Pen, India

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Pen
city
Pen is located in Maharashtra
Pen
Pen
Location in Maharashtra, India
Coordinates: 18°45′N 73°05′E / 18.75°N 73.08°E / 18.75; 73.08Coordinates: 18°45′N 73°05′E / 18.75°N 73.08°E / 18.75; 73.08
Country  India
State Maharashtra
District Raigad
Elevation 18 m (59 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 30,201
Languages
 • Official Marathi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 402107
Telephone code 02143
Vehicle registration MH 06
Website www.echavdi.com

Pen is a town and taluka in Raigad district of Indian state of Maharashtra. It is famous for world class Ganesh idols.[1] It is geographical and cultural center of Raigad district.

History[edit]

Name of Pen is derived from the term "Pene", which means 'A place to rest'. Although no one is certain about the origin of Pen,[2] historians think it probably dates back to the times of Buddha.[3]

Due to its vantage location, Pen developed as a port city (present day Antora port was commonly referred as "Pen Port"), with trade links as far as Egypt.[4] It had a very prosperous marketplace where exchange of goods to and from deccan took place.

The Kolaba District Gazettee gives Pen's history as follows

In historical times Pen was under rule of the Silaharas of Shri Sthanak (Thana) from 9th to the 12th Century and subsequently it passed under the control of the Yadavas. When Shayastakhan was sent against Sivaji, a detachment of the Moghal army had been kept at Pen but it was subsequently routed by him. Parvatibai, the wife of Sadasivrav Bhau, the hero of Panipat,. In 1819 the easy communication with Bombay and with the Deccan by the Bor pass made Pen an important centre. Its chief prosperity lay in its salt beds. There was a considerable export of rice to Bombay. A number of carved stones about the town appear to belong to an unusually large temple of about the thirteenth or fourteenth century.[5]

During the period of shilahar kings, many temples of goddesses were built, including Jagdumba of Vashi. In the period of Chalukyas, grand temples of shiva, like rameshwar(रामेश्वर), pataneshwar(पाटणेश्वर), goteshwar(गोटेश्वर) and vyaghreshwar(व्याघ्रेश्वर)were constructed [6]

In shivaji era, shayistekhan's raid on deccan led to major fights in Pen Taluka between moghals and marathas. Initially moghal army led by sardar Taherkhan occupied Pen's fort of Mahalmeera and looted surrounding villages, which included desecration of grand temple of goteshwar.[3] Shivaji's army fought back with vengeance. They defeated Kartalabkhan in nearby Umbarkhind and officer Balakhi, near Ratangad. Stronghold of Mahalmeera was also taken back on 27th Feb 1662 and the following day, after a valiant struggle, Pen's Bastion (presently, the site of Tehsil office) was secured by Shivaji's army. In this conquest, Sardar Vaghoji Tupe fought mesmerizing battle against equally skillful moghal officer but at the crucial moment, Tupe dealt a decisive blow which killed the officer and ensured Maratha victory. Vaghoji was also critically injured and died soon afterwards. Shivaji Maharaj himself visited Pen on two occasions, on 6 August 1668 and 11 May 1674.[7]


Geography[edit]

Pen town is located at 18°40'.N, 73°05' E, on the outskirts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region.[8] It gained prominence in ancient times due to vantage location on trade routes to Deccan, proximity to both Mumbai & Pune and its central position in the Raigad District. It lies on the bank of Bhogavati creek about 16 km from its mouth.[5] Pen county has total area of 199.6 sq. miles[9] and area of Pen City is 6.75 sq.miles.[10]

There are total of 171 villages and four administrative divisions in Pen County .[11]

Geographically, Pen County can be divided in two separate areas: Pen East: It is hilly and sparsely populated area. Most of it is covered by jungle, which is very pristine and beautiful.

Pen West: It is mostly flat and densely populated area surrounded by Dharamtar and other small creeks. Much of it is "Kharland" (hub of Salt production), acclaimed from sea by centuries old seawalls.

Pen City is located at the junction: surrounded by hills on one side and flatland on the other side.

Important villages/town in the county are :

  • Vadkhal - Major junction on Mumbai-Goa Highway.
  • Gagode - Birthplace of Bharatratn Vinoba Bhave.
  • Vashi - It is hub of rice and salt production. It has a very famous Jagdumba Mata Devi Mandir, Kuldaivat of 18 villages and a site of huge "Jatra" annually.
  • Varsai- Large village in Pen East
  • Sanksai- It has a very ancient fort and former capital of Pen area.[12]
  • Pabal - Village in a pristine valley
  • Dadar - It has a very peculiar geography, an island village surrounded by creeks from all sides.
  • Mahalmeera - site of an ancient temple of Shiva
  • Dharamtar - Major Port
  • Kharoshi - Village is famous for KELAMBADEVI MANDIR - a famous temple in Navi Mumbai and Raigad
  • Gadab - village where Gandhiji visited during Dandi March
  • Pandapur - Konkan railway has railway station at Kasu near Pandapur.

[13]

  • Jite - village near Panvel Gao high way. near railway station Jite.

Demographics[edit]

Bene Israel synagogue, the Beth-Ha-Elohim

As of 2001 India census, Pen city had a population of 30,203. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Pen has an average literacy rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 76%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age. Agri community dwells in flatlands of Pen West, while maratha community is dominant in Pen east. Hinterlands of Pen South-East are sparsely populated by tribal Katkari and Thakurs.

Traditionally, Pen city was populated by Brahmins and merchant's community as it was center of culture, education and trade. But now, city of Pen has become a beautiful amalgam of diverse castes and religions, co-existing peacefully, side by side. In the olden days, Pen was recognised primarily as a Chitpavan Brahmin dominated village.[14][15] Pen has a small Jewish community, the Bene Israel. The community has a synagogue the Beth-Ha-Elohim.[16] Population of Pen county is 1,76,681 as per 2001 census.[17]

Development and Economy[edit]

Moreshwar Adlabs sideview
Moreshwar adlabs front gate
A clay Ganesha murti, worshipped during Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

People in the Pen city are employed in various sectors such as trade/business, education, banking, industries, services, papad making (women's' co-operatives) and most importantly, idol making!

Most villagers are dependent for livelihood on Paddy farming in monsoon. Various vegetables are also grown as by-products, especially in eastern part of the county.[18]

Industrial belt in western part of the county is causing a major problem of pollution in surrounding rural areas, creating health problems and reducing crop yields. Reliance Industries was promoting a Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone, located around the town. A study conducted by Citizen's Research Collective on SEZ has called the Maha Mumbai Special Eeconomic Zone a Special Exploitation Zone[19] Land owners resisted the purchase of their land for the purpose and following a historic referendum on the issue, SEZ was cancelled.[19] [20][21] Land prices are soaring and economy is growing rapidly but there are some serious concerns about uneven and unjust development.

  • Ganesh Idols Pen is very famous for its Ganesh Idols which are used widely for the "Ganesh Festival". Many of Ganesh Idols in Mumbai are brought from Pen. There are multiple lanes [termed as "Ali"] which consist only of such Idol Making craftsmen. Going through these lanes one can see the whole process of developing Ganesh Idols. Number of Ganesh Idols are now even exported to the Marathi population in US.[22]
  • Papad Business Women in Pen are occupied in the domestic business of preparing pohe (flattened rice)and papad.[23]
  • Salt Production Due to unique geological features of Western part of Pen County (Vashi Subdivision), Pen has been for centuries hub of salt making industry dominated by koli community.[24]

Education[edit]

From historic times, city of Pen was center of education and culture in konkan region. In fact, Lokmanya Tilak used to call it "कोकणचे पुणे"(Pune of Konkan) due to progressive mindset of Penkars and their love of knowledge.[25] There were at least two school of vedas(वेदशाळा) in Datar Ali area of Pen city, one of them in Sahasrabuddhe family. Pundits from all over Maharashtra used to come to Pen to make copies of rare ancient books(पोथी).[26] Sages of Pen were so superior intellectually, that they defeated sages who accompanied shankarachrya of Kashi, in debates on Religious studies during his 1883 visit.[27]

English language instructions came to Pen in the late 19th century in the form of primary English classes started by Christian missionaries. This school moved to Alibag with the shifting of the district headquarters there. The Pen Municipal council started five classes, and subsequently Vinayak Narayan Manohar started the remaining two classes, naming them Pen Candidate Classes.The Jewish community who lived in the Pen village adopted the last name of them as "PenKar" and it is still being continued where ever the decedents of their people even in USA,Canada and Israel they continue with the same last name. Plague caused this school to be closed. This English-Marathi school was later revived in the first decade of the 20th century. Balkrishna Shankar Karandikar started an industrial training school around this time; the Kokan Vidyalaya, which was later closed as a result of his arrest for involvement in Jackson's shooting at Nasik in 1909. On 10 April 1910 the Pen Education society was formed, Pen Private High School was started, in Shankar Khanderao Phanse's bungalow (now the Maternity Hospital), from where it shifted in October 1912, to its present premises at the foot of Peer Dongri.[28] Pen has a grand public library: The Mahatma Gandhi Vachanalay.

Further reading[edit]

  • पेण तालुक्यातील स्वातंत्र संग्रामाचा ईतिहास (लेखक - प. रा. दाते)
  • कर्मयोगी रामभाऊ मंडलिक (लेखक - मा. के. सहस्रबुद्धे)
  • पेण शहराचा इतिहास (Published by Pen Municipal Council)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maharashtra Tourism: The Ganesha Idols of Pen
  2. ^ Gadre, A. S. (July 1943). Important inscriptions from the Baroda State. Vol. I.. Baroda, Gujarat, India: Sri Pratapasimha Maharaj rajyabhidheka granthmala, Baroda. pp. 35, 45. 
  3. ^ a b पेणचा वैभवशाली इतिहास - द. कृ. वैरागी
  4. ^ पेणचे बंदर - पेण शहराचा इतिहास, 2003 edition
  5. ^ a b P., Setu Madhav Rao (July 1964). "Pen". Kolaba District Gazetteer. The Gazetteers department, Kolaba. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  6. ^ पेणचा वैभवशाली इतिहास.
  7. ^ http://www.echavdi.com/itihas/GloriousHistoryOfPen.php
  8. ^ MMRDA
  9. ^ Administrative Divisions - Raigad Gazettier
  10. ^ Places in Raigad
  11. ^ Sub divisions of Raigad district
  12. ^ Sankshi Fort
  13. ^ [1], [2], [3].
  14. ^ Communities of Pen - पेण शहराचा इतिहास
  15. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  16. ^ Israel, Benjamin J. (1984). The Bene Israel of India: some studies. p. 107. ISBN 9780861314553. 
  17. ^ http://raigad.nic.in/htmldocs/demography.htm
  18. ^ Agriculture - Kolaba District Gazetteer Revised Edition 1964
  19. ^ a b "Reliance Maha Mumbai SEZ Study". Citizen's Research Collective on SEZ. 2007-09-15. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  20. ^ Menon, Meena (2007-03-24). "Farmers take to streets against SEZ in Raigad". The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  21. ^ A., Shaban; Sharma R. N. (December 2005). "Social Impact Assessment of Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone" (pdf). Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  22. ^ The Ganesha of Pen
  23. ^ "Districts - Raigad - Economy - Industry" (asp). Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  24. ^ Small and Medium industries- Kolaba Gazettier
  25. ^ Page 11, कर्मयोगी रामभाऊ मंडलिक, Second Edition.
  26. ^ Page 34, पेण शहराचा इतिहास, 2003 edition
  27. ^ पेण तालुक्यातील स्वातंत्र संग्रामाचा ईतिहास (लेखक - प. रा. दाते)
  28. ^ "A brief history.". Pen Education Society's web site. Pen Education Society. 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-30.