Brings a Govt Resolution about restoration after Tilak’s efforts
Mumbai: Replying to claims by Indrajit Sawant and Jitendra Awhad on the recent controversy about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s memorial at Raigad, Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal claimed that Lokmanya Tilak initiated the restoration of the memorial.
In 1895, Tilak and his colleagues formed the Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal through which the Shivaji memorial was renovated, the Mandal said in a press release.
British destroyed Raigad after winning it in 1818 and prevented common people from visiting the site. In 1883, James Douglas who was a history lover visited the fort after reading Shivaji’s biography.
“He wrote in his “Book of Bombay” that Shivaji’s memorial was in shambles and criticised the British government. This upset many Marathi people after which Tilak with the help of justice Ranade, Ravbahadur Joshi, justice Telang, and justice Kunte held a meeting in Pune at Hirabaug.
A committee was formed in the meeting for the restoration of the Shivaji memorial. An application was also sent to the British government regarding the same. The government-sanctioned Rs 5 per year,” the release said.
In another meeting held in Pune’s Hirabaug on May 30, 1895, Tilak appealed to raise funds for the memorial. Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal was then formed for the restoration work. Daji Abaji Khare was made the president and Tilak himself was the secretary of the Mandal.
Tilak even appealed through “Kesari” and “Maratha” to donate funds for the restoration work. He started an awareness campaign and planned to celebrate Shivaji’s birth and death anniversaries at the fort. In presence of Tilak, the first birth anniversary was celebrated on April 24 and 25 in 1896.
However, the British government denied the permission for the restoration. Tilak condemned the government and wrote to then-Governor Lord Leamington. Many followers of Shivaji contributed to the restoration work and the fund was sent to Deccan Bank. Sadly, the bank collapsed in 1913 so, Tilak went to court and was sanctioned Rs 33,911 with interest. However, before the funds were released, the liquidation process was started and the money could not be retrieved.
“Tilak started the work again without losing hope and again collected Rs 12,000. However, he died in 1920 but the struggle went on. After 30 years of British government permitted renovation on February 6, 1925. A Government Resolution dated February 6, 1925, signed by Duggan E. M, undersecretary has been attached here,” the release said.
The Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal gave Rs 12,000, the Public Works Department Rs 5,000, Department of Archeology gave Rs 2,043 for the restoration work. The work was completed in 1926 and the memorial which is still in a good shape was restored then.
“It is said that Tilak who struggled for Shivaji Maharaj’s memorial and fought for the independence of India has been defamed on caste biases and denied credit for the memorial,” the Mandal said.