Stung by the apathy of the Archaeological Survey of India and the civic authorities towards the ill-maintained state of the historic Dharavi Fort built by the brave warrior Chimaji Appa during the 17th century at Dongri village in Uttan near Bhayandar, a group of young heritage lovers under the aegis of Yuva Pratishtan have been dutifully visiting the fort to conduct 'shram daan' (voluntary service) for the past four years.
Their dedication has emerged as a ray of hope for the Dharavi Fort and crumbling walls of other heritage structures in the state which are the legacy of great warriors. While the authorities are still to wake up from their slumber, apathy and irresponsible behaviour shown by visitors is also visible in the entire fort area.
However, the passion for conservation of historic forts has prompted these young enthusiasts including Ganesh Baamne, Nikhil Patil, Prashant More, Shreyas Sawant, Mahesh Chavhan, Vishal Agrahi, Rahul Panpatte, Prashant Mhatre, Shubham Doke and Dadaso Patil to launch a cleanliness and revival drive to preserve the lost glory of the historic structure which paints a picture of utter neglect and apathy.
These young fort lovers not only clean graffiti and clear heaps of garbage and liquor bottles, but also try and take things further by making a conscious effort to restore the fort to its former glory.
An able military commander who played an important role in liberating the western coast of India from the Portuguese rule, the crowning glory of Chimaji Appa’s career was that he valiantly captured Vasai Fort in an intensely fought battle in 1739. To secure Vasai Fort from sea invasions and to launch attacks in times of war, Appa built a 'buruj' (watch-tower), kissing the Arabian Sea.