellion quickly spread across most of Odisha before being put down by the Company’s forces.
- It is now declared to be the first Indian armed movement to gain independence, replacing the prevailing view of the first one being the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Causes of the rebellion
- The origins of the Paika Rebellion lay in several social, economic and political causes.
- Odisha had four ports for trading, with the networks in the region involving millions of traders. However, the East India Company, to protect their own monopolies, closed these ports for trade, alienating large swathes of the local population.
- The local administrators who were educated and wealthy, the Paikas, were alienated by the East India Company administration, who took over the hereditary rent-free lands granted to them after the conquest of Khurda.
- The Paikas were also subjected to extortion by the Company administration and its servants.
- A source of much consternation for the common people was the rise in prices of salt due to taxes imposed on it by the Company administration.
- The East India Company also abolished the system of cowrie currency that had existed in Odisha prior to its conquest and required that all taxes now be paid in silver.
- The Paikas were the traditional militia of Odisha who served as warriors and were charged with policing functions during peacetime.
- The Paikas were organised into three ranks distinguished by their occupation and the weapons they wielded.
- These were the Paharis, the bearers of shields and the khanda sword, the Banuas who led distant expeditions and used matchlocks and the Dhenkiyas – archers who also performed different duties in Odisha armies.
-Source: The Hindu