After Adityanath’s slaughter house ban, women police battalions for UP?

Yogi Adityanath has made BJP’s Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra the state’s Magna Carta

Swearing-in of UP Chief Minister

With Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath handing over the BJP manifesto (Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra) to bureaucrats to be implemented over the next five years, there may be many more surprises in store in the times to come.One of the first things his government did after being sworn in was to declare a ban illegal slaughter houses.

One of the other things in the BJP’s manifesto that was handed over to the state’s top bureaucrats is a proposal to raise women police battalions across the state. These women battalions are to be christened as Jhalkari Bai battalion, Uda Devi battalion and Avanti Bai battalion. All three women soldiers were part of separate rebellions against the British empire in what is called the Great Indian Revolt of 1857.

Hindi poet Srikrishna Sarala describes Jhalkari Devi in Volume 1 of his five-volume series chronicling Indian revolutionaries between 1751 to 1961 as the soldier who fought disguised as Lakshmibai, the queen of Jhansi against the British. Raising these three battalions named after Dalit women soldiers would also signal an acknowledgment to the Dalit community in the state. All three women soldiers were Dalits.

Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives in the Indian Uprising of 1857 edited by Crispin Bates from the University of Edinburg captures the narrative around these Dalit women warriors of the time. The book notes, “In many popular Dalit histories viranganas (women warriors) are reinvented as part of a movement to define Dalit identities. Thus, women like Jhalkari Bai of the Kori caste, Uda Devi a pasi, Avanti Bai a lodhi, Mahabiri Bibi a bhangi and Asha Devi a gurjari, all stated to be involved in the revolt of 1857 have become the symbols of bravery of particular Dalit castes and ultimately of all Dalits.”(read more…)



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