Living in Mumbai
Mumbai, until recently called Bombay, is the world's fifth largest city. A flamboyant and cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra State. It is also India's financial, industrial, trading, and entertainment center. Mumbai was a small cluster of seven islands detached from the subcontinent. Small fishing communities lived along the turbulent creeks. These original inhabitants built a shrine to their goddess, Mumbadevi. It gave the name Mumbai to the city, which later the British rulers changed to Bombay.
Muslim rulers ceded Mumbai to the Portuguese in 1549 who leased the islands to a botanist. In 1659, Charles II of England married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza. The islands of Mumbai became part of her dowry and came into possession of the British. Early in this century, Mumbai was the center for the "Quit India" movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. The nationalist movement peaked across the country during the 1930s and 1940s. Through the years, Mumbai has developed a character of its own. Despite its congestion and being overpopulated, the city holds a charm for its residents.
The population of Mumbai is approximately 20 million. Metropolitan Mumbai comprises five square kilometers at the tip of the peninsula. This area includes the governmental, administrative and commercial offices, financial institutions, docks, and factories.
Mumbai's climate is at its best from October to February. It becomes hot and humid from March to May, followed by the heavy rains of the monsoon from June to September. Marathi is the local official language of the state. Besides Marathi, English, Hindi, and the "Mumbai Hinglish" are the other languages of Mumbai. Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jains settled here centuries ago. The eclectic mixture of their cultures and religions continues to thrive in Mumbai.
With almost every country having its Consulate in Mumbai, the city has several schools that cater to the educational needs of the diplomats’ families. Among all the various international schools, ASB is considered to be the best IB school in Mumbai for expat children.
India covers 1,269,338 square miles, roughly one-third of the size of the United States. It has the second largest population of 1 billion and the seventh largest country in the world. One of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, India is home to at least 300 languages. Besides Hindi and English, there are 14 other official languages and 844 dialects. Approximately 30 percent of the population speaks Hindi. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It is also the adopted home of most followers of Zoroastrianism. A little more than 82 percent of the population is Hindu, 12 percent Muslim, and 3 percent Christian. Among the rest, 2 percent is Sikh, and less than 1 percent is Buddhist or Jain.
India has a developing economy and is fast becoming one of the world's top ten industrial powers. Still, India primarily remains an agricultural nation and is self-sufficient in food production. India is a leading world producer of several natural produce. These include peanuts, rice, cheese, tobacco, wheat, cotton, milk, sugarcane, and rubber. Other important crops are cereals, oilseed, jute, tea, and coffee. India's rich natural resources include coal, iron, natural gas, oil, diamonds, limestone, and minerals. The country is an ideal model of a "Mixed Economy". India is a union of 28 states and 7 union territories governed by state and central governments.
In August of 1997, India celebrated its 50th anniversary as an independent democracy. The Prime Minister is the Head of the Government while the President of India is the Head of the State. The Central Government functions from New Delhi, the capital of India. The Parliament has two houses, Lok Sabha (the lower house) and Rajya Sabha (the upper house). Indians today are the citizens of the world's most populous democracy and are pressing forward to find balance amidst continual social change.