Zero Point Bombay: In & Around Horniman Circle
Kamala Ganesh / Usha Thakkar / Gita Chadha
Zero Point, from which all distances to the city are measured, is an apt metaphor for Horniman Circle. Located in the heart of the 'Fort', it holds within itself the early history of the Portuguese and British presence going back to the mid-sixteenth century. It is the very birthplace of Bombay. It is, at the same time, a hub of contemporary Mumbai, anchored in its economy and ethos. The co-presence of varied institutions - financial, commercial, governmental, intellectual - gives it a special character. The dual orientation to the past and present, the multiple weave of institutions and diversity of people who work in them, and their mutual interconnections, continuities and disjunctures from the theme of this book which seeks to documents the intangible heritage of Horniman Circle. The 20 essays and photographs by a range of academic and creative professionals, in a style that is lively and engaging, combine historical and ethnographic research. They describe, analyse and reflect on not only the architectural and historical artefacts, but also the distinct work ethos and leisure activities, democratic and civic impulses, public spaces, commercial dynamism, traditions of scholarship and journalism, reading and food culture. Responding to Mumbai's increasingly proactive civil society groups, the book addresses a broad spectrum of readers - professionals and informed laypersons - with a serious, critical yet empathetic approach to issues of urban heritage. Zero Point: from which distances to the city are measured. Mumbai's Zero Point use to be St Thomas' Cathedral in the Horniman Circle. It was later moved to the GPO.