On 31 st December, 2017, some met in Fort Shaniwarwada in Pune to commemorate a historic event from January 1st 1818, a battle in which the Peshwas  (Brahmins) were defeated by the British forces though the loss was huge on both sides. This had been a part of the third Anglo Maratha wars which led to British domination in Maharashtra ultimately. 

The programme had speeches and cultural performances and police presence. The British victory nearly two hundred years ago was seen as a Dalit victory over Peshwas as Dalits had manned the British army against the Brahmin Peshwas. On January 1 st 2018, one Dalit was killed in the violence that ensued over the meet among different groups who clashed over differences of opinion.

IMG_0667Number of activists, some of them allegedly communists as Maoist involvement was suspected, were arrested over the event. What bordered on the ludicrous was that one activist was arrested for possessing incriminating documents like Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The judge is reported to have saidWar and Peace is about war in another country. Why were you keeping these books at your house?” 

TolstoyPersonal diaries of a world-renowned Russian author Leo Tolstoy are now available online for free, marking his 186th anniversary.

Diaries have never been published separately. They were included in the collected works issued in ninety volumes with limited circulation. Therefore, today not everybody has an idea of what Tolstoy’s diaries are. But they are great. It’s a continuous flow of reflections on the world and people. The main topic, however, is God, whom Tolstoy tried to apperceive,” Pavel Basinskiy, member of the award panel of “Yasnaya Polyana” literature award, writer and theorist of literature, told Izvestia newspaper.

What can Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina tell us about wealth and inequality? Or,   about the economics of early 19th-century England and mid-19th-century Russia? Romance and riches? Let us   look at the novels as the mirrors    to two different societies. Two great novels by two great writers from two different countries explain a lot about the economic well being of the people in the period.