As we are approaching the ending of the year 2017, the politics of ‘Bhima Koregaon Battle‘ is heating up. As 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the battle, ultra-leftist forces are leading the campaign for the programme organised to commemorate the victory.
Though 2017 is marking the 200th anniversary of the battle people are not much aware of the causes and the details of it. Hence we Jansatyagrah.in have brought with the details of the event.
The Battle of Koregaon took place on January 1, 1818, at the bank of the river Bhima in Koregaon, near Pune. A small force of 500 men of the 2nd Battalion 1st Regiment of the Bombay Native Light Infantry, 250 men of Poona Horse and 25 men of Madras Ordnance under the command of Capt. F. F. Staunton fought for twelve hours against a large force of 20,000 horse and 8,000 infantry of Maratha Leader.
(*Bombay native infantry battalion was started by British commander Robert Clive to safeguard their warehouses. Which consisted men of all castes but mostly Mahars. Because Mahars were banned from joining Maratha forces by Peshwa.)
Casualties are as follow,
50 men (22 Mahars, 16 Marathas, 8 Rajputs, 2 Muslims, 2 Christians) from the Bombay Native Light Infantry.
47 men from Poona Horse
12 Men from Madras Ordnance
Around 500 to 600 Maratha force
*Figures as recorded by British Officers and Historians
Both sides suffered severe losses, No one achieved a decisive victory.
To commemorate the bravery of the troops’ British officers set up a monument (obelisk) in the village. The pillar inscriptions feature the names of the martyrs from the Koregoan battle.
Important Points of Note-
1. This battle was British Forces led by Capt. F. F. Staunton vs Maratha Forces of Peshwa led by Bapu Gokhale.
2. Both sides suffered severe losses, No one achieved a decisive victory.
3. Men of all castes and sects fought in the battle, so this wasn’t a battle of caste eradication as it is portrayed.
4. The men fighting from either side fought for remunerations it wasn’t self-driven.
5. The event is portrayed as the precursor to the eradication of medieval slavery which is untrue. Britishers fought to win over Pune and not to untie untouchables from the hierarchy.
6.Britishers included untouchables only because they needed Indian Army to establish power. After the establishment of the Power, they banned entry of the Mahars in the English army.
7. Today the event is used to spread Brahmin hatred amongst Ambedkarites
8. British officers appointed a caretaker to stele, who belonged to Maratha community. His name was Malwadkar, his successors are taking care of the stele.
Revival of the history
The significance of the obelisk at the battlefield faded over the time, as it was not of much importance for Britishers.
Later when most of the Indian Kingdoms surrendered to British forces and had an adequate number of upper caste forces they banned Mahars in British forces.
Dr B.R. Ambedkar wrote a 7-page letter to British officials condemning their ill decision. Babasaheb did mention the Koregaon Battle wherein Mahars and British fought hand in hand. He also visited the obelisk in the Koregaon on 1st Jan 1927.
Ambedkar was not the only one who were asking Britishers to lift the ban on the entry of untouchables in the army. MG Ranade and Gopalbaba Walangkar also wrote to Britishers condemning the decision.
Though Ambedkar only visited the stele once it is presented as if he frequented.
After Ambedkar visited the stele in 1927, it was not until some leftist organisations claiming to be Ambedkarites popularised its history as Dalit vs Brahmin conflict. They distributed hate messages, pamphlets, flyers, booklets among people. Emotional Ambedkarite people got deceived by the made-up glorious history. And they started to attract a crowd by the name of Ambedkar to push there hidden agendas.
*Sudhir Dhavale served 40 months of imprisonment for having alleged connections with Naxals, later he was acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence against him by the court.
Who invited Umar Khalid, who is facing charges of sedition? Is it not disgrace to Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Name? Report also alleges him having Naxal connection Reference
As we can see how this event is hijacked by ultra-leftist forces and misusing Ambedkarites to spread hatred in society.
We agree that we had inglorious episodes of Dalit atrocities and untouchability. Now we came decades ahead of the untouchability and Cases of Dalit atrocities have diminished. This was possible due to equality and freedom provided by our constitution. But these vermins are working hard to keep our old wounds bleeding.