Jules Verne’s adventure story was published in 1873. Phileas Fogg of London and his French valet, Passepartout, attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (roughly £2.25 million today) set by his friends at the Reform Club.
While we might have 80 days ahead of us in lock-down with the CoVid-19 coronavirus, this doesn’t mean we can’t travel – the internet at least.
The second major stop in Fogg’s journey was Mumbai (well, of course, it was called Bombay then).
Mumbai is the second most populous city in India after Delhi, lies on the Konkan coast on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. It is the wealthiest city in India, with the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India. Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.
The seven islands that constitute Mumbai were originally home to communities of Marathi language speaking Koli people, who originated in Gujarat in prehistoric times. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese Empire and subsequently to the East India Company when in 1661 Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza and as part of her dowry Charles received the ports of Tangier and Seven Islands of Bombay. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. The project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea, and led to massive economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement.
Today, it is one of the world’s top ten centres of commerce, housing important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India’s premier scientific and nuclear institutes like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Indian Rare Earths, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Atomic Energy Commission of India, Department of Atomic Energy and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. The city also houses India’s Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi cinema industries. [Source: Wikipedia]
To get a feel for what locals might listen to, why not enjoy a break from London (and the BBC) and listen to 2B! Radio GeetMala, which broadcasts from Mumbai, for a day?