The East Indian community will acquire its first full-fledged museum this month. This, after members pooled in resources to fund a makeover to the initial make-shift museum that was housed in thatched huts in Manori.
The East Indian museum, housed in a 40x12 feet wooden structure, will be formally opened on May 19 as part of the annual festival organised by the Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP). The festival will begin on May 11.
The MGP had previously set up a museum at the family house of sarpanch Alphi D’souza in 2011. The make-shift museum was inside thatched huts made of coconut leaves. However, the structures were too rudimentary and they had succumbed to the rain.
“The new museum is being set up with donations from community members from 189 gaothans in the city. The total contribution, so far, has been Rs4 lakh,” said D’souza. “We did not accept any form of contribution from other communities or corporate houses.”
The community had put forth a request to the state government for a land to house the museum about six months ago. However, when they failed to get any response from the state, the MGP began construction at Mobai Bhavan last month. The bhavan serves as the MGP head office.
The museum will feature artefacts collected from various East Indian households. They will be showcased under various sections such as traditional kitchen, occupation and weddings.
Visitors will get to see musical instruments of the original inhabitants like the ghumat (an earthen pot-like instrument made of animal skin) and how the inhabitants cooked food in large vessels like the foram (used to cook an entire pig). “We will now have detailed descriptions of every artefact in Marathi as well as English. We will also use the rest of the compound to showcase traditional bullock carts, ploughing equipment and models of salt pans,” said D’souza.
The community plans to put up advertisements of the museum on ferry boats.“We want to attract more tourists and we will put up banners on the ferry, if possible,” said D’Souza.