Remembering a Relic of The British Raj-Sewree Fort at Mumbai

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File:Sewri fort courtyard.jpg

Mumbai  has a fond association with the English. This is the Sewree fort in Mumbai. However though the fort is a protected monument yet the state government has done precious little for its upkeep. As it stands the Sewree fort is favorite for lovers, who kiss and cuddle in seclusion and also a den for people who have nothing to do. The halls of the fort have no roofs and children play a lot of games there. Not exactly a recipe for a protected monument.

 The fort was first built by the British in the 17thcentury. It was built of stone and mortar. The English had built this fort in anticipation of a Mughul attack. Thus the British built the fort at a height of 60meters above the sea level and it was landlocked on 3 sides.  The fort came up in 1680 and was a source of English power in the region. However in 1689 the fort was attacked and captured by one Sardar named Yakub Khan Siddiqui of the Mughul emperor Aurangzeb.  

Yakub Khan continued his victorious drive and captured  the entire stretch all around up to Mazgaon. But after the death of Aurangzeb and the decline of the Mughul Empire the British re established their power. In 1768 it was re captured back by the British and remained with them till the dawn of independence. Yakub khan had badly damaged the fort and the British spent considerable time and money and repaired the fort.

The British then began to use the fort as a prison for their opponents. In fact in 1789 they held  Sardar Mokal of Malabar in this fort. But history records that Sardar Mokal escaped and the English had no clue how he ran away. But they felt the fort to be unsafe as a prison and converted the halls of the fort into a warehouse. After Independence the fort was taken over by the Mumbai Port trust who continued using it as a warehouse. The fort further went into decline. In 1976 there were plans to construct a housing colony here. However a media outcry did the trick and the fort was declared a protected monument and taken over by the government. however it could still do with a face lift.


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