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Those Memorable Moments

 By Aleem Faizee


As the country is gearing itself up to celebrate the Independence Day yet another time, Nashik Times brings glimpses of the few forgotten pages of the history for its readers.




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It is August 15, 1947 and 12:00 AM dot in Malegaon. Like the Red Fort in New Delhi, the historic fifteenth century fort in Malegaon is also abuzz with unprecedented activities. The streets which are normally deserted by this time are crowded by the joyous people heading towards the fort. Many of them Hindus and Muslims together assembled at Tilak Road and then came here in a procession led by the heir of Raja Naroshankar. Waiting most of them sit inside the fort while some others are walking here and there with the glittering faces. And with their ears on All India Radio they are anxiously waiting for the Prime Minister Pandit Nehru to hoist the National flag over the Red Fort.



This is how people recall the first Independence Day that was celebrated sixty-one years before in Malegaon. “The Malegaonians’ celebration was more profound because of the efforts taken by them for the freedom struggle of the country,” observes Ramzan Painter, the man who has accumulated over hundred year’s records of the town. The historic fort itself is witness to the sacrifices made by its natives, he says and adds, “Malgoan cha Killa, Khandesh chi killi, it was the proverbial belief during those time. And hence when the British started their campaign in 1818 to capture all the forts located in Khandesh, their first target was to capture the fort in Malegaon.”


The British forces led by Colonel McDowell thought they would seize the fort easily as there was hardly any force. However it was never so and it is really worth knowing how a mere three hundred soldiers bravely fought for a month against the 3000 plus British troops before the fort finally fell to the British on June 13, 1818.


The British captured the fort but they could never the heart of the Malegaonians. They resisted and their resistance invited the leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Maulana Azad and Hakeem Ajmal Khan to make visits to the town. Their struggle finally reached its peak in April 1921 and on 25, April 1921 in fact they succeeded in forming an Indian Government in the town.


“Words fail to describe how this small town contributed to the freedom struggle of the country”, says Dr. Yusuf Ansari, a lecturer in a local college. “People from Malegaon even went on to fight the battle against Portages in Goa. They paid heavy price for their fight against the imperial forces.” He stops for a moment and then asks. “But what they received in return? Forget other things. They couldn’t get even their martyrs’ name written on their monument.” (Nashik Times)








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