A glimpse of history

Jun 13, 2012, 08:17 IST | Sudeshna Chowdhury

From manufacturing one of the oldest ballot boxes in India to setting up the first industrial unit at Vikhroli, an exhibition traces the journey of Godrej in Vikhroli from 1940 onwards

Vikhroli, Mumbai’s sprawling central suburb is perhaps one of the few places in the city, where nature and development co-exist. On the one hand you have a mini industrial estate set up by the Godrej family, and on the other you have dense mangrove forests, which are home to a variety of flora and fauna. In an attempt to provide a glimpse of old Vikhroli and how it was developed by the Godrej family over a period of time, the Godrej Archives is holding an exhibition in Vikhroli between May 26 and June 26 from 8:40 am to 6 pm.

The beginning: Pirojsha Godrej scouting the Vikhroli land in the 1940s. Pics/Godrej Archives

Old is gold: One of the oldest ballot boxes manufactured in the 1950s. Pic/ Datta Kumbhar

Discovered:The Hero and Sati stones were unearthed while quarrying the land in Vikhroli in the 1960s Pic/Datta Kumbhar

From India’s oldest ballot boxes to the first Godrej plant established in the area, the exhibition is a picturesque journey. To some visitors, it brought a whiff of nostalgia,while to the younger lot it was more about getting acquainted with the history of the company. Ramesh Vaman Bhandarkar (48), currently working in Vikhroli recollects, “My father used to work for the Godrej company.

Awareness: Alooben Mowdawalla, the first Welfare Officer at Godrej Pragati Kendra speaks to a worker's family about family planning in the 1970s

Oral history: Visitors listen to a few interviews at the exhibition hall. PIC/ Datta Kumbhar

Memories: Ramesh Bhandarkar’s father and sisters at their house in Baithi Chawl in Vikhroli

I too work for them now. We used to live in Baithi Chawls of Vikhroli. It was a 100-sq ft apartment and there were six of us in our family. But the front and back of our house had huge gardens. In fact, those days, we had foreigners visiting our house just to see how people lived in chawls.” Priyanka Rao, a Godrej employee seemed to be awestruck by the various exhibits on display. She said, “These are like some sacred documents and it is unbelievable how far we have come.”

The exhibition also has an oral history collection of old Godrej employees who shared their experiences from the past through interviews. It took three months for Vrunda Pathare, chief archivist, Godrej Archives to put together the exhibition. “We interviewed old Godrej employees, we asked them to share their pictures and organised this exhibition. It is basically a walk down the memory lane. Godrej completed 60 years in Vikhroli in 2011 and this exhibition is being held to celebrate the occasion,” said Pathare.

Note: Exhibition on till June 26 between 8:40 am and 6:00 pm at Pragati Kendra, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., Pirojshanagar, Vikhroli (E). Entry from Gate No 6. For details, Call: 67964124/2014/1054 or Email: archives@godrej.com

Exhibition open to all. Entry free 

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