Murali Ranganathan

Murali Ranganathan researches the nineteenth century with a special focus on Bombay / Mumbai and western India. His current areas of...

Entertaining Mumbai in the 19th Century

"I excavate libraries and archives," says Murali Ranganathan. Excavate - because that is the action needed to get information out of most of these spaces in India. Excavate - like archaeologists - because it also holds the promise of unexpected discovery that will throw a flashlight into some aspect of our past, offer a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that promises a tantalising picture, and hence send the seeker off on an obsessive search for the rest of the pieces.

On a daily basis, newspapers bring us news of happenings around the world. As an archive they contain fascinating remnants of the past - those stories that a certain time thought were worthy of being highlighted as news. Piecing those stories together recreates the preoccupations of a time - what was new for people, what they thought was exciting, how they related to things, and how all of this formed the conditions in which are present has been created.

We are delighted to invite Murali Ranganathan - researcher, historian, writer - to Mumbai Local. With him, we will get to see how print culture in Mumbai was intimately linked to the modernisation of theatre, and to the creation of the idea of mass entertainment. Piecing together history from newspapers, we will see how a Vishnudas Bhave comes to Bombay and creates a theatre demand, how a maverick balloonist drives mass entertainment and voyeurism, and how practices like yoga catch the modern imagination.

Do join us for this fascinating romp through print that opens windows into a 19th Century Mumbai rapidly modernizing and reconstructing itself.

For those of you who absolutely cannot make it to the venue, we will be live on Facebook for you. Join us on our page at 5:30 pm on Friday, 18 May.

This session is curated by: Ramu Ramanathan - Playwright-Director, Editor and Columnist

@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm

Murali Ranganathan researches the nineteenth century with a special focus on Bombay / Mumbai and western India. His current areas of interest include Bombay business history, print history and culture, photography, newspapers and periodicals, and public performance. His publications include Govind Narayan's Mumbai: an urban biography from 1863 (Anthem Press, 2008), a translation of the iconic Marathi urban biography Mumbaiche Varnan, supplemented by a biography of Govind Narayan, biographical sketches of Mumbai men and organizations of the nineteenth century, and notes. He has edited and introduced the Collected works of J V Naik: reform and renaissance in Nineteenth century Maharashtra (Asiatic Society of Mumbai, 2016).

Venues Dates Time
12-100 yrs
1 hr , 30 min
Entry free, on a first-come-first basis. Pre-register now to save your seat.