• The Centre has said that the Paika rebellion cannot be called the first War of Independence.
    • It has also been suggested that it would be included as a case study in the Class 8 National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) history textbook.
    • For the first time in 2017, the Odisha state cabinet had passed a proposal to formally urge the centre to declare the Paika rebellion as the first war of Independence.


  • The Paika Rebellion, also called the PaikaBidroha. It was an armed rebellion against Company rule in India in 1817.
  • he Paikas rose in rebellion under their leader BakshiJagabandhu 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.


  • The Paikas were the traditional militia of Odisha. They served as warriors and were charged with policing functions during peacetime.
  • With the conquest of Odisha by the East India Company in 1803 and the dethronement of the Raja(king) of Khurda, the power and prestige of the Paikas began to decline.


  • British policies of exploitation – After the Raja of Khurda was deposed, Major Fletcher assumed command of the estate’s entire administration. Thus began the British administration’s exploitative policies, which became increasingly intolerable for the people of Odisha. They were unable to comprehend British regulations because they were not available in Odia and were only available in Bengali and Persian.
  • Faulty revenue policy (Permanent Settlement) – The British government’s erroneous revenue policy harmed the local zamindars and royats. The British never granted remission or time to local zamindars for revenue collection.
    • Zamindaries who failed to pay revenue to the British government in Calcutta on time lost their zamindarships for a variety of reasons, including crop failure, draught, flood, and other natural calamities. The assessments and over-assessments of the short-term settlements added to the peasants’ misery. The British government’s erroneous land revenue policy disappointed not only the zamindars, but also the royats.
  • British salt policy – Another factor that contributed to the rebellion was the British salt monopoly. It had wreaked havoc on the common people of Odisha. Odisha’s long sea coast produced an enormous amount of salt, which was freely used by the people of this land.
    • However, the British government stripped the zamindars and indigenous peoples of the coastal region of their traditional rights to salt manufacture.
    • Due to the heavy importation of Liverpool salt, every household in this land felt the increase in the price of salt.
  • The new monetary system – Another factor that contributed to the Paik rebellion was the British authority’s introduction of a new currency system in Odisha.
    • Cowrie was the primary medium of exchange in Odisha during the Maratha period. It had an exchange rate with silver coins.


  • In May 1817, the East India Company posted judges to Khurda to sentence the captured rebels.
  • The sentences handed out included execution, penal transportation and imprisonment. Between 1818 and 1826, Company troops undertook several operations in the jungles of Khurda to capture or kill rebels who had managed to escape.
  • The leader of the remaining band of rebels, Jagabandhu, surrendered to the East India Company in 1825 and lived as their prisoner in Cuttack until 1829 then he died.
  • The East India Company also appointed a commission to inquire into the causes of the rebellion.
  • The revenue policies of the Company in Odisha, which was a major cause of discontent to the local population, remained unchanged.

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