NEW DELHI: Do we care about our heritage? Not really if you see the sorry state of some of our architectural heritage. Loharu Fort, located in the village by the same name in Haryana, around 200 km from Delhi, is a burning example of this official apathy.
Built by Thakur Arjun Singh, this 1570 CE mud fort was converted into a more formidable structure in 1803 by the then ruler Nawab Ahmed Baksh Khan. It remained in the hands of his ancestors till 1971. The then owner Nawab Aminuddin Ahmed Khan sold it to Haryana.
But despite being under the patronage of the state government for close to five decades, the fort remains in dilapidated condition. Loharu is around 10 km from BITS Pilani and 40 km from Rajasthan’s film city, Mandawa.
“Till some years back, the state animal husbandry department had its office here, and the area at least had life. But after the new Secretariat building came up and the offices moved out, no one comes here now,” says Aditya Sangwan, whose 18-minute documentary film on the Loharu Fort is gaining rave reviews.
The film will be screened at the Al Nahj Film Festival in Iraq and Fake Flesh Film Festival in Canada. It has also won many awards, including the Best Documentary Film award at the Lake City Film Festival, Madhya Pradesh.
“Whenever I passed from the area and saw the pathetic state the fort was in, I always thought I need to do something about it. Thus, this documentary,” says Sangwan who has met the Haryana CM thrice on the subject.
Significantly, the Loharu Fort is historically important since Urdu poet Daagh Dehlvi was the son of Nawab Shamsuddin Ahmed Khan, the ruler of Ferozepur Jhirka of which Loharu was a part. Also, Mirza Ghalib’s wife Umrao Begum was the daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh, the brother of the Nawab of Ferozepur Jhirka.
“The government must renovate it for drawing tourist traffic, which will provide employment to the rural youth,” says Sangwan who, along with a team of 25 others, made this documentary.