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iXiGOers Jul 26 2013

Why is Mumbai called the City of Migrants?

Kasturi Saikia Jul 26 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

People poured into Bombay fleeing persecutions, looking for opportunity, bringing hope and, in the process, building the city. The Armenians came, a practically extinct community now, hard put to maintain their Armenian Church (1892) in Fort. The Bene Israelis came, descended from Jews who fled to this coast two millennia back. The Baghdadi Jews fled religious persecution in Iraq and came here in the 19th century. Among them David Sassoon is an example of Bombay’s dynamic migrants: he began as a middleman, became a textile trader, sent his son to Canton — the first Jew trader there — to deal in opium and cotton, prospered selling cotton to England during the American Civil War (1861-65), and ran many businesses. Sassoon (and his sons) built the Magen David Synagogue in Byculla, the Kenneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue in Colaba, the Sassoon Docks, hospitals, libraries and more in Bombay and Pune.


The Parsis are an unparalleled Bombay success story. Their ancestors were Persian Zoroastrians who migrated to India in the 10th century CE, facing threats to their religion. (Bombay’s Iranis, associated with mouthwatering Irani food, were also Zoroastrians from Iran but they came in the 19th century). Parsis profited hugely from the 19th-century opium trade with China and came to dominate mills, banks, shipping and more. You come across lots of ‘Sir JJ’ institutions in Bombay (JJ School of Arts, JJ Hospital) all named for Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy, merchant of opium, silk and tea, and a great philanthropist. The Mahim causeway was built by the generosity of Lady Jeejeebhoy. Of course, the Tata, Wadia and Godrej families are all Parsis. Arabs, Afghans, Gujaratis (the force behind Mumbai’s money), Tamilians, Kannadigas, UPites, all have made Mumbai what it is today. In fact, the original fisherfolk, the Kolis, could even think of Maharashtrians as immigrants from the mainland!
Over the years, Mumbai has grown leap and bounds and is today regarded as a metro cosmopolitan city. The city sees a huge number of tourists each year apart from the people of different backgrounds and cultures living in the city. New Delhi to Mumbai flights remain busy throughout the year and a huge chunks of tourists arrive from these flights.
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