Neglected pieces of history | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Neglected pieces of history

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which looks after most of the statues of prominent national leaders scattered around Mumbai, has no records of the history of those sculptures. Aarefa Johari reports.

mumbai Updated: Jan 03, 2011 01:54 IST
Aarefa Johari

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which looks after most of the statues of prominent national leaders scattered around Mumbai, has no records of the history of those sculptures.

"Our job is to get the statues washed every 15 days and garland them on the birth and death anniversaries of the leaders concerned, but we don't keep information about who built the statues and when," said Anjani Kubade, horticulture assistant in the maintenance department of south Mumbai's A-ward, which houses 19 statues of prominent personalities.

The civic body's annual budget for maintaining these statutes including those of Dadabhai Naoroji statue at Fountain and the Ambedkar statue at Oval Maidan is Rs 1 lakh.

The BMC's heritage committee also claimed they did not have any historical information about the statues. "What's the point of garlanding them once a year when they are covered with bird droppings most of the time?"she said.

"We need to have a separate civic department to look after statues," said historian Sharada Dwivedi.

Once a monument is declared as 'protected', private participation is also ruled out.

"Our trust has the funds to renovate the Baradevi temple, but because it is a protected heritage structure, we are not getting permissions to do so," said Yogesh Mhatre, a priest in charge of the Seven-headed Shiva (Baradevi) statue on the Parel temple and a member of the Chandika Sansthan temple trust.

Mhatre, whose family has been conducting pujas at the temple for four generations, washes the statue's feet and lights a lamp everyday.

"We would have liked to keep the temple door open for the tourists as well as the devotees but it is risky because parts of the ceiling have indeed collapsed over a period of years," he said.

Stylistically the sculpture is very similar to the statues in the Elephanta caves, and according to historians, Parel was in fact a workshop for the sculptors of Elephanta.