Find Surat, Baroda in the heart of South Mumbai
You are likely to mistakenly think that you are taking a walk down the streets of Gujarat when you spot street names such as Surat, Baroda, and Ahmedabad in Masjid Bunder, in the heart of South Mumbai. What’s more, if you walk a few blocks ahead, the Gujarati names make way for Maharashtrian ones, with street names such as Poona, Solapur, Kurla, and Kalyan.
Streets at Masjid Bunder (East) are named after places in Gujarat and Maharashtra, as a nod to traders, stockists, and businessmen hailing from these regions. These communities have held a strong presence in the area starting from the 1960s.
During the early years of the 19th century, Masjid Bunder was one of British India’s busiest ports, as goods from various ports arrived here and were stored in godowns on these particular streets. Home to a number of traders, the areas were named after the earliest settlers in the region.
Avkash Jadhav, a history professor at St Xaviers college, said, “This patch of South Mumbai had several huge godowns and was a commercial hub during the 19th century. Due to its connectivity to the railway line and the port, this was the junction from where goods moved or settled at the godowns. Goods that arrived from famous places of Gujarat and ports in South India were used by stockists at these streets.”
Locals confirmed that these were trade settlement units, used to identify people from a particular community or region. Prakash Shetty, a native of Tamil Nadu and Masjid Bunder resident, said, “These streets accommodated workers who came to Mumbai to make a living. These street names are the best example of Mumbai’s popularity of being the city of dreams.”
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