Bhima-Koregaon Battle 203rd Anniversary: Why British Victory Over Maratha Peshwas Became Symbol of Defeat of Casteism

Kamal Joshi
·1-min read

The victory pillar, also known as Ransthamb, in Bhima-Koregaon village in Maharashtra is to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, which was fought on January 1, 1818, between the British East India Company and the Peshwa forces. The Maratha troops led by Peshwa Bajirao II attacked Pune which was then held by the East India Company.

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A 28,000-strong force led by Maratha were challenged by 800-strong British troops, which comprised mainly of Dalit soldiers. Peshwa dispatched around 2,000 soldiers to attack British troops. After a nearly 12-hour-long battle, the British army managed to push the upper caste-dominated Maratha forces back.

Since the Mahar community was mistreated during Pesha Bajirao II's regime, the defeat was considered as a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression. There is a "victory pillar" in Koregaon commemorating the battle.

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Every year, lakhs of people gather at the 'Jay Stambh' which names of Mahars who sacrificed their lives are written. The battle is considered a symbol of the defeat of casteism.