The Secrets of Victoria

Names can be so misleading right? But if it gets your attention to my feature post of the week, then why complain!

Mumbai is known for many iconic landmarks, but the most iconic feature of my city would be the  horse-drawn carriages or Victorias as commonly referred. The ornate, silver-colored, open carriages, dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria, and have played an iconic role on the streets of Mumbai since the colonial times. While once upon a time it was used to transport the wealthy residents of Mumbai, now it is used to carry tourists around the famous Marine Drive promenade.

Often seen outside the luxury Taj Mahal Palace hotel and Gateway of India, these carriages have always painted a garish and jazzy picture of cindrella and her pumpkin carriage.

So why am I mentioning it in my feature post?

The Bombay high court declared a ban on 8th June 2015 and termed this carriages to be completely illegal and has directed the government to seize all the horse carriages and unlicensed stables within a year from the date of ban.

According to the hearing, these carriages do not fall under the category of public conveyance under the Bombay Public Conveyance Act 1920. According to the public litigation filed by the Animal and Bitds Charitable Trust and PETA, the horses are often malnourished and overworked and are subjected to unhygienic stable conditions.

Ingrid Newkirk campaigning for horses in Mumbai

According to the figures submitted, there are 170 horses and 130 carriages in the city that are responsible for livelihood of almost 700 families.

I have been in love with Marine Drive since the year 1997 when I first stepped on to that part of the city. I have seen those carriages on numerous occasions. Other than amused reaction to the neon look, the one feeling that has always been prominent is the look of those poor horses. I do feel sorry for the families, but sometimes some changes are for a greater cause.

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