3rdFortConservationWorkshop 17Jun2007

Forts & Base Villages – ek atoot bandhan
A prime factor that can make a huge difference towards Fort Conservation
• Over 400 forts in Sahyadris with almost 85% in dilapidated state … Its nearly impossible for few trek groups/communities to single-handedly save these from complete destruction within next few years
• Base Villages being closest in the vicinity of the Forts are in the most favorable position to consistently help conserve them in all respects over a long run …

ACTION ITEMS for ALL in next 6 months
“One Group Adopt One Fort” & consistently focus on mobilising the Base Village to help conserve the fort.

  • Refer to exhaustive list of Causes & Solutions identified during the Workshop, to chose the activities applicable for the Fort you select for Adoption.
  • Share the progress/results of your activities on the “Adopted Fort”, on sahya_durg_samvardhan@yahoogroups.com that will help other groups.
  • Also share any issues, hurdles so that they can be collectively resolved by all.
  • Strengthen & leverage the powers of Durg Vikas for resolving any govt. policy related issues or to take any collective decisions.

TOGETHER WE WILL STRIVE
TO SAVE OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE
Subscribe to this yahoogroup on internet to stay updated:
“sahya_durg_samvardhan@yahoogroups.com”

DURG VIKAS – the umbrella body representing various groups for the cause of Fort Conservation

  • Comprises of key representatives from various groups, organisations, independent bodies that strive for the cause of Fort Conservation
  • To track the information/data (history, location, routes, architecture, tradition/culture, flora/fauna, waterways, hydrology, forests, topology,local people, religious significance being collected by various groups on various forts & its surroundings and make it available to anyone seeking it.
  • To strive for maintenance, restoration of the Forts
  • To represent the Fort-lovers community in any Government-involving initiatives for the cause of Fort Conservation and to monitor the Government’s actions closely
  • To be the single common point of contact for the Fort-lovers community for the rest of the world
  • To guide & provide advise to various groups on legal aspects or help resolve any political hurdles

  • Creating a network of various groups to locally carry out fort preservation activities
  • Each base village at each fort to have a clean room with basic amenities like clean toilet, drinking water
  • The room to be maintained by a local person who will charge a nominal fee for his services including the provision of a small priced booklet giving all possible information about the fort
  • A local guide (who would be trained) with atleast basic knowledge of the fort’s history will be available for a reasonable fee
  • Act as a mediator b/w local NGO carrying out actual conservation work & the govt
  • Raise funds for initial pilot models of forts, establishing infrastructure like room, guide-training
  • Pilot survey along with govt. officials & NGOs. Eg. At Prabalgad, Lohagad, Karnala etc
  • 1857/1907 Flag Hoisting Treks to 300+ forts on

Address: 15, Laxmi Bldg, Sai Nivas, Gokhale Road(N), Dadar, Mumbai-28Phone: (022)24459428, email: rmphadke @gmail.com

3rd Durg Samvardhan Kaaryashaala – “Forts & Base Villages”
17th June 2007 @Room F2, Podar College, Dadar(E), Mumbai

Time Activity
9:00am-9:30am Registrations & tea
9:30am-9:45am Background of Workshop, Agenda
Introduction to the programme
9:45am-11:15am Presentations by Groups on Fort Conservation work done in past one year
11:15am-12:30pm Talks by Experts on Fort Conservation topics
12:30pm-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-1:20pm Film on Jaaniv’s village upliftment program at Irshaalwadi
1:20pm-1:35pm Survey – Forts & Base Villages
1:35pm-2:15pm “Why Base Villages are not getting involved in Fort Conservation?”
Causes Identification Activity – Fishbone Analysis
2:15pm-3:15pm Solution Identification Activity
3:15pm-3:30pm Tea break
3:30pm-4:00pm Consolidation of Take-aways, Action Items, Directives
4:00pm-4:15pm Conclusion & vote of thanks

There are over 300 forts in the Sahyadris, almost all in a dilapidated state .. initially destroyed by the many invaders who invaded our country since 800 years & post-independence, being destroyed by our own people who litter, pollute, scribble, encroach, misuse or even steal some remnants of these heritage structures for their selfish gains or completely abandon & neglect them.
How many years will it take for Us (trekkers & fort-lovers) to help restore the lost glory of all these 300+ forts on our own? Will the forts be able to sustain through their current pathetic conditions until then ??
TIME is desperately running out …

Topic: Forts & Base Villages – ek atoot bandhan

Topic Background :

What goes through your mind when you see the remnants of an ancient heritage fort structure being used as a chullah by the local inhabitants?? Why aren’t they aware about the structures importance ?

Have you ever been robbed or assaulted during a trek? Have you ever been cheated of your belongings or money by the local villagers?? Did you ever ponder on why that happened??

How many times have you heard of various tales & folk-lores from the local villagers or guides only to realise someday that they were all a hoax & not real incidents of history?

Have you ever realised that the villagers residing at the base of the forts of Swarajya, who are the very descendants of the Mavalas who gave their lives for Swarajya, have absolutely no knowledge on the glorious history & the lives of their own ancestors ??

These are some of the most unanimous experiences of all the groups that were voiced during the 1st Fort Conservation Workshop (held in Jan’2006) and an ardent desire expressed to address the obvious answer that could resolve all the above dilema:

The potential of the Base Villages that dwell at the foothills of the forts …
The Base Villages are like a strong Army that has been hibernating since many many years, oblivious of their own potential …
If WE can help awaken & mobilize this Army, then nothing can stop them & the Forts from regaining their lost glory within a short time !

Best Regards,
Organising Team
Veerendra Virkar (9869138275) , Deepa Kolwalkar (9869624075) , Prasad Nikte (9820183101)

Minutes of 3rd Fort Conservation Workshop
17th June 2007, Podar College, Mumbai
Subject: FORTS & BASE VILLAGES – ek atoot bandhan

Total Participants: 107
[Please see the ATTACHMENT-1_PARTICIPANT-DIRECTORY in the HIGHLIGHTS ppt for the details of the Participants for the Workshop]
Moderators: Prasad Nikte (Kshitiz)
Rajendra Phadke (Durg Vikas)
9am – Registrations & Tea
SESSION 1 – Part 1: INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
10:00am Workshop commenced with the narration of inspiring words (“ovyaa” in Marathi) on Fort Conservation by Harsh Parchure
10:03am Prasad Nikte : Introduction & Agenda
– Aim & agenda
[Please see the ATTACHMENT-2_AGENDA in the HIGHLIGHTS ppt for the Agenda of the Workshop]

– Experience-sharing amongst various trek groups.
– Forum to share ideas, thoughts and opinions
– Any adhoc thoughts, ideas, suggestions to be put in ‘Vichar Paatra’ (Ideas Box) which will be assessed by the moderator & taken up for discussion if found valuable
– Brief history of Fort Conservation workshop was discussed.
– During 1990s people began work on forts but there was no networking

. Individual groups used to work for this cause without sharing their knowledge or findings with other groups, leading to work getting ignored or neglected.
– Such a workshop gives a platform to share best practices and ideas and take the task of Fort Conservation forward.
– Three years back Durg Vikas was formed for this purpose.
10:05am Shri Rajendra Phadke sir: Durg Vikas Mandal
– Purpose and objectives of Durg Vikas.
– During 2004 Girimitra Sammelan announcement of fomation of Durg Vikas was done by Mr Vinayak Kale
– It was observed that before that many people used to start the conservation work but could not sustain it as there was no coordination or networking amongst various groups.
– During Girimitra, many people showed their desire to participate in these activities.
– Hence Durg Vikas was formed and on 5th Aug 2004 discussion was held.
– Mr Phadke listed down the various point of views put forward by experts in this field like Vibha Amonkar, Harish Kapadia, Appa Parab, Sunil Raj, Harsha Parchure etc.
– Brief synopsis is given below :
Vibha Amonkar
o Identify problems fortwise and maintain documents
o Master plan to be prepared by taking inputs from experts in the field of Archeology, Structural engineering, architectural etc
o Legal consequences and actions are to be monitored.
o Sponsoring agencies should not dominate the scheme.
o Full-fledged, multifacial research team to be developed.
Harish Kapadia
o Need for fund raising.
Appa Parab
o First to evaluate and study why earlier efforts did not give fruit.
o Not to assume that local people are always innocent.
o Religious encroachments are very high.
o There should be a central body or agency to monitor these activity.
o Consistency to be maintained.
o Media should be in our support.
o Number of visitors with faith and respect should increase than trekkers and tourists.
o Organizations from Thane, Dombivali and other districts should also participate.
o Cautiously avoid government wrath.
Shri Phadke stressed that this is not possible by just one group. There is a need for all groups to come together and work collectively. Non-involvement of local people is the biggest hurdle.
SESSION 1 – Part 2: GROUP PRESENTATIONS ON FORT CONSERVATION WORK
Nitin Mundata (Ajinkya Adventure Group, Akola)
– Founded in 1990
– Their work is in and around Akola on forts – Gavilgad(Amaravati), Narnala (part of Melghat forest area), Jilpi Amner.
Shraddha Thisgaokar (Nisargmitra, Panvel)
– They have done many conservation activities with other groups like Durgmitra, Kshitiz etc.
– Their group has worked extensively on Karnala fort – Tank cleaning, Plantation, locating Pradakshina-marg, Vanrai Bandhare , Plantation on the pinnacle etc.
– On 12th May ’07 they had taken up activity of forgotten tank lying behind the pinnacle.
The photographs and experience were shared.
Mangesh Koyande (Girimtra Pratishtan, Vikhroli)
– They have conducted activities on difficult terrain forts like Chanderi, Dhak
– On Chanderi –
o Tank cleaning, flattering of cave ground to make it suitable for staying, fitting net to prevent rocks from falling in the tank etc
o Conducted medical camp at the base village, Chinchavali.
– On Dhak –
o Tank is usually spoiled during fair conducted on the fort.
o Undertook pre-monsoon cleaning of the tank.
– On Gopalgad-
o Efforts to stop encroachment in the fort.
o Villager has planted 318 mango trees in the fort premises.
o Media help was taken.
o Fort was opened up for general public.
o Encouraged local people to act as guides for tourists visiting the fort.
o Government is not helping.
o On 15th August 2006 flag-hoisting was done on Gopalgad.
o Not much response from other groups inspite of informing them to attend the flag-hoisting.
o Only if more number of people join hands freeing Gopalgad can be achieved.
Kaustubh Upadhyay (Org Jungle Lore)
– Conservation activities on Lohagad and Visapur
– The clean area around the fort by hiring help from base villages.
– Medicines and pamplets are distributed in the base village.
– Photographs were sold in an exhibition and funds are used in conservation activities.
– Suggested to target schools and colleges for further support.
Sahyadri Adventure club
– Naneghat – One of the villagers was brought to Mumbai for treatment.
– Mahuli – Medicines were provided
– Tank cleaning activities at Naneghat, Clothes and toys were distributed to village children.
Jayant Dophe – Individual
– Korigad – While working with Amby Valley group, plantation was undertaken. Steps were renovated.
– Sajjangad – Trees were removed from ramparts during rappling training.
– Declared an award of Rs 5001/- to the group which does best work in the area of Fort Conservation. Nominees were invited and request was made to Durg Vikas to help in this cause.
– He announced that next year this workshop can be arranged on a fort and he will sponsor the food for all participants.
Shridatta Raut (Kille Vasai Mohim)
– Every Sunday tours are conducted over the 110 acres of Vasaifort.
– Information is given to the visitors.
– Chimaji Appa Memorial, Hanuman temple and seven churches in the fort premises were conserved without affecting the original structure.
– So far group of 5 working with Shridatta have taken about 2000-2500 people around the fort.
– There has been no help from local people.
– He has taken efforts to procure and maintain original documents validating the real and true history of the fort.
– Stressed upon difference between Rennovation and Conservation.
– Celebrates all the festivals on the fort.
– 200-300 idols and remains which were strewn across the fort area were collected at one place.
– 525 feet underground tunnel was cleaned by them.
– 105 wells in the fort area cleaned. 80-85 wells are completely closed. They found some artfacts in the wells
– 47 programms conducted on the fort during past one year.
– Exhibition held on Vasai fort.
Prasad Nikte : Summarisation
– Shridatta Raut’s conservation work involves perfect documentation and a very systematic work.
– Consistency has been maintained. They have done almost 130 visits on the fort.
– Efforts to bring actual history in front of people. Religious and social encroachment.
– One more example has been set by him that even when the construction is belonging to different faith efforts should be taken to preserve them as well.
– They have even published a book.
– Durg Vikas should form a repository for such documentary evidence.
Virendra Virkar (TCS Maitree Adventure Club)
– Eco Drive on Harishchandragad
– Explained how the planning was done for the drive.
– Work was divided into four categories – Garbage Collection, Grafitti cleaning, Tank cleaning, Placing placards.
– Area on the fort was divided into 6 parts.
– Groups were divided and work was conducted to give good results in shortest time.
– Disposable waste was burnt, Glass bottles were buried and plastic waste was brought back to Mumbai for disposal.
– Followup activity was undertaken where fort was re-visited to assess further damages.
Prasad Nikte : Summarisation
– Key message given during TCS presentation was that more can be achieved by detail planning and organizing.
– Use of modern management techniques will ensure better results.
Ameya Joshi (Kshitiz)
– Sudhagad Project
– Kshitiz was founded in 2001.
– Before starting actual conservation work on Sudhagad, two years were spent in survey and detail planning.
– Survey was divided into four areas – Conservation, Exploration (route mapping, survey, map making etc), Related topics (Plantation, botanical survey) and Soci

al.
– Support from Jayant Paliwala College, Nisargmitra and Girimitra.
– Mahadarwaja project started in Feb 2005.
– Started by spending 7 days continuously on the fort and taking help from local villagers.
– 90% work has been accomplished in 4 years.
– Removal of trees from the fort walls.
– Remove soil , wall cleaning, plantation
– Meetings are held every 2 months, group treks are planned.
– Labour help was taken from villagers after paying then due charge.
– Katkari bai who stays on the fort was given incentive of Rs 5/- for every tree that lives. This helped the cause positively.
– Website is used to give information about various forts, maps and locations.
– Future plan is to remove boulders, trees growing on ramparts.
Keshav Ugade (Vainateya, Nashik)
– .Founded in 1985
– Take children from Nasik Education Society on forts.
– Garbage cleaning at Tryambakeshwar by 300-350 children.
– Children are taken on Harishchandragad for cleanliness drive.
– 8-10 days 500 children and 100 teachers stayed on Harishchandragad and entire area was cleaned.
– Food and other arrangements were made with the help of villagers.
– Maintained good rapport with Pachnai villagers and with their help this drive was undertaken.
– Next target is Ramshej gad
Prasad Nikte : Summarisation
– Target children which will give long-term benefit and awareness.
– Interaction between various group helps – Vainateya undertook cleaning activities on Harishchandragad in Nov 06 , however when TCS group revisited the fort after Mahashivratri in March 06 they too found equal amount of garbage.
– Such festivals which are carried out on various forts need to be identified.
Anand Kenjale (Explorers Pune)
– Plastic collection, plantation were done on Parvati, Pune
– Temple construction at Rohida, Raireshwar
12:15pm-12:25pm : TEA BREAK
SESSION 1 – Part 3: TALKS BY EXPERT INVITEES
12:25pm Shri Vinayak Kale (Durg Vikas)
– Government does not give much support for conservation activities.
– ASI considers it as a crime even if an idol is picked up and kept in the right place.
– Flag hoisting on 150 forts to mark 150th anniversary for 1857. – Program was explained in brief.
– This program will draw government’s attention to various forts.
Shri Raju Wani (Durg Mitra)
– In 2009, there should be participation by group from Maharashtra at BMM Convention convened in USA/Canada every two years.
– This group can help in funding of various projects.
– It will ensure international coverage and audience.
– Target to have representation during Kala Ghoda Festival (Next is in January 2008).
Prasad on behalf of Prof Puranik, Principal, Pali College
– Almost all the colleges have NSS group. Their help should be taken for such conservation projects. Collegians are charged manpower which can be effectively used.
– NSS can also provide equipments, books, funds etc.
– College also gets benefited in return by getting national acclaimation.
Makarand Kulkarni (Jaaniv)
– 35 years back work at Irshaalwadi began.
– But still further work needs to be done within Adivasi Pada.
– Older generation has done the basic groundwork, new groups should build on that.
– Latest technologies, development in farming sector need to be brought to these remote places.
– A thought process needs to be developed within villagers so that they will willingly preserve the sanctity of the place.
Shri Vishwanath Yadav kaka (Special Invitee, Founder President, Nature Lovers, immense experience with rural areas, books on flora & fauna of forests in Sahyadris, archery coach)
– As per Vaastushastra – if old articles of old house are used to construct new house then this house does not prosper – such information can be used to discourage villagers from using old fort structures in their houses.
– Create a manual giving information about conservation, cleaning etc. Identify one or two key groups in one fort area. Other groups can join this team whenever they wish to take up the activity on this fort.
– Awards to be distributed to villagers who have helped the cause.
– During plantation, care to be taken not to plant rain trees, Acacea, Nilgiri etc. as they pull water and reduces the water bed. Trees like Jamun, Banyan, Peepal are to be planted.
– Also proper rituals are to be followed if huge trees like banyan, peepal are to be relocated.
– Yadav kaka’s book explains techniques that can help locate water. For eg. Using an aluminium clothes hanger, or the branch of a tree. The science depends on how much distance and in which direction of a tree can one dig to get water. Such knowledge can be used while searching for water source in villages.
1:20pm Screening of Jaaniv video
This is a very touching video prepared by group ‘Jaaniv’ in memory of Shri Ovalekar guruji. It shows details of the work done by the group at Irshaalwadi which is the base village of Irshaal.
1:40pm – 2:10pm : LUNCH BREAK
SESSION 2 – FORTS & BASE VILLAGES
2:10pm Prasad Nikte: Agenda for 2nd session
– Survey via the questionnaire
– Fish Bone Analysis explanation by Umesh Thakur (TCS)
– Actual fish bone analysis to be conducted by Deepa Kolwalkar (TCS). (Determine the causes for the lack of the involvement of the villagers of the base villages in the Fort Conservation activity).
– Analysis & results of the survey.
– Analysis (brain storming) for the solutions of the causes found for the major bone in the previous activity.
– General suggestions/information shared by everyone for the improvement in the fort conservation activity.
– Announcement for the next fort conservation workshop & conclusion
2:15pm SURVEY on FORTS & BASE VILLAGES
On passing the survey questionnaire, Prasad Nikte (Kshitiz) explained each question and the options provided in the survey.
2:30pm Shri Umesh Thakur (TCS) : Concept of Fish Bone Analysis
– It’s a management technique to find out the root cause of the problem.
– Need to categorize the cause into the well defined 12 categories. But for the topic of why the people of the base villages are not involved in the fort conservation activity, the following categories are applicable.
o Manpower/People
o Method
o Process
o Machine
o Outlined the 80-20 principle.
– Practical evidences show that 80% of the problems are due to 20% of the reasons.
2:45pm FISHBONE ANALYSIS : To determine CAUSES of
WHY BASE VILLAGES DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN FORT CONSERVATION?
Deepa explained how today’s topic had emerged and why it requires a thorough analysis and brainstorming.
– The 1st fort conservation workshop was a general discussion and the 2nd major cause of concern was the lack of involvement of the villagers in the conservation activity.
– 2nd fort conservation discussed on the ASI aspect regarding the fort conservation.

With facilitation by Prasad and Suhas Joshi, people presented their points under the following well-defined categories.
– Place/Surrounding
– People / Manpower
– Government Policies
– Mother Nature
– Machine/Equipment

[Please see the ATTACHMENT-4_CAUSES & SOLUTIONS in the HIGHLIGHTS ppt for the details of the Fishbone Analysis done during the Workshop]

3:25pm Datasheets, Participants Directory handout
Prasad requested people to fill the data sheets with their feedback.
The Participant directory handout that was distributed to everyone at Registration counter, contained details about the participants, the work done by each group & the contact numbers, addresses, email ids. The list would help people to have the information of the assembled people at one glance.
3:25pm SURVEY RESULTS PRESENTATION – TCS team
Vijayan Radhakrishnan & Thilakraj presented the response and the opinions for the survey conducted.

[Please
see the ATTACHMENT-3_SURVEY-RESULTS in the HIGHLIGHTS ppt for the details of the SURVEY conducted at the Workshop]

Conclusion: We can get help from the local base villagers. With the support from the locals and such enthusiastic trekkers, we will surely be able to conserve the forts.

3:55pm SOLUTION FINDING EXERCISE for Major Causes identified during Fishbone Analysis
– Time to brainstorm again to generate the solutions for the causes identified.
– People / Manpower posed as the main problem/concern.
– Only heartfelt solutions were requested. Analysis for the feasibility of solution will be discussed later.

[Please see the ATTACHMENT-4_CAUSES & SOLUTIONS in the HIGHLIGHTS ppt for the details of the Solution Finding Exercise done during the Workshop]

5:15pm Deriving Action Items
After the fruitful discussion on the solution, it was stressed that the trekker community should use the above findings for their work.
Feedback from the Durg Vikas Group (Presented by Mr. Phadke)
– Take the conservation process to a higher level. Create the strength to command respect from the trekker community and villagers.
– Ensure that the government takes feedback from the Durg Vikas group before implementing their plans.
– Need to maintain database regarding the forts and villages.
– Need to maintain database about the members involved in the conservation work
– Need to maintain the database about the conservation work carried out by various group to avoid redundancy.
– Documentation about all the facts about places should improve and will help in connecting with each other.
– Web-site will be created by Durg Vikas
– Create a dedicated team to interact with the government.
– Prepare the Do’s and Don’ts for the trekker community.

Tips
– Currently there are
Protected forts: 15 centrally protected
40-50 state protected
Unprotected forts.
– Target the unprotected forts for the work of conservation.
– Removing of any monument/article/object from the fort area is a crime.
– Take an official permission from ASI before carrying out any conservation related work.
– 18th August will witness the flag-hoisting program in memory of the 1857 and 1907 movements.
– This programme will target to hoist the 1st flag of Barat on all the forts of Maharashtra.

Suggestion / Information from the assembled communities

– Start a bi-annual magazine featuring the fort conservation work carried out by the various groups within the period.
– Every group should adopt a fort and work for it.
– Circulate the information on “How we can achieve the conservation goal on an individual and group basis”
– On performing the tank cleaning activity, release Gappi fish in the water. They will help in keeping the water clean.
– Best practices should be maintained.
– There should be a media partner to take note on all the activities and create awareness.
– Aim is not to keep continuing conducting the Fort Conservation Workshops every year. So there should be a quantitative analysis of the workshop to deduce the usefulness.
– State Gazetteer has recently republished the information about the forts.
Get it from:
Darshanika Vibhag, 27 Maharashtra Government,
Opp Mumbai University
Bajorji Marg, Fort,
Mumbai

– Group created on the Yahoo Groups. Anyone interested in the work of fort conservation can register on
sahya_durg_samvardhan@yahoogroups.com

– Next Fort Conservation Workshop will be conducted in the month of Oct by the Kille Vasai Mohim.
5:30pm Vote of Thanks – Suhas Joshi
5:40pm Workshop Concluded with Shiv-gajar in honour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

========================================================================

Namaskar .. this is just to share with you this wonderful experience of an experiment we tried last week towards our strive for the cause of Fort Conservation.

During the 3rd Fort Conservation Workshop held in June’07, few of the major findings of the problem “Why base villages do NOT get involved in Fort Conservation?” were:
1) ignorance about the historical/geographical significance of the fort
2) no monetary benefit being derived from the fort, that could help support their basic needs for survival

The Fishbone Analysis exercise done during the workshop, had identified many solutions to mitigate these major findings (refer to the Workshop Report that was sent after the workshop for details):
– educate the villagers on history of the fort then take them as guides for treks organised with more people which can help them earn some money
– buy food from local villagers during treks instead of carrying it from city
– equip the young minds at the base villages with sufficient information thru various aids (audio-visual, talks, books, handouts, banners) & inculcate in them a sense of respect & belonging towards the Fort

We, TCS Trek Club decided to take the first step towards implementing these action items as an experiment & recieved an overwhelming response.

On 20th October (last Saturday), the team organised a 3-hour Educational/Awareness Audio-Visual show in Marathi, that depicted the Historical/Geographical awareness of the Fort, for about 75 young minds from the Kokanwadi school (& 25 odd village adults) at the base of Vishramgad (Patta). The content of the programme was as follows:

1) concise collection of selected clippings from various films/documentaries on the historical events & inspiring moments from the life of Shivaji Maharaj that the village children could relate to and thus attempt to arouse in them a fascination for the fort (Patta) of Shivaji Maharaj which stood in their backyard since ages.

2) after every 30min of telecast, we had an synchronisation session in which the students were deftly being fed with inspiring thoughts in a language that they could understand .. keeping them alert with a prompt flow of questions that enhanced their knowledge and sowed the seeds for constructive thoughts that would play an important role in the conservation of their heritage in the long run .. many hands would quickly raise up to try to give the correct answer in return for a prize (a mere Natraj pencil or a sharpner/eraser) & few encouraging words …

3) the film clippings included events of Shivaji Maharaj’s childhood, the moulding of a benevolent character by his pious/brave mother Jijabai, the influence that the agony of the poor, tormented people had on young Shivaji & kindled in him the flame of patriotism that led to the oath of Swarajya at the mere age of 16, capture of first fort Torna in Swarajya, the respect for women/elderly, the famous heroic incidents of “Defeat of Afzalkhan at Pratapgad”, “Bajiprabhu’s brave feat at Pavankhind”, “Shivaji Maharaj’s daring attack on Shaistakhan”, “Daring escape from Agra” & finally the Coronation Ceremony of the great patriotic warrior king & the founder of Swarajya, Shivaji Maharaj which left the audience (of all ages) stunned in reverence for the great soul .. it seemed to have had a touching impact on the young minds & adults alike.

4) This inspiring effect was leveraged to bring the village children to realise what the Fort Vishramgad (which they had been taking for granted until then) would’ve meant in establishing Swarajya and protecting the neighbouring areas from the enemies in those times. Their little faces brightened & they chattered in excitement as the revelation dawned upon them that their hero Shivaji Maharaj himself had stayed for few months in their very own fort. They promised to remember this whenever they visited the fort next and not to litter or dirty the remnants atop the fort and to keep a check on anyone who tries to harm the fort & its environment.

5) the film-show, the inspiring th

oughts that they were being fed with & those little prizes would’ve given them a new perspective of looking at their same old Vishramgad, atleast for a few months. And just to prolong this effect further, we also presented the school with a Story book “Maharaj” by Babasaheb Purandare containing attractive illustrations & concise facts on the life of the great patriotic warrior-king, so that the teachers could narrate the stories during free periods. During our subsequent treks to Vishramgad, we plan to conduct short-quick quiz sessions followed by small prizes to keep the flame of patriotism & national pride glowing ..

Hopefully the session would’ve not only enlightened the young students, but also the elders from the village who are primarily responsible for the negligence of the fort and instilled in them some respect for the fort Vishramgad that they had been ignorantly taking for granted …

The Educational/Awareness Audio-Visual session to create awareness received an overwhelming response from the young children, much beyond our expectations and the team is all set to easily repeat this activity during our usual treks to various other forts.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sahya_durg_samvardhan/message/97

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