Musings From Mumbai
by Trinie Thai-Parker
Dancer at IALL. Photo by Roy Sturgeon
Mrs. Uma Narayan and other members of the local planning committee, in addition to providing a wonderful array of speakers for the 26th Annual Course on International Law Librarianship, organized many entertaining and informative activities during our five day visit to Mumbai.
The welcome reception on Saturday evening began with a lively performance of folk and Bollywood dances by students of Dr. Sandhya Purecha, founder of the Kala Parichaya Institute and a well-known authority on Indian classical dance. The next day, we were treated to a coach tour of Mumbai, which included a visit to a Jain temple in Malabar Hill and to Mani Bhavan, the private residence used by Mahatma Gandhi as his headquarters from 1917 to 1934. It is now a museum and library dedicated to promoting inter-religious and inter-communal understanding.
The next two afternoons we were given the opportunity to join two architecturally focused tours. One was a heritage walk around the Bombay Fort area, which included a peek inside one of the only two synagogues in the city, and the other was a tour of historical Mumbai libraries.
The last day was reserved for a trip to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO world heritage site, where we visited a cave temple carved out of solid rock, which is said to date back to the 5th century AD. Located at the top of a hill in the middle of the island, the temple could only be reached by either climbing 125 steep steps or else by employing, as Tom Reynolds did, a hearty group of men to carry you up in a palkhi, or sedan chair!
It was a splendid conference that struck the right balance between academic and cultural programming and it gave us the opportunity to get to know the city and its people, in addition to its laws and legal system.