GAJANAN KHERGAMKER tells why the Victoria is on its way out in Mumbai.
They aren’t going anywhere just yet. The good ol’ Victoria horse has been a part of Mumbai for decades and is here to stay, at least for now.
The Bombay High Court has extended the dates for the Victoria owners to get valid licences and health certificates for the horses to January 15, 2013. There have been many controversies surrounding Victorias for past few years now. Animal activists want the Victorias banned, citing cruelty towards animal and instances from cities like Delhi and many other cities all over the world.
The recent spate of accidents involving Victorias that led to horses getting injured and dying didn’t help the case of the Victoria owners. But so far, the ban on Victorias hasn’t been approved by the High Court.
If we forget about the controversies for a bit, Victorias have almost been synonymous with Mumbai. Almost everyone who had visited South Mumbai or lives here has had some fond memories attached with Victorias. It could have been a ride with your girlfriend/boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, a joyride with friends on New Year Eve or just a ride with the family to experience what Victoria is all about.
Victorias on Celluloid
And, let’s forget our very own Bollywood’s association with Victoria; so much so that they made a 70s film named after our very own Victorias – ‘Victoria No 203’. And not just once the film was remade again in 2007 as well! Then there are those countless number of romantic scenes shot on our good ol’ Victoria. The last movie to feature a scene with Victoria in it was ‘I Hate Luv Storys’; then there is the famous song from ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ in which Amir Khan is serenading Raveena Tandon on a horse-drawn carriage. All in all, Bollywood has had its share of horse carriages.
But now, with the carriage horses falling on the streets from exhaustion, getting injured and killed in accidents, these Victoria owners find themselves in the thick of a storm. With an animal lovers’ lobby baying for their age-old vocation, even Bollywood actors have taken a stand against these Victorias and wants them off the streets and the horses rehabilitated.
Celebrities Go Anti-ghodagadi
Yesteryears actress Zeenat Aman tied up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on this issue and wrote a letter to Municipal Commissioner asking to ban the Victorias to stop the cruelty against horses. Newbie Jacqueline Fernandez did an advertisement for PETA in which she poses in a bikini to draw attention to the ‘horses suffering on the streets of Mumbai.’
Actors like Neha Dhupia, Amy Jackson, Kalki Koechlin and Sonu Soon have voiced their opinion on cruelty against horses. Veteran actor Hema Malini and actor John Abraham too are supporting PETA on with their campaign.