No history sheet on 100-year-old police stations in Mumbai
Although labelled as heritage structures, there is no historical data on six British-era police stations in the citymumbai Updated: Jul 10, 2018 16:00 IST
Formerly known as Paltan road police station, the Mata Ramabai Ambedkar (MRA) Marg police station is undergoing a facelift as part of its centenary celebrations. However, apart from ‘1918’ inscribed at the entrance of the police station and a board with a heritage tag, there are no records at the police station that tells its history.
“There is no juna manus (old man) here who would know about the history of this police station. All we know that it is turning 100 this year, which is why we are renovating the structure,” said an officer from the police station.
Records with historians state that MRA police station was formerly known as Paltan road police station because the marine battalion used to stay in the barracks that were built around the station. The commanding officer of this marine battalion was British and Indians who would work under him. Eventually, the name was changed to Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Marg police station, after BR Ambedkar’s wife.
“Earlier, there was an Old Bazaar Gate police station, which would double up as police quarters and office, and housed two police stations for Fort (North) and Fort (South). After it split, it became Esplanade police station in Fort (South) and Paltan road in Fort (North). Esplanade was later called Azad Maidan police station,” said Deepak Rao, police historian.
Officers from deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Zone 1, under whose jurisdiction MRA Marg police station falls, were unavailable for comments. Senior officers from DCP’s office Zone 2, under whose jurisdiction Dadasaheb Bhadkamkar (DB) Marg police station falls, which celebrated its 100th year around 15 days back, also said they have no historical records of DB Marg police station.
“Some police stations that were constructed 100 years back don’t really have a heritage tag. However, we are trying to maintain them. We maintain the criminal records of the station, however, historical data are difficult to maintain,” said a senior officer from DCP Zone 2.
Currently, DB Marg police station, which was earlier called Lamington Road, after Lord Lamington, the Crown Governor of then Bombay from 1903-1907, has a stone erection that commemorates the celebration held on June 20, 2018.On the occasion of DM Marg police station’s 100-year celebrations, a senior officer from DB Marg, said, “In 1964, the street was renamed from Lamington Road to Dr Dadasaheb Bhadkamkar Road, after a famous social worker in the area. Therefore, the name of the police station was also changed.”
However, though there is no documented evidence giving out the history of the structure, the neo-classical architectural style of the police station stands as a testimony to the days gone by.
“It was a trendy style of the early 20th century, and various other structures in Agripada and Bombay Central are also built in a similar style. The strong masonry work that has gone into the construction reflects the technology and materials available in those days,” said Vikas Dilawari, conservationist architect.
First Published: Jul 10, 2018 16:00 IST