Make a date with the queen of the suburbs

Bandra hobbyist shares insight on the social capital behind a place he calls home

Denis Rodrigues is a self-proclaimed “Bandra bugger” and a thoroughbred Bandra-phile. Born and raised in Mumbai’s coziest suburb or Ranwar village to be more specific, Rodrigues has always been interested in Bandra’s background, its history and development. The septuagenarian, who retired after working in the rural development sector, has been researching his neighbourhood for 10 years. In a talk this evening, he plans to share the political sociology of Bandra from 1548-1848.

Map Illustration of Ranwar village, Bandra, by Vivek Sheth (2010) for The Bandra Project
Map Illustration of Ranwar village, Bandra, by Vivek Sheth (2010) for The Bandra Project

The three centuries that Rodrigues delves into are crucial to the development of Bandora, once a farming and fishing island, into the hip center of cultural activities it is today. Cut-off from the city, Bandra’s causeway and Hill Road were built after 1845, leading pilgrims to Mount Mary church. “With the construction of these pathways, Bandra became more accessible to migrants and then came the bungalows,” says Rodrigues.

Denis Rodrigues
Denis Rodrigues

He will also shed light on the social capital of Bandora. The Kolis, the farmers, and the few but elite Portuguese who lived here lent it a unique flavour. But, there’s more to it, he says. “Bandra is often associated with its Catholic aspects, but it was never sectarian. It was inclusive but kept its character thanks to these communities. They worked together to develop this part of the city.”

Rodrigues’ interest was sparked off when he came across a baptism register in a binding shop near Bazaar Road. The register, dating back to the 1700s, had names of parishioners from St Andrew’s Church. Now he spends his time researching archives at libraries in Pune, where he resides.

Is Bandra, with its rents going through the roof, still inclusive? That’s a question best put to Rodrigues in person.

Where: Conference Room, Bandra Gymkhana, St Andrew’s Road, D’Monte Park Rd, Bandra West
When: October 11, 6-7.30 PM
Call: 26428512

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