Your guide to living it up in Mumbai in the 1940s
Back in the 1940s, amid World War 2, a number of American and British troops were stationed in Mumbai.
To ensure they had a pleasant stay, they were given little booklets and pamphlets that served as their guide to Mumbai. These included lists of restaurants and cinema halls, tips on getting around, even a guide to pronouncing numbers in Hindi (read: eck, doe… beece). There were dos and don’ts in a palm-sized pamphlet titled V For Victory. Another, titled Hello Chaps! This Is Bombay, cautions men not to greet Indian women with ‘Hey cutie’.
These titles are among 16 rare guidebooks on display next week, at the Artisans’ gallery in Kala Ghoda. The books are from the personal collection of Mumbai-based American architect Robert Stephens, best known for the series of aerial photographs of Mumbai.
“The guidebooks published until the end of World War 2 were clearly aimed at Europeans. Post-Independence, they became more cosmopolitan in nature, with information about events and venues in the city, and places to visit outside Bombay, which would generally mean the northern suburbs,” he says, laughing.
Each book features a map of the city as it was then – with one even shaped like a hand with its finger pointing downwards resembling the shape of the peninsular city. “Unlike guidebooks of Delhi or Kolkata that start with monuments, most guidebooks of Mumbai start with description of its people,” Stephens says. The exhibition will also mark the launch of the architect’s website, Urbs Indis: Cities of India. “It’s an archival library that brings together 10 years of my work,” he says.
The website will have a digital reading room featuring snapshots of the books in his collection, and an online journal where he will document photo-essays on the public libraries and second-hand booksellers of India.
“These are rare guidebooks,” says city historian Deepak Rao. “In the pre-Independence era, Bombay was on the tourist map of the entire world, so these guidebooks were required. They were well-researched. Each book also had a map. Today, in the age of Google maps, these books serve as beautiful memories of the past.”
The guidebooks from 1880 to 1980 will be on display from May 18 to 27 at Artisans’ gallery, Kala Ghoda. The entry is free.
Two miscreants have allegedly snatched Rs 8 lakh from a labour contractor at a railway station in Karnal. Police said the incident took place on Tuesday morning when the victim, Sita Ram of Nilokheri, reached the railway station to board a train. After receiving the information, a police team reached the spot and started investigations. In his police complaint, Sita Ram alleged that his brother-in-law Umesh has a contract to provide labourers to brick kilns.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has called upon the people of the state to take a pledge to accomplish the 'Panch Pran' (five resolves) given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a developed country by 2047, and ensure their contribution towards transforming the county into a potential superpower of the world.
Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to notify the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual 2022 to replace the one that came into force during British rule in 1941, and has been amended several times since. It classifies the state's prisons into four categories with inmate populations ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. Pregnant women will be given additional nutritious food. Jails will have playing areas for children with mothers held in prisons.
A day after the body of a six-year-old girl was recovered from a deserted place near a drain in Panipat city, the police arrested a 40-year-old migrant labourer for the rape and murder of the girl. The police said that the accused, Ishwar Singh belongs to Chamoli in Uttarakhand, and he was living in Panipat for the past 15 years as he worked at a dhaba there.
Despite enhanced security across Kashmir, militants managed to carry out four back-to-back attacks in the past three days, including three grenade attacks and a targeted killing which left two policemen and a civilian dead and three others injured. Though officials claim that Independence Day remained almost peaceful without any major incident, the grenade attacks sparked concerns over security. Militants on Tuesday attacked two cousins belonging to Hindu community at their apple orchard in Shopian.