Battle of Koregaon - What happened 200 years ago
Source : Wikipedia
- The Battle of Koregaon was fought on 1 January 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima.
- A 28,000-strong force led by Peshwa Baji Rao II intended to attack Pune, which was held by the British. On their way, they were met by an 800-strong Company force that was on its way to reinforce the British troops in Pune.
- The Peshwa dispatched around 2,000 soldiers to attack the Company force entrenched in Koregaon. Led by Captain Francis Staunton, the Company troops defended their position for nearly 12 hours. The Peshwa's troops ultimately withdrew, because of the imminent arrival of a larger British force led by Brig. General Joseph Smith.
- The Company troops of Indian origin included a number of Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore Dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in Dalit history.
So in short, the British East India Company troops which comprised of a majority of Dalits (800 soldiers) defeated the Peshwa's army of Marathas (2000 soldiers). Since then the Dalits ( who have been treated as untouchables since years) see it as a heroic feat (which obviously didn't down too well with the Marathas).
200 years on (literally 1st Jan 1818 - 1st Jan 2018), people are still passionate about this event and still visit Koregaon faithfully every year.