The house of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah should be demolished, located in South Mumbai should be demolished and replaced with a cultural centre, a top builder Mangal Prabhat Lodha has told the government in a legislature. The house is built on 2.5 acres of land and is estimated to be worth about $400 million.
Lodha is the promoter of a large real estate developer in Mumbai. He said that the conspiracy of partition was hatched from the Jinnah house and was thus a symbol of the partition. Claiming that the structure must be demolished, Lodha said that lakhs are wasted on the maintenance of the ‘European-style seafront bungalow’.
Built in the late 1930s, Jinnah House has Italian marble and walnut panelling. For several years, the house was used by Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner but after being vacated in 1982, it was left unused. The house has now been locked and is decaying.
There have been repeated requests by Pakistan to either sell or lease the house to its government for use as a consular office. The request has neither been accepted or rejected by New Delhi. The house was the venue for watershed talks on the partition between Jinnah and Indian leaders.
In 2007, Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia had approached the Mumbai High Court to gain ownership of the property. She has a son, Nusli, who lives in Mumbai and heads a large textile and real estate business.
As a goodwill gesture after partition, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, ensured that neither Jinnah nor his daughter were declared evacuees. Despite India appropriating that the immovable and movable property left behind by those who chose to go to Pakistan as evacuee property, Jinnah House was not registered as an evacuee property.