When Bombay Was Called” Bab al Makkah” :

MUMBAI: The city of Bombay in British time , was also called as Bab al Makkah , or Gate Way To Makkah , as  Hajj pilgrims not only from united India ( which included Pakistan ,Bangladesh) , but also from central Asian countries proceeded to Jeddah by ships .

 

The flow of Hajj pilgrims was high in the British Bombay, and number of Hajj pilgrims visiting to the Holy places of Makkah ,Madinah from Bombay  increased every year . In 1871, first Hajj House or Musafir Khana for Haj pilgrims was constructed in Pakmodia street , Bhindi Bazar.In 1882 , the number of Hajj pilgrims traveling to Makkah was 8000 .

The British government , in that year , formed Protector of Pilgrims department , and began to issue passports .Police Commissioner P C Souter was put in charge of Protector of pilgrims department .He was given the responsibility of Hajj pilgrims. The increasing number of Hajj pilgrims , resulted in construction of another Musafir Khana , in 1884 , at Ferere Road .

The British government in 1887 , assigned the  work of issuing Passport , and selling of  ship- tickets  for Hajj pilgrims , to Thomas cook and sons .In 1892, these jobs were transferred  to  Police Commissioner of Bombay .In 1908 , Police Commissioner of Bombay formed Hajj Committee , 1st time in the history of India.This Hajj Committee consisted of eminent Muslim citizens of Bombay , who assisted Police Commissioner , in Hajj affairs .

The Islamic World And Bombay City

Printing presses in Bombay during 19 th century attracted publisher, printers and writers from all over the Islamic world. The litho- graphic presses of Bombay printed books in Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Malayi , Swahili .The city also attracted Muslims , not only from other parts of India , but also from many Islamic countries .Some British writers said that by the mid- 19th century Bombay not only became an industrialised city of India , but they also described Bombay a primary city for Muslims as Istanbul ,Beirut , Alexandria were , at that time. Ship loads of Iranian pilgrim of  Hajj , stopped  at Bombay , for not only weeks , but for months , during their holy journey.

 

.According to a Persian book Jaan e Jamshed, of 1816 , many Muslims , who were either Arabs , Iranians, Turks , Turanis ,Hindis , Kabulis , Qandharis , Punjabis , Lahoris , Multanis ,Madrasis , Malbaris , Gujaratis , Baghdadais , Khandeshis , Mascatis , Basrawis , Omanis , Kokanis , Kashmiris , lived in Bombay .

Bombay attracted Muslims from all over the world then .This city was a major port .Muslims from Arab and central Asian countries visited the city apart from every corner of Indian sub -continent.

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