Boundaries: Royal Western India Turf Club (1886)
Horses owned by the Aga Khan dominated the racing scene in the city in the 19th c. Since his arrival in Bombay from Persia in 1848, the Aga Khan I resourcefully consolidated and legitimated his position as the head of the Ismaili community and emerged as the most prominent and probably wealthiest Persian in Bombay.
With a capital start, Hersh jumped off with the lead, closely followed by
Hersh Acharya and Camera…
Facades: St. Mary’s School (1864)
Nesbit Road, Mazagaon (presently Sardar Balwant Singh Dhody Marg).
The Annual Exhibition was the most important event in a school’s calendar in 19th c Bombay. The Exhibition included the distribution of prizes, student performances, reading the school’s annual report and on occasion, depressingly, an on the spot examination of the student’s work.
Proud Marian Hersh Acharya goes back to school.
Pop-up: Dhobi Ghat (1890-95)
Dhobiwada Road, Mahaluxmi.
Hanging was the predominant method of execution in Bombay. Early instances of hanging were public spectacles, where the victims were displayed in chains to the gathered crowds.
Hersh Acharya captures hung shirts with a Wildean wistful eye.
Boundaries: Girgaum Chowpatty
Festivals bring Bombaywallas in close proximity to the Arabian Sea. On the occasions of Ava Ardui Sur Jasan and Narali Purnima a host of items are offered to the sea – coconuts, flowers, sugar, dal ni pori (pastry filled with sweet lentil).
At Ganesh Chaturthi and Mohurrum, idols and tabuts (models of Husain’s tomb), are immersed in the water.
Hersh Acharya captures Bombaywallas at the beach for a Ganesh Visarjan.
Facades: Bombay Stock Exchange (1980)
Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers, Fort, (presently Dalal Street).
For many of Bombay’s inhabitants, the defining event of the 19thc was the share mania of the 1860’s. Several fortunes were made and lost as citizens speculated in the share market with the windfalls they had made exporting cotton to Britain.
The American Civil War had interrupted the supply of cotton from the American South to Britain and the latter turned to the Bombay cotton trader for relief.
The title of this post is inspired by a Jamaican Eating House and bar on Cowley Road, Oxford, that undergoes similar dips and spurts in fortune.
Hersh Acharya captures the curves in façades of the BSE building and the Elphinstone Circle.