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IN THIS BUSY CHAWL OF MUMBAI THE FREEDOM STRUGGLE OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE SPEAKS – A SPECIAL REPORT

sahntaram-1Shantaram Chawl, situated amongst the crowded areas of Mumbai reminds us of the forgotten Indian history. The Shantaram Chawl is a very significant part of Indian struggle as Bal Gangadhar Tilak used to shout slogans and hold public meetings from this very Chawl. It was around the year 1900 when India began its fight against the atrocities of the Britishers and began its struggle for Independence. Barrister Jinnah, Motilal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Bipin Chandra Pal were trying very hard to unite the divided Indians during those days. And in this fight for freedom Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s contribution stands on par with that of Mahatma Gandhi’s. Although public meetings used to be held in various part of the city, the place where national leaders from all over the country use to come and hold their public meeting, where the most significant decisions and ideas were traversed was the Shantaram Chawl near Girgaon. All the public meetings, before independence, were held in this place. It is also believed that the slogan for independence was first shouted in this place. The family of, 75 year old Mohan Deolkar, has been staying in the chawl since 120 years. He said that during those times this chawl was considered as the heart of Mumbai. He said that Barrister Jinnah, Motilal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Bipin Chandra Pal used to come to this place. Not only this, in 1916, it was this place where Bal Gangadhar Tilak first raised his voice for Home Rule Movement. In the year 1917, when Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and other senior leaders in this chawl did his facilitation. However with the passage of time in the year 1930’s, builder’s constructed apartments in this open field bringing an end to the public meetings. Most of the buildings now belong to the famous Pickle Company owner Bedekar and Sons. Just near the Shantaram Chawl, is the Keshav Rao Naik Chawl, wherefrom the Ganpati Festival came into being. But, Mohan Deolkar says that actually the festival started from Shantaram Chawl but since there are no papers to prove it so we take the name of Keshav Rao Naik Chawl. Anyways, the fact remains that Shantaram Chawl, in itself remains a remarkable monument that reminds us of the pre independence period. With cameraperson Ravi Nikam, Arcahana Shukla for NMTV News.

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