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By-Ways of Bombay   By: (1873-1927)

Book cover

First Page:

BY WAYS OF BOMBAY.

BY

S. M. EDWARDES, C.V.O.

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

The various chapters of this book originally appeared under the nom de plume of "Etonensis" in the Times of India , to the proprietors of which journal I am indebted for permission to publish them in book form, They cannot claim to be considered critical studies, but are merely a brief record of persons whom I have met and of things that I have seen during several years' service as a Government official in Bombay. In placing them before the public in their present form, I can only hope that they will be found of brief interest by those unacquainted with the inner life of the City of Bombay.

HEAD POLICE OFFICE,

BOMBAY, June 1912 .

S. M. E.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

The first edition of "By ways of Bombay" having been sold out within a month, Messrs Taraporevala Sons and Co. have interested themselves in publishing the present edition which includes several illustrations by Mr. M. V. Dhurandhar and an additional article on the Tilak Riots which appeared in the Bombay Gazette in August, 1908. My acknowledgments are due to the Editor for permission to republish this article.

HEAD POLICE OFFICE,

BOMBAY. November, 1912 .

S. M. EDWARDES.

CONTENTS

I. The Spirit of Chandrabai

II. Bombay Scenes

III. Shadows of Night

IV. The Birthplace of Shivaji

V. The Story of Imtiazan

VI. The Bombay Mohurrum

VII. The Possession of Afiza

VIII. A Kasumba Den

IX. The Ganesh Caves

X. A Bhandari Mystery

XI. Scenes in Bombay

XII. Citizens of Bombay

XIII. The Sidis of Bombay

XIV. A Konkan Legend

XV. Nur Jan

XVI. Governor and Koli

XVII. The Tribe Errant

XVIII. The Pandu Lena Caves

XIX. Fateh Muhammad

XX. The Tilak Riots

ILLUSTRATIONS.

1. Spirit of Chandrabai

2. A Mill hand

3. A Marwari selling Batasa

4. The seller of "Malpurwa Jaleibi"

5. A Koli woman

6. The "Pan" Seller

7. An Opium Club

8. A "Madak khana"

9. Imtiazan

10. The Possession of Afiza

11. A Bhandari Mystery

12. An Arab

13. A Bombay Memon

14. Sidis of Bombay

15. The Parshurama and the Chitpavans

16. Nur Jan

17. A Koli

18. A Deccani Fruit seller

19. The Coffee seller

20. Fateh Muhammad

[Illustration: The Spirit of Chandrabai]

I.

THE SPIRIT OF CHANDRABAI.

A STUDY IN PROTECTIVE MAGIC.

Fear reigned in the house of Vishnu the fisherman: for, but a week before, his wife Chandra had died in giving birth to a child who survived his mother but a few hours, and during those seven days all the elders and the wise women of the community came one after another unto Vishnu and, impressing upon him the malignant influence of such untimely deaths, bade him for the sake of himself and his family do all in his power to lay the spirit of his dead wife. So on a certain night early in December Vishnu called all his caste brethren into the room where Chandra had died, having first arranged there a brass salver containing a ball of flour loosely encased in thread, a miniature cot with the legs fashioned out of the berries of the "bhendi," and several small silver rings and bangles, a coral necklace and a quaint silver chain, which were destined to be hung in due season upon the wooden peg symbolical of his dead wife's spirit in the "devaghar," or gods' room, of his house. And he called thither also Rama the "Gondhali," master of occult ceremonies, Vishram, his disciple, and Krishna the "Bhagat" or medium, who is beloved of the ghosts of the departed and often bears their messages unto the living.

When all are assembled, the women of the community raise the brass salver and head a procession to the seashore, none being left in the dead woman's room save Krishna the medium who sits motionless in the centre thereof; and on the dry shingle the women place the salver and two brass "lotas" filled with milk and water, while the company ranges itself in a semi circle around Rama the Gondhali, squatting directly in front of the platter. For a moment he sits wrapped in thought, and then commences a weird chant of invocation to the spirit of the dead woman, during which her relations in turn drop a copper coin into the salver... Continue reading book >>




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