Babasaheb Ambedkar used to visit Koregaon every year on January 1 to pay homage to the untouchable soldiers
GN Bureau | January 4, 2018
Maharashtra has been ravaged by violence that was triggered over a battle fought in 1818. Here’s why the 200 year old battle caused arson and rioting.
On January 1, lakhs of Dalits attended an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon near Pune. Clashes broke out between Dalit and Maratha groups, which led to the death of at least one person and several people were injured. The main event at the Jay-stambh (victory memorial) at Bhima Koregaon was largely peaceful.
But, what triggered the clashes?
The genesis lies in an incident that took place in Vudhu Budruk village on December 29. The village is about 5 km from Bhima Koregaon.
A board placed at the samadhi of a 17th century Dalit was removed. The Dalit, according to Mahar accounts, defied Emperor Aurangzeb’s orders and carried out the last rites of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s son who was tortured to death in 1689.
Sushma Ovhal, a 27-year-old woman, filed a police complaint against 49 people, under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, for damaging the board, the umbrella, desecration of the samadhi and for making “casteist comments”, reported the Indian Express.
Why is the battle of Koregaon such an emotive issue?
The battle was between the British Army’s Mahar regiment and the Peshwa’s army. The Mahar regiment’s victory is also seen as an assertion of Dalit identity.
What exactly happened in 1818?
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima. A 28,000-strong force led by Peshwa Baji Rao II intended to attack Pune, which was held by the British. On their way, they were met by an 800-strong Company force with superior weapons of more power and precision, which was on its way to reinforce the British troops in Pune.
When the Peshwa was informed about this company force at Koregaon, he dispatched around 2,000 arab soldiers to attack the Company force entrenched in Koregaon. Led by Captain Francis Staunton, the Company troops defended their position for nearly 12 hours. The Company force met with a huge loss and lost morale. But, because of the imminent arrival of a larger British force led by Brig. General Joseph Smith the Peshwa's troops ultimately withdrew.
What is the connection between Babasaheb Ambedkar and the battle of Koregaon?
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar used to visit Koregaon every year on January 1 to pay homage to the untouchable soldiers and to exhort Dalits to show similar courage and determination to end brahminism from the entire country. On January 1, 1927, he organised a big convention in Koregaon and brought the memories of bravery of the untouchable soldiers in public knowledge, reported drambedkarbooks.com.
An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and gr
Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book publis
The question of reform of the civil services has been debated extensively at all levels at least over the last five to six decades after independence. Indeed, it was soon perceived that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) may not be well equipped to deal with the problems of an emerging developing coun
Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into existence, based on a Resolution of the home ministry, dated April 1, 1963 – a sheer coincidence that it also happens to be April Fool’s day. Over the past few months, we have seen the CBI live up to its founding day with great zeal, being i
Gujarat was passing through a turbulent phase in the 1980s. The decade began middle class agitations against new reservation policies, and the caste friction turned communal under the watch of chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, alienating majority of urban population on both counts. The ground was ripe for