What’s on in September!

Hello everyone,
I’m excited to share our calendar of city walks, exhibition tours and more, for the month of September, 2019! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any queries you may have.

Looking forward to walking with you,
Alisha Sadikot, The Inheritage Project


Sunday, September 22
Planning for People: Mumbai Then & Now
On a ‘walking conversation’ through Dadar and Matunga, we explore the reasons why these areas in the heart of Mumbai have, for the past century, been considered the city’s best planned neighbourhoods for people. We also confront the overwhelming development that is eroding neighbourhoods, and changing lifestyles, across Mumbai today. This walk, and the observations and discussions it inspires, are guided by the enduring cues and thoughts of urban revolutionary Jane Jacobs, on the health of cities everywhere.

Route: Dadar TT – King’s Circle
Recommended Age: 10 years +



Saturday, September 28
Bandra’s Past, Present & Future
Myth, belief, tradition and fact merge together on a walking tour that explores the unique spaces, character and cultures of contemporary Bandra, spotlighting the neighbourhood’s particular history and legacies, and the manner in which its residents attempt to preserve and negotiate the same today, at a time of monumental change and loss in this ‘city of redevelopment’.

Route: Lands End – Hill Road
Recommended Age: 10 years+



Sunday, September 29
Modern Mumbai: Walking through the 20th Century

Beginning with city improvements and development following the deadly Plague epidemic of the late 19th century, this walk highlights critical moments in the making of modern Mumbai. From the high of Art Deco to later histories of popular struggle, corruption and appropriation, from grating missed opportunities in urban planning post-independence to our ongoing romance with reclamation, this walk explores planning, politics, architecture and roads not taken in the building of the city we experience today.

Route: Oval Maidan – Nariman Point
Recommended Age: 10 years +



Saturday, September 14
September Art Gallery Hop

Fill your plate with all the art you can see this year! Join Nishita Zachariah – fellow art and walking enthusiast – and I on an art walk to four of the city’s most exciting art spaces, showcasing distinct art practices and ideas. We look closer at the art on display, offer context and space for reflection, and open up the discussion to multiple interpretations!
Read more on Art Walks Mumbai here.


For Schools and Colleges


Free Exhibition Tours 
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai, we’re offering free tours of their latest exhibition to school and college groups all this month!

Curated by Juana Awad and Zeenat Nagree, ‘as it rises into the air: listening in practice’ features contributions by 13 Indian and international artists and focuses on artistic practices in which listening is central to the artist’s process, and in which the act of listening is exercised in its ethical-political dimension. Through a constellation of video, sound, text and image based works, the exhibition contends that to listen, and to really hear, is to let the world in — to make sense of the world around us, along with and beyond a sense for grasping that which sounds.

Registration: Tours on prior request only.  Please email us at hello@theinheritageproject.in for further details.


SAVE THE DATES | Free, on-campus Science Film Festival 2019
For the third year running, the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai invites schools and colleges across the city to partner with it in hosting an International Science Film Festival on campus, between October 1 – December 13, 2019!

The Science Film Festival brings science to the screen: entertaining, creative, exciting – and enriching. The festival, a celebration of science communication, aims to make science accessible to a broad public in Southeast Asia, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Taking place in 20 countries and reaching over a million viewers, it is the largest event of its kind worldwide.

This year’s theme is Humboldt and the Web of Life. Alexander von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) revolutionized the conception of nature by defining it as an interconnected living web – and in doing so, inspired countless scientists, environmentalists, writers and artists alike. On the 250 Year Anniversary of Humboldt’s birth, and with the growing climate crisis, we need such a global perspective more than ever: an appreciation that all things are connected, and that harm caused in one place has implications elsewhere and for the whole. Perhaps these ideas can help to stimulate alternatives – whole-system thinking and the pursuit of endeavors that rejuvenate the natural world.

The films may be screened on any dates between October 1 – December 13, 2019. The festival is free and open to everyone. Associated activities are provided to help educators make this programme interactive and practical. We can also arrange to have a member of our team attend your screenings, to lead the activities and student discussions.

For more information please email us at hello@theinheritageproject.in. We look forward to your school’s participation!

A Natural History of Mumbai #1

The monsoon seems an appropriate moment to recall the increasingly invisible natural history of Mumbai. A modern mega city that was once – not too long ago – a group of seven islands, separated by marshy swamps and mangrove forests. The islands were, in fact, only really separated during high tide, when the sea came storming in through the ‘Great Breach’ or gap between the islands of Worli and Bombay, submerging the swamps between the islands. In low tide, it was possible to cross from one island to another in certain parts, as long as you washed your feet (at ‘Pydhonie’ for instance) when you got there.

Note the Great Breach, between Bombay and Worli

To propel Bombay to any prominence and prosperity, more land was required. Land has always been Bombay’s most critical commodity, as it remains today. In 1784, a seawall or embankment, called the Hornby Vellard, was finally built after much trial – damming the sea across the Great Breach and connecting the islands of Bombay and Worli. With the sea kept out, it was possible to fill in that central marsh with rock quarried from hills on the surrounding islands. Across this fresh land major connecting roads were cut. Most of this land would eventually be used for the mills that powered Bombay into an industrial centre in the late 19th century. From Mumbai Central all the way north to Dadar the area would come to be known as Girangaon or the village of mills – almost ironic for an area we now associate with the enormous high rise construction that defines the Mumbai of the future.

An early view of the Hornby Vellard, now Lala Lajpat Rai Marg. Believe it or not.

So next time you’re stuck in traffic approaching Peddar Road from Worli, spare a thought for the significance of the road you’re on?

Mumbai’s Hidden Museums #3

Text contributed by Tamara Rasquinha (IG: @tamararasquinha), team Inheritage.

Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery

In the unlikely centre of the city’s business hub of Nariman Point lies a humble display detailing the life of an even more humble patriarch and his family of freedom fighters – an individual, personal history of the kind that has long been overlooked in the general narrative of the independence struggle. At the Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery,  photographs and handwritten correspondences trace the early life of his father Jamnalal Bajaj, the founder of the Bajaj family business. Key artefacts include rebellious letters  renouncing his inheritance and captivating photographs of Jamnalal leading a satyagraha defying a British ban on flying the national flag. 

Among the gallery’s many highlights, the photographs that struck me most are those of Jamnalal Bajaj, a wealthy businessman, opting to be a ‘C’ class prisoner and undertake arduous manual labour during his many jail sentences. An act that inspired famed anthropologist Verrier Elwin to pledge that he would walk barefoot until India received her independence. We learn also of the the non-bourgeoisie lifestyle practised by this wealthy Khadi-clad business family, which lay in sharp contrast to the luxurious lifestyles led by most wealthy business families at this time.

Discover these hidden faces and stories behind the fight for independence at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Gallery between 11:00 and 7:00 pm, Monday – Saturday. The space is free and open to all and strongly recommended for school groups in search of a more complex, layered engagement with modern Indian history.

Mumbai’s Hidden Museums #2

Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

Off the Western Express Highway at Goregaon, the city fades away inside the verdant campus of St. Pius X College, the Archdiocesan Seminary of Bombay. Since 2011, a small slice of space in the main building, earlier the college gym, has housed the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum. With collections scouted from church attics, crypts and family altars, the museum showcases and celebrates the history and artistic production of Christianity in the Mumbai region. It’s worth the trip just to see a copy of the enormous King James’ Bible, the first ever in the English language, its leather cover decorated with the 12 Stations of the Cross in gold gilding. Or the many instances of artistic crossover and reinterpretation in Christian objects produced in India – works such as the statue of the Saint Paul from a parish church in Malad, sporting a very hindu-ised beard and standing on a lotus shaped footstool. A statuette of Mary with a bindi. Altar parts from a Manori church with angels in Mughal dress with Gandhara style curls in their hair. An evocative wooden image of St. Roch acquired from a church in Bandra stays with me. St. Roch, traditionally evoked against the plague, is believed to have become particularly venerated during the devastating plague epidemic of the 1890’s; he is shown here as he is usually depicted, pointing to a plague sore on his leg.


The Museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Guided tours are conducted on prior notice and are strongly recommended.


Mumbai’s Hidden Museums – #1

Love museums? Regularly haunt the encyclopaedic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum) in Kala Ghoda? Spend your weekends at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla? We’ve probably met. Recently, in a quest to spread my museum wings, I stepped out of my cultural comfort zones in search of ‘hidden’ museum collections in the city. Bite-sized they might be, but these museums can take you places! 

Haffkine’s Institute Museum 

0486Did you know that the first successful vaccine against the horrific bubonic plague was created in Mumbai? In an environment of panic and fear during the last plague epidemic in the city in the 1890’s – which, at its peak, killed almost 2000 people every week – Ukrainian bacteriologist Waldemar M. Haffkine worked tirelessly in room 000 in Grant Medical College to produce a vaccine using clarified butter (ghee). Before conducting any human trials, Haffkine tested the vaccine on himself. Once proved harmless, it was tested on volunteers at the Byculla Jail, after which large scale public inoculations began. In 1899, Haffkine, now Director in Chief of the Plague Research Laboratory, moved into the former Governor’s mansion at Parel to scale production of the vaccine. For about 30 years or so, Haffkine’s vaccine would be used against the disease the world over.

Today, the Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing houses a recently refurbished museum on campus which showcases both the earlier history of the building, as the home of colonial Bombay’s first citizen, and its special place in the sphere of scientific discovery, innovation and learning. My personal highlights included the Haffkine Flask, specially designed by Haffkine to grow cultures of the plague bacteria and a series of striking photographs that take you back to the struggle to rid Bombay of the plague. Science and art merge in almost ethereal fibreglass sculptures of enlarged forms of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Rabies and E. Coli amongst others. For those with stronger stomachs, the museum is best known for its collection of snake skeletons and wet specimens. And, if that wasn’t enough to get you to visit, you can even clone your own sheep! Don’t believe me? Go find out.

To make an appointment to visit, contact training@haffkineinstitute.org.

Always heritage walking, come rain or storm!

Mumbai, hot, humid and sweaty, has been waiting breathlessly for some real rain. And really rain it finally did, yesterday during my heritage walk through Bandra’s past, present and future. The walk was fully booked and it was such a pleasure to have a large group of enthusiastic and willing participants, who continued walking despite being down-poured upon once, twice, then again and again! Here are just a few images, courtesy walk collaborator Mumbai Riders.

Bring your umbrella and boots and join us, next time?:)