Standing Tall: Statue of Diwan Bahadur Sir Kasturchand Daga after its inauguration in the year 1924 at the corner of KP ground.
Staff Reporter :
Statue of Diwan Bahadur Sir Kasturchand Daga that adorned Kingsway was destroyed in bizarre of circumstance in aftermath of storm that had hit the city overnight. A huge neem tree in the adjoining compound of Kasturchand Park (KP) got uprooted and fell on the island where the statue was located. The statue was broken into many pieces and in process an identity of Nagpur to which Daga had given a name and fame also got snapped in a way. “It is a strange coincidence,” said Govind Daga, grandson of Kasturchand Daga, while reacting to Sunday’s incident.
Talking to The Hitavada, he was quite philosophical and recalled, “the work on building the statue had began in the year 1918, incidentally the year is recorded in history as one when world saw outbreak of Spanish plague and now in midst of another pandemic, coronavirus, the disaster struck statue of Kasturchand Daga.” The statue was built by Daga's business partner Sir Maneckji B Dadabhoy, KT, CIE, to ensure that former's legacy and contribution that he made in laying foundation for industrial development in country and region is remembered forever.
Call it a quirk of fate or simply coincidental that while entire world is currently under lockdown the nature showed its supremacy in quite dramatic fashion. But the damage to the statue of Daga in midst of pandemic once again brought alive the visionary work done by the great industrialist in those challenging situation in putting together and industrial empire that stretched till Rangoon and Kabul. Daga’s contribution to spurring industrial development of region, particularly giving fillip to cotton industry, and opening mining, would be remembered forever. As per information, the roots of a tree in the North-East corner of sprawling Kasturchand Park, the 12 acre land was donated by Daga himself, were weakened and had dried off. The yesterday night blast of wind and storm further weakened the roots and thus the incident was bound to happen sometime or other. Had it not been a lockdown period the place used to be quite crowded throughout the day.
The bulky trunk of the tree fell directly on the statue of Kasturchand Daga that was erected on an island at Empire Point, the T-point in front of Kingsway Hospital. Current the building that houses LIC and other offices was earlier Empire Hotel during the time of British Regency and hence the T-point came to be named Empire Point. The statue was renovated sometimes back to mark centenary of Sir Kasturchand Daga and a function was jointly organised in association with the Daga family. The grand niece of the then British Governor who had unveiled the statue of Daga had also attended the centenary function, said Daga while sharing the information with The Hitavada.
The statue was symbol of contribution of Daga to economic development of Central India, and Vidarbha and Nagpur in particular. The weight of the trunk also damaged the Walua stone pedestal on which statue of Diwan Bahadur Kasturchand Daga was placed. The damage to Daga’s statue came to notice early in the morning and the news went viral in no time. Some good Samaritans managed to reach the place and tried to gather the broken pieces. However the statue was broken in multiple pieces. Members of Daga family too reached the spot on learning about the incident and collected some pieces of the statue, perhaps to savor it as a token of history in which times Kasturchand made name for himself and the clan. Daga said once the pandemic is over efforts would be made with administration to rebuild the statue at the same place. Indeed the statue was a source of inspiration as it showcased the vision of Sur Kasturchand Daga who had established a banking empire that stretched from Kabul to Rangoon and till Lahore having nearly 3,500 branches, sprawling various kingdoms and was a trusted source of money transfer in those time.
Daga family hopes a grand statue would be built soon
Staff Reporter :
Ashadevi Daga, belongs to Daga clan, was the first from the family to respond to news about damage to statue of Sir Kasturchand Daga. She said the statue was crafted out of marble while the pedestal was of stone. Some family members rushed to spot to collect the broken pieces of the statue for preserving the same. She had earlier got in touch with Paramjit Singh Ahuja, noted architect, and discussed possibilities about restoring the statue to its original glory.
Ahuja talking to The Hitavada said, “since the heritage properties belongs to Nagpur Municipal Corporation, it being custodian, the information about damage to statue of Daga was shared with members of Heritage Committee.” He said the matter about damage to statue was informed to Ar Ashok Mokha, P S Patankar, Structural Consultant, and other members.
On advice of Ar Ahuja, Daga said she got in touch with Ar Mokha and informed him about collecting the broken pieces of statue. She said the pieces were collected by family out of concern as otherwise for person not knowing the history it would be just construction debris. In future if it is decided that the statue is to be rebuilt, then perhaps the material collected today could come handy. She was hopeful that given the contribution of Sir Kasturchand Daga, the authorities, would reestablish the connect by building a grand statue at the same spot after the lockdown is over.