Mumbai: The controversy over the decision of using forts for commercial use refuses to die down. Though the state govt claims they would not touch the forts related to Maratha history, the fate of Sajjangad, Ajinkyatara, Janjira, Palgad, Panhaledurga forts related to Shivaji Maharaj hangs fire. As the forts are onthe unprotected list, the government can develop the monuments as commercial hub.
Ajinkyatara Fort, Janjira Fort, Panhalegurga Fort and Palgad Fort are directly associated with the Maratha hostory and they are on the unprotected list.
The state govt has made it clear it is not doing anything to the forts associated to the Maratha and Shivaji Maharaj history. “There are over 300 forts in Class 2 category, which are unprotected. The government will develop them,” was the defence given by state tourism secretary Vinita Vaid Singhal.
But the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation on its website published the list of unprotected forts. It includes 100 forts. The question is which are 200 more forts the government mentioned? Are these from the protected list?
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj made Raigad the capital of the Maratha kingdom, and built a chain of forts to strengthen it. It included Mangad, Panhaledurga, Songad, Chambhargad and Lingana were among others.
Panhaledurga is quite small, and was mainly used to keep a watch on enemies reaching Raigad. Mangad, Panhaledurga, Songad, Chambhargad and Lingana are the unprotected forts.
Even in the unprotected list, a few forts are important. Sajjangad in Satara is associated with Samartha Ramdas Swami, a saint during the Chhtrapati Maharaj era.
There are thousands of people who worship Ramdas Swami as their Guru, and the place has religious importance. How can the state develop the fort as a commercial spot? What will be the reactions of devotees? These are the questions being curiously raised.
Ajinkyatara was the fourth capital of Marathas, the first one being Rajgad, followed by Raigad and then the fort of Jinji. Shilahar King Bhoj-II constructed it in 1190.
During the expansion of Swarajya, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ruled over this fort from July 27, 1673. Shivaji Maharaj had stayed in this fort for two months due to ill health.
Malanggad is built on a hill, around 16 kms south of Kalyan. Hindus and Muslim come here to pray Malang Baba, a religious saint.
Sena opposes, Ambedkar attacks
While Minister Diwakar Raote said it wasn’t the Cabinet decision, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar has targetted the state govt on the issue, launching his mass outreach programme.
Minister Raote told FPJ no such decision was taken by the state cabinet in the September 3 meeting. He hinted any such move will be opposed by Shiv Sena and its ministers. Ambedkar appealed to common men to teach BJP a lesson. —Pramod Chunchuwar