Saturday, 22 November 2014

Taking a Heritage Walk in Mumbai

Last Sunday, we took a heritage walk in Mumbai, along with my Harvard classmates who had come to visit India.  The walk was led by Sarthak, whose passion was heritage.

What a wonderful walk it was.  He took us through just a few hundred m walk around Kala Ghoda, and there was so much to learn.

On Gerald Aungier, who offered various business incentives, which attracted ParsisGoans, Jews, Dawoodi BohrasGujarati Banias from Surat and Diu, and Brahmins from Salsette.  They came to make Mumbai, the business capital that it still is.  On inviting one and all.

On the planning of the city.

About the open giving of Cawasji Jahangir.  So much so, that he was also called Mr. Ready Money. Always ready to give money to a worthy social cause.

Or the giving of David Sassoon, who came from Iraq, against the religious persecution of the Iraqi Pasha, and earned his wealth here, and built the Sassoon Docks, and also the training institution, which is now called the David Sassoon library.

Or the Rajabai tower, constructed by Roychand Premchand, so that his mother did not need to strain herself to see the time, when she had to take medicines.

Or, the building of Flora Fountain, the Elphinstone College, the Institute of Science, and the city itself.

Or the coming together of the people who built Art Deco buildings in Marine Drive, when the land was reclaimed.  They decided on a common visual language, for harmony, for the city.  Not trying to outdo one other for themselves, but for the city.

Everyone should do the walk, and to learn about the big heart that we once had.