It is a good suggestion and ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' is certaintly of the view that the state government and the civic body must seriously consider it.
The suggestion has been made by the Russian consul general in Mumbai, Alexey A.Novikov.. What was the suggestion?
Novikov in a letter dated May 24, 2011 to state chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, has stated that the new flyover between Dadar and Byculla to be opened around June 30 should be named after Yuri Gagarin. In his letter he says: ``It (flyover) is designed to be primarily used by mill workers. May we suggest naming it after the first man in space. Mr Yuri Gagarin who exemplified the views and ideals by the working class of the Soviet Union.''
The letter says: ``We believe that naming the fly-over after Yuri Gagarin who ushered in a new space era will be symbolic during the golden jubilee of the his first space flight that the world celebrated on April 12,2011. Further, it was Mumbai that Yuri Gagarin chose to visit after his space flight which makes the city the right place to commemorate him...''
Gagarin came to Mumbai in October 1961 and addressed a massive public meeting at Shivaji Park.
The diplomat has pointed out in his letter that as a reflection of Russia's reverence towards the Indian people, Russian regional and local authorities name streets in honour of prominent Indian statesmen and erect monuments to immortalise them. Various Russian cities have venues commemorating Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and other ``great pearls'' of India.
``Similarly we believe that there is quite a large number of outstanding men in Russia who, we feel, deserve to be commemorated in India. ``This in our opinion could underline the friendship between our countries and strengthen ties between our peoples as they will be attracted by each other's history and accomplishment,'' it says.
BMM has learnt through other sources that a monument was erected at a place called Ribander, seaside town in Ratnagiri district in honour of the first Russian who set foot on India, in 1479,Afanasiy Nikitin. Novikov was reported to have spoken to the municipal commissioner, Subodh Kumar, on May 25 about naming the new fly over after Gagarin and he was stated to have found his response ``relatively positive.''
BMM feels that it is an excellent idea to name something after Gagarin or atleast erect a monment in Mumbai on his behalf.
We hope the suggestion does not gather dust. The idea should be implemented before the end of 2011.
BMM's room at Warden Road is being renovated and when it is completed believe me it is going to be named Klushino---after the village where Gagarin was born.
Yes, this is true.