For years now, I have wondered how the precinct of Kala Ghoda got its name. A few days ago, though, I found out its origin story. The area was named after a statue of King Edward VII that stood in the central square of the city's art district. The statue, a relic of a colonial past, has long since been moved to the Byculla Zoo, and the road is now called Mahatma Gandhi Road. King Edward, in this statue, was abode a magnificent black stallion. However, since this statue was removed from the square several decades ago, the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) is working towards the possibility of another black horse statue being installed in the same square in tandem with the BMC.According to city historians, the statue was that of a black stone King Edwards VII (the then Prince of Wales), mounted on a horse- the structure was built by the Jewish businessman and philanthropist, Albert Abdullah David Sassoon. It was eventually removed from the square in which it stood in 1965. This proposal for a new 'Kala Ghoda statue' was made in tandem with the BMC officials as a part of their city beautification drive. When the BMC brought the matter to the ears of the KGA, they were more than eager to fund and execute the matter, with Maneck Davar, KGA Chairperson saying, "the BMC has been working towards reviving heritage structures in the city and as part of that, they wanted to introduce a horse statue in Kala Ghoda. When they approached us, we gladly took up the project. Having a representation of a horse will help today's generation relate to the area." Davar said that the KGA would soon hold one more round of talks with the BMC. "The idea came about after we moved our proposal for a smaller statue to be placed inside that traffic island. The BMC is very keen on the project. We will hold one more round of talks and then finalize the plan. It will be a great project since Kala Ghoda is now a national art district of sorts," Davar said. The horse is to be designed by architect Alfaz Miller and sculpted by Shreehari Bhonsle, and will be unveiled sometime in December. The new sculpture will not be placed in the same square as the original statue, but in a parking lot close to where the equestrian original stood. The new statue will differ from its predecessor in being made from copper, and void of the colonial price mounting it. Positioned so that it can be seen across the Kala Ghoda precinct, the horse will be placed in the East-West direction facing the Army and Navy Building and David Sassoon LibraryExcitement for the statue has already started brimming across the hearts of Mumbai's art lovers, with Kaiyomi Engineer, the Administrative Director of KGA saying, "The new horse will be a representation via art to the whole area that is generally called as Kala Ghoda." Commenting further she added, "The Kala Ghoda Association works closely with the BMC and is undertaking many restoration projects like the restoration of the Bomanjee Hormusjee Wadia Clock Tower, which stands at the junction of Bazaar Gate road and Nariman Perin Street. We have proposed the installation of an art work which will help people identify with the area's colloquial name Kala Ghoda since the entire area is still widely popular by that name."
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