Two non-surprises here: First, I love museums. Second, the Dr. Bhau Dadji Lad Museum in Eastern Mumbai used to be called the Victoria and Albert Museum, but was re-named as Indians reclaimed their cultural heritage during the post-colonial era. Of course, if you hop in a cab you’re probably going to have better luck using the former, non-PC title. In any event, while a bit off the beaten path, this place and the park next to it are definitely worth the trip.
While the more popular Chhatrapati Shivaji/Prince of Wales Museum mostly focuses on the amazing cultural and historical confluences that make up native Indian culture, this one is unabashedly a testament to the British colonization of Mumbai and the rest of the country. The items on display here feel more like trophies than they do artifacts, and this isn’t by accident.
Outside the museum is a courtyard with a small collection of defaced statues, most of which represented the various British governors who once lorded over the city. Apparently they were moved to this relatively sparse part of Mumbai to prevent further desecration.
Next to the museum is a quiet park with a small zoo. I never thought this level of peace and quiet could exist within the city limits of busy Mumbai.
Back inside the museum, even the antique turnstile is a testament to what the British believed they were bringing to India — order above all else.
All in all, a pleasant and highly informative afternoon in lovely Mumbai.