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Chronological Sketch of Gandhi in Bombay
(Since 1915-1948)

1915

January

9th Jan

Gandhi along with Kasturba returned to India by SS Arabia from South Africa via London.

Narottam Morarji, J. B. Petit, Bhalchandra Krishna, B. G. Horniman, Revashanker Zaveri, Maganlal Gandhi took a launch to reach the steamer to welcome Kasturba and Gandhi. At Apollo bunder, large crowd had gathered to welcome Gandhi.

In a letter to his cousin, Maganlal Gandhi he wrote "I was filled with joy when, nearing Bombay I sighted the coast. I am still beside myself with joy."
 


1915

January

12th Jan

The receptions and facilitations were organized for the Gandhi across the city. On 12th Jan, 1915, J. B. Petit had organized a reception at his bunglow Mount Petit on Pedder Road. Over 600 distinguished citizens-both Europeans and Indians were present. Prominent among them were M. A. Jinnah, Dinsha Vaccha, Sir Richard Lamb, K. M. Munshi, Pherozeshah Mehta, Sir Dorab Tata and Sir Claude Hill.
See Images

 


1915

January

14th Jan

A garden party in honour of Kasturba and Gandhi was hosted by Gurjar Sabha at Mangaldas House, Girgaum. M. A. Jinnah presided over the meeting. In his speech, Jinnah spoke of Gandhi's arduous labours in the cause of not only indentured Indians in South Africa but also of the motherland. He said that Gandhi's co-operation would greatly help forward the work of uniting Hindus and Muslims.

While praising Gandhi, Jinnah did not forget Kasturba, who had set example not only to the women kind in India but also to the world. For a women to stand by a husband and share his trials, offerings and sacrifice and even go to jail was a model of womanhood of which any country could be proud of.
 


1917

 

 

First Stayed in Mani Bhavan. During his stay here, he saw a carder pass by the house. Gandhiji sent for him and asked him to card cotton for making slivers. A spinning class was then open in Mani Bhavan. Gandhiji was the most ardent pupil of this class.
 


1918

February

20th Feb.

One of the oldest women's organization, Bhagini Samaj of Bombay (founded in 1916 in memory of Gokhale) invited Gandhi to preside over it's annual meeting at Morarji Gokuldas Hall. Gandhi advised and aroused the women of Bombay. He stirred up their sense of Tyag, Seva, Prem and Bhakti. He also advised women against seeking special rights which would reduce them to the status of Harijans. They must seek no special rights but should grow up by themselves.
 


1919

January

9th Jan

Gandhiji got a severe attack of dysentery in 1918. His refusal to take medicines and injections worsened his health. He came to Mani Bhavan from Matheran on December 13, 1918, in critical condition. His vow of not drinking milk was coming in the way of his recovery. He had taken the vow of not taking the milk because of the cruel method called "phookan" for milking the cow. In this method the milking animal is made to yield the last drop of milk in its udder, which is very painful . He explained his reason and his dilemma to his Doctor. Kasturba who was present there intervened saying, "But surely, you cannot have any objection to goat's milk". The Doctor supported her. Gandhiji yielded.

Gandhiji began taking goat's milk from the first week of January, 1919 as his "intense eagerness to take up the Satyagraha fight had created (in him) a strong desire to live". 
 


1919

January

14th Jan

Dr. Annie Besant called in at Mani Bhavan to meet Gandhi. Since she was in Bombay for just a day, she had arranged for an appointment with Gandhi previously. Gandhi was not well and in great pain. He was in dilemma because of his pain he could not go and meet Dr. Besant nor he wanted an old lady to walk up two floors to meet him. Eventually, Dr. Besant went to meet Gandhi.
 


1919

January

20th Jan

Bapu was operated upon for piles. He slept till 8.30 p.m. The side effects of medicines made him delirious. The last outburst during the delirium was very significant, "These two things are a 'must' for the Government. It has but to annul the Salt Act and nationalize the milk industry. It passes my understanding how such a cruel tax as this on salt was meekly accepted by the people. The whole country could have been inflamed to revolt against the Government at the time the law was passed. How could there be a tax on salt so indispensable to human life?"

After he came to his senses he began to dictate letters till  midnight. Narhari had adversely criticized Bapu's amendment in his vow to abjure milk : "We are all glad to learn that you have begun to take goat's milk. But there is greater strength in giving up the vow straight away than in discovering new implications from it in order to discard it, stage by stage, etc."
 


1919

April

6th April

6th April was observed as Black Sunday to protest against the Rowlatt Acts. The Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Acts was to commence with the observance of a 24 hours' fast, prayer, general strike and a resolution to be passed at a public meeting declaring the people's opposition against the Acts. Sunday, the 30th of March, was fixed as the day of the commencement. But it was changed afterwards to Sunday the 6th of April because it was feared that the whole country could not be intimated in time.

From early morning, people of Bombay started gathering at Chowpatty to bathe in the sea. It was 'Black Sunday' and the day's programme began with the sea bath. Gandhi was the first one to arrived at Chowpatty with several volunteers to take sea bath. As the day advanced, people kept pouring in on the sea shore. Chowpatty to Sandhurst bridge was swarmed with people. Exactly at 8 O' clock, Gandhi started his speech. After the meeting, people formed a procession to go to Madhav Baug Temple to offer prayers. At the end of the day, Gandhi suggested the sale of proscribed literature. Gandhi's Hind Swaraj and Sarvodaya which were already proscribed were sold at the meeting. Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu went out to sell the books. All the copies were sold. People paid more than the published price of the book - 4 annas. As high as Rs. 50/- was paid to Gandhi for one copy. The proceeds of the sale were utilized for the Civil Disobedience Movement.
 


1919

April

11th April

Bapu was brought to Bombay and was released at 1 p.m. Umar Sobani and Anusuyabehn contacted Gandhi and asked him to accompany them to Paydhonie at once as the outbreak of violence was expected any minute there. On seeing Gandhi, people went mad with joy. A procession was formed with the chanting of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Allah-O-Akbar'. As the procession emerged from Abdul Rehman Street and was moving towards Crawford Market, suddenly mounted Police emerged to prevent the procession to go further towards Fort. In order to disperse the crowd, officer in-charge of mounted police ordered to lathi charge the crowd. Soon the ranks were broken. There was stampede and confusion. Gandhi's car was allowed to proceed. He straight away went to commissioner's Griffith's office to complain about the conduct of the police. The officer informed Gandhi about the riots in Amritsar, Ahmedabad and even in Bombay - that people were throwing stones and obstructing tram cars.

Gandhi took leave of police officers and said that he intended to address a public meeting at Chowpatty on the same evening.

A public meeting was held in the evening on the Chowpatty beach. Bapu read his following written message to the public :

" Brothers and sisters,
This is not the moment for me to enter into the near past. I must refer to what has just happened. As you see I have been set free by the Government. The two days' detention was no detention for me. It was like heavenly bliss. The officials in charge of me were all attention and all kindness to me. Whatever I needed was supplied to me, and I was afforded greater comforts than I am used to when free. I have not been able to understand so much excitement and disturbance that followed my detention. It is not Satyagraha. It is worse then duragraha (antonym of Satyagraha)."
 


1921

July

31st July

Speaking on the occasion of the first bonfire of  foreign cloth which was lit in Bombay on 31st July, 1921, Gandhi said, "I am sure that the best method of perpetuating Lokmanya's memory is the attainment of Swaraj. And Swaraj is impossible without Swadeshi."

Gandhi ceremoniously celebrated the bonfire of foreign cloth at Umar Sobani's yard at Parel. It was not the rags that were burnt but some of the finest saris, shirts, and jackets were consigned to flames. No less than one lakh and half pieces were consigned to flames. The bonfire lit in Bombay by Gandhi was the example which was followed all over India.

1921

August

1st August

In the evening, Gandhi addressed a huge crowd at Chowpatty on the spot where Tilak was cremated a year previously.  See Images

"It was the magic of Lokamanya Tilakís name that brought together the two lakhs of men and women on Mr. Sobaniís ground yesterday. It was to me a soul-stirring sight. Bombay the beautiful lit yesterday a fire which must remain for ever alive even as in a Parsi temple and which must continually burn all our pollutions, as yesterday we burnt our greatest outward pollution, namely, our foreign clothing."
See Images

1924

March

11th March

On the 11th morning, Gandhi reached Dadar (a station in Bombay). The people did not harass him anywhere either on the route or on the alighting station; the journey turned out to be extremely happy and he was quietly carried to Juhu from Dadar by a car. The superb quiet of this place becomes all the more entrancing by the charming music of the sea. The reason Gandhiji gave for his preference of this site to that of Karachi was this: 'Being centrally situated, the place would be more convenient for visitors.'
 


1929

April

5th April

Gandhi arrived in Bombay on 5th April and addressed a public meeting at the Congress House on the importance of khaddar and the boycott of foreign cloth. About fifty foreign caps and few other foreign cloths were thrown on the platform. At the close of the meeting the foreign-made cloths were burned inside the Congress House compound.

A gold ring was presented to Gandhi at this meeting and it was auction thrice.

At a public meeting in Girgaum, Gandhi made an appeal for funds and several ladies threw their necklaces and ornaments which were auction after the meeting.
 


1931

June

25th June

A surprise dinner programme was arranged by 'Young Europeans' at the Taj Mahal Hotel on 25th June, 1931. The dinner was strictly private, by personal invitations only. Gandhi, who was clad in simple cloths, did not use the hotel lift but preferred to climb up to the first floor. The privacy of the conference was maintain to the extent that even Europeans journalists who were invited were requested by Gandhi not to print a single word about the discussions they had.
 


1931

August

29th August

On 29th August, Gandhi returned from Simla . A special train was provided for him to enable him to catch the steamer for London. His arrival in Bombay was eagerly awaited by large crowds. He drove straight from the station to Azad Maidan to address a public meeting. 

At Ballard Pier, an enormous crowd had gathered to have a glimpse of Gandhi who was leaving for London by S.S. Rajputana. All the special passes to enter the mole station were taken up before noon on the previous day. Among those who went aboard the S.S. Rajputana to see Gandhi off were Kasturbai, Vallabhbhai Patel, Manibehn and others. Fatigued from the train-journey, Gandhi straight away went to his cabin, but the eager crowd wanted to have one more glimpse of him. Gandhi yielded to the continuing shouts, he came out and bowed to the people with folded hands.
See Images

 


1931

December

28th Dec.

Gandhi returned to Bombay after attending Round Table Conference in London on 28th Dec. 1931 by S. S. Pilsna. The Central Hall of Ballard Pier was gaily decorated with festoons and national flags. Gandhi received an uproarious ovation. A procession was formed with Gandhi seated in a decorated car. Crowds of people lined the entire route of the procession from Ballard Pier to Mani Bhavan.
 


1932

January

1st Jan

From 29th Dec. 1931 to 4th Jan. 1932, Gandhi had a hectic time at Mani Bhavan hearing deputations from all the provinces. The Working Committee was continually in session.

In the small hours of 4th Jan. 1932, Gandhi was arrested from Mani Bhavan. A newspaper reported- "Shortly after 3 O' clock in the morning the silence of the night was broken by the noise of grinding brakes as motor cars drew up outside Mani Bhavan. Police Commissioner and his assistants entered the house. They were met by Devdas. Commissioner asked to see Gandhi at once. Five minutes later, Gandhi appeared, all smiles. It was Monday and his day of silence. He said nothing. Read the warrant produced by the police. He requested for half an hour delay. Everyone in the house awoke. Mirabehn brought a bowl of water for Gandhi, he washed himself. Ba reminded him about his prayer. The half hour respite was full of tense emotions. Unmindful of the cold on the canopied terrace where Gandhi had been sleeping, his followers wept loudly. One of the women placed a garland of handspun yarn around his neck and decorated his forehead with kumkum... Ba went up to the police officers and with her voice chocked with emotions requested the officer, "Please look after him." Officers smile and reassured her, saying "Don't worry, we shall be careful." ...All present then successively bowed and touched Gandhi's feet . Unable to control herself, Ba leaned on Gandhi's outstretched hands and wept bitterly. ...Next moment, Gandhi was in the hands of Police Officers.... 35 minutes after the arrival of Police, Gandhi climbed into the motor car. Amidst shouts of 'Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai' from a small crowd that had gathered, the car moved off. Gandhi was taken to Yeravda Prison, Poona."
 


1932

Jan.

3rd Jan.

Gandhi described his plan of action, just before his arrest, in an interview to the press at Mani Bhavan. He said -"what I would ask the nation to do after my arrest is to wake up from its sleep."
 


1934

June

16th June

Gandhi spared time for Harijan work, visiting Harijan huts in the city. At Walpakhadi, a thickly populated area of Bombay, mostly inhabited by the Harijan families, he had a friendly chat with the untouchables and discussed with them their problems. He also visited Tadwadi, Love Lane, Kamathipura, Mahalakshmi Kachrapatti Chawls and the slums of Prabhadevi.

He also had a discussion with Ambedkar.

In his speech Gandhi said, "Bombay is beautiful indeed but where does its beauty consist- in Malabar Hill or in the Kachrapatti of Mahalakshmi? I beseech you to have a look at the plague- spots in Bombay and to move the Municipality to deal with them at once. How would you like to live near a sewer even for a single day?"

At a large gathering of women at Royal Opera House,  women of Bombay  donated Rs. 35,000 for the Harijan Fund.

Harijan Sevak Sangh organized a meeting at Santacruz and presented a purse of Rs. 9,000 to Gandhi.
 


1934

October

22nd Oct.

Gandhi attended a public meeting held at Azad Maidan on 22nd October to mark the first death anniversary of Vithalbhai Patel. Gandhi narrated his relations with Vithalbhai Patel and paid him a handsome tribute as a valiant leader in the cause of country's freedom.
 


1935

May

22nd May

Gandhi came to Bombay from Wardha. He first went to Mani Bhavan and later paid a visit to Kamla Nehru at the residence of J. A. D. Naoroji at Nepean Sea Road. He spent over an hour with Kamla Nehru, who was leaving for Europe for her treatment.

In the afternoon Gandhi accompanied by Vallabhbhai Patel, paid a visit to Haffkine Institute at Parel.

In the evening Gandhi delivered a public discourse at Congress House on the efficacy of prayers.
 


1936

January

17th Jan

Gandhi came to Bombay on 17th January, 1936 to attend to his health. He was suffering from high blood pressure and dental trouble. He was accompanied by Kasturba, Vallabhbhai, Mahadev Desai and Dr. Jivraj. After couple of days, he also got his teeth extracted.


1937

December

7-13th Dec.

Gandhi arrived in Bombay on 7th Dec. 1937. At that time, he was suffering from high blood pressure. He went to stay at R. D. Birla's bunglow at Juhu. Arrangements were made to give him complete rest and to prevent crowds and visitors from disturbing him. Even the telephone lines were disconnected.


1942

August

3rd-9th August

G. D. Birla has noted down some interesting facts about the historic week of 'Quit India' movement that Gandhi spent in Bombay. Birla remarked to Gandhi that why he is taking very little food. Gandhi replied, "Bombay has plenty of ozone in the air, and the metabolism is so low that one does not need to much of food here. If I take full meals, I shall fall ill. But there is another reason. My mind is more busy these days than ever before. You cannot think to much and yet eat much. It is safer to keep light."

Birla writes, "When in Bombay, he (Gandhi) does not go out to public places for his walk. If he did, he would be mobbed by the admiring public. In Birla House, we have a small patch of lawn encircled by a paved pathway. In the circular track, Gandhiji takes walks of desired length. But in order to avoid walking in the same direction, Gandhi spends the first half walking clockwise and the second half in the reverse direction. Gandhiji is so fastidious even about these small things that while he may be discussing the most serious problem, after he has walked half his time in one direction, he takes right about turn and starts the walk in reverse direction. This ensures balanced exercise to the body."


1944

May

 

Gandhi was released from Aga Khan Palace on 6th May, 1944. During his detention, he had developed hook worm and amoebic infection in addition to malaria. All this led to acute anemia. Doctors advised him a rest at a sea-side. Jehangir Patel offered his shack at Juhu beach. Visitors were prevented to meet Gandhi.

BWith supply of power from Bandra Corporation, arrangements were made for Gandhi to see a two-hour long film entitled 'Mission to Moscow', which portrayed girls dancing in tight-fitting garments. Gandhi was naturally displeased. He was also distressed by the pathos and scenes of drudgery and slavery marking the life of the common Russian. To corrected, an Indian film, 'Ram Rajya' was shown. It was a boisterous movie, and did not please him ether.

 A terrible explosion had occurred in the Bombay docks and many had been killed. Despite Sarojini's protests, Gandhi insisted on visiting the seen of the disaster. So that he might rendered some help to the victims of the calamity. He was taken round the docks by the head of the Port Trust. Gandhi was deeply moved by what he saw and on his return to Juhu, he was very depressed and was unusually quite.


1946

March

 

During his stay in Bombay in the spring of 1946, Gandhi held some interesting prayer meetings at which he dwelt on various aspects of prayer to God. The special feature of these prayer meetings was the mass singing of Ramdhun to the accompaniment of Tal for the first time in Bombay. Some could not correctly timed the Tal. It evoked from Gandhi a gentle rebuke. He stated, "Bombay had the reputation of being musically minded." He had expected them to give a better account of themselves. Instead, he found confusion in the meeting and the beating of Tal out of tune.


1946

March

31st March

During his sojourn in Bombay, this time he stayed for a while at the Worli Harijan quarters. On the eve of his arrival, there were hostile demonstrations by some Harijans. He still insisted on staying in the midst of them.


 

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