Renaming Mumbai Central Station: Honoring the Legacy of Nana Jagannath Shankarseth         

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March 16, 2024

Renaming Mumbai Central Station: Honoring the Legacy of Nana Jagannath Shankarseth         


  • The Maharashtra government’s recent decision to propose renaming Mumbai Central station after Nana Jagannath Shankarseth has sparked interest in the life and contributions of this eminent social reformer. Shankarseth, often hailed as the “architect” of Mumbai, left an indelible mark on the city through his philanthropy, social reform initiatives, and advocacy for education.

Who was Nana Jagannath Shankarseth?

  • Nana Jagannath Shankarseth, born on February 10, 1803, into a prosperous Brahmin family in Murbad, Thane district, emerged as a significant figure in Bombay’s history. Following his father’s demise in 1822, he assumed the responsibility of managing the family business. Inspired by the philanthropic endeavors of Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, Shankarseth dedicated himself to various charitable causes, earning respect from both Indians and the British. Notably, he became the first Indian to be nominated to the Legislative Council of Bombay.

Significant Contributions of Shankarseth:

  • Education: Shankarseth played a pivotal role in advancing education in Bombay, contributing land for educational institutions. He founded the Native School of Bombay, later evolving into the prestigious Elphinstone College. His advocacy extended to promoting education for girls and women, reflecting his belief in the transformative power of education.
  • Medical Education: Shankarseth’s advocacy led to the establishment of Grant Medical College in Mumbai, a testament to his vision for medical education in the region.
  • Philanthropy: Beyond education, Shankarseth’s philanthropy extended to cultural and religious spheres. He supported the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and contributed to the construction of temples, including the Bhawani Shankar Temple and a Ram temple.

Shankarseth’s Contribution to the Railways:

  • Shankarseth played a pivotal role in the inception of the Indian railways, serving on the committee that propelled the project forward. His collaboration with figures like Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy underscored his commitment to modernizing infrastructure and facilitating transportation.

Recognition and Proposed Renaming:

  • Despite successive governments in Maharashtra acknowledging Shankarseth’s contributions, tangible efforts to honor his memory have been limited. The proposal to rename Mumbai Central station aligns with a broader initiative to commemorate Indian heroes and promote cultural nationalism. This move, spearheaded by the Maha Yuti coalition, reflects a shift towards reclaiming indigenous identities and erasing colonial vestiges.


  • Nana Jagannath Shankarseth’s legacy as a social reformer, educationist, and philanthropist continues to resonate in Mumbai’s fabric. The proposal to rename Mumbai Central station serves as a fitting tribute to his enduring contributions, highlighting the importance of recognizing and celebrating indigenous luminaries in shaping the nation’s history and identity.

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Renaming Mumbai Central Station: Honoring the Legacy of Nana Jagannath Shankarseth | Vaid ICS Institute