Thursday, 15 May 2008

Vasai trek

Now this is almost a month after the fling with the vasai fort trek that I am jotting the thoughts to words, after several other attempts to do so. With myriad of thoughts that ran haywire in my brain cells then, these are the few ones I could capture..

A short History:
“This fort (in the area of 110 acres) was built by Bahadurshah, Sultan of Gujarat [A.D 1526 to 1537]. Two years after its construction, it passed in the hands of the Portuguese, with whom it remained for nearly 2 centuries, during which period the place was developed into a fine prosperous city with fine buildings like cathedral, convent, church, asylum etc. in A.D 1739 Chimaji Appa the brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I after storming the Sam Sabastio’s Bassien captured the city. In A.D 1802 under the treaty Bassien the Marathas handed the city to the British who 16 years after incorporated it in the Bombay province” - (Department of Archeology)

My thoughts:
1) The fort as seen in few of the photos posted here is in a badly shattered state. So whatever the state of the fort was some century back today it lies in a forlorn and sad state. The grandeur of the fort is now lost in the wilderness of the wild trees and vegetation grown all over the fort. Had it been preserved and looked after over the centuries as when it was built and ruled from, it would not have seen this fate.
So the point to take is that if no proper care is given to a living or even to that matter a non living thing, it would face a shattered and forlorn fate.

2) It took years and a great effort to build a fort but to destroy it didn’t take much time.

3) If the people who built it knew the fate of the fort its lying in right now, would they ve built it with the same vigour?

4) Bahadur shah, the king who built the fort and Chimaji Appa who won the fort back from the Portuguese were important figures of their times but today after centuries no one knows of them apart from the history books and the historians. No one will remember us until we did something substantial to be written down in the sands of time and history or would any one remember after centuries? And then how far would it be important to try to be number one? How far would it be important to be the richest? How important would it be to be the strongest? What is the most important thing in this life then? Was that victory by Chimaji ever worth that struggle??
What I guess I could think of it as, it’s important to lead a meaningful life such that people around take and draw inspiration. Centuries down the line we may be remembered may not be remembered depending on the work we did and on popularity charts as voted by public then but what was important was to live life full of reason, vision and mission such that one leads a blissful life. (Though writing this is easier then leading such a life)

5) We were escorted throughout the trek by a volunteer group of people called Vasai Kille Mohim. They have been active in preservation of this fort since last 5 yrs. All the 5 members of the group are in different professions but almost every Sunday they take different groups like ours to the fort to share the history of this fort and do whatever they can to preserve this fort. In the fort there is a secret tunnel of some 513 meters in length. In the entrance its 6 foot in height but after few meter it just is 2.5-3 foot in height because the tunnel gets filled with mud during monsoons. It was fun and a great experience to crawl through the tunnel all because this troop works incessantly to take the mud off that tunnel, shovel by shovel to make it manageable to cross by crawling.

Every drop counts. Every effort counts. The group didn’t wait for the government to do something but rather took an initiative to try and improve the condition of the fort by whatever means they could, study the history of the fort, clean the tunnel, follow up with archeology and government officials etc.
If every citizen could get sensitized to that level and take up a cause they are concerned of, I guess there would be hardly any problems left to sort in this world.
More pictures on this here.


CM-Chap said...

WOW.... Good pics & lot of info...

I have a fascination towards the forts... There is one near my hometown.... which has got secret tunnel between another fort n the next city.

Answerg ur question.. I dnt thnk anyone would construct if they knw its gonna face a dismay future...

chinmai said...

@chap: thanks for ur views..history shares a lot.. its fascinating to see that during those yesteryears also they had mastered in technology that its difficult to replicate even today .. for eg. sound mechanics at divan e khas and aam in palaces and forts etc..

Kanan said...

Chinmai, nice write up and beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I don't think people think about it that way when they build it. They do it for the love of art they have inside them. We see a lot of ancient places not being maintained and at the same time some ridiculous ones being spent so much money on, it's unbelievable!

The work of those five people is commendable, very inspiring.

I think life is too short to know and learn about all the good that's happened before us and that's happening around us.

I seriously wish govt got involved in preserving the natural and historical treasures we have in India. But until then, like you said, every drop counts. As we say in Gujarati, jaagya tyaar thi savaar....

Thanks for sharing.

chinmai said...

@kanan: thanks buddy ..

Rushabh said...

hi chin,

it is indeed a though provoking blog!

chinmai said...

@thanks rush..

Mumbai Hiker said...

Nice blog and history of the fort! keep it up!!