Mumbai North
Gallery

Laying down a suitable standard for the City of Bombay presents a very complex problem set against a backdrop of a congested city where no large vacant sites are available.

Considering that the total acreage of the City is 17,388 acres and the ultimate population the City can hold is 32.5 lakhs, obviously the Western standards of open spaces cannot be adopted. The Master Plan of Greater Bombay had suggested a standard of 4 acres / 1,000 population for the then estimated population of 13 lakhs in the City. If this standard is adopted it would mean that as much as 13,000 acres i.e. 73 percent of Island area would have to be set aside for recreation.

The suburbs provide a wide scope for a more ambitious standard looking to the low densities prevailing and the availability of vacant lands. The standard, therefore, proposed to be adopted is 4 acres / 1,000 population – 1 acre on neighborhood basis in the form of playgrounds and gardens and the remaining to be provided in the form of large parks. “

– Report on the Development Plan for Greater Bombay, 1964

According to calculations prepared by Open Mumbai in 2012, the “ambitious standards” set forth in 1964 have proven to be just that, ambitious. Hosting a mere 14 square kilometers of open space (including gardens, parks, recreation grounds, and playgrounds), Mumbai boasts a record setting low of .03 acres of open space / 1,000 population. The Observer Research Foundation reports that 45% of these spaces are partially or wholly occupied.

But all grounded hope is not lost, and an extended reading of Mumbai’s suburban geography reveals natural riches of a higher level.

As if in redemptive foresight of the man-made misfortunes that would befall the city in years to come, igneous outbursts of the Cretaceous period created what is today known as the Deccan Trap. Speculated by some scientists to have been a primary cause of the extinction of three quarters of all plant and animal life at the time (including dinosaurs), these once destructive outbursts are, ironically, Mumbai’s IV drip, supplying hydrogen and oxygen life-giving atoms.

Today, the portion of the Deccan Trap located within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region hosts the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a 104 square kilometer protected area which comprises approximately 17% of the total landmass of present day Mumbai.

Powai Artificial

December 2014

SO2 – 10 ug / m3
NO2 – 55 ug / m3
RSPM – 115 ug / m3

“The Powai Scheme was accordingly taken up for execution and complete in 1890. The lake with a spread of 365 acres is situated about a mile from Vehar. A masonry dam 650 feet in length and 25 feet high impounds the water in the valley of 1,700 acres of catchment area. Rainfall in the catchment area average 91” annually. The top water level of Powai was 190 Town Hall Datum, which was too low to admit gravity flow to the City.

The supply of water which had to be pumped to the City was also not of as good a quality as that of other lakes and required elaborate treatment. With the advent of the Tansa water, Powai supply to the City was therefore discontinued, the demand having been wholly met.

In the year 1919 the Corporation offered the Powai supply to the Government for the suburban needs after treating it in mechanical filters.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 95
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
196

Seventeen Percent

December 2014

SO2 – 10 ug / m3
NO2 – 54 ug / m3
RSPM – 145 ug / m3

“Unlike the City, the Suburbs have some large parks comprising of the vast forest preserves. The area stretching as a continuous belt from the National Park at Borivli, covering the areas of Tulsi, Vehar and Powai Lakes and Aarey Park with a total sweep of 16,334 acres has the richest growth of woodland. Much of the belt is still in a primitive condition and inaccessible. Nestling amidst the wooded hills lie three lakes, sources of Bombay’s water supply. Much has to be done to draw forth the recreational aspects in tune with the natural and topographical features. Even today, unkempt as the area may seem, the sublime natural landscape provides a handsome bait for escape from urban rigidity; especially the lake areas with their wild landscape, the ornamental patches of well laid-out gardens set against a back-ground of more rugged growth of trees, overlooking the serene waters of the lake has a magnetic attraction that draws every citizen of Bombay at some time or the other.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 52
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
1964

Juhu Beach

January 2015

SO2 – 19 ug / m3
NO2 – 85 ug / m3
RSPM – 101 ug / m3

“For a day of relaxation, drive 20 km north of Bombay to Juhu Beach. The drive takes you through Bombay’s larger suburbs, past a fishing village or two, several mosques and temples, and finally out to the first stretch of beach north of the city. Crescent-shaped and palm-fringed, Juhu is almost deserted on weekdays. Saturdays and Sundays, camels, ponies, acrobats and dancing monkeys enliven the scene.”

Bombay Handbook
Page 86
American Women’s Association
1973

Sakinaka Metro

December 2014

SO2 – 9 ug / m3
NOx – 60 ug / m3
RSPM – 91 ug / m3

“A pertinent point that must be stressed is the necessity for a link between the two railways North of Mahim and Sion. The Master Plan had made a suggestion for a cross connection between the Central and Western Railways between Andheri and Ghatkopar for the improvement of both passenger and good traffic of the area, but it appears that the proposal was not pursued. In the year 1947 a proposal to connect Bandra and Kurla was investigated by the Railways and later in 1952 when the Oil Refineries were proposed to be installed but was discarded as it was not economically viable. Looking to the new development that has taken place in this region since the Master Plan Report, it appears that such a connection would now be a difficult proposal and such a connection may now have to be thought of by the railways outside Greater Bombay for connecting Virar or Baseein, Bhiwandi and Kalyan.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 142
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
1964

Control Towers

January 2015

SO2 – 23 ug / m3
NOx – 97 ug / m3
RSPM – 122 ug / m3

“The Development Plan shows no proposals for the expansion or improvement of the Santacruz Airport. However, proposals for the improvement of road connections to the Airport have been shown in the plan. Another airport site on the Uran Coast when the Port Authorities, the Army, the Navy and some commercial houses move on there may have to be thought of and with a good link between the main land and Greater Bombay, this should be of good use to Greater Bombay also.

There have been suggestions for starting a helicopter passenger service for the passengers landing at Santacruz Airport and intending to go to the Fort Area. A helicopter landing ground in the Fort area may have to be thought of as soon as some definite decisions in this respect are taken. The minimum size of landing ground required for a twin motor helicopter is about 300 square feet. This can be provided in the new Backbay Reclamation.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 142
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
1964

Suburban Luxury

January 2015

SO2 – 22 ug / m3
NOx – 85 ug / m3
RSPM – 130 ug / m3

“The last consideration for fixation of F.S.I. is that there should be a limit to the size of a metropolitan area. There are a number of social and economical advantages in having a large metropolitan area, but when this becomes too larger certain disadvantages creep in. The cost of living goes up higher especially the house rents and the prices of foodstuffs. The local taxation, merely to provide services compensating for losses in urbanization, soares up. There is no offer of rural amenities for the average citizen, congestion at the centre increases, transport and communication lines are lengthened and journey to work becomes long and tedious. The surrounding fair sized towns start losing their independence because of the powerful influences wielded by the metropolitan area. In the event of war large concentration of population in a metropolitan area offers a good target and the problem of evacuation in an emergency becomes intricate.

In view of these restrictive influences the ultimate population of the City of Bombay should be restricted to 32.5 lakhs and of the Suburbs to 47.5 lakhs.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 149
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
1964

Gorai Creek

January 2015

SO2 – 13 ug / m3
NOx – 70 ug / m3
RSPM – 97 ug / m3

“It is indeed distressing to note that the City of Bombay, which claims to be the ‘Urbs prima in Indis’ has developed with scant attention to the provision of open spaces. The surveys carried out have revealed that the City has roughly about ¼ acre / 1,000 population as against 7 acres and 10 acres / 1,000 population standard adopted in Britain and the U.S.A. There being no effective measures to prevent overcrowding and to check the prevailing high densities consequent upon the low living standards these have all summed up to make the existing open spaces more and more deficient.

Suburban areas, including that of the Extended Suburbs, fortunately present a different picture. The densities prevailing, the low rates of land and the fact that these areas are in the process of development, makes it possible for more effective control. How far the planned approach would reach its completeness would depend on a number of circumstances, but one thing is certain that the natural topography of the land with the rugged hills and dales with their panorama of scenic beauty would withstand the adverse designs of men with their own natural strength.”

Development Plan for Greater Bombay
Page 50
Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay
1964

Northern Intrusions

January 2015

SO2 – 11 ug / m3
NOx – 83 ug / m3
RSPM – 124 ug / m3

“Bombay lies on the extreme west edge of one of the most prominent and widely spread rock-systems of India known as the Deccan Trap, which was formed, in all probability, immediately after the cretaceous period. The great igneous outbursts, with which the cataclysm then was associated, resulted in profuse flows of lava which, as suggested by Sir A. Geikie, were in all probability poured out from fissures and not from volcanic cones, and to which chiefly the peculiar horizontal formations characteristic of the trap-rocks are supposed to be due. The flow of lava extended over a vast area, covering a large portion of India lying between 10 degrees of latitude and 16 degrees of longitude. The traps about the island of Bombay are mostly basaltic and belong to the uppermost series of these rocks, and the presence of beds of volcanic ash in the form of ash breccias is by no means rare in the vicinity of Parel and Sion. The action however ceased aeons ago, and no volcanic action has been recorded in Bombay even in legend.”

Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island
Page 101
Edwards, S.M.
1909

Birds of Bombay

April 2015

SO2 – 9 ug / m3
NOx – 102 ug / m3
RSPM – 73 ug / m3

“Again, what are the Birds of Bombay ? Imagine one undertaking to describe the human inhabitants of Bombay. I am told that the Czar of Russia has eight hundred subjects in our island. I suppose that the Ameer of Afghanistan has many more, to say nothing of the Khan of Khelat and the Akhund of Swat. The heathen Chinee is not scarce, and I have seen the Jap, there are certainly Persians and Turks and Egyptians and Negroes and Burmans and Malays and Jews of several varieties and Armenians; and every nation in Europe is represented. In short, what country is there of which one can say with any confidence that there is not one native of it in Bombay ? Franz Joseph Land perhaps. And the case is pretty much the same with the feathered population. Bombay has of course its own peculiar resident avifauna; but it lies between the Indian continent on the one hand and the ocean on the other, and receives contributions from both. A storm at any time may toss the Frigate Bird or the Booby on our shores, and a misguided Hornbill may make its appearance on Malabar Hill. Then there is a host of birds of passage which regularly visit us every cold season, or drop in on us en passant, as quails drop on board of a P. and O. steamer on its way through the Medditerranean. And last, but by no means least as an element of perplexity, there are at all times escaped captives from the cages in the Crawford Market, which wander about the island in vagabondage until the crows kill them, or settle down and make themselves comfortable among us.”

The Common Birds of Bombay
Page 3-4
E.H.A.
1901

Borivali Planning?

February 2015

SO2 – 12 ug / m3
NOx – 25 ug / m3
RSPM – 108 ug / m3

“The comparison regarding the extent of practice of family planning in Bombay City and the suburbs, as shown in Table 5, indicates that the city rates were higher for both ever users and the current users of contraception. The proportion of ever users of family planning in the city was 80.87 per cent higher than that in the suburbs, whereas for current contraceptors it was 74.59 per cent higher. As far as specific methods were concerned, no difference was noticed between the city and the suburbs regarding the performance of sterilization. In acceptance of the loop, the city recorded a 71.42 per cent higher proportion than the suburbs. A very big difference was noticed between the city and the suburbs in case of the current practice of methods other than loop or sterilization. The proportion for the city was 269.13 per cent higher.”

Fertility and Family Planning in Greater Bombay
Page 151 – 153
Rele, J.R. and Kanitkar, Tara
1980

All Was Well

April 2015

SO2 – 7 ug / m3
NOx – 50 ug / m3
RSPM – 107 ug / m3

“The paradise of the Jacana is one of those ancient tanks, choked with crimson and white flowered lotus, which are at once the wealth and the glory of an Indian village ; where the women fill their waterpots and wash their clothes, and the men bathe and the buffaloes wallow and everybody is happy where no thought of microbe and bacillus blows across the placid calm of life, and the Pasteur-Mallie filter is unknown. We are rapidly infecting the people with our own esteem for ugly utilities, and the rusty water-tap is dispossessing the picturesque tank; but there are many left yet in the suburbs of Bombay, though the villages which they once vitalized may have disappeared. And there is one left in our very midst, the Gowalia tank. In such places, if you look for it, you may perhaps see the Jacana gingerly treading the floating leaves.”

The Common Birds of Bombay
Page 176-177
E.H.A.
1901

Western Railways

April 2015

SO2 – 7 ug / m3
NOx – 67 ug / m3
RSPM – 90 ug / m3

“The allurement of the suburbs, the attractive prospect of dwelling in a spacious, healthy environment, within sight of hill, jungle and sea – this allurement has been created by the railway.  Without the railway there would have been no suburbs worth writing about.  And here again it has been found that, as it has been wisely observed, the more frequent a local service the more it comes to be relied on.”

The Call of the Suburbs
BB&CI Annual
1926

Jamsetjee Causeway

February 2015

SO2 – 14 ug / m3
NOx – 28 ug / m3
RSPM – 124 ug / m3

“In olden days, the great commercial highway of Bombay was separated by a strait from the thickly populated island of Salsette.  As there was no passage by land, people going from Mahim to Bandra and vice versa, had to cross a stretch of treacherous water in small ferry boats.  This caused untold miseries to people of both the islands.  During the rains, the crossing was rendered extremely hazardous due to storms and treacherous currents, which resulted in the upsetting of the boats and the drowning of passengers and animals.  These disasters were not infrequent.

A great disaster stunned the people of both the islands in 1841, when from fifteen to twenty boats capsized while crossing the creek during the rainy season, and many lives were lost.  Everywhere people talked of this dire calamity.  At last the story of this grim tragedy reached Lady Jamsetjee’s ears.  The hour was struck and the donor was found.  On behalf of this gracious lady, Jamsetjee wrote to the Government that if they could not find necessary funds to build the causeway, his wife was willing to defray Rs. 45,000 towards its cost.   

The work began simultaneously from both sides on February 8, 1843.  After some time the authorities once again discovered that the estimate had fallen woefully short of the actual sum needed to complete the structure.  The Bombay Government was reluctant to approach Lady Avabai, so they applied to the Court of Directors to make up the deficit.  As this would inevitably cause a delay of months, and lest a fresh tragedy occur and lead to a further loss of lives, Lady Avabai increase the amount from Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 1,40,000 on condition that no toll should be levied on the public.  The causeway was ready in March 1845.” 

Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy
Jehangir R.P. Mody
1959
Page 123 – 124

Bandra Jackals

May 2015

SO2 – 10 ug / m3
NOx – 23 ug / m3
RSPM – 73 ug / m3

“The growth of the principal cities where the Briton mostly dwells drove them farther afield; where generations took their morning ride on the sands of the western foreshore of Bombay is now a serried array of four-and five-storeyed flats; where the Jackal Club had its cold-weather camp in the adjacent island of Salsette are new colonies of middle-class dwellers. The expansion of the cities is phenomenal….Bombay, crowded with a population of a million and a quarter, has more than two millions within the civic boundaries, and there has not been a development of building proportionate to this growth.”

The India I Knew
Sir Stanley Reed
1952
Page 141-142

Seventy-One Percent

May 2015

SO2 – 11 ug / m3
NOx – 24 ug / m3
RSPM – 71 ug / m3

“Better Housing! The recent official figures given by the Municipal Commissioner of Bombay are so staggering that they could be unbelievable if they came from a lesser authority. Seventy-one percent of the tenements of Bombay City consist of single rooms; the average number of persons in these rooms is far above the overall figure of ten, and ‘there are cases in my knowledge where as many as thirty and forty persons are supposed to occupy the same room.’

Exploited by the moneylender in his own village – and the problem of agricultural debt is baffling; exploited by the jobber and the sirdar in the mill; divorced from any real contact with the employer and living under these wretched conditions, the industrial proletariat is meat for the intriguer, whether he be a communist or a revolutionary. It is not so much a question of low wages, these have grown out of all proportion to output; but of the simplest elements of a decent life. The tasks which confront the independent Government of India are vast beyond comprehension, and this is the most urgent of all. Unless rapid progress is made in provision for the elementary needs of the industrial army the foundations of Indian society may well be shaken beyond repair.”

The India I Knew
Sir Stanley Reed
1952
Page 138-139

Mahim Business Centre

March 2015

SO2 – 10 ug / m3
NOx – 111 ug / m3
RSPM – 110 ug / m3

“With regard to establishing a second business centre at Mahim the main disadvantages are:

a.) The area on which it is to be located is wedged between two existing built-up areas and consequently expansion to meet the needs of a growing city would be impossible.  (Maximum area available is 0.7 sq. miles only). 

b.) Clearly the Mahim Centre can only be developed as a centre of secondary importance subsidiary to the main centre in the South.  Congestion in the Southern part of the island would continue to increase.

c.)  There would necessarily be a heavy exchange of traffic between this Centre and the Fort area and because the new Centre lies on the North-South axis of the island this would only add to and aggravate the difficulty of existing North-South traffic. 

Bombay, Planning and Dreaming
Marg
Ed. Mulk Raj Anand

June 1965
Page 49

Juhu Anthills

April 2015

SO2 – 9 ug / m3
NOx – 102 ug / m3
RSPM – 73 ug / m3

“We do not yet know the full implications of the modern trends of urban development; nor can we envisage to-day the impact of new means and manner of communications with automobile, telephone, television, and electronic computer nullifying our earlier calculations of the economies of propinquity and concentration.  We do not know enough of the psychology of man to predict how long he will tolerate living in beehives.  There is enough experience to indicate that young children dislike being couped up into high flats; they instinctively love and crave for contact with the soil, grass, flowers and trees……What are we then trying to achieve by developing Bombay into little better than an Ant-hill of 80 Lakhs?”

Bombay, Planning and Dreaming
Marg
Ed. Mulk Raj Anand
June 1965
Page viii – ix

Bountiful Xanadu

April 2015

SO2 – 6 ug / m3
NOx – 125 ug / m3
RSPM – 163 ug / m3

“Nature has been bountiful to Bombay.  Can it be said that, apart from a few men, many of us have done anything to embellish the beauty of this landscape?  And will it be said that our generation, which fought for political freedom, answered the challenge of building a humane order?

The destiny of Bombay will be decided in our own time.  Let us not build blind alleys.  Let us open out to gardens, vistas, utilities, gathering places, schools, hospitals, on the hitherto neglected spaces, away from the congested ‘Fort’ of a bygone age, until many ‘Xanadus’ grown beyond the dream of Kubla Khan, nearer our own dreams for a city worthy of an emergent new world, beyond the concepts of London, Paris and New York, to our own inner aspirations towards the ‘city beautiful’.  Let us have the courage to dream:

For in dreams begins responsibility.”    

Bombay, Planning and Dreaming
Marg
Ed. Mulk Raj Anand
June 1965
Page 3

Bhiwandis Waral

May 2015

SO2 – 11 ug / m3
NOx – 80 ug / m3
RSPM – 140 ug / m3

“Waral Lake may not be a familiar name to most Bombayites. Yet it is within 32 miles from Bombay on the superb Bombay-Nashik Road. It can be done very comfortably in an afternoon.

The best way to find Waral Lake is to think of Bhiwandi. It is just a mile before it. In fact, the lake provides Bhiwandi’s modest water supply….

Yes, I have no doubt that you will enjoy Waral Lake and its surroundings, but make not mistake about carrying your eatables. You will not get a thing on the way, and you will feel pretty thirsty and hungry.”

Roads to Beauty around Bombay
Homi J.H. Taleyarkhan
1953
Page 79-81

Aldeamar Fort

April 2015

SO2 – 6 ug / m3
NOx – 88 ug / m3
RSPM – 132 ug / m3

“The little known ancient Aldeamar Fort, is within an hour’s reach of the metropolis. An afternoon will suffice. A day will be delectable. It is a perfect picnic spot; a cool retreat; a veritable refuge from the heat of Bombay; fanned by refreshing sea breezes; commanding a panoramic view from its lofty eminence; solitary in its grandeur; nostalgic of history; lonely to the point of being awe-inspiring.

This old Portuguese Fort is quite easy to reach. Take a BEST bust or drive in your own car upto Versova, 15 miles from Bombay. Many people go to Versova to enjoy the pleasures of its luxurious beach.

The bus will take you as far as the entrance to the fishing village of Versova, formerly known as Vasava. Then you must walk in about a mile right through the village which is virtually soaked in the smell of fish.  Kolis crowd its narrow street. If you have your own car, you can drive in right up to the point from where the ferry sails.

This is the Versova Creek, a beauteous sight, though not as pleasant a smell. The place is so thick with fish that you might find it difficult to take one step without stamping on some dry or drying fish.

From the Versova side of the Creek you can see the fort of Aldeamar across the waters on the left. But as you embark on the ferry, the sight of the bamboo built ships which bring mutti and timber from Aleanar, a place some distance off, is most appealing.

There is a bumper trade in progress here all the time.  Lorries go right down into the waters to unload the cargo from the ships, which crowd into the tiny harbour.

The creek at the point of its crossing is very narrow, the distance being hardly a furlong. An enthusiast may even swim across. It is much shorter distance than the Marve Manori creek crossing. The usual fee of one anna only is taken by the ferry man.

From the boat, for the few minutes you are in it, make it a point to observe on your right a mild hill in the near distance. It is swept with green and thick with trees. It is the Dharavli Donger which offers plenty of possibilities of a good hike in its jungles.

Within a few minutes the other side of the creek is reached. You have landed on the less frequented side of the island of Madh. Several people visiting the Madh Beach about which I have already written, choose this shorter cut, especially those who have no car.

Follow the road to the left. After a short distance, there is one which branches off to the right. That is the one which leads to the Madh Beach.

But in order to reach Aldeamar Fort, keep a straight course. It is just upwards of two miles, but the walk is very pleasant and very pretty with the waters of the creek on one side and shady nooks and palms on the other. Even if the road may be exposed, the heat is vanquished by the wind.

The road is also motorable, but the motorist will have to come all along the Marve-Madh Road which meets the road at Malad, the route already described in a previous chapter when dealing with Madh and Manori.

The way to Aldeamar sweeps to the left and goes up an incline. The road is asphalted, thanks to the military who occupied the place during the war years. The place, I understand is still under military occupation, though completely deserted.

After you have taken the turning on the left, opposite to the direction of the beach, you have still got to go about a mile within. You are conscious of a mild elevation as you walk or drive.

The Fort of Aldeamar soon emerges on your left with its tall ramparts, built of black stone and seasoned to resist attacks. Plenty of barracks have been built in and around it, mixing ancient history with the modern.

If you have a car leave it on the roadside. From the road, a short walk of barely a furlong or two will bring you right upto the walls of one of the first Portuguese Forts in India.

You may not know from where to enter it. I went round and round for a while before I found the entrance. I expected a huge gate or gates as Forts usually have. But this Portuguese Fort has only a very narrow little opening, as if it were an entrance to a cell. One has almost to stoop to enter. The Fort is small but even for its size, the entrance is disproportionately insignificant.

To locate the entrance without much walking around, bear to your right as you approach the Fort and you will find the little opening.

Once inside, the historical associations of the Fort will grip you.  There is not a soul there, except an aged watchman who must be doing very little watching, judging from the utter state of neglect in which the Fort is kept.

I think it is really a shame that no effort should be made to keep these historical monuments in a fit condition. There is a veritable jungle inside. There are no tablets; no indication of what it is; even the people living around, while they know of the “killa”, do not even know its name.

The Fort, as I said, was one of the first Portuguese Forts.  Later it was wrested from the Portuguese by the Maharattas and became one of their impregnable strongholds. It dates back from the sixteenth century.

As you enter, the first thing you see is a broken-down tank, which must have been the source of water supply for the garrison.

There are four water-towers with slits for guns and windows for watching enemy movement. I went to each one of them and the view from all of them was simply wonderful. Especially the tower which overlooks the Creek with its sailing boats, fishing dingies, timber ships, the background stretching from Versova and Andheri and Juhu and beyond, make a sight you will long want to remember.

Climb up the ramparts, walk along the parapet, inspect and view the Fort from every angle. Don’t mind the thorns from the wild growth, which will occasionally attack you.  Think of the braves who must have kept vigil here day after day and night after night and the many actions that must have taken place here, the many who must have fallen in its defence and performed deeds of gallantry and heroism.

You can picnic within the Fort if you please. But it is all hemmed in, as it were, as Forts are supposed to be. Far better if you choose any of the abundant beauty spots all around, just outside the Fort.

When you leave the Fort, bear down towards your left and walk past some level way, prettily populated with palms. In the very near distance is a little hillock with miniature cliffs beaten hard by the waves.

Go right up to this hillock. It is the crowning part of your day’s trip. It has a lovely little flat ground on top of it; the waters of the creek lap the hill directly beneath. The expanse is superb with the Creek on one side, the end of the Madh Island on the other.

You are indeed now on the extreme edge of the Salsette group of islands. You cannot go any further without toppling into the water. The sunset from here with the reclining rays pouring though the silhouetted palms and villagers’ huts and remains of ancient Portuguese churches is breath-taking.

On this flat stretch on the hill, spread out your picnic things, relax, and as you fill your lungs with the fresh air and your tummy with the refreshments, give thanks to God for His bounty.”

Roads to Beauty around Bombay
Homi J.H. Taleyarkhan
1953
Page 62-65

Bombay’s Lakeland

February 2015

SO2 – 20 ug / m3
NOx – 29 ug / m3
RSPM – 138 ug / m3

“If you are a good walker, you will discover innumerable beauty spots barely a dozen miles from the city.  And now if you consider the city of Greater Bombay which covers the suburban area, such spots are just all around you. They may be elusive indeed, easily getting themselves lost in the squalor of various little townships.  But just walk out a while….then the air will change, the scene will be transformed.

Except for ‘the preliminary distance, say upto Ghatkoper on the one side or Santa Cruz on the other, you cannot do it by car.  Not on wheels but on legs is the best way to hunt for these spots.

I recommend you take your car upto Santa Cruz.  Just a little beyond the railway crossing on the road to the aerodrome you will come by a tiny trolley track.  It belongs to the  municipality and is used for its maintenance work.

There is no motor car road along it.  Just follow that rail track and after you have traversed the area of the aerodrome, a new scene will open up for your pleasure.  Now you are on the way to Powai.

At whatever spot you are most attracted by, just leave the track and wander within. You can ramble in the countryside to your heart’s content, finding always something new to seize your attention.

Keep an eye on the rail track though, so that you do not lose track of your direction.  If you are walking or wandering parallel to it, then you will presently come within sight first of Powai Lake, then of Vihar.

Even if you have seen them before, you may find it difficult to recognize them at first sight.  Because it is your first sight of these lovely lakes of Bombay from an altogether different side and angle.

Here the occasional tall palms through which the complacent waters gaze at you make a picture which would rival the best scenery of the English Lake District.

Walk on.  After passing under one or two tiny bridges, you will cross an aqueduct.  But pause a little distance before it.   With the foreground of the imposing duct and the background of a spreading scene, you will enjoy a sheer sensation of delight.

Cross it.  Roll into the undulating downs well below the rail track and ramble where you please.  There are trees to provide the comfort of rest or the atmosphere of romance. There are pools of water to mirror up to you the joy you will. There are little huts which give the scene the touch of life.

I am not suggesting the beauty is so overwhelming as to dash you off into ecstacies. But as a rule a nature lover needs very little to please. There is more than little here, even though there may be much less than all.”

Roads to Beauty around Bombay
Homi J.H. Taleyarkhan
1953
Page 22-23

Vikhroli Lab

December 2014

SO2 – 28 ug / m3
NOx – 180 ug / m3
RSPM – 104 ug / m3

“It is during the adolescent stage when one’s personality begins to take shape. A person discovers himself, so to say, during his adolescence and this is the time when he needs every possible opportunity for developing his individual personality and creative abilities.  Mere continuation of the formal education does not suffice though without it the future would be bleak for all save a few exceptional ones.  Sports clubs, hobby centres, science clubs, arts and crafts centres and other centres for encouraging creative and expressive faculties would be needed.  All the more so because it is acknowledged that the function of the urban family in transition is severely restricted in this sphere.  The need for varied recreational services is acutely felt in view of the paucity of open areas in the city and the cramped space in which more of the households in Greater Bombay live.

This means that the schools have to provide a wide range of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities to their students.  However, the above-mentioned restricting factors are operative for the schools as well resulting in a shift-system.  This in turn means that welfare agencies will have to first of all assess the actual roles played by the families and the schools before formulating their own programme for recreational services.”

A Report on the Situation of Children and Youth in Greater Bombay
Khandekar, Mandakini
Page 91
1970

Aarey Colony

December 2014

SO2 – 10 ug / m3
NOx – 26 ug / m3
RSPM – 123 ug / m3

“I have seen it in prosperity and I have seen it in suffering; and I have always been greatly struck by the spirit and patriotism of its citizens.  There seems to me to be here an excellent feeling between the very different races and creeds.  Bombay possesses an exceptional number of public-spirited citizens, and the sense of civic duty is as highly developed as in any great city that I know.  If there is a big movement afoot, you lend yourselves to it with a powerful and concentrated will, and a united Bombay is not a force to be gainsaid.”

Lord Curzon’s Farewell to India
ed. R.P. Karkaria in Charm of Bombay
Page 208
1907 

Nalasopara Overspill

April 2015

SO2 – 8 ug / m3
NOx – 15 ug / m3
RSPM – 91 ug / m3

“A high literacy rate, a higher level of social participation, numerous and varied educational, recreational, social and cultural institutions, extensive political activities, a truly cosmopolitan character, a highly developed transportation system, an extensive spread of mass media of communication, all go towards making Bombay a most attractive place to live in.  A large number of film studios in the city has given it an added glamour in the eyes of the youth.

On the other hand, it is often noted that the metropolis has prospered at the cost of its neighbouring areas.  Their growth was stunted even as Bombay continued to grow and grow further.  An when ultimately growth came their way, it was more in the nature of an overspill from Bombay. The centre of gravity has yet to shift.

Now, the result is that Bombay is past its saturation point in many respects.  Firstly, its overgrown population is putting a heavy strain on every social and utility service, adversely affecting its environment.  Much of the charm and beauty of the city is fading if not already faded. The counter-stream in migration is becoming prominent.  Its growing slums are posing not only an environmental but a social and even a political problem.  A number of other social problems have taken root.  Incidence of crime in the city is is among the highest in major Indian cities.  Income disparities are so marked that they are splitting its society and merely into many strata but into different worlds.

Thus, we can sum up the situation as one of problems and opportunities for the children and youth here.  How do they and their families perceive these problems and opportunities, and react to them?  How do the problems affect different sections of society ?  And it is also a question of different opportunities for different types of children and youth.  How are the lives of children and youth affected and moulded by these problems and opportunities?  What are their hopes and aspirations ? Also the fears, stresses and strains ? We have shown that even the composition and structure of households in Greater Bombay are different from those in urban Maharashtra and Urban India.  That they should be different from the rural areas is only to be expected. What do these changes mean to the bringing up of children ?  What is their place in the changing familial set-up ? The socio-economic studies undertaken so far provide us with a description of the overall situation but not with answers to questions such as those posed here.”

A Report on the Situation of Children and Youth in Greater Bombay
Khandekar, Mandakini
Page 99
1970

Urbs Indis is an urban aerial photography studio and archival library founded by Mumbai based architect and artist Robert D Stephens (RMA Architects). Since 2007 he has been documenting urban India from 10,000 feet above sea level, in black and white as well as colour photography.

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