My City Mumbai
When the English King, Charles II, married the Portuguese Princess, Catharine of Braganza, in 1661, he received as part of her dowry the islands of Bombay and Salsette in the Arabian Sea, close to the Western coast of India. He, however, thought these islands were worth so little that he handed them over in 1668 to the East India Company, at the rent of £10/- a year. He little knew then that these islands, which were then wild jungle inhabited only by a few villagers, would one day become a great and wealthy city–so large that it would compete with Kolkata for the place of the second city in the British Empire, after London.
Today these islands are a mass of buildings inhabited by more than a million people; for Bombay is now a crowded city, and one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, towns in India. It is the most important of India’s ports, and its docks are crowded with merchant ships and the great passenger liners that connect India with England and other parts of the world. This is due to its beautiful bay, which makes a fine natural harbour.
As Bombay is such a fine port, it is a great centre for export and import trade, and the seat of many great mercantile firms and shipping businesses. It is also a great manufacturing centre, and is noted especially for its cotton mills. It also has dye works, tanneries, and shops of metalwork. The Parsis who devote themselves to banking, commerce, and business are the wealthiest community in Bombay.
Bombay is the seat of the Government of Maharashtra, where the Governor lives and the Assembly meets. It is also a great University centre and noted for its colleges and schools.
It is a great city, with many fine buildings, and the view of the bay from the beautiful drive round its shore is a sight not to be forgotten. The blue water of the sea, dotted with vessels, from the small native boats to the great liners, and the shore with its palm trees and the gardens and fine houses on Malabar Hill, make Bombay a wonderful Gateway to India.