Mumbai, the commercial capital of India.
The Mughals were not interested in navies. They were a people
who understood only the logic of land. The Europeans, on
the other hand, were the ones who navigated the seas and found the
various sea routes. The British colonisers recognised Bombay's
potential as a centre of commerce that they could control.
opening up of Bombay to trade attracted the Parsis, Bohras, Jews
and Banias from neighbouring Gujarat, Surat and
Diu. This was the start of a migration to Bombay, which soon
expanded to people coming in from all over India . With ship building
already having shifted from Surat to Bombay, labour, artisans and
weavers also moved here to co-exist with the slave trade from Madagascar.
The shipbuilding industry moved to Bombay from Surat with the coming
of the Wadias. During the British period, Bombay enjoyed
great economic wealth.
end of the British imperial rule in India was clearly presaged by
the Quit India declaration by the Indian National Congress
on August 8, 1942, in Gowalia Tank Maidan, near Kemp's
Corner. India became a free country on August 15, 1947. In the meanwhile,
Greater Bombay had come into existence through an Act of
the British parliament in 1945. Millennial Mumbai Already
India's main port and commercial centre, the City of Gold lured
the poverty stricken rural population and the expanding middle class
equally. The population boom of the '50s and '60s was fuelled by
the absence of opportunities in the rest of the country.
cotton from Gujarat was shipped to Lancashire in England through
the Bombay port, and after being spun and woven into cloth, were
returned to be sold in the Indian market. In 1853 a 35-km long railway
line between Thana and Bombay was inaugurated-- the first in India.
Four years later, in 1854, the first cotton mill was founded in
Bombay. The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 increased
the demand for cotton in the West and several personal fortunes
were made during this period from the resulting trade. The opening
of the Suez Canal in 1869 brought the West closer to Bombay.
As the city became more prosperous, many schemes were launched
for reclaiming additional land and building more roads and wharves.
Bombay began to attract fortune hunters by the hundreds and the
population had swelled, in a little less than 100 years, from 13,726
in 1780 to 644,405 in 1872. By 1906, the population of Bombay was
to become 977,822. The latter half of the 19th century saw feverish
construction of buildings in Bombay. Many of these -- the Victoria
Terminus, the General Post Office, Municipal Corporation,
the Prince of Wales Museum, Rajabai Tower and Bombay University,
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 and are listed as heritage buildings.
The Bombay State included the city as its seat of government. In
1960 the state of Bombay was split into Maharashtra and Gujarat
states again on linguistic basis, the former retaining Bombay city
as its capital.With the success of the backbay reclamation scheme
in the late 1960s and early 1970s , Nariman Point became the hub
of business activity. Several offices shifted from Ballard Estate
to Nariman Point, which ultimately became one of the most
expensive real estate areas 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 the city. Churchgate Street was also renamed
as Veer Nariman Road after independence. But a lot of construction
that people still see in Mumbai today happened even before the British
came in. Between the 9th and 13th centuries, the Arabian Sea was
central as a route of commerce. During this period, the islands
changed hands many times.
Presumably the first merchants and agriculturists settled in Mumbai
at this time. Bombay (now renamed Mumbai) India's golden metropolitian
city is the most fast moving, affluent, industrialised city and
the economic powerhouse of the country. It handles almost half of
the country's foreign trade and is a stronghold of free enterprises,
a centre of India's most important textile industry and also the
financial centre of the country. It's is the New York of India.
A mixture of different races and culture, it's a city with smart
hightech buildings pockmarked with slum dwellings. Bombay's range
of industries include virtually all consumer goods - cars, textiles
and high tech multimedia. Apart from this Bombay boasts one of the
biggest and a very flourishing film industry.
The Bombay Stock exchange was established with 318 members
with a fee of Re. 1/-. This fee has gradually increased over the
years and today it is a over a crore. The BSE is housed in
the 28-storied Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers in the same place
where the old building once stood. In 1995 the operations and dealings
of the BSE were fully computerized and thus the famous out-cry system
of share trading was replaced by screen based trading as in other
modern stock exchanges around the world. Today Bombay is the financial
and business capital of India.
By : Sharmistha Chakraborty