MUMBAI/ The Plague and The Crisis Solution

The bubonic plague that raged in Mumbai between 1896 and 1906 has depopulated the city by 50 percent, from 816000 to approximately 400000. Serious political and social unrest between the colonial management and Indian natives due to appeared. For instance, the colonial government encountered obstacles when attempting to layout hospitals in the city center as most Indian, irrespective of caste and religion, viewed hospitals as places of pollution, contaminated by blood and faeces. Apart from the tensions between social classes, this crisis also led to some more crucial issues such as inadequate housing and congestion in the city. In response to the urgency of the problems, a municipal body known as the Bombay City Improvement Trust (BCIT) was established in 1898 in order to retain the city harmony. The BCIT carried out 33 schemes in the first decade. It had the agenda of decongesting the overcrowded old town by slum clearance, improving the ventilation and cleaning up of the unsanitary areas and the additional provision of housings to the poor. Apart from the direct approach by tackling the problematic old town, the BCIT also extend the city boundary and expand into the suburban area as an indirect attack to the issues.

The president of the local committee and an indian doctor on their daily round in the native quarter @1898, London News
The president of the local committee and an indian doctor on their daily round in the native quarter @1898, London News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flushing engine cleansing infected houses, Bombay c. 1896-97
Flushing engine cleansing infected houses, Bombay c. 1896-97
Lime washers at work on a badly infected house, Bombay c. 1896-97
Lime washers at work on a badly infected house, Bombay c. 1896-97
Map of the plague affected areas @ 1896, Maharashtra State Archives, Mumbai
Map of the plague affected areas c. 1896, Maharashtra State Archives, Mumbai
Locality map of congested central mumbai c.1905, Maharashtra State Archives
Locality map of congested central mumbai c.1905, Maharashtra State Archives

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