Why did a 200-year-old battle trigger violence

Babasaheb Ambedkar used to visit Koregaon every year on January 1 to pay homage to the untouchable soldiers

GN Bureau | January 4, 2018


#Pune Violence   #Maharashtra   #Koregaon   #Bhima Koregaon  
Protest at Thane, Mumbai (Photo: Geetanjali Minhas)
Protest at Thane, Mumbai (Photo: Geetanjali Minhas)

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.

What happened?

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

Comments

 

Other News

Covid-19: How states compare on recovery rate

While India’s Covid-19 recovery rate has improved to 63.02%, there are 19 states that are doing better than that. They are led by the national capital, Delhi. Here is a list of these states, as on Monday evening: Ladakh (UT)    85.45% Delhi   

5.3 lakh recover from Covid-19; active cases at 2.9 lakh

Though India remains the third-most affected country in terms of Covid-19 infections, the situation seems to be improving as the number of people who have recovered from infection has rose to 5,34,620, with a recovery rate of 62.93 percent. “Focussed and coordinated steps taken in tand

Covid-19: Let`s introspect, learn right lessons, says VP

Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu has urged the people to introspect on the life during the last few months under coronavirus induced confinement and assess if they have learned the right lessons and equipped themselves to deal with such uncertainties. Seeking to engage with people on the cau

Four trends that will shape healthcare post-Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted economies and healthcare systems across the world. Even in the countries, like the US, that have the highest spend on healthcare and public health emergency preparedness, the impact of coronavirus pandemic on health and livelihoods of people has been tremendous. There ar

India to play leading role in global revival: Modi

India would play a leading role in the global revival, prime minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, as he addressed the inaugural session of India Global week via video-conference. He said that this is closely linked with two factors. “First is - Indian talent and second is India`s

BMC spells out numbers to counter Fadnavis’ claims

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has countered Maharashtra leader of opposition Devendra Fadanvis’s suspicions of fewer Covid-19 tests, as it outlined various measures it has adopted since the first test conducted on February 3, and how it has gradually brought down the number of cases in



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter