The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has restored a 108-year-old statue of scholar-reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade which was damaged by high-speed winds in the aftermath of Cyclone Tauktae in May. The pedestal on which the life-size marble statue stands, abutting Oval Maidan, had been dislodged after a tree crashed down on it.

MG Ranade, popularly known as Justice Ranade, was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council and a judge in the Bombay High Court in the late 19th century.

The statue had tilted to one side and was secured to the railings in August to prevent it from falling over. It had to be shifted to its original position without being lifted.

The restoration work was started last month by heritage conservationist and sculptor Vasudeo Patkar who has been entrusted with reconstruction of the city’s statues on behalf of the BMC. Patkar has also worked on the restoration of the Opera house and the marble statue of Baghdadi-Jewish philanthropist David Sassoon, besides maintaining statues that dot Oval Maidan.

“The statue had been made of original Italian marble, which is of great value. It was not damaged, but the pedestal got tilted. We used specialised chemicals with marble powder to fix the statue to the base to make it strong,” said Patkar, who completed the restoration last week.

Carved from a single marble stone, the statue was wrapped in multiple layers of thermo sheets and cotton sheets before it was shifted with help of a Hydra crane. The relocation was approximately 4 to 5 inches from its original position.

“Though not damaged like other statues in the city, its cleansing still had to follow a strict procedure. The statue was first covered in a layer of clay which was left to dry for two days. The clay absorbed the dirt from the Italian marble and after it was peeled off, a chemical coating was applied thrice before being cleansed each time.”



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By Wyatt

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