Battle of Bhima Koregaon

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Battle of Bhima Koregaon

Recently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has demanded the release of Bhima Koregaon activists.

Related Case:

  • The Bhima Koregaon case started on January 1, 2018. On this day a ceremony was organized to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle.
  • The event was organized to celebrate the victory of the British Army against the army of PeshwaBajiRao II. In this battle, ‘Mahar’ soldiers fought on behalf of the British Army.
  • Many human rights activists including SudhaBhardwaj, VarvaraRao and GautamNavlakha were arrested during the investigation in Bhima Koregaon case.

About Bhima-Koregaon battle:

  • Dalits have a significant historical connection with a battle between the Peshwa forces and the British on 1 January 1818, in ‘Bhima Koregaon’, a district of Pune.
  • The British army, consisting mainly of Dalit soldiers, fought the Peshwa army dominated by the upper castes.The Peshwa Army was defeated by the British Army in this war.

Results of Battle:

  • Victory in the Bhima-Koregaon battle was seen as a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression.The Peshwas were notorious for oppressing and persecuting the MaharsDalits. The victory over the Peshwas in this fight gave the Dalits a moral victory, a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression and a sense of identity.
  • However, the British policy of ‘divide and rule’ created many cracks in Indian society, which is still visible in the form of a rare form of caste and religious discrimination, which needs to be stopped keeping in mind the principles of the constitution..

Why ‘Bhima Koregaon’ is seen as a ‘ Symbol of Dalit Pride’?

  • This fight has come to be seen as a symbol of Dalit pride, as most of the soldiers in the Company’s army were ‘Mahar’ Dalits. Since the Peshwas, who were Brahmins, were seen as oppressors of the Dalits and hence the victory of the Mahar soldiers over the Peshwa army is seen as a Dalit power.
  • On 1 January 1927, Dr. Bhim rao Ambedkar visited the ‘memorial pillar’ built on the battlefield; this pillar has the names of the dead including about two dozen Mahar soldiers. The soldiers who participated in the Battle of Koregaon were Mahars and Mahars were untouchables.

United Nations High Commissioner Office of Human Rights:

  • The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also known as ‘United Nations Human Rights’, is the United Nations leading body on the protection of human rights.
  • The purpose of OHCHR is to protect and promote all human rights set out in accordance with Resolution 48/141 of the United Nations General Assembly and to provide the necessary support in relation to them.
  • It also aims to encourage compliance with international human rights, and under it the OHCHR, to cooperate with local courts to ensure the implementation of international human rights legal obligations. This is the basis for seeking intervention.

Source – The Hindu

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