06 May 2007

Gateway Of India II

Gateway of India in many ways is the single most recognisable face of Mumbai. But the interesting fact is that most of Mumbaikars do not actually relate to it. It as far in their minds as Niagara Falls. Recently, while talking to a person in a local train, told me that despite living in Mumbai for over 40 years it was only last week that he had actually seen the Gateway, and did not find it too interesting! Infact the Shivaji statue was more significant for him. Personal preferences apart I guess most of Mumbaikars have "seen" the Gateway as they would perhaps see something abstract. Once there, they are distracted by the boat rides, photowalas, people selling everything from footwear to imitation jewellery. Few even realise that actually the Gateway commemorates the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay! For some it is a colonial relic and is representative of a past which best forgotten. But much of South Mumbai's buildings including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus are that only. However, it must not be forgotten that the architecture of the Gateway is a unique culmination of Indian and European styles, and hence is a living heritage of Indians. What really beats every comment about Gateway is the one which I keep hearing from the varied so called "educated visitors" to the city: They keep confusing it with India Gate !
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