Malabar Hill gets its name from pirates, not the British: Mumbai historian

Jun 22, 2013, 06:29 IST | Dhara Vora

Historian Deepak Rao on the rise of Malabar Hill as an area of affluence and power; says this recent proposal to rename the area is a waste of time and is unnecessary

Malabar Hill gets its name from the pirates who would come from the Malabar Coast along Kerala’s shoreline, in to this region.

Recalling the past: City historian Deepak Rao with his book Bombay Then

The region’s association with this name dates back to before the British arrived here, therefore the basic assumption for the changing of the name due to its association with the British is pointless.

The city is getting flooded, and we have several other problems that need immediate attention, why do our policy makers have to bother with changing names of areas instead? How is it a political party’s prerogative to bother about changing names of localities in the city? It is a very negative thought and does not support any cause as no good in particular is going to come out of it. There is a lack of interest among governing bodies in areas that require urgent attention in the city this proposal of change of name is a waste of time and unnecessary Also, after so many years, even if you change the name, people are still going to call it Malabar Hill.

Initially, this area was a wooded region under forest cover with animals living there. The Governor’s residence was earlier housed at the Haffkine Institute in Parel.

Later, it was shifted to the Malabar Hill area among the woods. The powerful government secretaries too began to shift to Malabar Hill, as it was easier for them to function with the Governor close by. During the British rule, the secretaries in the ruling body held high power.

Wealthy Indian merchants and businessmen from the Gujarati, Parsi, Marwari and Bori communities too were welcomed to live in this area, and slowly, this forest emerged to become one of the most wealthy, swish localities in the city. And it continues to be so today. 

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