Save Forts : Pitiable state oprized heritage of Hindus

Bharat, especially the State of Maharashtra has a rich history of several forts. These forts are not only gifted with nature’s beauty but every fort has its own unique history of bravery and sacrifices. Forts are pride of this country and they should have been well preserved. It is our duty to pass on this invaluable historical legacy to our future generations. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra have been reduced to a pitiable state today. The attempts of encroachments over Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s heritage reveal the brazen tactics adopted by the Islamists of late. 21st-century invaders have now claimed a direct stake in the prized heritage of Hindus itself. It is a message to the Hindus that invasions and conquests would continue as Islamists buckle down on usurping Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts. Below cases are mere eyeopeners to how determined encroachments are being made to claim unjust stakes in heritage.

HJS’s efforts for protecting forts

Encroachments over Forts

Fanatics encroach on Durgadi fort in Kalyan (Thane district), where the Hindavi Swarajya navy originated !

Half of the Durgadi fort on which Chhatrapati Shivaji laid the foundation stone of the Hindavi Swarajya naval forces has now become a religious center for fanatics. The illegally constructed ‘idgah’ on this fort has been given 24 hours police protection and Hindus have been permanently barred from entering this area. In the name of maintaining ‘religious harmony’, this type of action has been taken by the all-party authorities for the last several years. The voice of the Hindus who have raised concern against the illegal ‘idgah’ on the fort have been silenced by providing police protection to the illegal activities. 

Illegal Dargah is being built on Lohgad (Pune) due to negligence of Police and Archeology department !

Lohgad is a ‘protected monument’ where religious activities are banned. Considering the ongoing encroachment by religious fanatics on many forts in Maharashtra, alert Hindus are trying to stop the invasion by making regular complaints to the police and archeology department about the unauthorized construction taking place on the forts. Hindu activists had observed that the Dargah was also being constructed illegally at Lohgad, and that an unofficial celebration of Urus (a procession to put new chadar/blankets on the grave of Muslim saints) was being organized on the fort. On 17th January, 5 members of the trust laid a chadar (blanket) on the illegal Dargah in the presence of local police.

Illegal colonisation of Mahim fort by religious fanatics

The Mahim fort, recognized as the oldest fort in Mumbai, is under threat. The fort is under the jurisdiction of the State Archaeological Department, in name only! In fact, fanatics have encroached and captured the entire fort. While the government has announced that forts will be conserved and maintained, the religious fanatics have been busy colonising the Mahim fort.

Syed Jalal Shah Dargah on the entrance of Shivdi Fort being illegally expanded

The Shivdi fort in Mumbai, has been around since the 1500s (prior to the arrival of the British to India). Dargah Sharif Hazrat Syed Jalal Shah, this Dargah and its associated structures have been built on about 1 acre of land at the entrance of this fort. Recently, construction has taken place here over the years; but this is being ignored by the archeology department. Shivdi fort comes under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Department of the Government of Maharashtra.

Unauthorised tombs built on Kolaba Fort

Fanatics has built an unauthorised place of worship on Kolaba Fort, the erstwhile centre of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Naval fleet. An unofficial shrine (Mazar) has come up in this Fort and has been painted white.

Islamic encroachments at more than 64 places in Vishalgad, ancient temples on the fort in ruins

For 350 years Vishalgad has stood unwaveringly, facing sunlight, wind, rain and human attacks. However, this invaluable treasure of the Chhatrapati is in a bad condition today, due to the unforgivable negligence of the Archaeological Department and the District administration. The fort has been heavily encroached upon at more than 64 places. The ancient temples in the fort are in ruins, with idols defaced. The samadhis of the heroes Bajiprabhu Deshpande and Fulajiprabhu Deshpande, whose bravery fuels this land, lay in extreme neglect. The samadhi of Ahilyabai Bhosale, daughter-in-law of Shivaji Maharaj, has also been neglected.

Shrikshetra Malanggad land transferred to Waqf Board

Shri Malanggad has the Samadhis of seven of the Navanathas, as well as the Samadhi of the Nathpanthi sadhu Malangbaba. At present, the entire place of Samadhi of Shri Malang Baba has been seized by fanatics. The name of ‘Shrikshetra Malanggad’ has been popularized as ‘Haji Malang’ by erecting a Dargah named after ‘Haji Abdurrahman Malang Shahbaba’ on the Samadhi of ‘Shri Malangbaba’. In 2004, when the Congress-NCP alliance was in power in Maharashtra, during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the government declared that the land of Shrikshetra Malanggad belonged to the Waqf Board. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Dinesh Deshmukh filed a petition in the court against this. The court issued a stay on the decision to hand over the land to the Waqf Board. For the past few years, Fanatics are trying to grab Malanggad by increasing their encroachment on fort.