Book Review: ‘Making Of A Metropolis’ Is An Interesting Retrospective Glimpse Of Bombay

Book Review: ‘Making Of A Metropolis’ Is An Interesting Retrospective Glimpse Of Bombay

The Note For The Reader right in the beginning warns the reader about the usage of old names like Bombay, Poona, Madras instead of the prevalent ones today

Shruti PanditUpdated: Sunday, April 07, 2024, 01:12 AM IST
article-image

The book, Making of a Metropolis, is a result of meticulous research by author, Mohanlal P. Gandhi, who collected the data and wrote the manuscript of this book nearly 60 years ago. Gandhi was a journalist in the post-Independence era. He shifted his focus to building a textile empire before going back to his first love — journalism in his later years. Gandhi’s daughter, Minaxi Kamath, discovered this manuscript almost 30 years later. It was her efforts and the editorial team’s contribution that resulted in this massive coffee table book published by Spenta Multimedia.

The Note For The Reader right in the beginning warns the reader about the usage of old names like Bombay, Poona, Madras instead of the prevalent ones today. It was mandatory that they stuck to the names in the original manuscript as it dates back to the era when those were the names in use.

The book is divided into five parts after the Introduction. Part One talks about the Bombay before the advent of Portuguese, the Portuguese era, British era etc. It is about the Bombay of 1700 to 1800 with Hindu period and Muslim period distinctly mentioned. It also introduces the reader to Gerald Auringer, who led the foundation of Bombay. Auringer described Bombay’s potential to develop as ‘a city which by God’s assistance is intended to be built.’ (sic)

Part two looks at the city from the eyes of the travellers who chronicled the changes in the city. The third part is dedicated to all those who helped create Bombay, the commercial capital of India through the years; especially in the early days.

It talks about known faces like Dadabhoy Naoroji and the Wadias of Bombay Dyeing along with the lesser-known contributors like Jagannath Shankersett and The Readymoneys among others.

The book fastidiously records the varied markets that furthered the growth of the city. And that also includes the Opium Trade along with Cotton Market, Shipping and Ship Building. There is also a mention of the evolution of the stock exchange, postal services etc.

Last section in the book is about the problems Gandhi predicted or perceived. There he mentions the rise of cricket as well… why, not to be questioned. But one has to admire that he did predict the traffic situation of the city.

Making of A Metropolis has many photos — old and new — which make the retrospective interesting read.

RECENT STORIES

Navigating Bengali Detective Fiction In The Changing Times

Navigating Bengali Detective Fiction In The Changing Times

7 Of The World's Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Libraries You Must See to Believe

7 Of The World's Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Libraries You Must See to Believe

Argylle Book Review: The Perfect Read For A Rainy Evening

Argylle Book Review: The Perfect Read For A Rainy Evening

Secrets Revealed: Why Millennials And Gen Z Can't Get Enough Of Silent Book Clubs

Secrets Revealed: Why Millennials And Gen Z Can't Get Enough Of Silent Book Clubs

The Musical Maverick Book Review: An Insightful Read Of Singer’s Life

The Musical Maverick Book Review: An Insightful Read Of Singer’s Life