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A Rule of Property for Bombay


This book review appeared in slightly edited form as “Micro-History of Mumbai” in Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), Vol XLV No.36 September 04, 2010.   Mariam Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope: Mumbai, 1660 to Present Times (New Delhi: Oxford University Press India, 2010) Historian Mariam Dossal’s new book on Bombay/Mumbai is a major [...]

Visiting the Municipal Corporation


Yesterday my friend, the historian and collector Deepak Rao, took me for what he excitedly described as a “peep show” in the corridors of the Bombay Municipal Corporation, which are lined with glass-faced cupboards containing a veritable treasure trove of municipal archives. Deepak is the only person I know who will compare the delight of [...]

Expanding the Franchise


A friend from Pune, Dnyanada, while visiting today reminded me that there are two types of scholars — those who are studious, and those who are creative. And historians, in most cases, must value the former as much, if not more, than the latter. For while there is no denying the labour of creativity involved [...]