After Ashoka’s death, these islands passed into the hands of various Hindu rulers until 1343. In that year, the Mohammedans of Gujarat took possession and the kings of that
In 1534 the Portuguese, who already possessed many important trading centres on the western coast such as Panjim (Goa), Daman and Diu, took
The Portuguese also fortified their possession by building forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra and Bassien, which, although in disrepair, can still be seen. They named their new possession as ‘Bom Baia, which in Portuguese means ‘
This name was later changed to ‘Bombay’ by the British and much later, challenged by the Shiv Sainiks, a renegade political party in the state, saying that the name of the city was ‘Mumbai’ from the Mumbadevi temple. Nobody really put up a fight. The fact of the matter is that the Kolis, who were and are the fishermen of that area, called a small section (Babulnath, to be precise) of the islands ‘Mumba’. This, in the mid-1990s, became a huge political issue with the Shiv Sena which was losing a grip over the city.
About 130 years later, the islands were given as dowry to the English King Charles II on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine de Braganza in 1662. In 1668, the islands were acquired by the British East India Company on lease from the crown for 10 pounds in gold per year.
Perceptibly, the British did not value these islands at that time. The Company, which was operating from
The first Parsi to arrive in
A fort was also built, none of which remains except a small portion of the wall. Governers like Oxenden, Aungier and Grant helped
The inroads of the sea at Worli, Mahim and Mahalaxmi turned the ground between the islands into swamps making
In the mid-1800s, the cattle that people owned used to graze at the lush
On Saturday, 16 April 1853, a 21-mile long railway line, the first in
In 1858, after the first war for
Then in 1863, the Governor got piped-water from the lakes (Tulsi, Vehar and Tansa). After which they banned all open water storage systems like water tanks and wells, which were breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This was met with a lot of opposition.
The later half of the 19th century was also to see a feverish construction of buildings in Bombay, many of which such as the Victoria Terminus, the General Post Office, the Municipal Corporation, the Prince of Wales Museum, Rajabai Tower and Bombay University, St. Xavier’s College, Elphinstone College and the Cawasji Jehangir Hall, the Crawford Market, the Old Secretariat (Old Customs House) and the Public Works Department (PWD) Building, still stand today as major landmarks.
The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Durbar at
The Bombay Gymkhana was formed in 1875, exclusively for Europeans, who played the game of cricket there. Other communities followed this example, and various Parsi, Muslim and Hindu gymkhanas were started nearby with fierce sports competitions among them being organised on a communal basis. This was opposed by several secular-minded persons, such as the late AFSTalyarkhan and sports teams based on community, especially cricket teams, came to an end gradually after Independence from British rule in 1947.
Lord Sandhurst was the Governor after that from 1895-1900 and he was commemorated by naming a road and railway station after him. Around 1914, a train line was started from Ballard Pier to Wadala. Around the same time Tata Power Company set up overhead transmission lines. In 1927, electrical locomotives were imported from
In April 1944, a fire started in the holds of the ship, ‘
The docks and the surrounding areas were completely destroyed. Over 120 brave men from the Bombay Fire Brigade in the second blast and hundreds of dock workers lost their lives (a monument was erected for them). The locals thought that the Japanese had attacked (like
The historic session of the All India Congress Committee began on 7 August 1942. Its venue was the Gowalia Tank Maidan, where the Congress was born in 1885. It was at this session that the Quit India call was given by Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian National Congress leaders. The Indian leaders were arrested by the British soon afterwards but the momentum of the Quit India movement could not be stopped and led to the final withdrawal of the British on 15 August 1947.
The last British troops on Indian soil left for
The Stock Exchange at
With the success of the back-bay reclamation scheme in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nariman Point became the hub of the business activity. Several offices shifted from the Ballard Estate to Nariman Point which ultimately became one of the most expensive real estates in the world as high demand pushed prices to astronomical limits. Nariman Point is named after K F Nariman, president of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee and former Mayor of
‘Bollywood’ is a term used to describe the Indian film industry. It has been a long story of a century, starting in 1901, with the early shaky screen images turning into a multi-pronged and multi-winged empire of its own that has yielded about 30,000 feature films and thousands of documented short films. These are almost all musical family melodramas, which rule the roost. Cinema has raised
But eventually the city could not provide jobs to these teeming millions and these people had to beg for a living and slowly slums began to flourish all over the city, especially near the railway tracks. The city also has the dubious record of the second biggest slum in the world: Dharavi.
Crime is an inevitable part of