Bombay Before Mumbai: Essays in Honour of Jim Masselos edited by Prashant Kidambi, Manjiri Kamat, and  Rachel Dwyer

Prashant Kidambi, associate professor of colonial urban history, University of Leicester, and Dr Manjiri Kamat, associate dean of humanities, Mumbai University, discuss their book Bombay Before Mumbai, also co-authored by Professor Rachel Dwyer of SOAS London. The book has been curated in tribute to noted urban historian Dr Jim Masselos, who has written extensively on Mumbai. The book, to be released on January 7, comprises essays from scholars across the world on the themes Masselos explored as part of his works. They discuss the significance of Masselos’ work with Abha Goradia.


What is the one thing that makes this book unique?

MK: There is no book right now that brings together doctoral work and that of historians’. This book also caters to an avid reader or a tourist who wants to read how Mumbai has changed so fast. There are some facets of Mumbai we may not be able to see. The role which Parsis have played, the contribution of Muslims, the evolution of Kamathipura and other red light districts, the beginning of Mumbai as an industrial city ? these are some themes rarely known of.

PK: We took up each aspect Jim wrote about, and each writer critically and creatively dealt with these aspects. We hope this project is a provocation for more such work. Even though the book is academically researched, it has been addressed to normal readers. It is an example of how urban history in India is coming into its own.