February 2, 2023 1:40 am

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Teaching History Like It’s Meant To Be: Maharashtrache Diwali Kille

As a kid, we all loved playing in the mud, but building a mud fort (Killa) during Diwali festive season has to be the favorite activity of every kid born and brought up in Maharashtra.

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Indian history has been glorified in such ways that invaders often look like real warriors, and the real heroes are usually kept on the back foot by these selective historians. However, there’s a 300-year-old Maharashtrian tradition that excites kids about India’s glorious past and engages them in outdoor activities.

As a kid, we all loved playing in the mud, but building a mud fort (Killa) during Diwali festive season has to be the favourite activity of every kid born and brought up in Maharashtra. As the festival of lights approaches, besides cleaning houses, kids in Maharashtra gather to build a fort signifying the glory of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

300 years of glorifying Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

For anyone who has stayed in Maharashtra, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wasn’t just a king but a divine incarnation. In the glory of the Maratha warrior king, kids build a ‘mud fort’ (killa) during the festive season of Diwali. Different types of miniature kille are built in different localities in Maharashtra, from urban to rural areas. 

Initiation of this fort building starts about a week before Diwali, which lasts through Tulsi Vivah, which comes 15 days after the festival. The year-old tradition is an attempt to keep the fire alive, Shivba ignited within us. In this modern world, many parents don’t seem to have much time to revisit their childhood along with their children by making such mud forts. However, many grandparents rekindle with their grandkids in this process while remembering the glorious days.

The Nights of Shiv Garjana

शिवगर्जना, which means the roar of a Hindu lion often hailed as Veer Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Different types of Shiv stuti, street plays, and competitions are organized in other parts of the state. The existence of the competition gives the participants a boost to make their forts even more intricate. Every fort tells a story of valour and sacrifice, not just by Maharaj but by his malvas too. The inspiration of Maa Bhavani and Maa Jijau reflects in these kille’s giving a strong feminine protective nature.

Forts like Rajgad, Sinhagad, Panhalagad, Lohagad, and Vishalgad are some of the forts that are replicated in competitions. Shiv Garjana, glory to King Shivaji flames in every heart as the state recalls his glorious history.

Re-telling The Historic History 

To many people, it may be bizarre of remembering a king at a festival like Diwali. In awe of his almighty Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya, Diwali is celebrated in India by lighting Diyas and crackers. However, India faced numerous invasions in the past and still faces cultural invasions. 

We must remember the warriors who fought for the ‘Purn Swarajya’ in their times. Often the real history gets distorted due to some selective historians with tainted pens, however, such fort-making competitions come as a blessing as kids enjoy making them while learning a lot about the glorious warriors. 

Many people conduct kille-making workshops to teach kids how to build an intricate fort. It also employs the craftsman who craves mud dolls of malvas, cannons, Shivaji Maharaj, and Maa Jijau. 

Political Fort Making!

Day after Diwali 2022, the official handle of Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray shared a video of ‘kille’ making at Thackeray’s official residence Matoshree. Where the young face of Yuva Sena, Aditya Thackeray, recreated a miniature fort of Rajgad, indicating that no matter what Matoshree would be the Rajgad of Shiv Sainiks. 

While people trolled Thackeray for being untouched in the making of the fort and claimed that it was just a photo op. 

राजे गेले, आता गढ ही जाणार ?

Taking pride in our glorious history can be taken as a testimony of patriotism. Though, is this enough? Once evidence of his strength, the forts of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj are now merely a picnic or party spot. The place where the journey of ‘Purn Swarjya’ began, has now turned into a rotting haunted house. Who is to blame?

Many of us, including the Shiv Bhakt politicians, have limited the glory of Maharaj into a photo op and vote-garnering tactic. A scheme for conserving five forts was floated during the Maha Vikas Agadi government, but it went down the hill just like the government. Regardless of who is in power, preserving the national heritage sites has been on hold for years. Shouldn’t the praise for Maharaj be displayed by preserving what he fought for?

Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji! 

Simran sharma
Simran sharma

Left handed, Right Minded, Aspiring Journalist!

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