There’S a certain ring to calling oneself a resident of Malabar Hill, arguably the city’s most exclusive residential enclave.
But, if the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has its way Malabar Hill could soon be a thing of the past and Ramnagari would be the ‘cool’ new postcode.
However, residents of the tony area aren’t welcoming the change in name with open arms and are questioning the need to change it at all.
Dilip Lande, an MNS corporator from Kurla, has proposed to change the name of Malabar Hill to Ramnagari.
His reasoning behind the name change: that the name Malabar Hill was given by the British, and that Ram is believed to have stayed there on his way to find Sita.
But, several Congress and NCP corporators and other residents have thrown his reasoning out of the window.
They opine that rather than wasting time on renaming such an important part of the city, corporators should allocate their time on more important things.
This is what they had to say:
I am a resident of the area since childhood and I am completely against the renaming of the area. There are many more important issues that need to be
discussed rather than this issue.
Just because the proposed name is related to Lord Ram, there are many parties that will support it but I am not one of them.
-- Anil Singh, local corporator, Malabar Hill
This is a political stunt that the MNS is playing to gain attention. Lande is not a resident, nor a representative of the area. He raising this issue is unacceptable.
I think, he needs to go back to his history books and check facts. It doesn’t make sense to change a name. I could have understood changing it if it was Sassoon Hill or Alexandra Hill
-- Pramod Mandrekar, former Congress corporator
Being the former mayor of the city, I am not in favour of it, specially as the proposal was by a corporator who doesn’t belong to the area. He should have consulted the local corporator of the area.
It’s not a question of supporting or opposing it, but a question of whether it makes people happy or not and if they are not, then the move should not happen.
-- Shubha Raul, former mayor
There is a lot of history attached to both the names, Malabar Hill or Ramnagari and have historic significance and Banganga here and the fact that Lord Ram is to be believed to have stayed here, the proposal cannot be neglected.
But, the public’s opinion is also important. But I would have appreciated if this could have come from a local representative.
-- Shaina NC, fashion designer, BJP leader
I care a dang about the name of the locality. The name doesn’t make a difference. These are just gimmicks that they are doing for media attention.
If the media ignores them, they would stop doing this. What really matters to me is the infrastructure situation here. The infrastructure is worse than what is seen in UP and Bihar.
-- Prakash Dubey, former I-T chief commissioner
I do not support the renaming. What’s wrong with this name? The name has been there for such a long time. It was Malabar Hill when my grandparents settled here in 1925.
I don’t see any reason to change the name. There are so many potholes, and the street lighting is very poor. The BMC should be more bothered about that.
-- Yashwant Dossa, businessman
I do not see the need to change the name. Malabar Hill is not the name of an Englishman. It is the Malabar coast! I think the name should not be changed at all. There are a million things that the BMC can work on.
Disaster management plans, roads, water supply, illegal constructions.
-- Anita Garware, chairperson, Indian Heritage Society
I don’t think that the name should be changed. There is a lot of history attached to it, and this has been the name since forever. Everyone knows the place by the name Malabar Hill.
I feel even if the name was changed officially, people will still call it by the old name. There are so many other issues that the BMC should look into.
-- Anne De Braganca Cunha, freelance journalist
I grew up in Teen Batti. So, naturally, I share a bond with the place. However, if someone derives happiness from changing the name, then so be it.
To me, Ram is everywhere. What’s in a name?
-- Jackie Shroff, actor
They don’t realise that each area and street has its own culture and by renaming it they are taking it all away. They have already altered the city enough. There is no need to do all this.
Flora Fountain is still Flora Fountain, Pedder Road is still Pedder Road. Who calls it by whatever they have renamed it?
-- Dolly Thakore, theatre personality
I think it’s ridiculous to waste crores on killing history and nitpicking over names.
More emphasis should be placed on stepping up our game vis-a-vis infrastructure and urban planning.
-- Nisha Jamwal, interior designer
This is the most absurd thing I’ve heard in a long while. If changing the name of a place is going to benefit the common man, then I’m all for it.
But since it isn’t the case here, why waste time on a frivolous issue.
-- Dilip Vengsarkar, former India cricket captain
I don’t see any good reason to alter the name. There is some deal of attachment to Malabar Hill and this is not a good move.
-- Vasant Raiji, city’s oldest first-class cricketer (93)
Change is inevitable! But I believe if the change is positive, then it’s OK.
-- Shiamak Davar, choreographer
Did you know?
RAJ BHAVAN/GOVERNOR'S HOUSE: The first resident of today’s Raj Bhavan was Governor Evan Nepean (1812-19). This beautiful bungalow facing the Arabian Sea is located on a promontory. It even had a detached ‘sleeping bungalow’ added later by Governor Monstuart Elphinstone. This new Government House was made the official residence of the Governor ever since the residence at Parel was considered too polluted and unfit for the first citizen of the city to live in, in the late 1890s.
NOVEL MENTION: “As for the wonders of Bombay, its famous city hall, its splendid library, its forts and docks, its bazaars, mosques, synagogues, its Armenian churches, and the noble pagoda on Malabar Hill, with its two polygonal towers -- he cared not a straw to see them.”
-- Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, 1873
HIGHEST POINT: The western ridge of the Mumbai peninsula terminates in Malabar Hill (55m, 150 feet above sea level) making it the island city’s highest point.
PLAGUE PLIGHT: The plague (late 1890s) drove the British and the richer Parsis from Byculla and Parel to the newly fashionable address Malabar Hill.
HANGING GARDENS: The Hanging Gardens were built over Malabar Hill and were specifically laid out in 1881 to conceal the city’s water reservoirs. These were later renamed after city founding father Sir Pherozeshah Mehta.
PARSI CONNECT: In 1673, the British rulers gifted the migrant Parsi population with a piece of land on Malabar Hill to build their first Tower of Silence (dakhma) in Mumbai.
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