Over the years the seven islands ‘gifted as dowry’ got fused to become one of the biggest ports in the east and the metropolis it is today. It was not only maharajahs or people with money and power who moved, but those that had traded for centuries across the waters migrated to find better facilities.

The inhabitants of the western coast had established trade with the Arab world since prehistoric times. The middle Harappan Phase (2600-1900BCE) saw development of major maritime trade network with ‘merchants from Dilmun’ (modern Bahrain). These long routes were feasible by development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a central single mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth. These ‘dhows’ plied the Indian Ocean with spices, textiles, silks etc. These migrants too carried their gods with them and built small shrines. Hindus near the holi waters of the ‘Banganga’, the Parsees near the Grant Road Station, the Bohrasfrom Suratand the Bene-Israelis, Jews who had settled in 200 villages for 2000 years. All came in peace and lived in harmony with each other.  

The palaces, the rich and those wishing to be near those in power thronged Malabar Hills in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but there were also those who thought of the housing needs of the middle-class. For them they built ‘little townships’ at the foothills.

An American who moved to England after the American Civil War showed the way. George Peabody was a social visionary, who set up a fund for public education and social housing, with multiple affordable homes in self-sufficient developments.

When Napean Sea Road resident Keval found a pigeon stuck between the sliding windows in his home, he was dumbstruck. Pulling the pigeon out from between the window panes was a painful experience for both Keval and the pigeon. After a lot of fluttering of wings from the pigeon and screams from Keval, the bird was freed. To his dismay though, Keval found that the pigeon had lost its ability to fly and was limping. He called up ‘Just Dial’ and was directed to SPARSH located near in the Manav Mandir School Building.

Governor Medows (1788 to 1790) had built a little ‘Hunting Lodge’ for resting from the heat of the afternoon sun when out on shikar on the hills. Governor Sir Evan Nepean(1812-1819) started living in this small lodge overnight. Then along came Governor Monstuart Elphinstone(1819-1827) with his grander plans for our city. He built the first ‘bungalow’ to reside in.

It is often said, perhaps not without justification, that Indians lack a sense of their own history. Around the world, historical monuments are carefully preserved. The Ban Ganga in Walkeshwar, Malabar Hills, poses problems for considering its age as a part of real history, much as other ancient historical sites in India do.

In 1947, when India gained its Independence, there were about 5000 Jews in the city, today there are less than 100 and they are not listed as a ‘minority community’, but just as ‘The Others’. Forgotten is the assistance given for the development of Bombay, as it was known then.