More than 5,000 documents and files dated from 1930 to 1991 have been declassified and made accessible as part of a public archive inaugurated last week at Raj Bhavan.
These documents include a treasure of historical oddities, such as a 1943 note from the general administration department to the governor’s secretary, outlining the menace of beggary and emphasising increased punishment for beggars.
“As soon as the beggar profession know that we mean business, it will melt away from Bombay,” the document states.
There are letters from an Indian Mauritian requesting some part of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi after his death, so that “the Indians of Mauritius may also pay their homage”.
There is the genesis of the Jehangir Art Gallery, which Cowasjee Jehangir proposed to set up at a cost of Rs. 2 lakh or Rs. 3 lakh in 1945.
A previous proposal from a businessman called Fyzee Rahamin to set up a gallery in Malabar Hill in 1944 had been set aside by the government on account of war.
On the matter of the gallery, the chief secretary to the state government rues the flaws of the municipal body in a letter.
“If the offer is accepted it should be as a state concern and not a municipal enterprise since the Bombay municipality is utterly incapable of handling the institute as it ought to be handled,” it says.