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HomeFact CheckPhoto Of ‘1818 Bhima-Koregaon Battle Soldier’ Is Actually Of Zulu Prince

Photo Of ‘1818 Bhima-Koregaon Battle Soldier’ Is Actually Of Zulu Prince

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

A photo has gone viral on social media recently, purportedly showing a soldier who fought the 1818 Bhima-Koregaon battle against the “tyrannical Peshwa Brahmin soldiers”. The caption of the image, when translated from Hindi, read, “A photo of a Mahar soldier who showed his courage in the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, obtained from the diary of Davy Jones, advisor to the then East India Company.”

The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here and here.

What is the Bhima-Koregaon battle?

Bhima-Koregaon, a small village in Pune, Maharashtra, is associated with an important phase of Maratha history when on January 1, 1818, a Dalit-dominated British Army — reportedly comprising 834 infantrymen (about 500 of them from the Mahar community ) and 12 officers — had defeated a 28,000-strong army of Peshwa Bajirao II in Koregaon. The battle attained a legendary status for Dalits, who consider the win as a victory of the Mahars against the injustices perpetrated by the Peshwas.

Fact check

Newschecker first ran a reverse image search of the viral photo, which led us to this stock image from Alamy. According to the description, the photo is of Prince Ndabuko kaMpande (younger brother of King Cetshwayo kaMpande, who was the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1873 to 1879 and its leader during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879). The Anglo-Zulu War was a decisive six-month war in 1879 in Southern Africa, resulting in British victory over the Zulus.

Viral photo claimed to be of a Mahar soldier who fought in the 1818 Bhima-Koregaon battle was found to be of a South African prince.
Picture courtesy: Wikimedia

We found this photo in Wikimedia, where there is a disclaimer stating, “The photograph purportedly showing King Cetshwayo kaMpande, is actually his younger brother Prince Ndabuko kaMpande dating from the mid-1880’s.”

We then ran a search for “Mahar soldiers Koregaon battle”, which led us to photos across The Print, Alamy and a Facebook page dedicated to the Mahar regiment. According to The Print, “The Mahar regiment has had a circuitous journey — from serving the British during the Anglo-Maratha wars to its distinguished service post-Independence.” The earliest photos are of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar with the Mahar regiment on his birthday in 1950, confirming that the viral photo is not of a Mahar soldier. They can be seen here, here and here.

Viral photo claimed to be of a Mahar soldier who fought in the 1818 Bhima-Koregaon battle was found to be of a South African prince.

Conclusion

Viral photo claimed to be of a Mahar soldier who fought in the 1818 Bhima-Koregaon battle was found to be of a South African prince.

Result: False


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Kushel HM
Kushel HM
Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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