Once Upon A Time in Bombay
February 21, 2012 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Once Upon a Time in Bombay "It is said that Bombay is the Alexandria of India. Its geographical position and commercial relations bear evidently some resemblance to the great eastern entrepot of the Mediterranean. As the swampy Rhakotis, a mere fishing village which Alexander the Great transformed into the splendid city of Alexandria, the desolate islet of the Bombay Koli fishermen was changed into the present capital of Western India." -- J. Gershon da Cunha in Origin of Bombay (google book)

Other Once Upon a Times from Foreign Policy.
posted by bluefly (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I like the third photo from the right in the first link. It looks like it was taken on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, but I imagine those people weren't actually trying to be funny.
posted by three blind mice at 7:24 AM on February 21, 2012

The origin of the name "Bombay" is still under investigation. Two major theories are extant:

1) Bombay comes from the Portuguese "Bom Bahia" meaning, "Good Bay"
2) Bombay comes from the patron Goddess "Mumbai", mispronounced by Europeans

It is probably both in combination.
posted by Renoroc at 7:33 AM on February 21, 2012

I doubt either of those are true mostly because they seem reasonably plausible and that just isn't how things ever turn out.
posted by srboisvert at 8:00 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maximum City
posted by infini at 8:00 AM on February 21, 2012

Thanks for the post; I love old photos of cities and old books about cities. (I also love the fact that the author tossed in a few lines of poetry in French about the Seine, a river relevant to Bombay only in that Bombay is not on it.)
posted by languagehat at 8:39 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shantaram is also pretty much a Bombay/Mumbai love story and a good very long read.
posted by srboisvert at 9:08 AM on February 21, 2012

Someone once described Mumbai as: “London on Acid”… that was certainly my experience of it!
posted by nfg at 11:16 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is always great to see these old pictures, but I found the Afghanistan series far more fascinating than the Mumbai one (in the Other Once Upon a Time link).
posted by mumimor at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2012

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