The City and State of Bombay

I came across a very interesting paragraph in an article about Gujarat and Gujaratis.

Many people forget — or do not realise — that until 1960 the state of Gujarat did not exist. Till then, Gujarat was part of the old Bombay state. And few Gujaratis regarded this as offensive or unfair. In many ways, Bombay was the capital of Gujarat in that era and the city was built on the efforts of Gujaratis and Parsis. It was the Maharashtrians who objected to being lumped with Gujaratis and when the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat (including the old state of Saurashtra) were created on May 1, 1960, it was in response to Maharashtrian demands for their own state. (When the Shiv Sena was launched in 1967, its first targets included Gujaratis — the anti-Muslim platform took a decade to emerge.)

I have always known that till 1960 we were the erstwhile Bombay State, formed somewhat on the boundaries of the Bombay Presidency from the times the British ruled us.

If indeed we had remained Bombay state, we would have been one of the largest states in the country and definitely the most powerful economically, commercially and politically. Instead we are now at a point where it would be better off if Bombay was made a city-state like New Delhi so that we dont get lumped with the rest of Maharashtra.

Wot say ? Should that become the goal of all Bombayites or Mumbaikers? How about May 01, 2010, exactly 50 years after the dissolution of the State of Bombay, we have a new City and State of Bombay.

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5 Comments

  1. Abhilash Shastry January 28, 2008

    Ram Chandra Guha also in his “India after Gandhi” takes a very dismal view of Maharashtrian contribution in the making of Bombay city. As you have rightly pointed out that the Bombay as we know this city was built primarily by Gujaratis and Parsis. (Or should we just say Gujaratis? Doesn’t “Gujarati” cover all Gujarati speaking people regardless of their religion? Almost all the bawas I know insist that their mother tongue is Gujarati.) If at all, Maharashtrian chauvinism has only contributed to the decline of Bombay spirit. Ironically, it is Maharashtrian chavinists who are demanding “Bombay” for themselves, even though, they do not have any positive contribution to show in Bombay.

  2. Abhilash Shastry January 28, 2008

    Ram Chandra Guha also in his “India after Gandhi” takes a very dismal view of Maharashtrian contribution in the making of Bombay city. As you have rightly pointed out that the Bombay as we know of this city was built primarily by Gujaratis and Parsis. (Or should we just say Gujaratis? Doesn’t “Gujarati” cover all Gujarati speaking people regardless of their religion? Almost all the bawas I know insist that their mother tongue is Gujarati.) If at all, Maharashtrian chauvinism has only contributed to the decline of Bombay spirit. Ironically, it is Maharashtrian chavinists who are demanding “Bombay” for themselves, even though, they do not have any positive contribution to show in Bombay.

  3. Anon July 23, 2010

    This is a great post and provides much needed education to many current Maharastrians. I think for the state to think itself above the country is a joke and one that will, should it continue, ruin the city of Mumbai. I’m sure other cities will pick up the slack, in fifty years India will have a new financial capital city. The NCP is the worst political party in a long time and is full of ruffians and extortionists.

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