Mission Jhunj: 23-year old MIT student spearheads cleanliness at historical sites
A 23-year-old mechanical engineering student Malhar Pandey has made it a mission to keep old historic sites clean and bring them back to their old glory.
Pandey, a history aficionado is a third-year student at MIT ADT university. He along with a group of friends have begun “Jhunj Mohim” under which they will undertake the mission to clean historical sites in and around Pune.
“I am deeply interested in history, politics, and other aspects related to social sciences more than my technical studies. I love to write about our history, especially Maratha history, and wish to propagate it around the world,” said Pandey who is deeply influenced by the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekananda, and Veer Savarkar.
“Mohim” means campaign in Marathi. Jhunj is an organisation that was started by my friends and myself when we were exploring historical sites in Pune. All of us are extremely enthusiastic about our history. We found that the condition of our historical sites is really poor, and we thought it is our duty to conserve these sites so that millions of Indians will come to know about our grand and glorious history,” said Pandey.
Pandey along with his friends, Saurabh Jagtap, Sushrut Kinge, and Ruturaj Kale began these cleanliness drives.
“The first mohim that we undertook was cleaning of Sati Ramabai Peshwa Samadhi in Theur, on January 26, 2020. At that time, nearly 20 people joined us. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we were not able to undertake any such mohim in the year 2020. With a reduction in Covid-19 cases, we have decided to undertake this mission of cleaning and restoring the samadhi of
Nanasaheb Peshwa. We wrote a letter to Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol and he gave the permissions and readily offered the team of PMC to help us in this cause,” he added.
The samadhi of Nanasaheb Peshwe had a special appeal for Pandey.
“Nanasaheb Peshwa, a leader and Peshwa of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj always regarded Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as his role model. Under his leadership, the Marathas unfurled the saffron flag on the fort of Atak (presently in Pakistan). He is also the one who build many temples in and around Pune, seeing the disfigured samadhi of Nanasaheb Peshwa, we felt really bad and as torchbearers of this glorious history and citizens of Pune we took it upon ourselves to clean and restore it.”
People from all age groups have joined the mission whose main goal is not just conservation of historical sites but in general to conserve the glorious history of ancestors.
“Social media and specifically Twitter has played a massive role in promoting our organization,” he added.
Now every Sunday, he and his friends go on cycle ride to unknown places around Pune, looking at part of history that is in despair and shortlisting their next cleanliness and restoration missions.