mid-day editorial: Preserve vintage Bombay for today's Mumbai

Aug 25, 2017, 06:05 IST | mid-day correspondent

The city's iconic railway station, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), has been a silent witness to countless chapters of history. Little wonder, therefore, that some of the most popular events on our calendars take off from this location. In fact, the annual Mumbai marathon begins and ends at this landmark for the organisers insist that this UNESCO World Heritage Site be showcased to the participants. A recent report, however, has stated that the building's crumbling teak wood, geometrical staircases are being used to dump furniture. For any person who cherishes the city's heritage, this should come across as a sacrilege.

There are four geometrical wooden staircases at four corners of this 19th-century building, and according to the report, all of them are teetering on the verge of collapse. Bamboo poles have been used to support these architectural marvels, which have remained barricaded for years now. Unique in their designs, even the creaks of these staircases narrated tales of a vintage Bombay. Now, it has been learnt that the railway authorities have decided to preserve this history by initiating restoration work.

A few years ago, one of the stunning gargoyles on the façade of the station was damaged when the authorities had undertaken some repair job. The department should now ensure that the restoration of the staircases does not cause any damage to these artefacts.

Let us take more pride in our history, pay more attention to our monuments and preserve them, such that they become repositories of learning for future generations. This resolution applies to all heritage structures in the city. The restoration and renovation plans must be finished in a definite timeline so that the present can celebrate gifts of the past.

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