Uncovering Urban Legacies: The Portuguese Heritage of Bombay

Culture and Heritage
History, Culture
Panel Discussion
Thursday, 28th October 2021
From 6:00pm to 7:30pm (IST)


As part of AVID Online, Gateway House and Avid Learning present Uncovering Urban Legacies: The Portuguese Heritage of Bombay, a live session on how the unique culture of these pre-British settlers has historically, geographically and socio-culturally shaped the city of Bombay. 

Former Head of the Department of History, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai Fleur D'Souza, Archaeologist and Culinary Anthropologist Kurush Dalal, and Portuguese Professor and Architect, Sidh Losa Mendiratta, will be in conversation with Author and Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House Sifra Lentin.

Our panel of experts will discuss the early shaping influence of the Portuguese on the way the city was built and developed and its impact on the city’s religious and social history, architecture, urban infrastructure, language, rituals and customs. 

Join us to know more about the fascinating history and enduring legacy of the Portuguese heritage in Mumbai!

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Dr. Kurush Feroze Dalal

Archaeologist and Culinary Anthropologist

Dr. Kurush Feroze Dalal, is the Director of School of Archaeology at INSTUCEN Trust. He was an Assistant Professor at Center for Extra-Mural Studies, University of Mumbai for 10 years where he taught archaeology and allied subjects. He acquired his PhD from University of Pune on the topic ‘The Early Iron Age in Rajasthan’. He has extensively worked on the West Coast of India and has undertaken excavations at the sites of Sanjan, Chandore and Mandad. The database collected from these sites has allowed archaeologists to identify over 25 coastal sites which belong to the Early Medieval Period and now the Early Historical Period. He has concurrently worked on memorial stones and Ass-curse stones in India and his other interests are in Numismatics, Defense Archaeology, Architecture, Ethnoarchaeology and allied disciplines. He is also very well known for research in Culinary Anthropology and Food Archaeology. Currently, Dr. Kurush is also a Consulting Editor at Live History India where he consults with the team on issues pertaining to Archaeology, Culinary Anthropology, History and Art. He has co-directed Salsette Exploration Project, a large-scale urban archaeology project documenting the Archaeology of Mumbai. He has published over 35 academic papers and has read many more at National and International Conferences. He is a visiting lecturer at various Universities, Colleges, Schools and Government Institutions.

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Fleur D’Souza

Former Head of the Department of History at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

Fleur D’Souza completed her graduation with History Honours from St. Xavier’s College Mumbai then Bombay. She then pursued studies for the Bachelors in Education and Masters in History both from the University of Mumbai. In 2003, she was awarded the Ph. D degree in History by the University of Mumbai for her thesis “Thana Under the Portuguese 1534-1737 a socio-economic study”. Head of the Department of History at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, from 1996 till retirement in 2016, she also served as Vice-Principal of the Arts faculty from 2005 to 2011. In 2003, Fleur D’Souza along with a few others researched, planned and conducted Heritage Walks for the citizens of Mumbai to celebrate the bicentennial of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai through the year 2004. Invited to be on the Archdiocese of Mumbai’s Heritage Cell (CPPAHPC), she worked with a team on the timeline of the history and heritage of the Archdiocese of Bombay in Goregaon, Mumbai. She was a member of the first Academic Council of the Maritime History Society of the Indian Navy (2016-2019) and an executive council member of the Oral History Association of India. She served as academic expert on the team planning a heritage gallery Dharohar for Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders. She has several research papers in national and international publications, a monograph on Thane’s Maritime past, a children’s book on Bombay and has edited a book on the history and restoration of the Church of St. John the Baptist, Thane, to her credit.

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Sidh Daniel Losa Mendiratta

Portugese Professor and Architect

Sidh Daniel Losa Mendiratta (Porto, 1977) has a degree in Architecture from the Architecture Faculty, University of Porto, and a PhD in Architecture from the Architecture Department, University of Coimbra. He is a professor at Lusófona University of Porto, holding the History of Portuguese Architecture chair since 2012. He is a researcher in the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, with the Cities, Cultures and Architecture research group. Currently, he is the Co-PI of the “PORTofCALL” project, funded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal (funding: 2021-2024). He is the author of Domus-fortis in Æquator: tower-houses in the Estado da Índia, 16th to 18th centuries (2013) and “The Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Chimbel, Goa” (2020). Within the framework of several fellowships and research grants, he has coordinated the geo-referenced topographical survey of twenty-two archaeological sites in Goa and Maharashtra.

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Sifra Lentin

Author and Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House

Sifra Lentin is a Mumbai-based writer and the Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, a foreign policy think tank headquartered in Mumbai. She was awarded the 2018-19 Herbert Katz Fellowship for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for her ongoing project on “Karachi’s Jewish Community”. The books written by her are: the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet coffee table book ‘A Salute to The Sword Arm – A Photo Essay on The Western Fleet’ (April 2007); Our Legacy: the Dwarkadas family of Bombay (March 2018) on the 250-year-old history of the eminent Halai Bhatia Dwarkadas Khimji family of Mumbai, and more recently Bombay’s International Linkages (February 2019), a Gateway House publication. She has also been published in three books: MARG’s ‘Indian Jewish Heritage – Ritual, Life-Cycle & Art’ (2002), One India One People’s book on Communities of India (2006), and recently in Primus Publications Mumbai Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities (2018), where she has written Chapter 10 on ‘Mumbai’s Jewish Community’. Sifra graduated in English Literature (Hons.) from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s in General Law (BGL) from Government Law College, Mumbai. Her earlier career was in journalism with a focus on Bombay and South Asian Jewish history. She is currently a Trustee of the Sir Jacob Sassoon School (Byculla, Mumbai).

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Uncovering Urban Legacies: The Portuguese Heritage of Bombay

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Exploring Mumbai's Portuguese ties

Exploring Mumbai's Portuguese ties

Thursday, October 28, 2021 Mid-Day
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