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PAIKA REBELLION

PAIKA REBELLION

Introduction [PAIKA REBELLION]

  • It was an armed rebellion against the British East India Company’s rule in Odisha in 1817.
  • In 1817, some 400 Kondhs, who belonged to the state of Ghumsur, banded together to revolt against the British.
  • Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra Bharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military general of King of Khorda Mukund Dev II, led the Paikas to join the uprising.
  • The Paika Rebellion is one among the peasant rebellions that took place in India when the British East India Company was expanding its military enterprise.
  • Because these uprisings violently clashed with European colonialists and missionaries on many occasions, their resistance is sometimes seen as the first expression of resistance against colonial rule — and therefore considered to be “nationalist” in nature.

Who Were Paikas?

  • “Paika” literally translates to warrior/ fighter in Odiya. “Paika Akhada”, their style of fighting can be traced back to ancient Kalinga and was patronized by king Kharavela.
  • Paikas of Odisha were the landed militia who were involved in performing policing functions for the Gajapati rulers.    (PAIKA REBELLION)
  • They also acted as warriors to help the king during wars.
  • They were divided into
    • Praharis – experts in fighting with swords
    • Banuas- excellent marksmen using matchlocks
    • Dhenkias- the archers in the battlefront.
  • The kingdom of Khurda had granted them rent free land for the military services that they offered to the kingdom.

Causes of the rebellion

  • The Paika rebellion had several social, economic and political reasons.
  • They were also subjected to extortion and oppression at the hands of the company government and its servants.
  • The Paikas were alienated by the British regime, who took over the hereditary rent-free lands granted to them after the conquest of Khurda.
  • The company also abolished the system of cowrie currency that had existed in Odisha prior to its conquest and required that taxes be paid in silver. This caused much popular hardship and discontent.
  • The extortionist land revenue policy of the company affected the peasants and the zamindars alike.

Course Of Rebellion

  • The Paikas, set ablaze a police station and also killed some officials of the East India Company during their march towards Khurda.
  • The revolt enjoyed a great level of support from the Kings of Nayagarh, Kujang, Kanika, Village headmen, peasants and zamindars.
  • The rebellion quickly spread to Purl, Pipli Cuttack and other parts of Odisha. Initially, the Paikas seemed to have gotten hold of the battle and saw some victory, but was suppressed by the British in just three months.
  • Some Paikas however, fought guerilla warfare against the British yet the revolt was completely suppressed by 1819.
  • Therefore, it lasted for a year and half before being ruthlessly suppressed by the British East India Company’s forces.
  • After successive defeats, the Paika leader, Bakshi Jagabandhu, surrendered to the British in 1825 and lived as a prisoner in Cuttack till his death in 1829.

Effects [PAIKA REBELLION]

  • In May 1817, the British posted judges to Khurda to sentence the captured rebels.
  • The rebels were awarded sentences of death, transportation and long-term imprisonment.
  • Between 1818 and 1826, the company’s forces undertook combing operations in the jungles of Khurda to capture and put to death rebels who had managed to escape.
  • In these operations, numerous Paikas were killed.
  • Their leader, Jagabandhu, surrendered to the British in 1825 and lived as their prisoner in Cuttack until 1829, when he died

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