Thursday, February 14, 2008


When controversy convulses Mumbai and its social tensions are seen to be politically sharpened, it becomes so easy to forget its proven capacity to survive. The city became a commercial centre in the 17th century when Gerald Aungier, the second governor of Mumbai, invited and attracted skilled and trading talent — Gujaratis, Parsis, Bohras, Jews, Banias. On August 8, 1672, while inaugurating the First British Court of Justice he told the court: “The inhabitants of this island consist of several nations and religions, like English, Portuguese and other Christians, Moores and Gentoos, but you, when you sit in this seat of justice and judgment, must look upon them with one single eye as I do, without distinction of nation or religion.”

Opinion in The Indian Express, February 14, 2008

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