Boundaries: Dhobi Ghat (1890-95)
Dhobiwada Road, Mahaluxmi.
Amongst the various professions in Bombay, dhobis or washermen hold the distinction of having the most city spaces named after them. Not only are the areas in which they operate called Dhobi Ghats, they can also claim Dhobi Talao, Dhobi Street and Dhobiwada Road.
Hersh Acharya masterfully captures a dhobi in the swing of things.
Statue: Lady Justice (1879)
Bombay High Court, Mayo Road, Fort (presently Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Marg).
With Lady Justice presiding over the Bombay High Court, no manhandling was tolerated. Older forms of public punishment in the city that ranged from being pelted with cowdung or eggshells, to being tied to a pole and flogged, to being rotated in a cage till the prisoner fainted, were replaced with modern forms of discipline, decency and punishment.
Hersh Acharya a Bombay Barrister, captures the likeness of the Lady from a gentlemanly distance.
Signage: The Parsee Lying-in Hospital (1895)
Prescott Road (presently G. Talwatkar Marg).
Medical and reformatory institutions had some of the most awkward names and addresses in Bombay. The name ‘Parsee Lying-in Hospital’ must have done little to reassure the public of the condition of the strictly Parsi patients on the premises.
In fact, the present occupiers of the premises, who run a magazine on the Parsis, have shifted their subscription office to an adjacent building. Perhaps the editor thought that a Parsi lying in hospital does little to reassure the public of the health of a Parsi magazine.
Another awkward address found in The Bombay Gazette –
Mr. Watson, No. 104, Lunatic Asylum Lane, Upper Colaba, near the Light House.
Hersh Acharya captures both the original and more recent spelling of Parsee and Parsi, with potted plants and all.
Bombay’s contemporary landscape is a collage of shanties, skyscrapers and the sea. During the plague and cholera epidemics in the 1800’s, shanties and their inhabitants were the particular targets of the colonial state. It was assumed that the epidemics were the product of the unsanitary, overcrowded and ill-ventilated conditions in which the urban poor lived.
This superb panorama of the three tiers is shot by Hersh Acharya.
Staircases: Town Hall (1833)
Fort (presently Asiatic Society of Mumbai).
Dogs in Bombay have not always had it easy. In the early 1800’s the colonial government passed regulations permitting the culling of stray dogs during the hot seasons. In 1832, the culling was particularly indiscriminate, leading to the Bombay Dog Riots of 1832. The native inhabitants of Bombay, outraged by the killings, attacked European constables, blocked the supplies to the garrison at Colaba and shut their commercial establishments in protest; effectively bringing the city to a complete halt.
Currently, dogs across India are in danger of being destroyed by speeding cars of the government of Gujarat.
This pensive dog and model in motion are captured by Hersh Acharya.