Mumbai: The absurd game of name changing, a political stunt?

The Shiv Sena’s idea of renaming the railway stations is finally taking pace. Few days back Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus became Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Elphinstone Road station Prabhadevi. But this won’t end here. Already, there are name change suggestion for other stations as well.

Stations including Currey Road, Sandhurst Road, Reay Road, Cotton Green, Marine Lines and Grant Road could also now be renamed. But not all locals are happy with this renaming of railway station. It all started when in 1995, when Shiv Sena pushed the idea of renaming of India’s financial capital from the British name Bombay to the local Marathi name Mumbai. It is currently the junior partner in a coalition with the India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, and has long campaigned for colonial names to be scrapped.

The Shiv Sena, also in 1996, changed the name of Mumbai’s main railway station, built in the 1880s, from Victoria Terminus to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. But that was the beginning, the renaming did stop there.

Not just stations
The name changing is not limited to railway stations, now even roads in Mumbai are being renamed. Renowned places like Peddar Road is now being renamed as Gopalrao Deshmukh Marg. Won’t it sound odd when you tell a cabbie about it, and get a blank look.

The renaming, whether it railway stations or roads, locals are not happy with it. The fight between Shiv Sena and BJP to catch the eyes of Marathi voters is seeing politicians from both parties coming up with names of railway station. One of the BJP leaders wants Marine Lines station to be renamed to Mumbadevi.

After renaming Elphinstone Station, which was named after John Elphinstone, the 13th Lord Elphinstone, was the governor of the Bombay presidency from 1853 to 1860, Shiv Sena MP from South Mumbai, told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that, “I have demanded that Currey Road station be named Lalbaug, Sandhurst Road station as Dongri, Reay Road as Ghodapdeo, Cotton Green as Kalachowki, Mumbai Central as Nana Chowk, Grant Road as Gamdevi.”

Last week, Shiv Sena’s Diwakar Raote, transport minister said, “We are working to rename railway stations as per locally known names instead of older names.” In 1999, Raote had demanded the name change of Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi. Well this makes it clear that authorities are getting rid of British colonial names and eyeing for Marathi votes. But is ‘Marathi manoos’ happy with all this, only time will tell. Currently it’s hard to cope with the new names.

History behind Mumbai’s famous railway stations:

Mumbai: The absurd game of name changing, a political stunt?

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus which was built in 1887 and back then it was named as Victoria Terminus. But in 1996 it was changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and after 21 years it is changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens with the concept of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and meant to be a similar revival of Indian Goth (classical era) architecture, the station was built in 1887 in the Bori Bunder area of Mumbai to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Prabhadevi: The Elphinstone Road station had been named after John Elphinstone, the 13th Lord Elphinstone who was the British governor of Bombay between 1853 and 1860, Which is now been changed to Prabhadevi.

Currey Road station: Currey Road Station was originally built to carry horses during the British era. Currey Road is situated in central Mumbai and is surrounded by famous places like Lalbaug, Lower Parel. Which now minister wants it to be changed to Lalbaugh.

Sandhurst Road station: The station was built in 1921, and is named after Lord Sandhurst, the Governor of Bombay between 1895 and 1900, the station was built in 1910 using funds from the Bombay City Improvement Trust. And now Minister wants it to be renamed to Dongri.

Reay Road Station: The station was built in 1910 and was named after Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay between 1885 and 1890. And it might be renamed to Ghodapdeo.

Cotton Green Station: The cotton green is also an old station which is on the harbour line. The railway station caters to Kalachowki, and Ghodapdeo. This station might be renamed to Kalachowki.

Mumbai Central Station: The station was opened in 1930, designed by British architect Claude Batley. It serves as a major stop for both local and inter-city/express trains. Now, a minister wants it to be renamed to Nana Chowk.

Grant Road Station: The station was established in 1859, and was named after Sir Robert Grant, the Governor of Bombay between 1835 and 1839. But now minister wants it to be renamed to Gamdevi.

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