One hundred and fifty years of British rule had made the Indian
minds dull and stagnated. The rot of degeneration had set in very
deep. Its seriousness could be well gauged from contemporary events.
Fort Raigad houses the sacred Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,
the founder of Hindavi Swaraj. Mr. James Douglas, an Englishman,
visited Fort Raigad in 1883. He found the Shiv Samadhi lying in
a state of total dilapidation. He wrote in his book 'Book of Bombay'
"No man now cares for
Shivajee over all those wide domains, which once owned him lord
and master, acquired by so much blood and treasure and which he
handed over with care to the Rajas of Kolhapur, the Bhosles of Satara
and their Peshwas in Poona. Not one man now contributes a rupee
to keep or repair the tomb of the founder of the Maratha Empire".
and Western India)
It is indeed creditworthy that alien rulers like the
British noticed the ruin of Fort Raigad. Juxtapose it with the negligent
attitude shown by the heirs and admirers of Shivaji Maharaj back was
humiliating. The writings of Mr. Douglas set many contemporary Englishmen
and Indians thinking. It resulted in a movement to restore the Shiv
Samadhi. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak intensely felt the need to
awaken the Indian psyche and to spur its aspirations for freedom.
Founder: Lokmanya Tilak
|| Lokmanya Tilak
||Shri Raghujiraje Angre
Shri Deepak Tilak
Shri Trimbak Purohit
||Shri Pravin Thite
||Shri Pandurang Balkawade
||Shri Sudheer Thorat,Pune.
Formation of the Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal
Lokmanya Tilak, in 1895, founded the Shri
Shivaji Fund Committee for celebration of 'Shiv Punya Tithi' and for
the reconstruction of the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj. He made a
public appeal to the various princes, wealthy nobilities and ordinary
people for donations. These appeals were made through the powerful
medium of the newspaper 'Kesari'. He did not stop just at that but
also started publicly acknowledging the receipts in Kesari. This
was done in order to establish accountability to the public at large.
The response was overwhelming. It successfully aroused the national
pride and energized the Indian mind.
In 1896, under his personal leadership 'Shiv Punya Tithi' was celebrated
at Fort Raigad. The main objective of this large-scale public celebration
was to pay obeisance to the sacred Samadhi and awaken
the patriotic spirit by eulogizing Shiv Chhatrapati. The name of
Shri Shivaji Fund Committee was later changed to Shri Shivaji Smarak
Raigad Mandal. Ever since 1896, Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal
founded by Lokmanya Tilak have kept up the tradition of celebrating
'Shiv Punya Tithi' at the Fort.
The Mandal Today
Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal, besides celebrating Shiv Punya
Tithi, also undertakes several other useful works. These include
publication of books related to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and
Raigad Fort, maintenance of various structures of historical importance
on the Fort, tree plantation and beautification of the general area,
provision of drinking water facilities, making donations to other
organizations to celebrate Shiv Chhatrapati-related events and last,
but not the least, sponsoring the Raigad Ropeway. Jog Engineering
Limited under the able leadership of its Chairman, (late) Shri.
Vishnu Maheshwar Jog and Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal,
entered into a Build, Operate and Transfer agreement for construction
of the Raigad Ropeway project in November 1994 and completed the
same in March 1996. On 3rd April 1996, it was inaugurated
by Prof. Rajendrasinhji, Sarasanghchalak, R. S. S.