Queen Vitoria's statue of Mumbai sculpted by Mathew Nobel - a gift from the ruler of Baroda (1846)!!

Bombay (Mumbai), once an important city on the west coast of India in the colonial period had two famous and well sculpted statues of Queen Victoria, a standing marble statue of Queen Victoria (Sculptor?)  at the VT terminus now called ''Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus'', a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the other one  in sitting posture originally with  tall canopy - height 42 in all  made by Mathew Nobel  erected at Fort, Mumbai.  The one at the famous Railway Terminus where it had been there for decades  is said to have disappeared  without any trace. It was neither  in the  Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum where it was supposedly kept nor in the dossiers of the Indian Railways. As to its whereabouts,  the railway officials were unable to trace the iconic statue that adorned the railway terminus complex once.  The only hunch was its disappearance could have been the handiwork of some  miscreants prior to 1960s. 

After the transition period of change of administration of the subcontinent under the Crown in the wake of the great rebellion of 1857 that saw the ceremonial exit of the corrupt English trading company from India, many statues of Queen Victoria Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India (1837–190), came up across India to honor her.   

Likewise again a large number of her statues were erected in many places  in memory of her after her demise in 1901. Most of them were sculpted by the celebrated  British sculptor Thomas Brock,  They came up particularly in many princely states, notwithstanding the fact that Queen Victoria never visited the subcontinent. In all Brock made 14 Victoria statues during his career and all these statues, had the Garter robes decorated with roses and tassels and carries a scepter and an orb.

After independence in 1947,  many of the colonial statues of British Raj officials, including Queen Victoria, in Mumbai are either in the poor state of neglect or totally ignored without any basic upkeep. Part of the reason was both the EIC and the British administration exploited the Indian natural resources, people and the farmers  as much as they could and left the land divided into two nations wth almost empty treasury. Frustration and abomination for their misrule and racial disparity began to show on the countless statues of British officials.

Queen Victoria Mumbai, India   victorianweb.org

Queen Victoria Mumbai, India victorianweb.org

As to the other statue of Queen Victoria once at the Fort maidan , Mumbai, it was actually gifted to the British Empire by Maharajah Khanderao Gaikwad Shamsher Bahadur of Baroda princely state in 1846. The Sicilian marble statue of Queen Victoria in sitting posture sculpted by famous British sculptor Mathew Noble was unveiled in 1872. In the 1960s it was shifted to the  Mumbai Museum east lawn to avoid vandalism. Some of the colonial statues were vandalized during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement in the mid-60s.  The museum, was ironically named after King Albert and Queen Victoria, the oldest museum in the city dating back to 1850s.

colonial statues including Queen Victoria dnaindia.com

Above image Marble state of Queen Victoria in sitting posture along with other colonial officials in the museum, Mumbai. Left to right: Lord Sandhurst left: Was a British military commander who served as commander-in-chief of India from 1865 to 1870. Sandhurst Road station is named after him; Lord Marquis of Wellesley: Was the Governor General of India in 1797.......

This sitting statue of Queen Victoria is eight feet high but originally had a towering neo-Gothic canopy, as seen on the right, taking the height of the  structure to 42 feet in all. It was one of the earliest of the many colonial statues that appeared across India.  When colonial statues became targets of vandalism, this Victoria and other statues were not placed inside the museum. Some acts of vandalism can be noticed  in some of them. (photo credit:  image  on the left by Ramachandran Venkatesh; permission of the British Library Online Gallery.

The colonial statues including Queen Victoria's  in the Bhau Daji Lad Museum  are  still lying uncared for with no shelters over them. They are exposed to vagaries of climatic changes and are thickly covered with bird droppings. The museum officials say they are trying hard to maintain  them, but they get dirty soon. Though their problem is understandable, colonial  historians are not happy about the excuse and are appalled at the condition of the statues. To begin with the statues need proper shelter above them that will reduce part of the problems of maintenance. Damaging or destroying the old statues or historical artifacts is akin to wiping out the history of the place. In safe places like the Museums, such colonial vestiges should be kept with proper care to enable the next generation to know the history.