Thursday, September 18, 2008

अटकच्या शोधात (In search of Atak)


There is an idiom in Marathi – अटकेपार झेंडा रोवणे… literally “Taking the flag beyond Atak”. Figuratively it means one has pushed oneself to achieve the impossible. Atak was the northernmost town in the Maratha Empire when it was at its zenith in the mid 18th Century. The fact that a Hindu power from the Deccan could hold sway at the foothills of Himalayas was unthinkable at the start of that century.


History Book Map

When I read this story in my 7th standard history book, I was fascinated with the idea of finding out where Atak was actually located and how does it look today. So in the pre-internet days, I had little option but to scour through the Oxford School Atlas (India Edition)… carefully looking at the India map. I started in a “systematic manner” by scanning areas north of Delhi… UP… Haryana… Punjab… Himachal… Jammu & Kashmir… but with little luck. Then I spent a few lunch breaks in the school library to see the bigger “imported” map books, if they could help me locate this elusive Atak.


Atak Fort

After a few weeks of frustrating effort, I finally decided to take my dad’s help. He nonchalantly said, “Why don’t you check the Pakistan map?”… What??? How can “our Atak” be in Pakistan? But my dad persisted on his view and I spent the entire Sunday “in Pakistan”… Sadly, I still could not locate “Atak”. Then Dad added “Brits have anglicized the names of a lot of Indian towns… so “your” Atak is now Attock!”
Pune and Atak located on Google Maps
Lo and behold! There it was on the map… just a small dot between Peshawar and Rawalpindi… 70 Kms from the capital of Pakistan! That night I slipped into a peaceful slumber… elated about the fact that the Maratha flag was once flying over what is today Islamabad!


Maratha Flag

3M Trivia - a letter from the Peshwa to Chhatrapati of Satara has a line - काबुल अणि कंधार आपलेच परगणे आहेत... "Kabul and Kandhar are our provinces"!

3 comments:

A_b_h_i_j_e_e_t said...

35''53''31.78N 72''14'07.23 E (attock fort location on google map(google earth)

A_b_h_i_j_e_e_t said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sagar Wadkar said...

Khup chhan

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