18th century war weapons to be displayed along Thane creek
On Saturday, six cannons were dug up. They will now be placed on a raised wooden platform, built by the TMC near the creek.Updated: May 26, 2019 01:20 IST
In 2016, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) was alerted to the existence of a little-known wonder: fifteen 18th century cannons, buried upside down along the Thane creek at Mith Bunder in Kopri. At the time, two of these cannons were excavated and put on display at the civic body’s Kala Bhavan.
Three years later, the state maritime board, TMC, and local groups have joined hands to excavate and preserve the remaining cannons.
The local groups – Chendani Koliwada Jamat Trust, Durga Sakh Charitable Trust, Durgveer Prasthisthan, Kokan Itihas Parishad and Ratnigiri Gadkot Samiti – are led by Sachin Joshi, researcher and member of the state fort conservation committee.
On Saturday, six cannons were dug up. They will now be placed on a raised wooden platform, built by the TMC near the creek. This is part of the TMC’s plan to develop the Kopri area into a tourist hub. “We have built a raised platform and a wooden crate, where we will hoist the cannons on Sunday. We will put up boards explaining its historical significance and clean the area,” said Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner, TMC.
While residents have welcomed the move, some historians have raised concerns about proper restoration of the artefacts. “It is essential that these cannons are preserved correctly. If kept out in the open, they will get damaged. They should be kept in a museum instead,” said historian Shridatta Raut.
“These cannons have been underground in humid condition for years. A few months of rain will not create any major damage. We will wait for three months, till the monsoon is over, before we begin the preservation and conservation process,” said Joshi.
“The British had filled the mouth of the cannons with stones, sand and limestone, and buried it upside down. We will need to chip these out and then treat it with chemicals to remove the rust, which will be time consuming,” added Joshi.