Kanoji Angre

There is no doubt about the fact that Shivaji was a great hero. Why I am saying was, he was, he is, and always will remain in the hearts of Indians. Some say he was Hindu king but that is not true. He looked upon his people without any discrimination. But the qualities I admire him for are his bravery, fearlessness and presence of mind. Otherwise, who can even imagine that any person who is in clutches of such a mighty emperor as Aurangzeb at Agra could make his escape good from a place which is thousands of miles away from his home. My heart is always full of praise for the man who had the prescience of what the towering and powerful Pathan Afzal Khan had in his mind when Khan invited him and planned to squeeze him to his death while hugging him. These traits do not come by education, they are inborn.

Shivaji was the first Indian King who realized the importance of controlling the sea with systematic navy and ports. He had made many ports like in Panvel, Murud Zanzira. He also constructed a number of forts. Some of the forts are at such places which seem unassailable. Many are located on ridges overlooking the Arabian seashore while many are located on small islands. It is a matter of shame that such monuments which had so much history attached to them are lying in very ruinous state. Government of Maharashtra is planning to install a very huge statue in Mumbai costing crores of rupees. Instead of carrying out such senseless and ill conceived project just only for the sake of false admiration of the great man, it would be wise to restore those crumbling structure which are proud of our nation.

He was having very trusted and brave general and army under his command. One such person was  Tanoji Angre who had a son called Kanoji Angre  also known as Sarkhel Angre, who was the worked under Chief of Satara. He was so much bold that he had one of his bases at Andaman. He relentlessly harassed the British ships of East India Company, who were so  frustrated, that they called him a pirate.

Kanoji Angre was born in Ali Baug town which is located on the seashore and these days a popular beach. It is connected by a ferry to Bhau Cha Dhakka in Mumbai. Most of the workers and stevedores in Bombay docks came to Bombay from Ali Baug by ferry. So being born in the vicinity of sea, Angre must have been very adept in seafaring and fishing activities. It is even surprising to imagine that such a person located in the Western Coast of India had such control over the sea that Andaman in Bay of Bengal was under his away.

Angre’s tomb is situated at the city of Alibag his birthplace. A statue of Angre stands tall in Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. The fort which overlooks the Naval Docks may not be there but the boundary wall is still intact and within it lays the Headquarters of Western Naval Command and is called INS Angre ( Indian Naval Station Angre).

We salute to these brave people who boldly faced the looter from Britain. Only regret is that there were not many of them, otherwise the history would have been different.

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