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Waghmare’s battle: Koregaon and beyond

The Documentary named ‘The Battle of Koregaon’, dedicated to Rohith Vemula was screened in the second day of the Medicon 2018.

An unending journey of the battle of Koregaonis a 50-minute documentary directed by Somnath Waghamare. The film depicts the annual gathering of Dalits at the historic spot of Bhima Koregaon situated near Pune city. Lakhs of Dalits arrive at Bhima Koregaon on January 1st to honor the martyrs of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, where a 60feet pillar built by British stands tall.

The Somanath’s documentary clearly shows the confidence and spirit of Dalits to fight against the untouchably and demoralization by the society. According to movie, the 500 Mahar soldiers won against the 25000 Peshwa soldiers. This battle is an inspiration to many till now as the soldiers fought for the Dalits dignity. Through the movie, slogans like Jai Bheema, long live Bhima Koregaon are shown.

The film includes the quotes of many talking heads like activists, reporters and the Dalit community people which includes Suvarna Salave, Mridula Chari and others who narrates the story of Bhima Koregaon. The film shows the annual gathering which is like a festival or Mela, where the celebration includes street plays, dance, poetry reading, book exhibitionsand many more activities.

Film doesn’t have any voice over but immensely creates the mood of the celebration by capturing the atmosphere at Bhima Koregaon. The information about the Mahar regiment was given in detail. Dr. BR Ambedkar himself as visited the Bhima Koregaon where he mentions that “We are not always slaves, we belong to a martial race and were a community of warriors”.

After the screening Director Somanth Waghmare interacted with audience and briefly explained the current situation of Bhima Koregaon.

“Newspapers and TV news channels do not show the humungous number who visit Koregaon, the documentary is an attempt to show that and spread a positive feeling about Koregaon. This documentary has mainly been screen in education institutions, FTII was the first place where it was screened” said SomanathWaghmare.

He also added that “The Mahar and the Brahmins are the castes which have the highest education in the state, the Maratha although politically very active are yet uneducated. One of the reasons for the attack at Koregaon is to disturb the positive history which this place holds”.