The Asiatic Society of Mumbai – History, Fees and Significance

The Asiatic Society Mumbai is an Asian studies education company based in India. Since 1984, the Asia Society has been declared an institution of national importance by an act of the Indian Parliament.

In 1839, the Asia Society proposed to the government to establish a public museum in Calcutta, and in 1866 the Indian Museum of Calcutta was established.

Introduction Of The Asiatic Society Of Mumbai

The Asiatic Society moved into its own building in early 1808, the library opened to members and the public. 

In 1826, the Society became the Bombay Branch of the London-based Royal Asian Society of Great Britain and Ireland. It was known as the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asian Society (BBRAS). 

Its genesis can be found back in the Bombay Literary Society, which first met in Bombay on November 26, 1804, founded by Sir James Mackintosh in 1804.

The Bombay Asia Society Town Hall or simply the Town Hall (colloquially known as “Tondal” in the 19th century) was the seat of the Bombay Asia Society. It was not built in 1804 when the Bombay Literary Society was established.

Asiatic Society drone image

Establishment of Town Hall In Asiatic Society

The Bombay Asia Society Town Hall or simply Town Hall (colloquially known as “Tondal” in the 19th century) was the seat of the Bombay Asia Society, Not built when the Bombay Literary Society was founded in 1804. One possible place now is the National Central Library. 

Bombay is also home to the Bombay Asia Society, a scholarship and research company founded in 1804. Initially, the Town Hall (colloquially known as “tondal” in the 19th century) could not be completed.

The National Central Library was built after raising 10,000 rupees from a lottery held by the Bombay Literary Society (Mumbai).

In 1811, James Mackintosh, then the registrar of Mumbai and resident of the Asiatic Society, supported an earlier proposal to build a Town Hall.

Like City Hall, the seat of civil administration, public meetings, and debate, a site may have been deliberately located in the centre of the fortified city of early 19th century Bombay. 

Since about 1833, the Town Hall has been the cultural centre of Mumbai, and here is its history. The Town Hall Building is a historic building located deep in the historical part of the city of Fort, shaped by colonial geography, architecture, and sculpture.

Also Read: Public Library in Mumbai – Where you can Read Peacefully

Asiatic Society of Mumbai Town Hall Structure

The picturesque 30-step staircase of the town hall, the gabled portico with eight Doric columns, the divided wrought iron Regency balustrade is leading to the vestibule, the chairs in the Hall of Periodicals with coordinated stools to facilitate navigation, and the majestic Durbar. 

The halls come together to create and impress Mumbai’s Asiatic Society, organically linked by colonial history to its immediate surroundings while remaining its jewel. 

The snow-white façade and beautiful steps of the Asiatic Society inspire awe in all who see the town hall. 

In 1830, the Asiatic Society of Mumbai moved into the city hall building and provided Rs 10,000/- for its construction. Sir James Mackintosh put forward a proposal for a town hall, which was not completed until 1833 after many setbacks when the Bombay government agreed to make up the shortfall in funds in exchange for office space.

The first issue of Dante di Inferno is one of the town hall’s most valuable treasures. Built-in 1883, the Town Hall overlooking Horniman Circle Gardens is one of Mumbai’s most respected architectural buildings. 

Library And Educational Institution

The library, an educational institution founded in 1804, has been housed in the impressive Town Hall, Mumbai’s iconic landmark, since its inception.

Atop the steps of the majestic Mumbai City Hall, Horniman Circle is the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) Asiatic Society Library, with its treasures of books, periodicals, ancient manuscripts, colourized sheets, coins, artefacts, maps, and engravings.

A library is a storing place of old books, manuscripts, maps, cash, and artefacts.

The library and museum have more than one hundred thousand books, of which 15,000 are classified as rare and valuable.

The Society has digitised its entire collection, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, government publications, newspapers, and maps, and made its entire collection, including books, available on the Grant Sanjivani Society’s digital platform. 

The Society’s library also contains priceless artefacts and over 3,000 ancient manuscripts in Persian, Sanskrit, and Prakrit, mostly on paper but also on palm leaves. 

The Asiatic Society Of Mumbai Library’s Collections

The Asiatic Society Library’s outstanding collection includes a 16th-century Sanskrit manuscript of the Mahabharata, an original manuscript of the 14th-century Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and over 3,000 manuscripts of books in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Persian, and Urdu.

With the abolition of the college at Fort William, all his works in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, mainly in the form of manuscripts, were collected at high cost and difficulty under the guidance of Gladwin, Carey, and other eminent scholars of the East were placed under the protection of the Asiatic Company. 

In 1873, the Bombay Geographical Society and in 1896, the Bombay Anthropological Society merged with BBRAS, merging their collections. You can visit on their own website for more information. 

Aims And Purpose of the Society

The aims and purposes of the Society, when it was founded in 1804, were “to disseminate useful knowledge, especially that which is now directly connected with India”. 

Subsequently, other goals and objectives were added several times, such as the promotion of research in the field of language, philosophy, art, natural and social sciences concerning India and Asia, the publication of journals, the maintenance of a library and museum, the establishment of institutes and centers. That chase the goals and objectives of the Company.

Its origins can be traced back to the Bombay Literary Society, which first met on November 26, 1804, in Mumbai and was founded by Sir James Mackintosh – a jurist, jurist, and public figure in England was also the secretary of the King’s Justice. Bombay. 

Town Hall houses the Asian Library with old parquet floors, spiral staircases, and wrought iron loggias. The Asian Library, with its old parquet floor, is perhaps the most elegant historic building in Mumbai.

Written by Sumit Tripathi. A Content Writer who loves to write about different topics. I like to share my knowledge with others. Connect with me on Linkedin.

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