Lost in the Mist of Time

Google Maps has changed the way we look at our surroundings. This struck me a few months ago, when I was in Bhubaneshwar. I was tracking the route to the hotel on Maps and happened to mention to my hosts how wide and clean Bidyut Marg was. They looked at me puzzled. I showed them “Bidyut Marg” on Maps, which was the road we were traveling on. They told me that they just knew this as the main road of the new part of the city.

The same thing happens in Matunga. The area behind Aurora for ages has been part of the Sewri-Wadala Scheme with Road Nos 7, 14, etc. For years, my street address was Sewri-Wadala Road, which as you can imagine often led to a lot of trouble with courier boys and private taxis, because we live neither in Sewri, nor in Wadala, but in Matunga/King’s Circle.

Slowly the roads have all been renamed and while many of these do have plaques at one end, commemorating the person concerned, we tend to overlook these while walking or driving and they still don’t tell us anything about the person concerned.

Google Maps forces us to think about them.

The road we live on is called Manikrao Lotlikar Marg. Mr. Lotlikar was a well-regarded educator, who lived down the lane. M L Marg connects to Puranmal Singhani Road. The first three pages of a Google Search draw a blank as to his identity. The road that goes from M L Marg to Marubai Gaondevi Temple, is (no surprises here), now officially called Marubai Gaondevi Road, but the road that goes from Marubai Gaondevi Road towards Sahakari Bhandari remains unnamed as do many other roads in Matunga.

The road on which Don Bosco and Institute of Chemical Technology exist, is called Nathalal Parekh Marg. Mr. Parekh was probably a businessman and philanthropist and even has another road named after him in Colaba and a cancer hospital in Rajkot, but I could find no further information about him.

The continuation of Puranmal Singhani Road across Nathalal Parekh Marg up to H Adenwala Road is still Rd No 32. Mr. Hormusji Cowasji Adenwala was a businessman and philanthropist who expanded his father’s work in building the port of Aden (hence I guess the name Adenwala) and the associated businesses (first page of Google Search). Before that comes R P Masani Road and I could immediately see that he was a prolific writer, having written biographies of Dadabhai Naoroji and Vinoba Bhave and other books on Zorostrianism, many of which are available on Amazon or Google Books. But I can’t find any information about H Mahajani, after whom the College (VJTI) Back Road is now named.

It gets worse with the older roads on the other side of Matunga. Telang, Bhandarkar, Bhaudaji, Chandavarkar, Bhimani, Deodhar, are all identified by their last names but it is impossible for a casual individual to troll the internet and to figure out who they were.

I am sure somewhere in some library or scholarly publication, all of this has been documented. Obviously, the heirs and relatives of the people after whom these roads are named know who they are and what they have done. But unless this information is easily available and accessible in the public domain, these names will eventually get lost in the mist of time and be forgotten by even those who were perhaps once part of their extended family.

Please email me if you have more information about those after whom these Matunga roads are named. 

16 Comments

  • jamna varadhachary wrote:

    bhadarkar probably one one bhandarkar institue in pune and Bhaudaji should be bhaudaji lad??

  • Avinash Bharadwaj wrote:

    Bhavin,
    “H Mahajani”, is the Late H. R. Mahajani, a former editor of Loksatta (of the Express Group). A respected journalist of that era and generation. Though I do not know the exact years, he was the editor in the 1960s.
    I guess he may have been a resident of that area.

  • Deodhar could be probably DB Deodhar the late cricketer and after whom the Deodhar Trophy is named. But he was basically a Puneite, so not sure if it is the same person!!

  • I was interviewed recently by a lady who was doing a project for the BMW Guggenheim Foundation, about what it means for local people to have their roads or landmarks renamed without their consent or knowledge. I realised I didn’t know who the famous Maheshwari of Maheshwari Udyan was.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Will ask in the next column and find out Deepa.

  • Bhaudaji Road is indeed named after Dr. Bhaudaji Lad (Ramakrishna Vitthal Laud 1822-74). The Museum opposite Regal Cinema is also named after him. He was the first Doctor of India. Was also Sanskrit Scholar and antiquary.
    Telang Road is named after Justice Kashinath Trambak Telang (1850-1892) was Judge of Bombay High Court & Youngest Vice Chancellor of Bombay University. Was Exceptional legal mind, Educationist, Scholar of Sanskrit.
    Incidentally both were Goud Saraswat Brahmins. Information courtesy my mentor and good friend Shri Girishbhai Joshi who is vice-President of All India Saraswat Organisation.
    Will email you detailed information about both of them.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Thank you Nimish.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Also got this email.

    always read ur articles on Matunga.
    In the article printed in Sat ed. u have wondered abt some names given to roads in Matunga and asked to mail u reg. add info on these names.
    H R Mahajani (Read wiki article on editors of Loksatta a marathi daily) was erstwhile editor of loksatta.
    Bhandarkar (read wiki art on Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar) founder of Indology on whom the Bhandarkar institute in Pune is named.
    Telang- Kashinath Tribbak Telang – He was born in 1850 and died in 1893. HE rose to the high position of a high court judge . he was the co founder of Bombay Presidency Association . He was an active person in the sphere of social reform , also the president of the national social Conference.
    Bhaudaji -Bhaudaji Lad (ref Bhaudaji Lad museum) Bhau Daji Laud (Ramakrishna Vitthal Laud) (1822–74) was a Indian physician of the Gaud Saraswat community, who hailed from a little village in Goa called Parsem[1] who later moved to Mumbai, a Sanskrit scholar and an antiquary. He was born in 1822 in Mandrem, Goa. (source wiki art on bhau daji)
    Deodhar- read art. Dinkar Balwant Deodhar (14 January 1892 – 24 August 1993) was an Indian cricketer, who played in first class cricket matches during 1911–1948.
    Chandavarkar – read wiki art on N.G. Chandavarkar, Prarathana Samaj figure and President of Indian National Congress.

    Most of the old roads in Mum are named after freedom fighters and those who have contributed for the development of Mum. You can get the ref in history books.

    Thanks and regards,

    Sarita Thakur

  • Neelakantan K wrote:

    We have a relatively new name for an old road. Gymkhana Road was renamed as Prof. U.U.Bhatt Marg. Prof Bhatt was a very popular professor in Podar college and the road was renamed after his demise in his honour. This road separates Welinkar college and Gulshan stores

  • RChandrashekar wrote:

    Dear Mr. Bhavin

    As pointed out by others Mahajani was the well known editor of Loksatta. He used to stay in Wadala. His second son Ravindra ( Bhaiya ) Mahajani was a friend. He had acted in the lead roles in several Marathi Films and also in a few Hindi films. The elder son was earlier with Dena Bank and later started his construction business.
    Informative article begetting more information

    Keep it up

  • RChandrashekar wrote:

    Dear Mr. Bhavin

    What does it mean that my comment is awaiting moderation?

  • My Dear Bhavin
    Very cryptic note from you. Can u cover all the Gardens/Parks in Sion-Matunga-Dadar and tell us the background of those after whom the Gardens/Parks are named. I know Late Nanalal Mehta very well since he was a regular visitor to see my late father and the Napoo Garden if i am right is named after his name. Good topic down the memory lane.
    Warm regards
    DR. TNM

  • Prajakta wrote:

    Hi Bhavin

    Loved the info….

    Bhaudaji Laud Museum is inside Jijamata Udyan, Byculla and not near Regal Cinema. It has been recently restored and regularly hosts interesting events.

    regards

  • Dear girishbhai joshi,i hereby wish to inform you that i am down the line of the LAUD family.Presently i am in dubai with my son since last 6 yrs.we were put up at 89,hindu colony in dadar 3rd lane.My father manohar ramkrishna laud was serving in MICO BOSCH at worli office annie beasant road.later we were in pune and presently we r located in clover heights at wanavdi.opp. salunke vihar.further details on the email address ok.

  • Dr Deepali V Mahajani wrote:

    With regards to my grand father Late Shri Hanmant Ramchandra Mahajani he was not only the editor in chief of loksatta but a Royist a social reformer and a freedom fighter. He himself got married to a child hood widow to change the idiotic Brahmin tradition that Widows cannot be a part of Holy rituals. My grandmother herself being a widow was also a social reformer and a good inspiration and Idol for maharashtrian Brahmin Widows to boycott the tradition of not entering the temple for rituals.
    Today we are all proud that our family was civilized rather than being orthodox and superstitious. We all girls born in this family our highly qualified and working women with goals and ambition in life. And we also do not torture the other new comer who have married our brothers rather we all help them to be a part of our great family.
    One step in this manner will stop the torture which still takes place in maharashtra for young bride. I feel she should be made comfortable rather rated for her work as we all have self respect and dignity and it hurts when this hurted by ill behavior.
    Thanks Mr Bhavin to at least be inquisitive to know who my grandfather was.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Thank you for reaching out

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