Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jan 2018 09:27:28

Post-violence, some political elements represented even by leaders of national standing have continued to make some nonsensical statements. But the common people have realised the falsehood in such statements and demands. They realise that the larger Indian society could be saved only if such elements are kept at bay.

“How can somebody celebrate the victory of the British against the India forces?”-- An oft-repeated question during the three days of Bhima-Koregaon related riots

EVEN as common people asked this question repeatedly as Maharashtra reeled under an inexplicable violence for three days, the people also had found the answer all by themselves. They had concluded that it was absolutely confusing that some of us could celebrate the victory of the British forces against the armies of Maratha kingdom 200 years ago, an unfortunate event that sealed the fate of Maratha kingdom and started the process of establishment of the British raj in India. Most common people had told themselves that if politics was driving some of us to celebrate the victory of the British at Bhima-Koregaon against the Maratha army led by the Peshwas, then such a politics is totally undesirable and needs to be shunned rightaway.

Nothing can be more unfortunate that such celebrations are going on for years only because people of a certain caste dominated the British forces and certain people with political agenda have been celebrating the defeat of the Peshwa armies that represented the Maratha empire launched by Chhatrapati Shiwaji Maharaj. Nothing can be more unfortunate than some of us ignoring the reality that the Maratha armies were represented by all castes -- Marathas, Brahmins, Dhangars, Kolis, Malis, Mahars, Muslims -- who fought a bitter battle and lost fighting against the alien forces represented by the British.

Historically, the defeat of the Maratha armies at Bhima-Koregaon was one of the early steps the British took to establish their raj in India. Later, as time wore on, Indian population started waging a war against the alien British rule in whatever manner possible, with whatever tools at hand. Then came the premature outburst of soldier Mangal Pandey on May 10, 1857, in Meerut Cantonment when he snatched the gun of a British officer and killed him. What followed was a great war of Independence, though not so well managed by the Indian patriotic forces, in which every Indian ethnic group took part, the Mahars included, and put up a great fight.

That war of Independence in 1857 might have ended in favour of the British. But from the point of that victory to the point when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the Indian national flag at the midnight hour of August 15, 1947, the British could not have even one night’s good sleep for ninety years. And that was so because all Indians, notwithstanding their ethnicity, took part in one of the world’s longest struggles for Independence. When that war being waged for nine long decades, nobody ever thought of celebrating the Bhima-Koregaon victory of the British. Then came the unfortunate twist when some people started making the celebrations politically pronounced as well as vicious. Nothing could be more unfortunate. But as the State of Maharashtra suffered in the senseless violence for three days, the common people dwelled on simple historical realities and concluded for themselves that the protests were absolutely senseless and represented divisive tendencies among us. As realities of the events that took place around Bhima-Koregaon came up, the common people started realising the filth that was being spread by vested interests.

Thanks to the prompt action by Maharashtra Government to announce a detailed judicial probe into the unfortunate incidents, a lot of air in the sails of protesters was gone. Also thanks to good journalism by certain journals and electronic channels, the common people also realised that the protesters were foisting a lot of falsehood on the larger society. For example, the two groups in Bhima-Koregaon had withdrawn their respective complaints and had agreed to work together. Yet, the leaders of the protesters kept hiding that reality and kept instigating their followers to indulge in road-blockades and even violence. Those masses damaged public property and also stalled business that cost the State more than Rs. 5,000 crore in one single day of Maharashtra Bandh. And why did this happen? Just because some of us insisted upon celebrating the victory of the British against the Indian forces, because some political elements among us wanted to distort historical realities to the extent of causing a serious damage to our sense of unity at least in regard to the national struggle for Independence. It was obvious that the effort of those elements was to create a social divide on the basis of caste.

A video, obviously filmed by a television news channel, went viral showing a 5-6 year old boy with stones in his both hands talking about killing people of a certain caste. Who tutored him to say all that? And is it ever good for any society to radicalise its kids in such a manner? The common people who had no vested interest on either side, concluded that whatever was happening in those three days was nothing but pure social filth which no society can afford to harbour.

The common people concluded that the elements that wanted to spread the venom of social hatred need to be contained on an urgent basis. In fact, this should be treated as a gain of the three days of violent and senseless upsurge based on totally casteist considerations. This is no mean a gain for the larger Indian society. It is obvious that the purpose of the divisive elements has not succeeded at all. Much to the contrary, the larger society has reacted maturely and sensibly to the violent overtures of some elements. Because the Government of Maharashtra conducted itself with a very high sense of equilibrium and responsibility, the situation could be handled effectively in a short time. The common people have noted that very accurately.

Of course, post-violence, some political elements represented even by leaders of national standing have continued to make some nonsensical statements. But the common people have realised the falsehood in such statements and demands. They realise that the larger Indian society could be saved only if such elements are kept at bay. The best and biggest gain of the development is that sensible public opinion got consolidated. Also, the common people got to know the correct history of that time 200 years ago. The majority of the larger society concluded that distortion of history should never be done or allowed. If this opinion keeps getting stronger in time, then much better social fabric could be woven in times ahead. The Bhima-Koregaon incident has given an impetus to such a positive social thinking, which we must welcome wholeheartedly. These are the positive gains of a politically-driven negative activity.