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Colonial Cities

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Themes in Indian History III

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Class 10 Class 12

‘‘The architecture in colonial Bombay represented ideas of imperial power, nationalism and religious glory.’’ Support the statement with examples.

‘‘The architecture in colonial Bombay represented ideas of imperial power, nationalism and religious glory.’’ The reasons:

(i)As Bombay’s economy grew, from the mid 19th century the British developed new administrative structures. Many new buildings were constructed in European style to reflect the culture and confidence of the rulers. To symbolise their superiority, authority and power European would also mark out a difference between colonial masters and their Indian subjects.

(ii)For public buildings three broad architectural styles were used. Two of these were direct imports from fashions prevalent in England. The first was Neo-classical which characteristics included construction of geometrical structures fronted with lofty pillars.

(iii)It was derived from a style that was in ancient Rome. The British considered particularly appropriate for the British Empire in India. eg : The Town Hall in Bombay built in 1833 , Elphinstone Circle subsequently named Horniman Circle which was inspired from models in Italy . It made innovative use of covered arcades to shield shoppers and pedestrians from sun and rain of Bombay.

(iv)Another style that was extensively used was the Neo Gothic, characterised by high pitched roofs , pointed arches and detail decoration.

(v)The Gothic style had its roots in buildings , especially churches built in North Europe during medieval period.

 (vi)The Neo Gothic style was revived in mid -19th century in England. The most spectacular example of this style is Victoria Terminus, the station and headquarters of the Greeat Indian Penninsular Railway Company.

(vii)Towards the beginning of the twentieth century a new hybrid architectural style developed which combined the Indian with the European and was called Indo –Saracenic . Europeans used Saracen term to designate Muslim and Indo was Shorthand for Hindu. The inspiration for this style medieval buildings in India with their domes , chhatris , jalis and arches. Example of Indo-Saracenic is Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel.

(viii)By integrating India and European styles in public architecture the British wanted to prove that they were legitimate rulers of India . Architecture reflects the aesthetic ideals prevalent at a time, and variations within those ideals.


"The colonial cities provided new opportunities for women during the 19th century." Give two examples.

 Explain any three values which encouraged women for their empowerment.



 (i) Women sought to express themselves through the mediums of journals, autobiographies and books.

 (ii) They entered new professionals in the city as domestic and factory workers, teachers, and theatre and film actresses.

 The values:

 (i) There was an increasing demand for clerks, teachers, doctors, engineers and accountants.

 (ii) They had access to new educational institutions such as schools, colleges and libraries.

 (iii) A new public sphere of debate and discussion emerged, social customs, norms and practices came to be questioned.


Why was the colonial government keen on mapping of lndian cities from the early years? Give any two reasons.

The reasons:

 (i) It was felt that good maps were necessary to understand the landscape and know the topography.

 (ii) The town maps give information regarding the location of hills, rivers and vegetation, all important for planning structures for defence purposes.


Name the region where the Lottery Committee initiated town planning during the 18th century. Mention any one feature of it.

Lottery committee initiated town planning in Calcutta.


 It raised funds for town improvement through public lotteries.


”The colonial cities offered new opportunities to women during the 19th century. ” Support the Statement with facts.

The new opportunities that the colonial cities offered to women during the 19th century:

(i) Middle-class women sought to express themselves through the medium of journals, autobiographies and books.

(ii) Over time, women became more visible in public.

(iii) They entered new professions in the city as domestic and factory workers, teachers, and theatre and film actresses.

(iv) Even reformers who supported women’s education saw women primarily as mothers and wives, and wanted them to remain within the enclosed spaces of the household.

(v) But for a long time women who moved out of the household into public spaces remained the objects of social censure.