What an irony! His democratic descendants, 400 years later, have downgraded his stature to a sheer statue made of some material that will certainly be nowhere close to the quality of his construction. His robust and well architected forts make it evident even today. The Maratha King constructed and won back many forts impregnable forts and sea forts to strengthen his navy in order to fight the invaders – Moghuls, Dutch and Portuguese. Lamentably, most of the forts are in dilapidated condition. Our current day rulers are not paying any attention to reinforce them but have instead come out with a proposal to construct and install his statue at the cost of 3500 million rupees, that too in crowded Mumbai’s Nariman Point.
The king who cared for his farmers more than anything had strictly ordered his soldiers that not a single complaint of their (farmers) agricultural land being trampled will be tolerated. And look at the sense of his political posterities especially when thousands of farmers are committing suicides and shot dead in his own land.
The caretaker minister of Mumbai, Mr. Jayant Patil was the first man to propose this statue. I think his understanding about Mumbai is gimpy. The memorial must be in South Mumbai, the rulers proposed and the opposition agreed as well without any tussle.
After a long stretch of time, railways have shown astuteness or more so sympathy to Mumbaikars by increasing the local services, which has worked to commuters’ satisfaction. However, the rulers of Maharashtra have undone the good deeds of the railways. Since the men in power want the statue in South Mumbai (Nariman Point), they will indirectly be thrusting additional flow of tourist thus cramming the local train compartments, thereby nullifying the benefits of additional railway services.
Facilitated are those fortunate representatives of people who would hopefully get inspiration and govern sitting at furlong distance, with likelihood of creating farsightedness!
The story of the statue in a nutshell goes like this:
The memorial was supposed to be built on the lines of the Statue of Liberty in the US and Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari. The proposed 309-foot-tall statue, planned to be located off Marine Drive in the Arabian Sea had faced opposition from the Navy. It was also pointed out that the project will violate the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms. The state government then began searching for another location near the Gateway of India. Patil, who is the current Mumbai City District Guardian Minister also visited Worli Sea Face and Mahim Fort, in order to look for a different location for the statue.
Further, the Chief Minister comments like this: Chhatrapati Shivaji’s statue will come up only in the Arabian Sea putting an end to the controversy sparked off by his deputy CM.
On the eve of the budget session, deputy CM had told the media that an alternative site was finalized, as CRZ norms would not allow a statue in the sea. CM told the state legislative council that state government would obtain all the necessary clearances from the Centre within a year and over the next five years it would strive to complete the project.
And why this insistence? For the sake of developing tourism. Shivaji might have laughed through the valleys and mountains spread through the state except in Mumbai.Tourism Potential and Apathy
Maharashtra doesn’t have any plans or policy on tourism. Sweating locations don’t attract tourists. But robust ones do. And they are ample in Maharashtra more than enough to attract brave and patriotic tourists from any part of the world. However, the politicians here are bent more in creating and maintaining skyscrapers than forts and mountains.
The fact is that tourism was never the forte of Maharashtra and perhaps never would be in future unless the insular set up of the concerned is totally altercated.
So if not Mumbai, what’s the second option?
On the Sindhudurg coast there are many such places where everyone including Shivaji would like to ride on a bronze horse with his ultimate grace as a warrior.
Vijaydurg fort known as the Eastern Gibraltar due to its invulnerability is the best choice.
It’s an inspiring place where Shivaji himself had hoisted the saffron flag of victory after winning the Vijaydurg fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1653.
According to the news float, neither the ruling party nor the opposition wants this to happen. Why? The reasons best known to them.
The reasons are overweening from the point of view of architectural and naval achievement.
We luxuriate on Rommel’s glory as the great desert warrior. However, we have forgotten that Shivaji was the best Admiral ever the world has produced. Rommel’s countrymen have strived to immortalize his magnificence. Sadly, our countrymen are least concerned about such acts. Why Vijaydurg…..? Vijaydurg fort is an architectural marvel that was built with strategic foresight by the revered king who hundreds of years ago exhibited a rock-solid example of what and how an infrastructure should be thus slapping a tight smack on the rulers of today who talk of robust infrastructure with their shaky tongue. Consider this (source- wikipedia):
According to unconfirmed reports, there is a 200m long, undersea/underland tunnel from the fort to the palatial Dhulap house in the village. Supposedly, the roof of the tunnel has been pinched to protect it from landslides and it is also well ventilated. Now the tunnel is partially blocked. If the presence of the tunnel can be confirmed, and the tunnel cleared, it could serve as a tourist attraction of historical and architectural interest.
Recent oceanographic evidence supports the existence of an undersea wall, constructed out at sea at a depth of 8–10 m depth undersea. Made of laterite, the wall is estimated to be 122 mtrs long, 3 mtrs high & 7 mtrs broad. Attacking ships often met a watery grave after colliding against this wall.
1.5 km from the fort up the Waghotan Creek, exists the remains of a naval dock carved from rock. This is where Maratha warships were built and repaired. The ships built here were of the 400-500 tonnage capacity. This 109*70 mt dock faces the north side and is an achievement of Maratha naval architecture.
No doubt, Shivaji Maharaj is rightly called the Father of Indian Navy. So instead of fighting over petty issues against the Navy and Environment department, our rulers should visit the fort and decide for themselves whether any other place can be more suitable for the unique admiral king. The urban-rich-hypocrite south Mumbai relishing on calcium carbide ripened mangoes and fishery from cold storage can never satiate the socio-cultural charm of Vijaydurg and it’s delicious mangoes on fresh fish straight from the sea.