Mysore celebrated the Koregaon Victory Day for the first time ever. “The vested interests have buried the real history of India to keep themselves at the helm of affairs without shedding even a drop of sweat and blood,” said Prof B. P. Mahesh Chandra Guru, media scholar and a rationalist, who was the chief guest at a public function held as part of the celebrations at Ashokapuram on the New Year’s Day, which also happens to be the Koregaon Victory Day. “Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vachana literature, rebel literature and the Constitution of India, which represent the greatest wisdom and human values, were produced by the indigenous people. They have also produced national wealth and political power with great sacrifice, but they have been marginalized in the country by the brahmanical and capitalist forces in the post-Independence era.”
Guru reminded the audience of the feat of an army of 500 hundred brave Mahar soldiers. On 1 January 1818, they defeated a 28,000-strong army led by the Peshwas of Maratha Empire who were against social equality and justice. Dr B.R. Ambedkar launched the tradition of celebrating the victory day on 1 January 1927 by paying floral tribute to the soldiers at the Koregaon Bhima Victory Pillar. He would do this every New Year’s to recall the historical war of independence led by the indigenous people.
Prof Guru contrasted this victory with the present sense of defeat and helplessness under the Narendra Modi government. The peasants are committing suicide. The workers have been disabled economically. Women and the weaker sections are subject to untold miseries. Prof Guru called upon intellectuals and activists to bury their differences and fight unitedly against the oppressors led by fundamentalists and capitalists.
The events of the Koregaon Victory Day were organized by Jai Bhim Sports Club and other progressive organizations. Purushotham, former mayor, Mysore city; Umesh, advocate; Avinash, Youth Congress president; Ramesh, research scholar; Guru Murthy and Mahesh Sosle, president and secretary, Dalit Students’ Federation, University of Mysore; and other progressive thinkers and activists participated in the celebrations. Hundreds of youths took part in a motorbike rally from Ashokpuram to the Town Hall, where they laid flowers at the statue of B. R. Ambedkar.
Published in the February 2016 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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