Address at the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Look up Mumbai’ organized by JSW Foundation
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Look up Mumbai’ organized by JSW Foundation in association with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and the Consulate General of Australia in Mumbai at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai at 1710 hrs on Wednesday, 3rd February 2016
Mr Mark Pierce, Consul General of Australia in Mumbai, Mr Tim Heart of the Museum of Victoria, Smt Sangita Jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation, Dr Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Ms Sarah Kenderdine, Curator, ‘Look Up Mumbai’, Mr Jeffrey Shaw, representatives from the State Government of Victoria, Melbourne and the University of New South Wales, Sydney all the creators of ‘Look Up Mumbai’ – a big round of applause for all of them – , all the heritage lovers gathered here, invitees, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening and greetings to you.
I am indeed very happy to associate myself with the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Look up Mumbai’.
Look up Mumbai has been an amazing experience, and makes one feel proud of the city and its beautiful heritage.
Every Mumbai-kar or the resident of Mumbai will identify these places, though chances are that he may not have seen many of them. The exhibition was a revelation to me, and I am sure, it will be a revelation to many people in Mumbai.
As Governor of the State of Maharashtra, I place on record my deep appreciation of all those who created and curated this wonderful experience.
I will particularly congratulate Mr Mark Pierce, the Consul General of Australia in Mumbai and all the creators of the exhibition.
Smt Sangita Jindal of the JSW Foundation is a great patron of art and heritage. She deserves major credit for providing leadership to the initiative. I also convey my deep appreciation to her and also to the host, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, and Director General Dr Mukherjee.
Raj Bhavan has a long association with the Museum and I am sure it will be rejuvenated in the near future.
The Exhibition owes a great deal to the support provided by the Museum Vitoria, the State Government of Victoria, Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, Sydney and the Australian Consulate General in Mumbai. I congratulate the representatives of these organizations present here.
The city of Mumbai is generally referred as the commercial capital of India or the financial capital of India. But this description hides the cultural richness of the city. The architectural heritage of Mumbai is unparalleled.
The city has Buddhist caves dating back to the Maurayn period Before Christ, the Elephanta Caves, the Jogeshwari Caves, the Shiva temples built in the 10th century in the Shilahara period, several Portuguese Churches, Portuguese Forts, the Anglican Churches and Cathedrals, Mosques, Jewish Synagogues, Parsi Agiyaris and many other buildings that are standing there for centuries.
If I am permitted to boast, I would like to inform this gathering that the Governor’s Residence ‘Raj Bhavan’ has two public buildings ‘The Banquet Hall’ and ‘the Darbar Hall’ which are Grade I heritage building standing for more than 100 years. I would ask the curators and photographers of the exhibition to come and photograph the heritage buildings of Raj Bhavan too.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The credit of preserving all heritage buildings in Mumbai has to be given to the people of Mumbai. Thanks to their respect for built heritage, these buildings are surviving for all of us to see and appreciate.
You will be surprised to know that the population of Mumbai was just Ten Thousand in the year 1661. Today it has crossed Ten Million and yet, despite the space crunch, the heritage buildings have survived, – many in their pristine form.
However, many of our heritage buildings need renovation and repairs and there is need to create awareness about the built heritage among the people.
I do feel that every heritage building should have stones / tablets providing information about the history of the place. I am sure this will create pride about the place among the people.
For a large city like Mumbai, we need to create a grand museum that will showcase its past and capture its transformation into a metropolis.
Since coming to Maharashtra, I have opened the gates of Raj Bhavan for the people. We have also taken a decision to provide brief information of each one of the heritage buildings in Raj Bhavan. I am equally keen to create a small museum in Raj Bhavan in the near future. I seek your guidance and support in this endeavour.
‘Look up Mumbai’ is actually ‘Wake up Mumbai’. It is a wake-up call for all heritage lovers to contribute their bit to preserve and protect the heritage of Mumbai. We also need to look beyond Mumbai. There are many places in Maharashtra that need our attention, – the Raigad Fort of Shivaji Maharaj, the Pratap Garh fort near Mahabaleshwar to name just a few.
The Jindals have shown us the way. It would be great if Corporates adopt one heritage site each, and take care of its maintenance and upkeep as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
I appeal to the people of Mumbai to witness the exhibition ‘Look up Mumbai’, take pride in the city and become stakeholders in the heritage conservation movement.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!