‘The chawls of Bombay were a small cosmopolitan community in themselves’. Explain the statement.
WITH the rapid and unplanned expansion of Bombay city, the crises of housing became acute by mid -1850s. The arrival of textile mills increased the pressure on the Bombay’s housing. The working people who migrated from various parts lived in thickly populated chawls. Chawls are multi-storied structures built in the native part in the town. Each chawl was divided into smaller one room tenements which had no private toilets. The homes being small, streets and neighbourhood were used for variety of activities such as working, washing, sleeping and various types of leisure activities. The magicians, monkey players and acrobats used to regularly perform their act in an open space in the middle of four chawls. Liquor shops and akharas came up in an empty spot. These were also the place for the exchange of news about jobs, strikes, riots or demonstrations.