Independence Day 2018: 20 interesting facts about Mumbai when it was Bombay in 1947

Updated: 16 August, 2018 09:42 IST | The Guide Team |

What was the mood in 1947? Which brands and landmarks emerged? Which famous faces were born? What set the pace for a city on the threshold of great things? the guide rummaged through tomes and volumes to share a set of 20 cool facts

1. Work on the construction of the Art Deco cinema hall Liberty began. The 1,200-seater since then remains one of the pillars of this architectural style in the city.

Work on Liberty Cinema
Work on Liberty Cinema began in 1947. Pic/ Sayed Sameer Abedi

2. Till April 1947, the Sion Hospital originally known as Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital was used to keep long-term patients of orthopaedic department of KEM (King Edward Memorial) Hospital. These patients were looked after by a team of junior residents of orthopaedic department of KEM hospital visiting Sion Hospital regularly periodically. The hospital started functioning on April 24, 1947.

3. The Rajdhani chain of restaurants opened its first outlet in 1947 near Crawford Market. The Metro brand of shoes began production in the same year as well.

Rajdhani’s food
Rajdhani's food has enticed the city's foodies for over six decades

Bhavan's library at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Grant Road, opened in 1947 — it is believed to stock over a lakh titles!

5. On August 15, 1947, public transport in Mumbai — trams, trains and buses — was made free so that people could commute around the city to celebrate Independence.

public transport
On August 15, 1947, all public transport including rail travel was made free so that people could commute around the city to celebrate Independence. Pic/Bipin Kokate

6. Celebrated artist late MF Husain's first works were on display in 1947 at the Annual Exhibition of the Bombay Art Society.

MF Husain
MF Husain

7. In 1947, the Elphinstone Circle was renamed as Horniman Circle, after Benjamin G Horniman — the pro-freedom editor of the Bombay Samachar press' English language daily, Bombay Chronicle.

Horniman Circle
Elphinstone Circle was renamed after pro-Indian editor Englishman Benjamin Horniman. PIC/SURESH KK

8. Independence Day saw the first Indian take charge of the the city's police force on August 15, 1947. Charge was officially handed over by commissioner AE Caffin, the last British officer, to India's JS Bharucha.

Mumbai’s Police Headquarters. The city got its first Indian police chief on August 15, 1947
Mumbai's Police Headquarters. The city got its first Indian police chief on August 15, 1947

9. In the wake of Partition, a group of eminent former professors from DG Sindh College, Karachi, and a few educationists from the Sindh province in Pakistan established the Jai Hind College for Science and Commerce in 1947 to provide education to the Sindhi community, besides playing a major role in preserving the cultural resources of the community

10. After India attained Independence, in 1947 Indians were allowed to become members of the Bombay Gymkhana.

Bombay Gymkhana
Bombay Gymkhana allowed Indians entry after Indpendence

11. The Bombay Progressive Artists' Group was formed in 1947.

12. The BES&T Co Ltd (Bombay Electric Suburban and Tramways Company) became an undertaking of the Bombay Municipal Corporation on August 7, 1947.

The BES&T Co Ltd was municipalised in 1947
The BES&T Co Ltd was municipalised in 1947

13. Rajshri Productions began to make films under their famous banner.

While it is called Sanjay Gandhi National Park today, this green lung for Mumbai was called Krishnagiri Udyan, before 1947, and Borivali National Park from 1947 to 1990.

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park was known as Krishnagiri Udyan before 1947 and was called Borvali National Park in the year of Independance. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

15. Bombay was declared the capital of Bombay state.

16. The Bombay Rent Control Act of 1947 was introduced to provide relief to the city's migrants after the partition of colonial India. Rents at about 19,000 buildings were set at 1940 levels to prevent owners from charging excessive rates during a time of distress.

17. Famous novelist Salman Rushdie was born on June 19 1947 in Mumbai while popular Hindi film actress Mumtaz was born on July 31 in the same year.

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie

18. Chetana Art Gallery was established in 1947.

19.Jer Baug was completed in 1947 named after Bai Jerbai Nusherwanji Wadia.

Mumtaz seen here with Shammi Kapoor
Mumtaz seen here with Shammi Kapoor

20. Amidst a highly political scenario, the city's famous batting names, Vijay Merchant and Rusi Modi pulled out of India's first tour to Australia, the former sighting a groin injury. Merchant would have been captain for his country's first tour to another country other than England. However, the city's representation came in the form of versatile all-rounder Dattu Phadkar. Although Vinoo Mankad was not playing for the city in domestic cricket then, he was a Mumbai man, who scored two Test hundreds on the tour.

(With inputs from Clayton Murzello)

First Published: 15 August, 2018 15:55 IST

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