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There is a need to view the historical distortions of Hindutva politics with the present-day politics in the historical background of Bhima Koregaon of Mumbai, the Maratha State. The political events that transpired alongside the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon Victory Pillar on January 1, 2018, bring this into the light. The Mahars celebrate this event against the Peshva regime, which strictly followed casteism in its rule. It is history that the oppressed people of Maratha state, the Mahars, have been the soldiers and guards of settlement since the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Chhatrapati Shivaji and hindutvaNot only did the Peshwas not come forward to honor the valor of Mahars, but thought that recruiting Mahars in their regiment was an act of disgrace. But history shows that the same Mahars under East India Company fought the Peshwas and subdued them. Unfurling on the other side of the history is the valor and wisdom of oppressed people who conquered Brahminic Peshwas.

This remains as a qualm to the Hindutva politics. “This is an important historical event of Mahar community which experienced manifold cruelties under Peshwa rule”, says historical researcher Shraddha Kumbhojkar. Of the name of 49 soldiers engraved in the Success Pillar, 22 are from Mahar community. The British did it without concealing history.

On January 1, 1927, at the 109th anniversary, Ambedkar reached out to Bhima Koregaon. It is noticeable that he has pointed out in his Round Table Conference Speech that the military prowess of Mahars had been helpful to the British Empire.

But on the 200th commemoration day, violence erupted. The oppressed people rose in anger. Processions were carried out. The city, Mumbai, came to a standstill. Why? Not only is this connected to the victory of Mahars at Bhima Koregaon, but another history being at the background of it has to be spoken again with vigor. Shivaji remains the progenitor of Hindutva politics, which projects and boasts Maratha politics. The Marathas proudly teach about Shivaji and his Guerilla warfare against the Islamic emperor Aurangzeb. If we are to say it alternately, the Maratha politics is celebrating Chhatrapati Shivaji as the first king establishing Hindutva regime against Islamic people. The Hindutva Politics is trying to rewrite the history by projecting its power in obliterating all the historical documents which are against this politics of celebration.

What is the history against Hindutva politics? Why do they think that the event will put an end to their politics? Its history dating back 300 years, and this in no way added pride to Marathas’ Hindutva politics are the reasons.

The oppressed people who visit Bhima Koregaon will also pay a visit to Wadhu Budruk, a village situated 5 kilometres away from Bhima Koregaon, where the tombs of Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Shivaji Maharaj and the brave Govind Gopal Gaikwad, who performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj, are situated.

The valour and the martyrdom of Sambhaji have not been praised as that of Shivaji. Sambhaji was defeated by the Islamic regime. There is nothing new in history which always boasts of winners. The body of Sambhaji Maharaj defeated by Aurangzeb in 1689 was chopped into pieces and thrown into the river. While the power that be, cackled “Let us see who will collect the pieces and conduct the last rites?”, only a Mahar soldier had the gut to confront it.

Here comes Govind Gopal Gaikwad, a dweller of Budruk area also known as a boxer. He was only the person to violate the royal order with courage and stepped into the river to collect the chopped fleshes using the net and performed the rituals by sewing them.

This is history that Aurangzeb’s army killed Sambhaji. Govind Gaikwad’s tomb erected next to Sambhaji’s in praise of his valour is revealing its history and identity. Now it is turning out to be a headache to both the Hindutva politics and the Marathas promoting it.

They are trying to politically capitalize one side of the history that the Islamic regime killed the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji who was thinking for the establishment of Hindu Rashtra. They deliberate to divert it as a Muslim killed a Hindu Maharaj, Sambhaji. As the fact that a person from Mahar community performed last rites to Sambhaji is against Hindutva politics and in support of political uprising of oppressed people, they are burning the pages of history, and they contemplate to destroy it without any trace; and disfigure the tomb of Govind Gaikwad for political gain.

The Chronicles

Even though there are contradictory views regarding the end-stage and death of Sambhaji, there is no negation of the fact that Sambhaji failed before the Islamic Army and was tortured as per the order of Aurangzeb. In the “Battle of Wai” in 1687, the Maratha regimes were defeated. Sambhaji and his 25 soldiers were betrayed by his relatives and arrested by the Mughal Army.

Sambhaji was captured by Muqarrab Khan, Aurangzeb’s Commander, at Someshwar in 1689. It is realized that Sambhaji was tortured for converting to Islam. On denying it, his tongue was cut off. They planned to get his consent to accept the Islamic religion by repeatedly persecuting him. Dennis Kincaid who has written about it registers that on account of his inability to speak, Sambhaji displayed in writing as “even if the Emperor bribed me with his daughter, I would never consent to.”

It is to be noticed that all those documents have recorded as Sambhaji having been killed in consequence of ill-treatment and his body thrown into the river in pieces. Here unfolds, on another side of the fact, the history of a Mahar who had carried out the last rites of Sambhaji

Did a Mahar perform burial services to the heir of Chhatrapati Shivaji? If so, where was the braveness of the Marathas? They plan to alter this page in order to prevent escalation of such questions. The oppressed people presented some documents before the enquiry commission set up to hear Bhima Koregaon case. These documents present some historical facts.

  • Govind Gopal was appointed by Sambhaji as the Governor of Nasik Port. Aurangzeb’s army failed to capture it even after repeated attempts. This event has been blacked out as Govind was a Mahar.
  • Sambhaji was defeated by Aurangzeb’s army, and the queen Yasubai appointed two persons in search of Sambhaji while his whereabouts were not known. These two were from Mahar community, Govind Gopal and Rayappan Mahar. Both were searching for him, and Rayappan was killed by Aurangzeb’s army. Govind came to know about the fate of Sambhaji Maharaj while searching for him.
  • The authority threatened with the death penalty to anyone who dared to undertake funeral services to Sambhaji. Nobody came forward except Govind Gopal. Gopal went in search of his body and collected it from the river and performed the last rites. The same had been communicated to the Queen by him.
  • Infuriated by this act, Govind Gopal was murdered by Aurangzeb’s army along with 50 to 70 Mahars.
  • The tombs constructed for the souls murdered, along with the Gopal’s are still telling their stories.

The bullets that pierced Govind Pansare are the consequence of these events. Why was Govind Pansare, the leftist from Maratha State, shot at? To whom authority and regime was he against? Still, the police could not find out the perpetrators, why?

The recent past incident sensationally spoken has been faded away from common minds. The left think-tank Govind Pansare has written 21 books. Of these, “Who was Shivaji?” disfigures the image of Shivaji as a Hindu ruler established the Hindutva regime. The Hindutva face of Shivaji being projected against the Islamic people is negated through the book “Who was Shivaji?” It also questions the identity of him being the saviour of Hindu religion saving Hindus from forced religious conversion by Islamic invaders.

This also mutilates the image of Hindutva politics constructing Shivaji against Islamic people. Govind Pansare, through his research, presents the secular face of Shivaji as respecting and giving equal opportunities to all the religions. Pansare also records with documents that one-third part of Shivaji’s Army men, Guards and Secretaries were of Islamic people.

The bullets that pierced Pansare are testimonials to the manner in which the Hindutva politics faced the studies presented in “Who was Shivaji” which are against the false fabrication of “Shivaji, who established Hindu Samraj.”

Distortions

It remains a graft for Hindutva politics to distort, misinterpret and cleanse history they have been doing it since Sindhu Civilization. The book, “Who was Shivaji?” turned out to be a life threat to Pansare after its popularity. It saw 38 editions since its publication in 1988; it has been translated into Gujarati, Kannada, Urdu and Hindi. More than 145000 books have been sold. We should not forget that the sale of the books increased manifold even after his death. They are purposefully doing it to create fear in the minds of common people by killing the activists, think-tanks in the age of history that cannot be warped and manipulated. While curiously observing some events, the reasons behind it frighten us. The funeral of Sambhaji and its related facts are purposefully being contorted.

They counter that the one, Shivale Deshmukh from Maratha community, performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj; adding further, they yell that the tomb of Govind Gaikwad was built recent past only; and scream that the land documents pertaining to Gaikwad’s tomb were not available with the local body. They pulled out the board bearing the name of Gaikwad in his tomb. Above all these, they label all those who are the supporters of Gaikwad as Urban Naxals.

The recent attitude of depicting rioters among the people with a saffron flag as social defenders and those people, who expressed their rights in an authentic voice as anti-nationals, makes the unbelievable stories as legal documents. They did not even hesitate to say that they had planned to kill Modi as “they killed Rajiv Gandhi.”

In December 2017, the notice board put up again at the tomb of Govind Gaikwad was damaged. The oppressed people wanted to solve the problem by approaching police. But the police did not take note of it. On 29th, December 2017, the new notice board put up was again damaged and removed. The image that Islamic rulers forcefully converted Hindus is being constructed in the minds of common people.

The secular rule of the Islamic heads in history is silently being bypassed. But the people who have somewhat succeeded in planning for the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya simply conceal the truth that Tulsidas composed “Ram Saridamanas” in Hindi with the support of Akbar and the image of God Rama was imprinted in the coins released by Akbar.

What did happen in the Bhima Koregaon case? There is a need to listen to the news arising out from the political sphere pertaining to the case and arrest and the politics stacking behind it. As we all know what BJP has done in Bhima Koregaon incident, it is to be noticed that NCP has written a letter to Uddhav Thackeray seeking the release of all who have been arrested in connection with this incident.

December 6 is the day of remembrance for Ambedkar. Every year people will throng to his Chaitya Boomi, Dadar, to pay tribute. The uprising of the people who think it is their resolute duty to pay tribute to their leader and the increasing number of people attending it is enormously getting attention in today’s politics. Babri Masjid demolition is to be read in this background.

The purpose of choosing December 6 for demolishing Babri Masjid, while 365 days are in a row, is to blackout Ambedkar, Isn’t it? That is why the first page of the newspaper (Daily Thanthi) carried the news on 06.12.2019 that protection is given to Palani temple on the day of Babri Masjid demolition.

The ulterior motive and the politics of not getting the news of the Indian leader Ambedkar’s death anniversary published in dailies and making it appeared some other pages as a paid advertisement are explicitly displayed here.

Thus the historical facts are receding back gradually and getting disappeared from our sight. The Hindutva politics portrays India as the nation of Hindus, and Islamic people are the common enemy to it. It is a great misery that the Indian intellectual society being the witness of it.

Written by Puthiya Madhavi

Translated by Sunandha Suresh


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