Once Upon a Time in Bombay

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By Dipti Nagpaul D’souza

A year into the Non-Cooperation Movement, Mahatma Gandhi announced the Tilak Swaraj Fund. The Fund, a homage to Bal Gangadhar Tilak on his first death anniversary, aimed at collecting Rs 1 crore to aid India’s freedom struggle and resistance to the British rule. A massive amount at the time, the skeptical were proved wrong when the money came in by the set deadline of June 30. Of the collected amount, Rs 37.5 lakh was donated by Bombay, which led him to refer to the city as “Bombay the Beautiful”.

The use of the expression surprised Mumbai’s Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sanghralaya President Usha Thakkar when she came across the reference during one of her researches. “He believed that rural India was the heart of the nation and often called cities ‘India’s plague ports’. I was curious as to what led him to call Bombay beautiful,” she recounts. The search led her to discover a plethora of lesser-known stories about the role Mumbai (then Bombay) played in the Mahatma’s journey and India’s freedom struggle. Read more

Source: The Indian Express

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