Commemoration Turned Into War: The Bhima Koregaon-Protests

Posted by Saurabh Parmar in Politics
January 5, 2018

I generally don’t pay heed to the broadcast of riots and protests since they have become routine in our so-called ‘peaceful’ nation.

Our country’s governance has become synonymous with strikes, bandhs and dharnas by different sections of society. Institutional weakness is very much conspicuous in these events. The Bhima-Koregaon incident is yet another event in this regard.

The clash between two different sections had taken yet another human’s life. The Marathas and Dalits are fighting against each other. Neither is the state able to control their resentment nor has the police been successful in controlling the situation.

The event has become a pivotal episode in our political environment, where various parties are politicizing the incident to serve their interests. Nobody is bothered to improve the situation or take responsibility for security lapses.

The most striking feature of this event, lies in its cause, which is a commemoration of a battle fought 200 years ago. The war of 1818 was fought in the village of Bhima-Koregaon against the forces of the British East India company and Peshwa Bajirao II. This year saw the bicentennial anniversary of the event, which paved for the present hostile environment..

Therefore the reason for the current tensions is very much obsolete and vague. The recent incident has not only disrupted public life in the state, but has also led to the erosion of state’s credibility to protect the minorities.

And guess what? This time too, Dalits are being targeted. I think it’s obvious. The attitude of “us versus them” and “they deserve subjugation” has become the norm of our society. Parochial interests of the community have further given rise to right-wing extremism. Incidents like this have not only brought shame to the nation, the secular credentials and the idea of fraternity visioned in our constitution have failed.

It’s high time that state should enter into an active phase of protecting the minorities. Whatever safeguards that have been iterated in the rule book or constitution need to be implemented with force. The protection of the minorities needs to be executed in letter, as well as, in spirit.

The present atmosphere of our country presents a very gloomy future for weaker sections of society, who are not able to raise their voice. Oppression of minorities has become the reality of this nation. And tyranny in the name of nationalism is accepted as the way of life.

In dark times, incidents like this have really worried me for our safety and our freedom rights. We can no longer feel proud to be a part of this nation, where a butcher attacks a brother from another mother.