There are some heritage places and it is part of our shared culture. Bhaiyaa Gym would complete 100 years in 2025. Why would a gym which stood in the same place for 95 years be razed for illegally occupying a Public ground?

Bhaiyaa Gym is the colloquial name for Bandra Physical Culture Association alternately referred to as BPCA.

Some questions to ponder over below.

Why did BMC after 95 years wake up and decide to raze the structure?

Is there any ulterior motive behind the demolition?

Why did Mumbai Mirror not frame the story right?

The headline by Mumbai Mirror is misleading. It paints BPCA as a goon illegally occupying the ground. You can read more about the heritage here.

This is the headline

BMC takes back Bandra ground, razes structures

Story link - Mumbai Mirror

Why hasn’t the Mumbai Mirror article mentioned in their story about the heritage value of this shared cultural public space?

The piece is misleading people by not providing the complete picture. It is an attempt to manufacture public opinion in favour of destroying this shared public space. ( Argument on why this is shared public space at the end of the article).

We could think of the following reasons why Mumbai Mirror wrongly framed this story.

  1. Vested interest has influenced them.
  2. They have no information about local culture (which is hard to believe)

I leave it to the enlightened readers to come to their conclusion on the motive behind the misleading.

Allegations against Bhaiyya Gyms

These are the three main allegations against Bhaiyaa Gym.

Illegal Occupation of the ground

This is where the wrong framing by Mumbai Mirror comes in.

Why was an open space leased to BPCA?

The story mentions that

The land that was supposed to be an open space was converted into a gymnasium - Link

Everyone and their father knows that the Gym existed before there was an open space. The talk about "open space" is again a manipulation of public opinion.

What we could argue is whether the said space leased by the BMC was not used to for public good. A gymnasium is as good for health as is an open space for walking.

Not letting residents enter the premises

I live in very close proximity of St. Martin’s road for the last 8 years and I have never been stopped by any bouncers to enter the premises. This experience of mine needs to be corroborated by other residents or maybe I am an exception case. I can only write about my experience.

I have not had a direct testimonial from anyone so far that they have been prohibited to enter this space.

Sub-contracting operations

As per a few messaged I received, there was a contract given to someone to manage the cross fit part of the activity.

There were a lot of people using the gym and management of the space could be problematic also it is sometimes cheaper to sub-contract. I don't know the technical aspects of the contract.

What kind of resolution can you expect for Bhaiyya Gym?

I hope this is not the end of the story of Bhaiyaa Gym.

Since I have repeatedly mentioned this place as a public space since the land is leased by the BMC. It is the collective responsibility of the residents to get together form a committee and see that this Bandra heritage is not lost for old people to just walk. The youth (who cannot pay the high costs of other gyms) also have an equal stake in this space.

The affluent residents of St. Martin road shouldn’t forget the heritage of this place and write off this place to be replaced by some fancy landscaped garden so that they can show off the view from their balcony.

References

  1. All you want to know about The Bandra Physical Culture Association aka Bhaiya Gym.
  2. BMC takes back Bandra ground, razes structures
  3. Mumbai: Bandra to get one more open space | Mumbai News - Times of India
  4. Bandra.info on Instagram: “BMC razes Bhaiyya Gym (One of the oldest and the most affordable gyms in tony Bandra) - I smell of Landsharks here - About - One of the…”

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