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History echoes through the old walls of Kesari Wada in Narayan Peth.

15. Kesari Wada

* Established in: 1905

* Located at: Narayan Peth

* Daily footfalls: 100

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History echoes through the old walls of Kesari Wada in Narayan Peth. It was in the courtyard of Kesari Wada that freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak began the first public celebration of the Ganesh festival,now popularly known as sarvajanik Ganeshotsav. The public celebration of the festival is said to have gone a long way towards uniting people across class and caste,preparing them for the independence struggle. A small alcove in the courtyard houses a beautiful idol of Lord Ganesha that is now considered one of the city’s manache Ganpati,and thousands of devotees flock there every year during the festival.

Here in the old halls of the wada,Tilak held his residence and office,and would meet other national leaders to discuss strategies to win independence from British rule. And it was from here that he launched his two other best known contributions to soceity and the nation – Kesari and Maratha. Kesari,a Marathi newspaper,and Maratha,an English newspaper were started to keep the nation abreast of what was really happening in the country during the struggle. It was to house the burgeoning production demands of the two publications,especially Kesari,that Tilak moved there from his earlier home at Vinchurkar wada in the city.

The Kesari wada library still keeps old issues of the newspapers for visitors who may want to go through them either for research or simply a taste of history.Apart from the old publications,the library also maintains autobiographies of Tilak,Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and other historical figures,along with other historical works.

The wada houses Kesari’s main office,as well as a collection of rare items pertaining to different aspects of Tilak’s life — domestic,political,social,educational and so on. The Tilak museum gives a glimpse into his life,with such displays,as well as recreations of his personal study and his cell in Mandalay Jail. The monument and community space is maintained and occupied by his surviving generations,of whom his great,great grandson Deepak Tilak is now editor of the Maratha as well.

Neha Basudkar

First published on: 28-10-2013 at 01:06 IST
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