In esponse to The Battle of Bhima-Koregaon by Dr. A.K.Biswas

Saral Sarkar

The wise man Dr. Ambedkar wrote very thoughtfully, "Treason or no treason, this act of the untouchables was quite natural. History abounds with illustrations showing how one section of people in a country have shown sympathy with an invader, in the hope that the newcomer will release them from the oppression of their countrymen".

He is right. I know of two more such cases. I have read somewhere that the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spanish invaders was facilitated by a (tribal?) people of Central America who had been oppressed by the Aztec rulers. And, in our times, the victory of the US-American invaders in Iraq (2003) was facilitated by the Iraqi Kurds joining American forces in the north of the country.

    But Ambedkar did not ask the Dalits to celebratetheir valour which contributed to the victory of the British over the Peshwas. On the contrary, he indeed considered, as the above quote shows, whether the Mahars joining the British in defeating the Peshwas was an act of treason. He merely exonerated the Mahars, finding their act as "quite natural".

    I do not think there is anything to celebrate in this matter. Indeed, on January 1, 2018 we should have mournfully commemorated three shameful facts of Indian history: (1) that Indians fought with valor to help the British conquer India, (2) that Indian Hindu society has been a caste-ridden society for the last 2000 years or more, and (3) that since 1947, little has been achieved in annihilating this obnoxious caste system.

    The present political policy and actions of the Dalit leadership as well as those of the Brahman leadership are only rubbing salt into some millennia-old wounds of Indian Hindu society. They are not conducive to annihilating caste. Instead, they are further driving Indian society to ruination.

Feb 18, 2018

Saral Sarkar [email protected]

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