120-yr-old Lad wadi to make way for school

Trustees of the 1,400 sq m plot - which hosted an emergency hospital for freedom fighters in the 1930s - have refused to sell it; decide to keep its legacy alive by building a world-class academic institution

In the 1930s, the 120-year-old Lad Wadi, located at CP Tank, was home to an emergency hospital that treated freedom fighters, and was frequented by Mahatma Gandhi, who often came to check on his injured comrades.

History lives on: The trustees have promised that marriage ceremonies
will continue to be hosted on the plot after redevelopment, as it is part
of the wadi's heritage. Pic/ Bipipn Kokate

On Friday, trustees of the plot issued advertisements, inviting builders to redevelop the 1,400 square metre plot. But while all the other historical buildings in the vicinity have been razed to the ground to make way for high-rises, the trustees of this site have decided keep its legacy alive by constructing an educational institution on the premises that would offer world-class education to students in the area.

The trustees of the plot are a community of Lads, who are Gujarat-based baniyas. It currently houses 11 tenants -- all members of the same community - along with five shops and halls. According to Deepak Kapadia, chairperson of the Lad Wadi Redevelopment Committee, it was a unanimous decision to redevelop the structure. "The wadi is 120 years old, and the structures inside it is nearly 80-90 years old. We have been spending large amounts on renovation every year. So we all mutually agreed to redevelop the structure. We do not want to give it over to another party, and have decided against selling it. We will only be developing it, and no extra apartments will be constructed. We are planning to build an educational institute, and another building for the existing tenants and shops," said Kapadia.

A Gandhi, another committee member who has conceived the planned school, said, "All the members of our community have been thinking about what to do in the plot, as we didn't want it to lose its essence. When I suggested that we should construct a school and offer a noble service to society, everyone was in favour of it. We refuse to sell the land. We will retain it and keep its heritage alive."

Apart from the hospital, the wadi is a popular site for marriage ceremonies for members in the Lad community. Pranay Marfatiya, another member, said, "Even after the school is constructed, it will host the functions that impart the particular character to the wadi." 

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