Ancient Bombay Now Mumbai
WHO BUILT BOMBAY ?
According to ancient history, a group of 7-seven islands comprising Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman’s Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, & Matunga-Sion formed a part of the Kingdom of Ashoka the Great of Magadh, ironically in North India !
The 7 islands of Mumbai passed through many hands – the Sultans of Gujarat, the Portuguese & the British !
Every ruler left behind proof of residence in Mumbai !
- The Mauryans left behind the ★Kanheri-Caves (Borivali N-Park), ★Jogeshwari-Caves ★Mahakali-Caves & the caves of “Ghara-puri” island more popularly called.. Elephanta !
- The Sultans of Gujarat built the Dargahs at Mahim & Haji Ali !
- The Portuguese built the two Portuguese Churches, one at ★Prabhadevi & the other ★St. Andrews at Bandra !
- They also built Forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra & Bassien (today’s Vasai) !
- The Portuguese named the group of 7 slands ‘Bom Baia’, Good Bay !
- The British built a city out of the group of 7 islands & called her Bombay – spoilt from the original Mumbai !
- The original settlers of the 7 islands, the Koli fishermen, worshiped Mumba Devi, her Temple still stands at Zaveri Bazar/Paydhuni.. Cotton Exchange ..near Chowpatty !
- The Kolis called the island Mumbai, ‘Mumba’-devi, Mother Goddess’ !
- In 1662, King Charles II of England married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, & received the 7 islands of Bom Baia as part of his dowry !
- 6 years later, the British Crown leased the 7 islands to the English East India Company for a sum of 10 pounds in gold per annum !
- It was under the “English East India Co” that the future megapolis began to take shape ! After the first War for Independence in 1857, Bombay once again became a colony of the British Empire !
- History has forgotten this but the first Parsi settler came to Bombay in 1640, he was Dorabji Nanabhoy Patel !
- In 1689-90, a severe “plague” प्लेग epidemic broke out in Bombay & most of the European settlers succumbed to it !
- The Siddi of Janjira Fort(MS) attacked in full force. Rustomji Dorabji Patel, a trader & the son of the city’s first Parsi settler, successfully defeated the सिद्दी Siddi (African-Nigro) with the help of, the Kolis & saved Bombay !
- Gerald Aungier, Governor of Bombay built the Bombay Castle, an area that is even today referred to as Fort !He also constituted the Courts of Law. He brought Gujarati traders, Parsi shipbuilders, Muslim & Hindu manufacturers from the mainland & settled them in Bombay !
- It was during a period of 4 decades that the city of Bombay took shape!
- Reclamation was done to plug the breach at Worli & Mahalakshmi, and Hornby Vellard was built in 1784 !
- The Sion Causeway, connecting Bombay to Salsette, was built in 1803 !
- Colaba Causeway, connecting Colaba island to Bombay, was built in 1838 !
- A Causeway connecting Mahim & Bandra was built in 1845 !
- Lady Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, the wife of the First Baronet Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy donated Rs. 1,57,000 to meet construction costs of the Causeway. She donated ₹ 1,00,000 at first ! When the project costs escalated & money ran out half way through, she donated ₹ 57,000 again to ensure that the vital Causeway was completed !Lady Jamsetjee stipulated that no toll would ever be charged for those using the Causeway. Today Mumbaikars have to pay ₹-75 to use the Bandra-Worli Sealink, connecting almost the same two islands !
- Sir JJ Hospital was also built by Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy !
- The ship building “Wadia family of Surat” was brought to Bombay by the British. Jamshedji Wadia founded the ★Bombay Port Trust & built the ★Princess Docks in 1885 & the ★Victoria Docks & the Mereweather Dry Docks in 1891 ! Alexandra Docks were built in 1914 !
- A Gujarati civil engineer supervised the building of the Gateway of India !
- The Tatas made Bombay their headquarters & gave it the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel & India ‘s first civilian airlines, Air India !
- The Godrejs gave India its first vegetarian soap !
- Cowasji Nanabhai Daver established Bombay ‘s first cotton mill, ‘The Bombay Spinning Mills’ in 1854 ! By 1915, there were 83 textile mills in Bombay largely owned by Indians ! This brought about a financial boom in Bombay ! Although the mills were owned by the Gujaratis, Kutchis, Parsis & Marwaris, the workforce was migrant Mahrashtrians from rural Maharashtra !
- Premchand Roychand, a prosperous Gujarati broker founded the Bombay Stock Exchange. Premchand Roychand donated Rs. 2,00,000 to build the Rajabai Tower in 1878 !
- Muslim, Sindhi & Punjabi migrants have also contributed handsomely to Mumbai! Apart from its original inhabitants, the Kolis, everyone else in Mumbai, are immigrants!
The Data was collected from the article was written on February 7, 2010 by Tushar Gandhi, Founder President of Mahatma Gandhi Foundation & a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi!