Mumbai’s Sassoon Docks, a reflection of changing times: A photo essay

December 5, 2017

I just read about Sassoons in IIMA’s HITCH business history course.

And just came across this photo essay by Rohit Sinha and Aadi Rungta. They take us through history of Sassoon docks. It would have been really useful if they also put up pictures of the docks from the past as well along with current pictures of the docks:

A visit to the docks is almost always overwhelming. The stench of fishes extends for miles; the sight colourful boats and their flags, competing with the colorful saris of Koli (a Marathi fishing community) fisherwomen; buckets full of fishes and other sea creatures; streets peppered with hacked pieces, and small pools of blood dotting every few steps. It is certainly not for the weak stomached. More than 1,500 trawlers bring in around 20 tonnes of catch every day.

Built in 1875 on reclaimed land, Sassoon Docks is one of the oldest docks in Mumbai. It gets its name from David Sassoon, a Baghdadi Jew and the leader of the Jewish community in Bombay. The docks were built by David Sassoon and Co., a banking and mercantile company which was run by David Sassoon’s son at the time. The company’s factories produced silk and cotton goods in Bombay, and the docks became the route through which the trade of these commodities flourished.

Fast forward to almost two centuries later, the docks retain their name even though its ownership and economic activity has changed. Located in Colaba in South Mumbai, it is now home to Mumbai’s oldest and largest wholesale fish markets. This site in itself offers a livelihood to over 150,000 people, clocking a daily turnover of about Rs 2 crore (US $300,000), of which half is exported.

See the whole piece to see the pictures of the docks and how different people lives are woven around the docks..

Photo essays should become a tool in academic community. You learn so much from them than just a words driven article.


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