On Wednesday, one of the oldest heritage sites of Mumbai, Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Udyan-Rani Bagh completed its 150 years of existence. To celebrate this, the Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden Foundation (SRBBG), National Society of the Friends of the Trees (NSFT) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) launched Rani Bagh, a coffee table book.
"We desperately wanted to mark the 150 years of Rani Bagh as it has surpassed all destructive hurdles on its way," said Hutokshi Rustomfram, trustee, SRBBG foundation, a group that has been trying to preserve the heritage nature of the park.
“The book is living documentation of Rani Bagh. It is done with the sense to preserve history and showcase it’s importance,” said Pheroza Godrej, president, NSFT.
The garden plays host to over 3,000 tress and 800 plant species. City civic authorities in 2007 proposed a plan to renovate the zoo as per international standards.
The plan also listed some fine dining eatery, an artificial Indian Ocean and skywalk. The plan, according to activists, would have damaged Rani Bagh’s botanical richness.
“We activists are often taken as obstructions for some development projects, we are not obstructions but responsible citizens who see the development rationally,” said Godrej.
Activists are still in talks with civic authorities for the preservation of Rani Bagh. “This is certainly not the end as it depends on what kind of plan the authorities draw for this heritage,” said Rustomfram.