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By-Ways of Bombay   By: (1873-1927)

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S. M. Edwardes' "By-Ways of Bombay" is a masterful depiction of one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in India. Delving into the lesser-known aspects of Bombay's history and everyday life, Edwardes takes readers on a captivating journey through the city's winding streets and hidden corners.

The strength of this book lies in Edwardes' ability to blend the personal with the historical. Through his vivid descriptions and attention to detail, he effortlessly transports readers to the bustling markets, cramped chawls, and lively temples that define Bombay. From the vibrant colors of the street art to the tantalizing aromas of the local cuisine, the author's words breathe life into the city, making it feel alive and tangible.

What sets "By-Ways of Bombay" apart from other travelogues is Edwardes' commitment to presenting a comprehensive and balanced account of the city. He delves into the lives of both the wealthy and the destitute, uncovering the complex web of social and economic disparities that exist within Bombay. By doing so, he provides a more nuanced understanding of the city, beyond its surface-level glamor.

Edwardes also sheds light on Bombay's historical significance, tracing its roots from the colonial era to its post-independence transformation. His historical anecdotes are meticulously researched and seamlessly integrated, providing readers with valuable insights into the city's past. Whether discussing the role of Bombay in the Indian independence movement or recounting the struggles faced by marginalized communities, Edwardes demonstrates a deep empathy and understanding of the city's complex tapestry.

Moreover, the author's prose is captivating, making it difficult to put the book down. With a perfect balance between informative insights and engaging storytelling, he manages to keep readers enthralled from start to finish. Each chapter of "By-Ways of Bombay" is a revelation, presenting new facets of the city and leaving readers hungry for more.

If there is one criticism, it would be the occasional lack of structure in the book. While Edwardes' meandering style adds to the charm and authenticity of his narrative, it sometimes leads to a lack of cohesive flow. This can be slightly disorienting for readers who prefer a more structured approach in travel literature.

Nevertheless, "By-Ways of Bombay" is an invaluable addition to any bookshelf, be it for the avid traveler or the history enthusiast. S. M. Edwardes' love for the city shines through every page, making it impossible not to fall in love with Bombay as well. This book is a testament to the resilience and beauty of a city that captivates hearts with its endless stories.

First Page:





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.


BOMBAY, June 1912 .

S. M. E.


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.


BOMBAY. November, 1912 .



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