A modern visitor's view of Victoria Terminus (now renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
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The Victoria Terminus has now been officially renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus. In recent years there has been a spate of such renaming in Mumbai/Bombay--
India New York, Nov. 24, 2000
Prince of Wales museum to be named after Shivaji
By Shiv Kumar
MUMBAI -- In yet another renaming exercise, the Maharashtra government has decided to name the historic Prince of Wales Museum in south Mumbai after the famous Maratha warrior Chattrapati Shivaji.
A bill to amend the Prince of Wales Museum Rules of 1909 will be introduced in the Maharashtra Assembly during the winter session later this month, according to state government officials. The Prince of Wales Museum is the third major institution in Mumbai to be renamed after Shivaji in recent times. The famed Victoria Terminus railway station and the Sahar International Airport were both renamed after Shivaji five years ago.
The museum was originally a military hospital. It was designed by George Wikket, the architect who conceived the Gateway of India at Apollo Bunder in south Mumbai. Both the structures were constructed to honor King George V and Queen Mary of England during their visit to India in 1911. The construction of the hospital was completed in 1914 and the building functioned as a hospital until 1922, after which it became a museum.
Like the Gateway of India and the General Post Office building nearby, the museum is considered to be a classic example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, a hybrid between the Indo-Islamic and British styles of architecture. The museum is famous for its vast collection of Chinese jade pieces, Victorian oil paintings and weaponry of the Mughal era.
The state government, in a statement, noted that the decision to rename the museum was taken by the Congress Party government in 1993. The renaming, however, was not carried out all these years.
The decision to rename the museum has drawn protests from some conservationists. "Just because you change the name does not mean that the structure will be better maintained now," D.M. Sukhtankar, chairman of the city's heritage committee, said. Another conservationist, Sharada Dwivedi, felt the renaming was illegal. "The museum is managed by a trust and the government has no right to suggest a change in name," she said.
Incidentally, name changes have not really caught on in this city. Mumbai itself continues to be referred to as Bombay in common parlance. Several important landmarks in the city like Netaji Subhas Marg (Marine Drive) and Jijamata Udyan (Victoria Gardens) continue to be referred to by their old names.
Occasionally, public memories go even beyond the British names. Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly called the Victoria Terminus, is often called Boribunder, the original name when the first railway line in the country was laid from here to Thane in the mid-19th century.
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