Bhima-Koregaon: The battle of 1818 explained
Mumbai, Jan 1: The atmosphere is tense, but the locals are warmly greeting visitors who have come to pay tribute at the 'jay stambh.' It has been a year since violence marred the 200th commemoration of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.
What is the Bhima-Koregaon battle. OneIndia explains the battle of 1818.
Bhima-Koregaon is a small village in Pune district, Maharashtra. On January 1 1818, Mahar soldiers of the East India Company led by the British, defeated the Peshwa army that was led by Peshwa Bajirao II at Koregaon.
The Dalits who follow, Dr. B R Ambedkar view this as a great victory of Mahars over the injustice meted to them by the Brahminical Peshwas.
Every year on January 1, the Dalits who follow Amebdkar gather at Bhima-Koregaon to pay their respects at the victory pillar called the Vijay Sthamb. This pillar was erected by the East India Company in memory of those fought the battle. The names of those Mahar soldiers who brought an end to the Peshwa rule in 1818 are inscribed on the pillar.
What happened last year:
During the 200th commemoration of the battle, there were violent clashes between the Dalit and Maratha groups. One person died in the violence while several others were injured.
The number of people who gathered last year was much higher considering it was the 200th year. Several groups organised a public conference in the name of the Elgar Parishad at the Shaniwar Wada, which was the seat of the Peshwas until 1818.
During that conference which was attended by Jignesh Mewani and Prakash Ambedkar, Hindutva politics was said to have been referred to as neo-peshwai (new Peshwas). This led to trouble and was cited as one of the reasons for the violence.