Mumbai (1661-1947) | Bibliography II

Dossal, M. (2010). MUMBAI: Theatre of conflict, city of hope. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


“With contested space as its central concern, the book maps Bombay/Mumbai’s radical transformation – its changing patterns of land use, and passage from an agrarian settlement of little significance to a world city where expensive private property dominates almost every aspect of life.  What had been fishing villages, coconut oarts (groves), rice fields, salt pans, and vegetable plots, had by the nineteenth century given way to bungalows, chawls, warehouses, cotton mills, railway lines, and docks…. This work documents the political and economic processes that led to these dramatic changes.  The development of seven obscure islets into a megalopolis, which is confronted today by enormous planning and management challenges, contains narratives of both conflict and negotiated settlements between Bombay’s inhabitants and the colonial and post colonial state.” (Preface)

“Land hunger, born out of a shortage of living, work, and recreation space in Bombay, is a vital thread which runs through Bombay’s history and this book.  Ir surfaced almost from the day the British gained possession of the island.  The shortage has gown more acute over the years and manifests itself in different ways.” (Introduction (xxxiii))


Mumbai: Theatre of conflict, city of hope is a comprehensive topographical history of Mumbai from the 1660s to present when the Portuguese crown handed over the city to King Charles II of England as a marriage dowry.  Dossal presented the trajectory from Bombay being a fishing archipelago of little importance to the financial and cultural capital of India.  Approaching the city from its transformation in land use throughout the centuries, the book was written into two parts – the first discussing agrarian Bombay from 1660 to 1860, and the second part investigating the discourse between town-planning and crisis management.  The last few chapters of the book explored the emergence of nationalist architecture and the planning of post colonial Mumbai.



C.I.E. Griffiths, P.J. (1946) The British in India. London: Robert Hale Limited.

Spear, Percival. (1965) The Oxford History of Modern India 1740-1975. 2nd Edition. Dehli: Oxford University Press.

David, M. (1995). Bombay, the city of dreams. Bombay: Himalaya Pub. House.

Patel, S. and Masselos, J. (2003). Bombay and Mumbai. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Dossal, M. (2010). Theatre of conflict, city of hope. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.