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The Chamaar Regiment

  1. SC Commission Asks Defence Secretary Why 'Chamar Regiment' Shouldn't be reinstated

    Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) Modern History Department has also started a research programme on the role of chamar regiment in the structure of British Army.

    March 2, 2017, 

    New Delhihe Scheduled Castes Commission has issued a notice to Defence Secretary asking Why the 'Chamar Regiment' should not be reinstated in the Indian Army.
    The commission issued the notice after taking note of the various protests demanding reinstatement of chamar regiment.
    Speaking to News18, SC Commission Chairman, Ishwar Singh said, "We have asked the government why this regiment was disbanded and why it should not be reinstated."
    Earlier, protests were taken out in many states demanding the reinstatement of the chamar regiment.
    Shant Prakash Jatav, who is associated with BJP's Schedule Caste front, had in October 2015 demanded from Centre to reinstate the regiment.
    Jatav also claimed that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote back to him in November 2015 saying he is looking into the matter.
    The chamar regiment was formed by Britishers during the second World War, but was disbanded in two years in 1946 after its soldiers joined Indian National Army led by Subhash Chandra Bose in Singapore, a claim made in a letter Dalit activists wrote to Manohar Parrikar.
    The regiment was led by Captain Mohanlal Kurel during British period.
    Kurel was captured by Britisher and was released only after Independence. Kurel also served as MLA from Safipur Assembly seat in Unnao in 1952 .
    Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) Modern History Department has also started a research programme on the role of chamar regiment in the structure of British Army.
    A book titled ''Chamar regiment and the story of the revolt by soldiers' has also been written on this regiment.
    The book is written by Satnam Singh, who is also doing the research on this regiment in JNU.
    "Three of the soldiers-Chunnilal, Jogiram and Dharm Singh-of chamar regiment from Haryana are alive," Satnam Singh told News18.

  2. The Chamar Regiment

    Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by third eye, Nov 12, 2013.

  3. I'd like to share information of a little known regiment of the Indian Army that does not exist today - at least not in its original form & name - The Chamar Regiment.

    The 1st Chamar Regiment was an infantry regiment formed by the British during World War II. Officially, it was created on 1 March 1943, as the 27th Battalion 2nd Punjab Regiment was converted.

    The Chamar Regiment which was involved in the Pacific War Japanese front and was awarded the Battle Honor of Kohima for theirs distinguished role in the Battle of Kohima. The Regiment was disbanded in 1946.Some time ago , several politicians have demanded that The Chamar Regiment be revived.

    Chamar is one of the untouchable communities, or dalits, who are now classified as a Scheduled Caste under modern India's system of positive discrimination. As untouchables, they were traditionally considered outside the Hindu ritual ranking system of castes known as varna.

    They are found mainly in the northern states of India, Pakistan and Nepal.

    During the Second World War, the British raised two regiments that were exclusively from Scheduled Castes - the Chamar Regiment and the Mahar Regiment. The former had to be disbanded during the War, as they could not meet their recruitment quotas. The latter had to be converted into an all India, open class Regiment, as they were not able to get enough recruits from the Mahars alone to meet the recruitment quotas.

    The Chamar had a history of military service. Many Chamar families are descended from Kshatriya communities, and share common family names, for example Bhatti, Chauhan or Toor. Many Chamars were recruited in British Indian Army during World War I and II on various ranks. Their contribution in these great wars was exempelary. They received many medals and stars in recognition of their bravery and honest contribution in these wars after being recruited in various regiments of Brish India Army. The Ist Chamar Regiment was awarded the 'BATTLE HONOUR OF KOHIMA' for its distinguished role in the 2nd World War. Former Pakistani Leader Ayub Khan was an officer of the Chamar Regiment.
  4. Chamars role in Military

    During World War II, the Chamar Regiment was created and was involved on the Japanese front[2]. The Chamar Regiment was disbanded after the war. Former Pakistani Leader Ayub Khan was an officer of the Chamar Regiment.                              
    1. Many Chamars have played an active role in the events of 1857. 
    The bravery of Banke Chamar of Village Kurarpur, Distt. Jaunpur (UP) is highlighted by the historians. This revolutionary laid down his life for the country and was ordered to be hanged by the British for his role in the events of 1857. 
    Chetram (Jatav) and Belluram also sacrificed their life for being the moving force behind Barrackpur revolution.
    Chamar-Satnami kingdomThere was a Satnami Kingdom of Narnaul (Haryana). The Satnami sect of Hinduism was founded in 1657 in Narnaul (a town in today’s Indian state of Haryana, situated about 100 km south-west of Delhi, by a saint names Birbhan. They are considered to be an offshoot of the followers of the great saint Ravidas. 

    (Preliminary Draft of Paper to be Presented at the Edinburgh Conference on ‘Mutiny at the Margins:

    New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857’ from 23-26 July 2007)

    The Raising of the Chamar Regiment.

    A committee appointed by the British Indian army recommended the inclusion of Chamars in the Indian army. The Chamars are lower caste Hindus and are mostly cobblers. However they had a history of fighting as soldiers in Central India against the Jats. A decision was taken to raise a regiment of Chamars. However the British retained the caste character of the army and also kept in mind the martial traditions while recruiting.

    The Chamar regiment was raised towards the end of 1943 and was thrown into battle against the Japanese Imperial army. It formed part of 168 Division of the Indian army and was commanded by Brigadier Dyer.

    The Regiment fought very well and pushed the Japanese back along with other Indian forces out of Burma. Rangoon was captured and no mean part was played by the Chamar Regiment. Many distinguished officers like General Ayub Khan served in the Chamar regiment.

    Disbandment if the Chamar Regiment

    In 1945 the Second World War came to an end after the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Japan. Suddenly a force of 2.5 million became a luxury and an emaciated England could ill afford such a large army. It was decided to restore the Indian army to pre- war force levels.

    Mass scale demobilization was ordered and the newly raised regiments faced the first axe. The British retained the old Sikh, Gurkha and Jat regiments and demobilized all others. Almost 2 million soldiers were sent home. The Chamar Regiment was also disbanded in 1945 end and it ceased to exist except in the history books.

    Last Word.

    After Independence with the force level of the Indian army again rose to 1. 22 million a demand is made by many political leaders to re induct the Chamar regiment. Backward class leaders are particularly vociferous in this demand. 
  5. Mahar Regiment

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mahar Regiment
    Mahar Regimental Insignia.gif
    Mahar Regiment Insignia
    CountryIndia India
    BranchIndian Army
    TypeLine Infantry
    Size19 battalions
    Motto(s)Yash Sidhi (Success & Attainment)
    War CryBolo Hindustan Ki Jai (Say Victory to India)
    Decorations1 Param Vir Chakra, 4 Maha Vir Chakra, 29 Vir Chakra, 1 Kirti Chakra, 12 Shaurya Chakra, 22 Vishisht Seva Medals and 63 Sena Medals.[1]
    Regimental InsigniaA pair of crossed Vickers medium machine guns, mounted on a tripod with a dagger. The dagger was initially the Pillar of Koregaon, where the combined British and Mahar troops defeated the overwhelming Peshwa Army. The pillar was subsequently removed and was replaced with a dagger.[1]
    The Mahar Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. Although it was originally intended to be a regiment consisting of troops from the Mahar community of Maharashtra, the Mahar Regiment is one of the only regiments in the Indian Army that is composed of troops from all communities and regions of India.

    Maratha Empire

    The Mahars were recruited by the Maratha king Shivaji as scouts and fort guards in his army. They were also heavily recruited by the British East India Company, at one part forming one-sixth of the Company's Bombay Army. The Bombay Army favoured Mahar troops for their bravery and loyalty to the Colours, and also because they could be relied upon during the Anglo-Maratha Wars. They achieved many successes, including in the Battle of Koregaon, where Mahar-dominated Company troops defeated a much larger led by Peshwa Baji Rao II. This battle was commemorated by an obelisk, known as the Koregaon pillar, which featured on the crest of the Mahar Regiment until Indian Independence. Mahar troops of the Bombay Army also saw action in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and two regiments (the 21st and 27th) joined the revolt under the British.War cry of this regiment is "Bolo Hindustan Ki Jay ".

    The Martial Races theory and disbandment


    The recruitment policies of the British Indian Army continued until the beginning of the First World War in 1914. The War forced the Government to begin more broad-based recruiting, and the Mahars were at last allowed to enlist in the Army. One battalion of Mahar troops, the 111th Mahars was raised in the June 1917. However, the battalion did not see much service during the War, and in 1920 it was merged with the 71st Punjabis. Finally, the battalion was disbanded in March 1921, and the Mahars were once again demobilised.
    The period between the wars saw increased efforts by the Mahars to persuade the government to let them enlist in the Army. One proponent of Mahar recruitment was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, whose father, Sub. Maj. Ramji Maloji Sakpal had been a soldier in the British Indian Army. However, the proposed reorganisation of the Indian Army that was to occur in the 1930s was postponed because of a lack of funds in the Great Depression. In 1939, the Second World War broke out, and once again, the Army was forced to overlook its narrow minded recruitment policies in the face of harsh necessity.

    Raising of the Mahar Regiment

    The Border Scouts

    Composition and RecruitmentThe Border Scouts were an irregular force formed by the people of the border villages in East Punjab during Partition. Hailing as they did from the erstwhile greater state of East Punjab (which included the present states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh), the force had people hailing from a greater mix of ethnic, religious and caste backgrounds than was the norm in the Indian Army. They did some useful work defending villages from attacks during partition, and as a reward, were given a more permanent character as the East Punjab Frontier Scouts in 1948. They served along the border with Pakistan as border guards, and were regarded as a useful adjunct of the Punjab Armed Police. The unit was redesignated the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Border Scouts in 1951, with recruitment from different North Indian communities. In 1956, the decision to convert this force into Machine-Gun Regiments was taken, and the three battalions were merged with the Mahar Regiment, the only Indian Machine Gun Regiment in existence at the time. They joined the Regiment as the 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions of the Mahar Regiment, and it is to these units that the Regiment traces its mixed-class composition. The three Battalions style themselves battalions of the Mahar Regiment (Borders) even today.
    The class composition of the Regiment also changed. While 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th and 13th battalions were all pure Mahar battalions, the others were mixed classes right down to the smallest sub-unit level. The conversion training started in November 1963 with 1st Mahar and completed in May 1964 with 10th Mahar. The year 1965 saw all the battalions of the regiment gearing up for operations. These included the newly raised 11th and 12th battalions that had the unique composition of Bengalis, Oriyas and Gujratis - the communities that had been stamped as non-martial by the British. Their entry into the Mahar fraternity added strength to national integration-the distinctive feature which the regiment has always been proud of.
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
    • 3rd Battalion
    • 4th Battalion (Borders)
    • 5th Battalion (Borders)
    • 6th Battalion (Borders)
    • 7th Battalion
    • 8th Battalion
    • 9th Battalion
    • 10th Battalion
    • 11th Battalion
    • 12th Battalion
    • 13th Battalion
    • 14th Battalion (formerly 31st Mahar)
    • 15th Battalion (formerly 32nd Mahar)
    • 17th Battalion
    • 18th Battalion
    • 19th Battalion
    • 20th Battalion
    • 21st Battalion 

    Former Battalions

    • 25th Battalion (disbanded 1946).
    • 16th Battalion (formerly 8th Parachute Regiment) (converted to 12th Mechanised Infantry in 1981)

    Allied Units

    • 108th Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (based at Dehradun)
    • 115th Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (based at Belgaum)
    • 1st Battalion Rashtriya Rifles
    • 30th Battalion Rashtriya Rifles
    • 51st Battalion Rashtriya Rifles
  6. After the Revolt, the British officers of the Indian Army, particularly those who had served in the First and Second Afghan Wars, began to give currency to the Martial Races Theory. This theory was that some races and communities among Indians were naturally warlike, and more suited to warfare than others. A major proponent of this theory was Lord Roberts, who became Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in the November 1885. There was a gradual "Punjabisation" of the Indian Army to the detriment of the other communities. The final blow for the Mahar troops came in 1892, when it was decided to institute "class regiments" in the Indian Army. The Mahars were not included in these class regiments, and it was notified that the Mahars, among with some other classes, were no longer to be recruited in the Indian army. The Mahar troops, who included 104 Viceroy's Commissioned Officers and a host of Non-commissioned officers and Sepoys were demobilised. This event was regarded by the Mahars as a betrayal of their loyalty by a government they had served for over a hundred years.

  7. After the demobilisation of the Mahar troops, there were many attempts by the leaders of the Mahar community to persuade the Government to let them serve in the Army once again. Petitions to this effect were drafted by ex-soldiers such as Gopal Baba Walangkar in 1894, and Shivram Janba Kamble in 1904. These petitions were supported in principle by the politician and social reformer Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who was opposed to the Martial Races theory. They were also supported by the Indian National Congress, who were also opposed to the recruiting policies of the Army.

  8. In the July 1941, B. R. Ambedkar was appointed to the Defence Advisory Committee of the Viceroy's Executive Council. He used this appointment to exert pressure within the military establishment for a Mahar regiment. He also appealed to the Mahars to join the Army in large numbers. In October, the Army gave in, and the 1st Battalion of the Mahar Regiment was raised in Belgaum under Lt. Col. HJR Jackson of the 13th Frontier Force Rifles and Sub. Maj. Sheikh Hassnuddin. The 2nd Battalion was raised in Kamptee in June 1942 under Lt. Col. JWK Kirwan and Sub. Maj. Bholaji Ranjane. A cap badge was designed for the Regiment by Capt. EEL Mortlemans, an officer of 2nd Mahar. The badge featured the Koregaon Pillar over the word "MAHAR". The third battalion, the 25th Mahars, was raised in Belgaum in the August 1942 by Lt. Col V. Chambier and Sub. Maj. Sardar Bahadur Ladkojirao Bhonsale, and the 3rd Mahars were raised in Nowshera by Lt. Col. RND Frier and Sub. Maj. Bholaji Ranjane. During the War, the 1st and 3rd Mahars served in the North-West Frontier Province, while the 2nd and 25th Battalions were employed on internal security duties within the country. The 2nd Battalion also saw service in the Burma Campaign as a part of the 23rd Indian Division, where they suffered 5 casualties and had one officer Mentioned in dispatches. They also served in Iraq after the War as a part of PAIFORCE. In 1946, the 25th Mahars were disbanded, along with many other garrison battalions of the Indian Army. Its officers and men were largely absorbed by the other three battalions of the Regiment. In the October 1946, the Regiment was converted into a Machine Gun Regiment, and the Regimental Centre was established at Kamptee. Following conversion of the Regiment to a machine-gun regiment, the cap-badge was changed. The new badge had two crossed Vickers machine guns over the Koregaon Pillar, over a scroll that said "The Mahar MG Regiment". The three surviving battalions of the regiment served as a part of the Punjab Boundary Force, and took part in escorting refugees during the Partition of India.           

    Sikh Light Infantry

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sikh Light Infantry
    Sikh Light Infantry Insignia.gif
    Sikh Light Infantry Insignia
    ActiveJune 1857-Present
    CountryIndia India
    TypeLight infantry
    • Infantry
    Additional roles
    • Direct Action
    • Amphibious warfare
    • Mountain warfare
    • Counter Terrorism
    • Internal Security
    Size18 battalions
    Nickname(s)Sikh LI
    Deg Teg Fateh
    (Prosperity in Peace and Victory in War)
    Post Independence 1947
    1 Ashok Chakra, 5 Maha Vir Chakra, 6 Kirti Chakra, 23 Vir Chakra, 13 Shaurya Chakra, 82 Sena Medal, 4 Param Vishisht Seva Medal, 8 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 3 Yudh Seva Medal, 17 Vishisht Seva Medal,49 Mention in Despatches and 122 COAS's Commendation Cards.
    Battle honours
    Post Independence 1947
    OP Hill, Kalidhar, Fatehpur and Parbat Ali
    War CryJo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal (Blessed is the one who proclaims the Truth of God)
    The Sikh Light Infantry, previously known as The Mazabhi and Ramdasia Sikh Regiment, is a light infantry regiment of the Indian Army. Its name was changed to the Sikh Light Infantry in 1944. The Sikh Light Infantry is the successor unit to the Mazhabi Sikh Pioneers 23rd, 32nd and 34th Sikh Pioneers. The Sikh Light Infantry inherited the battle honours, colours and traditions of the Mazhabi Sikh Pioneers on its merging with a few Ramdasia companies in 1941.
    The Sikh Light Infantry recruits Mazhabi Sikh and Ramdasia soldiers who are famous for their extraordinary courage and tenacity on the battlefield. During its existence for nearly a century under the British Raj, the Sikh Light Infantry and its predecessors, the 23rd, 32nd and 34th Royal Sikh Pioneers distinguished themselves with loyalty to the British Crown and the empire in numerous conflicts in and around the Indian subcontinent as well as the First World War and the Second World War. Today, the Sikh Light Infantry has expanded beyond its primary infantry role and holds an "elite" regimental status. The 9th battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry conducts special amphibious assaults similar in nature to the Royal Marines of the United Kingdom. The 11th battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry has earned the nickname "Steel Fist". The versatility of the Sikh Light Infantry has seen the regiment conduct operations from conventional warfare on the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, to counter-terrorism. The Sikh Light Infantry also conducts operations as part of the United Nations Emergency Force. The regimental motto is "Deg Tegh Fateh", meaning "prosperity in peace and victory in war". The motto has great significance with the tenth and most martial Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh], as the Mazhabis are very closely associated with him. The Sikh Light Infantry insignia is a Chakram or Quoit, with a mounted Kirpan. The insignia was designed to honour the Mazhabi Sikh community's Akali Nihang ancestry. The former Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC belongs to the Regiment. He is also the Colonel Of The Regiment The Sikh Light Infantry.


    The Sikh Light Infantry and the Sikh Regiment, the former with 18 regular battalions and together totalling 36 battalions, account for about ten percent of Indian Army's 300+ infantry battalions.

    Sikh Light Infantry personnel march past during the Republic day parade in New Delhi, India
    The Sikh Pioneers were disbanded on 10 February 1933 were re-raised to fight in the Second World War, beginning with the First Battalion on 1 October 1941. Recruitment was opened up to the Ramdasia Sikhs. The Sikh Light Infantry is now an 18-battalion strong regiment that is capable of rapid deployment in defence or attack. A further 16 battalions have been raised since India's independence.
    The Sikh Light Infantry has provided support for Parachute Regiment with its 2nd battalion augmenting the strength of the 50th Parachute Brigade (India) in the 1961 invasion of Goa. Here they supported the main thrust of the attack as part of its western column. They moved rapidly across minefields, roadblocks and four riverine obstacles to be the first to reach Panjim.

    Regimental battalions

    Indian Soldiers assigned to the 9th Battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry arrive aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) to participate in Malabar 2006. Malabar 2006 is a multinational exercise between the U.S., Indian and Canadian armed forces to increase interoperability between the three nations and support international security cooperation missions
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
    • 3rd Battalion
    • 4th Battalion
    • 5th Battalion
    • 6th Battalion
    • 7th Battalion
    • 8th Battalion
    • 9th Battalion (Marine)
    • 10th Battalion
    • 11th Battalion (Steel Fist)
    • 12th Battalion
    • 13th Battalion
    • 14th Battalion
    • 15th Battalion
    • 16th Battalion
    • 17th Battalion
    • 18th Battalion
    • 103rd Battalion (TA)
    • 158th Battalion (TA)
    • 163rd Battalion (TA)

    Culture and ethos of the regiment

    The Chakram and Kirpan are traditional and iconic weapons of the Akali Nihang order. The Mazhabi Sikhs dominated this order throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The Chakram and Kirpan were combined to make the Sikh Light Infantry Insignia.
    Due to the cultural origin of its recruits, the Regiment maintains not only a strong Sikh culture but also a Punjabi culture. The Sikh faith plays a strong role in the day-to-day life and functioning of the regiment and its soldiers. The Sikh Light Infantry maintains its own regimental gurdwara for the daily worship for its soldiers. The Sikh recruits of the regiment have a long and strong standing history with the Sikh religion. The Mazhabi Sikhs had long stood in the armies of the Sikhs' Tenth Guru and in the later Khalsa Army raised by Ranjit Singh. which forged and established the Sikh Empire.
    The religious life of the soldiers sees them conduct shabad kirtan and all other aspects of Sikh worship. The Sikh religion plays a large role in their life as active soldiers, through the teachings of the tenth Sikh guru and the notion of "Sant-Sipahie" - Saint soldier.
    The regimental motto is derived from the tenth Guru of the Sikhs; Deg Tegh Fateh, meaning "Prosperity in peace and victory in war". It incorporates Guru Gobind Singh's teachings of peace tolerance and community spirit, but to unsheathe the sword when a tyrant or oppressor threatens those ethos and refuses peaceful co-existence.
    The battle cry of the regiment is "Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!" meaning "He who recites the name of the lord, shall forever be victorious!" The regimental insignia is a combination of the Chakram and Kirpan, traditional weapons of the Akali Nihangs, a religious warrior monk order started by Guru Gobind Singh in the 18th century. Chakrams are still worn on the turban by the regiments soldiers; however, its use is ornamental and for occasional uniformed display or parades. It is not used in battle or incorporated in the combat attire.
    In addition to their religious lives, soldiers in their free time engage in traditional Punjabi culture. Bhangra a folk dance of the Punjab is a regular pastime of the soldiers.


    Recruits must be Mazhabi Sikhs, and since 1941 Ramdasia Sikhs. Mazhabi Sikhs must provide identification certificates showing their status as Mazhabi Sikhs for eligibility to join the regiment as well as meeting the other minimum standards.
    There is no caste or religion bar on appointed officers in the regiment. They can come from any caste or religious background as long as they are educated through the internal commissioned officers program.
  9. Mazhabi Sikh

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      (Redirected from Mazhabi)
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    Mazhabi Sikh
    Populated statesPunjab, Rajasthan, Haryana
    Mazhabi Sikhs (also known as Mazbhabi, Mazbhi, majbi, Majhabhi or Majabhi) are members of an untouchable caste who have rejected Hinduism in favour of the Sikh faith. The word Mazhabi is derived from the Urduterm mazhab ("sect"), and can be translated as the faithful. They live mainly in Indian Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.
    The definition of Mazhabi today is somewhat blurred because of the influence of Valmikism. Mazhabis are best known for military service in the Sikh Khalsa Army, British Indian Army and post-independence Indian Army.


      When Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, was killed by the Mughals in Delhi, three lower caste recovered his dismembered body from a Muslim crowd and brought it back to his son, Guru Gobind Singh. In recognition of their act, he admitted the untouchable into the Khalsa (the Sikh faith), giving them the name Mazhabi ("faithful").


      Within the present-day Mazhabi community, one group calls itself the Ranghreta and claims a higher status on the grounds that one of their ancestors was Bhai Jaita Ranghreta, who carried the head of Tegh Bahadur from Delhi to Guru Gobind Singh in Anandpur Sahib.
      The definition of Mazhabi today is somewhat blurred because of the influence of Valmikism. While Sikhism is in theory an egalitarian faith that takes no notice of caste, gender and other social demarcations, Fenech and Singh note that "there is often a level of hypocrisy between what is taught and what is actually put into practice." Mazhabis are discriminated against by Sikhs whose origins lie with higher-ranked castes and many Chuhras have turned to Valmikism but are still referred to as Mazhabi. While young Valmikis, who accept Valmiki as their guru, increasingly object to being labelled as Sikh, their elders are less concerned. At least one of their organisations, the Valmiki-Mazhabi Sikh Morcha, conflates the terms.
      Mazhabis who converted from Sikhism to Christianity under the influence of Christian missionaries in the later years of the British Raj are sometimes referred to as Christian Mazhabi Sikhs. Some also profess Hinduism but call themselves Mazhabi, as do a small number who follow the tenets of Buddhism.

      Military service

      Before the British Raj er

      The Mazhabis were recruited to the army of Ranjit Singh but as separate companies attached to regular battalions rather than as part of an integrated force. This situation was forced upon him because high-caste Sikhs refused any closer connection. They served as pioneers, operating mainly as a labour corps that worked on construction of roads, bridges and canals. They were not, however, mere labourers because it was expected that their infantry skills would enable them to defend themselves in the event of attack.

      British Raj

      The Mazhabis, whom historian Stephen Cohen says "had strong caste traditions of violence and aggressiveness and were classed as a criminal caste by the British", lost their military employment following the defeat of the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Some eventually found employment as pioneers in the army of Gulab Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.In 1857, the British turned to them for help during the Indian Rebellion, apparently to counteract the rebellious sepoys of the Bengal Army. The First Pioneer Sikh Regiment soon found itself helping to break the Siege of Delhi, a second regiment was raised in 1858 and a third followed soon after. This military employment contributed to a gradual improvement in their social status and in 1911 their official classification in Gujranwala and Lyallpur was uplifted to that of "agricultural caste" by the British authorities. The British military classification system, which rated recruits according to their caste, continued to assert that Mazhabis were best suited as pioneers while, for example, Jat Sikhs should be infantry.
      They were deployed at the Siege of Lucknow and Capture of Lucknow during the 1857 Indian Rebellion. It was calculated in 1898 that there were 2,452 Mazhabis in the army, along with 28,146 Jat Sikhs and 9,000 other Sikhs.
      During World War I the single-battalion regiments of the Mazhabi Sikh Pioneers – the 23rd, 32nd and 34th Pioneer Regiments – were expanded to comprise three battalions each. These units served in Egypt, Europe, Mesopotamia and Palestine and performed well. The 1/34th Sikh Pioneers were awarded the title of "Royal". Ellinwood and Pradhan note that during the First World War, the Mazhabi Sikh soldiers were "estimated" to have reached a "remarkably high standard" and that their contribution to the war in some places surpassed that of the Jat Sikhs.
      The Sikh Pioneer regiments, which were practically the only military employer of the Mazhabis, were disbanded in December 1932. The cause was mainly advances in road-building techniques and the need to economise. Most of their recruits were released from the army, the only means by which they had been able to advance themselves in society.[16] A Mazhabi Sikh platoon did replace Rajputs as the Indian Platoon of the Welch Regiment in 1933.

      The Sikh Light Infantry march past during the Republic day parade in New Delhi, India
      The Mazhabi Sikhs, together with the Ramdasia, were recruited to the Sikh Light Infantry regiment (SLI) after its formation in 1941. Despite unwillingness among some policy makers, the British had to abandon their traditional distinction between martial and non-martial races during the Second World War. This was necessitated by the need for more recruits than could be supplied by those communities upon which they usually relied, such as the Jat Sikhs, Dogras and Punjabi Musalmans. In addition, indiscipline among Jat Sikhs caused by their concerns regarding a post-war division of India was another reason to prefer recruitment of new classes. While recruitment from the pre-war martial classes was still pre-eminent, that from newly recognised classes such as the Mazhabis and Ramdasias became significant. Mazhabis were even recruited into units such as the 13th Frontier Force Rifles, which previously would not have contemplated them.

      After independence of India

      When India became independent in 1947, the British Indian Army became the Indian Army. This, like its predecessor, relies on the martial race theory for much of its recruitment and thus there is a grossly disproportionate number of Sikhs within its ranks. The Mazhabi Sikhs and Ramdasias continued their service with the SLI in the new army. The SLI has served in almost all of the post-1947 conflicts involving India, including the wars with Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1971, the Hyderabad Police Action of 1948 and the Chinese aggression in 1962. It has also served in Sri Lanka, where the 1st, 7th, 13th and 14th Battalions have contributed towards peace-keeping.
      The Mazhabi Sikh soldiers have a reputation for their loyalty and reliability. During Operation Blue Star in 1984, when the Indian Army entered the Golden Temple, Jat Sikh soldiers broke out in mutiny against their officers in the Sikh Regiment and Punjab regiments A total of 2,000 Sikh personnel took part in the mutinies. In the most sensational case 1,400 mainly Jat Sikhs deserted after killing their commanding officer and armed themselves. A significant number of those were also new recruits who were incited easily into mutiny and some were forced at gun point to take part in the mutinies. Despite that, the Indian Army officers were correct when they expressed confidence to journalists that the Mazhabi Sikhs of the Sikh Light Infantry would not mutiny.
      In Punjab, Sikh militants had stepped up their attacks on law enforcement as well as civilians, including minority groups. The Punjab had now reached a state of emergency and Director General of Police, Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, responded by raising Mazhabi Sikhs as "Special Police Officers". This tactic was designed both for community protection and to dull any incentive for Mazhabis to join with the militants, although in fact Mazhabis had often been victims of attacks by those people. Their loyalty was to the government and was never questioned. Mostly unemployed people, they were provided with guns by the state and were literally given a licence to kill. Gill received heavy criticism for the brutality and ruthlessness of his tactics but the Sikh militants were neutralised. A large number of these special police officers were said to have been used during the February 1992 elections. An open season was declared on Sikh terrorists and the police were able to use whatever means deemed necessary to achieve victory. Major Sikh militant leaders were targeted, and many did not survive.

      Social status

      Discrimination within the Sikh community

      Mazhabi Sikhs are not addressed with common title 'Sardar'.Most of them live in separate clusters in villages. As the 19th century drew to a close, untouchables such as the Mazhabis were still denied equal access to the gurdwara (places of worship) by their fellow Sikhs and during the early years of the 20th century members of the Arya Samaj tried to capitalise on this in their attempts to reconvert those groups to Hinduism. In spite of Sikhism's egalitarian tenets, the Singh Sabha movement also viewed them as being inferior, despite initially being established in 1873 in part with the aim of eradicating untouchability.
      The British Raj system of land allocation in the Punjab also worked against the Mazhabis. As land in the new canal colonies was made available for cultivation, the Raj allocated it to people on the basis of the scale of existing landholdings, which meant that dominant landholding communities such as the Jats received most of the 4,000,000 acres (1,600,000 ha) that became available between 1885–1940 while outcastes were excluded entirely.
      During the numerous discussions, conferences and proposals that preceded Indian independence, the Mazhabis sought to obtain an autonomous region within partitioned Punjab which they proposed to be called "Mazbhistan". This was one of many instances reflecting the lack of coherence among adherents of Sikhism at that time.
      Many Jat Sikhs continue to look down upon the Mazhabis, and they are also considered to be of lower status by the other Dalit communities, being the Ramdasia and Ravidasia. The internal division between Jat Sikh and Mazhabi still broadly follows the economic distinction between farmer and landless labourer. It is land-ownership rather than varna's stress on occupational status that defines discrimination within the Sikh communities of the Punjab, and Ronki Ram notes that the nature of untouchability itself in Punjab differs from the rest of India because it is "related more to prejudice than pollution". Many Mazhabi are still exploited in low-status jobs, they are often forced to live in less desirable areas of villages, cannot use the gurdwaras frequented by higher-caste Sikhs and must use special cremation grounds.


      The outcome of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections in December 1954 favoured Punjabi Suba, a Jat Sikh-dominated movement. Akali Dal, a religio-political party founded in 1920 and dominated by Jat Sikhs, won all 111 seats that it contested and Khalsa Dal – a new party created with government support – managing to win only three of the 132 in which it put forward a candidate. The campaign saw the Arya Samaj and Jan Sangh, who were both opposed to Punjabi Suba and believed in Hindu supremacy, stressing a fear of Sikh domination. They encouraged Hindu Punjabis to lie by claiming Hindi to be their first language even when it was almost always in fact Punjabi. This attempt to cause a division along religious lines had the tacit support of the government and its impact echoed down the years. In 2005, 56 expelled employees of the SGPC abandoned Sikhism and alleged that they were being discriminated against because they were Mazhabis.
      According to a report published in The Tribune on 16 March 1966, a spokesperson for the Federation of Mazhabi Sikhs stated that "the Sikh Scheduled Castes had been reduced to a position of mere serfs by the Sikh landlords who would literally crush the Mazhabi Sikhs if Punjabi Suba was formed." The federation offered support for Arya Samaj and Jan Sangh in opposition to the Punjabi Suba.
      Although Sikh leaders recognise the contribution of the Mazhabis and Ravidasias to the community and have tried to include them in their organisations, not least because of the size of their population, both groups still feel alienated because of discrimination by higher-caste Sikhs, especially the Jats. It is because of this that they have turned to political parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party rather than maintaining past associations with Sikh politics through the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and SGPC.

      Modern-day conversions

      In 2014, both the SAD and the Indian National Congress (INC) voiced their opposition to Christian Mazhabi people being reconverted to the Sikh faith in a ceremony organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Parkash Singh Badal, then Chief Minister of Punjab and an SAD elder, said that such conversions are "unfortunate and against the basic tenets of Sikhism as Sikh gurus sacrificed their lives resisting conversion", while Amarinder Singh of the INC considered the move by the Hindutva-centric RSS to be "forced conversion". The RSS said that it was not sponsoring conversion to Hinduism but rather to Sikhism and that the SGPC had been lax in stemming the tide of poor Sikh families switching to Christianity. It was claimed by an RSS colleague, Ram Gopal, that 2,470 people had already been converted in the year prior to the controversy being commented upon and that the SGPC had initially supported the idea. There were also protests by Christians, who claimed that the conversions were an attempt by the RSS to drive a wedge between their religion and Sikhism where previously there had been a harmonious relationship.

      Reservation  The Government of India recognises Mazhabi Sikh as a Scheduled Caste as part of their official affirmative action program


      Between 30,000-40,000 Mazhabi Sikhs were reported to be congregated at Govindghar in an attempt to reach India during the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. This was one of many examples of the mass migrations that took place across the border in both directions as communities found themselves in the midst of violence driven by religious differences.[42]
      As of 2011, there were 2,633,921 Mazhabis in the Indian state of Punjab, of whom 2,562,761 declared themselves to be Sikh, 71,000 as Hindu and 160 as Buddhists. The total Scheduled Caste population of the state was 8,860,179. At that time, there were 158,698 Mazhabis in Rajasthan, comprising 11,582 Hindus, 147,108 Sikhs and 8 Buddhists. 141,681 lived in Haryana (11,485 Hindu, 130,162 Sikh and 34 Buddhists), 460 resided in Himachal Pradesh, 3,166 in Chandigarh, 2,829 in Delhi NCT, 6,038 in Uttarakhand, and 14,192 in Uttar Pradesh.

      Notable people

      • Charanjit Singh Atwal, a Deputy Speaker and Speaker in the Indian Houses of Parliamentand former member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly
      • Jiwan Singh, a general and a close associate of Gobind Singh. He was killed at Chamkaur during the withdrawal from Anandpur in 1704.
    • Battle of Koregaon

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      ResultEast India Company victory
      British East India Company flag.svg East India CompanyFlag of the Maratha Empire.svg Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy
      Commanders and leaders
      Captain Francis F. StauntonPeshwa Baji Rao II
      Bapu Gokhale
      Appa Desai
      Trimbakji Dengle
      Units involved
      2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
      Madras Artillery
      ArabsGosains and Marathas
      834, including around 500 infantry, around 300 cavalry and 24 artillery
      2 6-pounder cannons
      28,000, including 20,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry
      (around 2,000 participated in the battle supported by 2 cannons)
      Casualties and losses
      275 killed, wounded or missing500–600 killed or wounded (British estimates)

      Koregaon Bhima is located in India
      Koregaon Bhima
      Koregaon Bhima
      Location of Koregaon Bhima in India
      The Battle of Koregaon was fought on 1 January 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima.
      A 28,000-strong force led by Peshwa Baji Rao II whilst on their way to attack the company-held Pune, were unexpectedly met by an 800-strong Company force that was on its way to reinforce the British troops in Pune. The Peshwa dispatched around 2,000 soldiers to attack the force which sought entrenchment in Koregaon. Led by Captain Francis Staunton, the Company troops defended their position for nearly 12 hours, before the Peshwa's troops ultimately withdrew, fearing the imminent arrival of a larger British force.
      There is a "victory pillar" (obelisk) in Koregaon commemorating the battle.

      By the 1800s, the Marathas were organized into a loose confederacy, with the major constituents being the Peshwa of Pune, the Scindia of Gwalior, the Holkar of Indore, the Gaekwad of Baroda, and the Bhosale of Nagpur.The British had subjugated and signed peace treaties with these factions, establishing Residencies at their capitals. The British intervened in a revenue-sharing dispute between the Peshwa and Gaekwad, and on 13 June 1817, the Company forced Peshwa Baji Rao II to sign an agreement renouncing claims on Gaekwad's revenues and ceding large swaths of territory to the British. This treaty of Pune formally ended the Peshwa's titular overlordship over other Maratha chiefs, thus officially ending the Maratha confederacy. Soon after this, the Peshwa burnt down the British Residency at Pune, but was defeated in the Battle of Khadki near Pune on 5 November 1817.Background

      The Peshwa then fled to Satara, and the Company forces took complete control of Pune. Pune was placed under Colonel Charles Barton Burr, while a British force led by General Smith pursued Peshwa. Smith feared that Peshwa could escape to Konkan and overpower the small British detachment there. Therefore, he instructed Colonel Burr to send reinforcements to Konkan, and in turn, call in for reinforcements from Shirur, if needed.Meanwhile, the Peshwa managed to escape beyond Smith's pursuit, but his southward advance was constrained by the advance of a Company force led by General Theophilus Pritzler. He then changed his route, marching eastwards before turning north-west towards Nashik. Realizing that General Smith was in a position to intercept him, he suddenly turned southwards towards Pune. Towards the end of December, Colonel Burr received news that the Peshwa intended to attack Pune, and asked the Company troops stationed at Shirur for help. The troops dispatched from Shirur came across the Peshwa's forces, resulting in the Battle of Koregaon.

      Peshwa's forces

      The Peshwa's army comprised 20,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry. Out of these, around 2,000 men were deployed in the action, constantly reinforced during the battle.The force that attacked the Company troops consisted of three infantry parties of 600 soldiers each.These soldiers included Arabs, Gosains and Marathas (the caste). The majority of the attackers were Arabs (mercenaries and their descendants), reputed to be the finest among the Peshwa's soldiers.The attackers were supported by a cavalry and two pieces of artillery.
      The attack was directed by Bapu Gokhale, Appa Desai and Trimbakji Dengle. Trimbakji was the only among these to enter the Koregaon village, once during the attack. The Peshwa and other chiefs stayed at Phoolsheher (modern Phulgaon) near Koregaon.The titular Maratha Chatrapati, Pratap Singh of Satara, also accompanied the Peshwa.

      Company forces

      The Company troops dispatched from Shirur comprised 834 men, including:
      • Around 500 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, led by Captain Francis Staunton. Other officers included:
        • Lieutenant and Adjuntant Pattison
        • Lieutenant Jones
        • Assistant-Surgeon Wingate
      • Around 300 auxiliary horsemen under Lieutenant Swanston
      • 24 European and 4 Native Madras artillerymen with two 6-pounder guns, led by Lieutenant Chisholm. Besides Chisholm, Assistant-Surgeon Wyllie (or Wyldie) was the only officer in the artillery.
      The Company troops of Indian origin included Mahars, Marathas, Rajputs, Muslims, and Jews. This was mostly the troops that Capt. Staunton had raised three months ago with the object of strengthening the defense of Poona that was already under British control 

      The battle

      British defence plan during Battle of Koregaon
      The Company troops left Shirur at 8 pm on 31 December 1817. After marching all night and covering a distance of 25 miles, they reached the high ground behind Talegaon Dhamdhere. From there, they spotted Peshwa's army across the Bhima River. Captain Staunton marched up to Koregaon Bhima village, which was located on the banks of the river. The village was surrounded by a low mud wall. Captain Staunton made a feint of crossing the shallow Bhima river. A 5,000-strong infantry, which was slightly ahead of the Peshwa's base, retreated to inform him about the presence of British forces. Meanwhile, Staunton stationed his forces in Koregaon instead of crossing the river. He secured a strong position for his guns, posting one of them to guard an approach from the Bhima river (which was running almost dry), and another to guard the road from Shirur.
      After the return of his 5,000-strong infantry, the Peshwa dispatched three infantry parties of Arab, Gosain and Maratha soldiers. Each party comprised 300–600 soldiers. The parties crossed the Bhima River at three different points, supported by two cannons and rocket fire. Peshwa's troops also made a feint attack from the Shirur road.
      By noon, the Arabs took control of a temple on the outskirts of the village. One of the temples was retaken by a party led by Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon Wyllie. The Arabs also captured the sole gun guarding the river, and killed eleven gunners, including their officer Lieutenant Chisholm. Driven by thirst and hunger, some of the Company's gunners suggested negotiating a surrender. However, Captain Staunton refused to yield. A group led by Lieutenant Pattison retook the gun, and found Lieutenant Chisholm's body with the head cut off. Captain Staunton declared that this would be the fate of those who fall into the enemy hands. This encouraged the gunners to fight on. The Company troops successfully defended the village.
      Peshwa's forces ceased firing and left the village by 9 pm, driven by the fear of approaching British reinforcements under General Joseph Smith. At night, the Company troops managed to procure a supply of water.The Peshwa remained near Koregaon on the next day, but did not launch another attack. Captain Staunton, who was not aware of General Smith's advance, believed that the Peshwa would attack the Company troops on the Koregaon-Pune route. On the night of 2 January, Staunton first pretended to go in the direction of Pune but then marched back to Shirur, carrying most of his wounded soldiers.


      Out of the 834 Company troops, 275 were killed, wounded or missing. The dead included two officers — Assistant-Surgeon Wingate and Lieutenant Chisholm; Lieutenant Pattison later died of his wounds in Shirur. Among the infantrymen, 50 were killed and 105 wounded. Among the artillery, 12 were killed and 8 were wounded. The dead Company soldiers of Indian origin included 22 Mahars, 16 Marathas, 8 Rajputs, 2 Muslims, and 1-2 Jews.
      According to the British estimates, around 500 to 600 of Peshwa's soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle.
      Mountstuart Elphinstone, who visited Koregaon two days later on 3 January 1818, wrote that the houses had been burned and the streets were filled with dead bodies of horses and men. There were around 50 dead bodies lying in the village, most of them of the Peshwa's Arab soldiers. There were six dead bodies outside the village. In addition, there were shallow graves of 50 native sepoys, 11 European soldiers and the 2 deceased officers belonging to the Company forces


      When Elphinstone visited the battle field shortly after its completion, he found that the Company Soldiers had completely lost their morale and were reluctant to believe the praises that were showered on them .
      General Smith arrived in Koregaon on 3 January, but by this time, the Peshwa had already left the area. A company force led by General Pritzler pursued Peshwa, who tried to escape to Mysore. Meanwhile, General Smith captured Satara, the capital of Pratap Singh. Smith intercepted Peshwa in a battle on 19 February 1818 at Ashtoon (or Ashta); Bapuji Gokhale was killed in this action. The Peshwa then fled to Khandesh, while his jagirdars accepted the Company's suzerainty. A dejected Peshwa then met with John Malcolm on 2 June 1818, and surrendered his royal claims in exchange for a pension and a residence in Bithoor. Trimbakji Dengle was captured near Nashik and imprisoned at the Chunar Fort.
      As a reward for their bravery in the Battle of Koregaon, the 2nd battalion of the 1st Regiment of the Bombay Native Infantry was made Grenadiers. Their regiment came to be known as 1st Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry. The official report to the British Residents at Poona recalls the "heroic valour and enduring fortitude" of the soldiers, the "disciplined intrepidity" and "devoted courage and admirable consistency" of their actions.
      Captain Staunton was appointed an honorary aide-de-camp to the Governor General of India. The Court of Directors presented him with a sword and a sum of 500 guineas (gold coins). Later in 1823, he became a Major, and was appointed a companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath.
      General Thomas Hislop called the battle "one of the most heroic and brilliant achievements ever recorded on the annals of the army". According to M.S. Naravane, "this gallant defense by a small number of Company's troops against an overwhelming Maratha force is rightly considered as one of the most glorious example of valour and fortitude in the annals of the Company's forces."


      Neither side achieved a decisive victory in the battle. Shortly after the battle, Mountstuart Elphinstone described it as a "small victory" for the Peshwa. Nevertheless, the East India Company government praised the bravery of its troops, who could not be overpowered despite being outnumbered.
      Notwithstanding this, the battle being one of the last ones to be fought in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, has since came to be remembered as a Company victory after the war ended with Peshwa's defeat.



      To commemorate its fallen soldiers, the East India Company commissioned a "victory pillar" (an obelisk) in Koregaon. The inscription of the pillar declares that Captain Staunton's force "accomplished one of the proudest triumphs of the British Army in the East."

      Significance to Mahars

      The Koregaon pillar inscription features the names of the 49 Company soldiers killed in the battle. 22 of these names end with the suffix -nac (or -nak), which was used exclusively by the people of Mahar caste. The obelisk was featured on the Mahar Regiment's crest until Indian Independence. While it was built by the British as a symbol of their own power, today it serves as a memorial of the Mahars.
      The Mahars were considered untouchable in the contemporary caste-based society. The Peshwas, who were high-caste Brahmins, were notorious for their mistreatment and persecution of the untouchables. Because of this, the Dalits (former untouchables), after independence, saw the Koregaon obelisk as a symbol of their victory over the high-caste oppression.[27] The Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar visited the site on 1 January 1927. To commemorate his visit to the site, now thousands of his followers visit the site every New Year's Day. A number of Mahar gatherings have also been held at the place. On January 1, 2018, clashes erupted between right-wing Hindu groups and Dalit groups during the commemoration of this battle. This led to further violent protests and rioting in Mumbai and Maharashtra for two days.
      Although it is currently portrayed as victory of lower caste over upper caste Peshwas, the Mahars had also fought for the Peshwa rulers in the past.


      1. Jump up^ Although it is currently portrayed as victory of lower caste over upper caste Peshwas, the Mahars had fought for Maratha rulers including Shivaji, Rajaram and the Peshwa rulers. For example, Nagnak Mahar was prominent in the reign of Rajaram, Rainak Mahar fought Raigad and Shidnak Mahar saved the life of Peshwa general Parshuram Patwardhan during the Battle of Kharda in 1795.


      • Shraddha Kumbhojkar (2015). "Politics, caste and the remembrance of the Raj: the Obelisk at Koregaon". In Dominik Geppert and Frank Lorenz Müller.Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-9081-3

    • 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      MethodsProtesting, rock throwing, arson, mobbing
      2018 Bhima Koregaon violence is located in Maharashtra
      2018 Bhima Koregaon violence
      The 2018 Bhima Koregaon incident refers to violence that broke out following an annual celebratory gathering at Bhima Koregaon to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The gathering consisted largely of Dalits, and interference by upper caste Maratha groups on the Dalit gathering resulted in escalation of an already tense gathering into violence.The aftermath consisted of various protests resulting in one death, 30 policemen being injured as well as over 300 people being detained. A Maharashtra bandh was called by Dalit groups on 3 January 2018.Protests were staged all over Maharashtra. In Mumbai, suburban trains were affected due to which Dabbawalas suspended their services.
      Investigation by the police in the following months resulted in various arrests, such as that of Rona Wilson in June 2018 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In August 2018 five activists, including Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, were picked up in simultaneous raids across the country, the police alleged that the activists had ties to Maoists, apart from links to the Bhima Korgaon incident. On the other hand, the arrests have also received widespread condemnation across India.

      Battle of KoregaonBackground

      The 1818 Battle of Koregaon is of legendary importance for the Dalits. On 1 January 1818, 800 troops of the British Army, with Mahars (leather workers) predominant among them, defeated a numerically superior force of the Peshwa Baji Rao II. A victory pillar (Vijay Sthamb) was erected in Koregaon by the British, commemorating the dead soldiers. In 1927, the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar led the first commemoration ceremony here. Since then, on 1 January every year, Ambedkarite Dalits gather at Bhima Koregaon to celebrate their victory against the upper caste Peshwa regime, whom they see as their oppressors

      Vadhu Budruk trigger

      According to legend, Aurangzeb killed and mutilated Sambhaji in 1689. A Dalit, Govind Mahar, from Vadhu Budruk (a village near Bhima Koregaon) collected the body parts and organised the last rites. The memorial for Sambhaji is said to have been constructed by the Dalit Mahars of that village. Soon after, Govind Mahar’s tomb was constructed in the village after his death. But upper caste Marathas refused to accept the role played by Govind Gaikwad and other Mahars in the last rites of Sambhaji, and were increasingly vocal about in in the days prior to the January violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018. They had specific objection to a sign at the site that acknowledged the contributions of the Mahars.

      January 2018 events

      On 1 January 2018, the 200th anniversary of the battle, the gathering was much larger than usual. Prior to the commemoration, about 250 Dalit and Bahujan groups got together under the banner of "Elgar Parishad"[a] and organised a conference at Shaniwar Wada in Pune, the erstwhile seat of the Peshwas. The speakers included two retired judges and Jignesh Mevani, a newly elected member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. Their agenda was Dalit rights and criticism of Hindutva politics. They dubbed the Hindutva-inspired ruling groups of India as new peshwai (new Peshwas). The meeting ended with an oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution.
      The equating of Hindutva with the Peshwas is said to have irked the Hindu right-wing groups.
      According to the Dalit activists, the right-wing groups interrupted the commemoration at Bhima Koregaon by throwing rocks at the gathering. Riots broke out and two men died.


      • Dalit rights groups staged road blocks and protest demonstrations across Maharashtra
      • In several parts of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Ahmednagar, stone pelting was reported.
      • Due to the violence a Maratha youth, Rahul Phatangale, was killed.
      • A 16-year-old boy, Yogesh Prahlad Jadhav, was killed during the protest, allegedly due to injuries sustained by police caning.


      • 2 January 2018 - An FIR was filed against Manohar 'Sambhaji' Bhide and Milind Ekbote for instigating violence on Dalits.
      • February - The Supreme Court criticised the State government and probe agencies for the slow progress in their probe against Milind Ekbote, questioning the agencies’ claims that he was allegedly ‘untraceable’. Chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis said in the state assembly that the police had raided all hotels and lodges in Pune and Kolhapur in search of Ekbote, conducted combing operations, detained his followers and examined more than 100 call records but failed to locate him.
      • 14 March 2018 - The District Rural Police of Pune arrested Milind Ekbote. The Supreme Court cancelled his interim bail plea after he did not cooperate with the probe agencies, refusing to hand over his mobile phone and despite five summons for interrogation.
      • 22 April 2018 - A nineteen year old Dalit witness, Puja Sakat, whose house was burnt in the violence, was found dead in a well. Her family alleged that she was under intense pressure to withdraw her statement.[25] Her brother, Jaideep, also a witness, had been arrested by Pune Rural Police on charges of attempt to murder.

      The FINS report

      • March 2018 - An RSS-backed think tank called Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS), mainly consisting of retired army officers, released a report on the Bhima Koregaon riots. The report absolved the Hindu leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide from direct involvement. Instead, it blamed the Maoists (ultra left-wing organisations) for instigating the Dalit activists. It also blamed the Maharashtra Police for "apathy" and overlooking evidence.

      Arrest of activists

      • 29 August 2018: the Pune police carried out searches of nine rights activists, and arrested five of them. Those arrested include Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, and activists Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves.


      1. Jump up
        ^ The term "Elgar" means loud invitation or loud declaration, according Justice P. B. Sawant.


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    Origins of the Chamar SurnameHistorically, surnames evolved as a way to sort people into groups - by occupation, place of origin, clan affiliation, patronage, parentage, adoption, and even physical characteristics (like red hair). Many of the modern surnames in the dictionary can be traced back to Britain and Ireland.There are no clear, concise answers to why or how one of your Chamar/Dalit ancestors took on the surname. It may have been based on their occupation or a distinguising physical trait. Keep in mind that it was not unusual for a last name to be altered as an ancestor entered a new country.Many of us still not bold enough to tell our caste to others, whereas most of our known are aware of our castes. I am one among them, many times I keep mum on the issue of castes. there are two reasons behind this , is  people attitude  towards chamar/dalit caste. Also, dalits are changing their surnames, so says a study by a senior official of Gujarat’s Social Welfare Department, highligh…

    Origin of Chamar

    चमारद्वीप यहाँ बहुत से लोग कहते है कि यह पेज जाति पर आधारित है.. सिर्फ चमारों के हित में सोचता है.. तो उन लोगों के लिए छोटी सी जानकारी यहाँ उपलब्ध करवाई जा रही है: सभी मूल निवासियों के इतिहास का अध्ययन करने से पता चलता है कि किसी समय एशिया महाद्वीप को चमारद्वीप कहा जाता था। जो बाद में जम्बारद्वीप के नाम से जाना गया और कालांतर में वही जम्बारद्वीप, जम्बूद्वीप के नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुआ था। चमारद्वीप की सीमाए बहुत विशाल थी। चमारद्वीप की सीमाए अफ्गानिस्तान से श्री लंका तक, ऑस्ट्रेलिया, प्रायदीप और दक्षिण अफ्रीका तक फैली हुई थी। 3200 ईसा पूर्व जब यूरेशियन चमारद्वीप पर आये तो देश का विघटन शुरू हुआ। क्योकि हर कोई अपने आप को युरेशियनों से बचाना चाहता था। जैसे जैसे देश का विघटन हुआ, बहुत से प्रदेश चमारद्वीप से अलग होते गए और चमारद्वीप का नाम बदलता गया। भारत के नामों का इतिहास कोई ज्यादा बड़ा नहीं है परन्तु हर मूल निवासी को इस इतिहास का पता होना बहुत जरुरी है, तो ईसा से 3200 साल पहले एशिया महाद्वीप का नाम चमारद्वीप था, यूरेशियन भारत में आये तो जम्बारद्वीप हो हो गया, 485 ईसवी तक भारत का नाम जम्बूद्वीप …

    dalit in Cricket

    Mohammad Kaif critical of report on lack of SC/ST players in Indian Test cricket historyFormer India cricket Mohammad Kaif slammed a media outlet for querying whether Indian cricket team needs a caste-based quota system.By:Sports Desk| New Delhi |Updated: July 30, 2018 8:32:18 am
    X Mohammad Kaif recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. (Source: Express Archive)

    Unsung hero, Mohammad Kaif never got his due on domestic circuit