In News: 202nd anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle of 1818 was observed on January 1, 2020.
About the Bhima- Koregaon battle:
- A small village in Pune district of Maharashtra, Bhima-Koregaon is associated with an important phase of Maratha history.
- On January 1, 1818, a Dalit-dominated British Army had defeated a Peshwa army, led by Peshwa Bajirao II, in Koregaon.
- The battle attained a legendary stature for Dalits, who consider the win as a victory of the Mahars against the injustices perpetrated by the Peshwas.
- The battle has come to be seen as a symbol of Dalit pride because a large number of soldiers in the Company force were the Mahar Dalits.
- Since the Peshwas, who were Brahmins, were seen as oppressors of Dalits, the victory of the Mahar soldiers over the the Peshwa force is seen as Dalit assertion.
- On 1 January 1927, B.R. Ambedkar visited the memorial obelisk erected on the spot which bears the names of the dead including nearly two dozen Mahar soldiers.
- A pillar, known as Vijay Sthamb (victory pillar), was installed by the East India Company in memory of those who fought for them in the battle.
- It is at this pillar that thousands of Dalits come to pay respect every year on January 1.