Queen Victoria's Bronze statue in Agra vandalized in 2014 - anger over colonial statues in India

Six years before the Black Lives Matter protests in the US and Europe in 2020, Indian government started slowly removing colonial statues from public places because vandalism had already begun to  show it ugly head in Mumbai in August 1965. Colonial statues of  lord Wellesley,  lord Sunburst, lord Cornwallis including Queen Victoria (on MG Road) in Horniman circle and other places were  disfigured and damaged badly. To avoid further damages,  colonial statues in many places were shifted to the museum.  Ironically, as of January 2019,  the statues  of Lord Hardinge, Edwin Montague, Queen Victoria, Sir Richard Temple Baronet, Lord Marquis of Wellesley, Lord Marquis of Cornwallis and Lord Sandhurst and Dr Thomas Blaney  are lying no in abject neglect in India's oldest museum (1857) Victoria Albert Museum, Mumbai. Colonial historians are sore about the pathetic conditions of the statues of colonial dignitaries who once dominated the  British India politics. 

 In 2014 both in Mathura and in Agra cities  the statues of Queen Victoria was  targeted  by vandals. During the protests in the UK the people in England did not spare queen Victoria's statue in Leeds and it was sprayed with graffiti. 

In the  vintage image posted below  the Prince of Wales  was unveiling the Statue of Queen Victoria at Agra," December 18, 1905. A beautiful bronze statue set on the highest ground in Agra over looking the  Akbar's fort and the Taj in the background.  It marks the widespread reverence to the empress of India.  Thomas Brock, a prolific and celebrated British sculptor made this statue and others including  the ones at Bangalore, Kanpur and  Lucknow. 


Victoria statue, Agra, UP. interactive.britishart.yale.edu


Queen Victoria statue, Agra  indiatoday.in

The prince of Wales (George Frederick Ernest Albert)  accompanied by his wife  was on a six month tour of the Indian subcontinent in Nov. 1905 - April 1906  to impress on the natives their regal imperial power and control over them. It began in Bombay in November and ended in Karachi in April 1906. The much hyped up tour was intended to “strengthen the loyalty of India”  while allowing the future emperor to “know his people.”   A newspaper report on the unveiling at Agra described the statue as presiding over a landscape of Mughal imperial monuments.   As  part of the tour, the prince of wales  visited Madras (Chennai) and changed the name Black town to George town blending  both old George town and black town.  On this tour he unveiled Queen Victoria's statue in Bangalore in 1906 and also in Karachi  The Sculptor was :Englishman  Thomas Brock (1847-1922) who made several statues of Queen Victoria  for the princely states. 

2020 Queen Victoria's statue, defaced in Leeds, UK..bbc.com

In June 2020  a statue of Queen Victoria in Leeds was  sprayed with graffiti including the words "murderer" and "slave owner".  The bronze sculpture on Woodhouse Moor in the Hyde Park area of the city also had the words "colonizer" and "racist" daubed on it.  Several statues were  targeted after a statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston was torn off its plinth in Bristol, UK and   pushed into the bay near-by. Made by sculptor   George Frampton it was  unveiled in 1905, and set  outside Leeds Town Hall.  Victoria  ascended  throne in 1837 - four years after the Slavery Abolition Act was passed.   William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 - 29 July 1833), a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. .https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-52985627.......................

way back in  2014 hardly three months had gone by after 3 statues of Queen Victoria were vandalized in Mathura  again in the same year in November  three big statues of  Queen Victoria in Agra were targeted.   ''The statues were a part of the heritage of Agra and had been lying around as junk in the yards of various government offices and a group of concerned citizens had petitioned several times before the Agra Divisional Commissioner as well as the District Magistrate for the statues to be shifted to the Municipal Museum in the Paliwal Park where they could be installed.'' according to Vishal Sharma, Socialist. The statutes were  shifted barely a month ago when this incident in Agra took place. It was done by vandals from  Bajrang Dal, a Hindu organization. To them the colonial  statues are reminders of  repressive rule of the Raj  and symbol of slavery. 

The  statue were removed  and dumped  in the backyard of a local museum. In places like Kolkata,  Mumbai and Delhi soon after independence in the 1960s, the statues were shifted to the local museums. In Delhi one can  see empty pedestal in the coronation  park.  

The city of Madras (Chennai)  saw   the first ever public protest in 1927  during the Raj to remove  mass murderer Col  Neil's (James George Smith  Neil; 27 May 1810 - 25 September 1857native of  Wellington Square,  Ayr, Scotland)  statue from the public  place  (Mount road) in Madras.  He killed thousands of Indian in 1857 during the great rebellion against the English company' misrule near Allahabad city, hence he got the nick name got a nick name  the butcher of Allahabad.

https://www.deccanherald.com/content/309829/empress-all-she-surveys.html

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/north/story/queen-victoria-statues-targeted-in-agra-park-227708-2014-11-18

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/lifestyle-culture/article/3091791/statue-politics-how-india-quietly-removed-colon

https://interactive.britishart.yale.edu/victoria-monuments/211/statue-of-queen-victoria