EAST INDIAN OF KURLA
Introduction: The name KURLA originated from “KURLI”, the local name for crab fish (as these were found in plenty in the marshes in the vicinity). The Angilican spelling was COORLA. In 1548, Kurla was one of the six villages given by the ruling Portuguese to Antonio Pessao, as a reward for his military services. The gaothan consists of four Segments: 1) Kurla Village, 2) Hall Village, 3) Culbavour and 4) Naupada. The origin of the gaothan can be traced from 1460 onwards.
Church: The broad and the navigable Mithi river brought Portuguese missionaries to Kurla. They set their mission work of converting local people, St. Francis Xavier, Apostle of India, while passing through Salsette saw a sizable number of Catholic populations in Bandra and Kurla. In the year 1548, he wrote to the King of Portuguese to donate land to build churches in Bandra and Kurla. In 1570, King of Portugal donated the villages of Bandra and Kurla to build Churches. In 1580, a Church dedicated to Holy Saviour was built in Kurla.
Subsequently in 1595, the above name was changed to Holy Cross Church. In 1739, Jesuit Fathers who served the parish left, because of the Maratha conquest. From 1739 ever since the parish has been served by the Diocesan Clergy. The Vicar General of Salsette was stationed at Holy Cross Church. Holy Cross being Deanery, it has following daughter Churches(1) In 1958, Our Lady of Fatima, Vidyavihar (2) In 1968 St. Joseph Church, Kurla (3) In 1972 St Jude Church, Jari Mari (4) In 1975 St. Anthony Church, Saki Naka (5) In 1982 Holy Family, Pestomsagar (6) In 1983 Infant Jesus Church, Ghatkopar.
View of the old Church
View of New church
School: Holy Cross School was established in 1901. It completed Centenary Celebration in 2001. It is dual Medium High School, English as well as Marathi.
Phool Dongri Cross: Half a kilometer, from Holy Cross Church, stood a hillock popularly known as Phool Dongri. One would get a panoramic view around it. A heritage Cross stood on the top of the hillock and village folks used to celebrate annual feast of Phool Dongri Cross with joy and gaiety. Later the hillock was raised and the Phool Dongri Cross is presently shifted to Holy Cross Church Compound.
Kurla Village : Was once serene and beautiful place to live in, the chirping and twittering of birds could be heard from a distance. The main occupation of Kurla Villagers was farming and salt pan workers, there were mangroves, cashew orchards, now known as Kajupada nearby. There were salt pans just away from the village.
Parish Priest for more than 33 years in Holy Cross Church, Kurla. He was Dean of South-east Salsette. He was Diocesan Inspector of schools. He was Diocesan Consultant. He was Domestic Prelete to His Holiness the Pope. He Uplifted the Holy Cross Parishioners, Built Two School Buildings, Marathi Shala.
Used to sing on All India Radio alongwith his troupe. Was the Judge for most of the East Indian Singing Competitions. He was a recipient of PRO. ECCLESIA ET PONTIFICE.
Was religious minded person who offered his two sons to work in the Lord’s Vineyard. Also donated the Christ the King Statue to the church. He was a recipient of PRO. ECCLESIA ET PONTIFICE
He was a recipient of PRO. ECCLESIA ET PONTIFICE. He was the Ex.President of Kurla Municipality. He has donated St. Gonsalo Gracia and St. Maria Goretti Statues in Kurla Parish.
United Social Welfare Association (USWA)
Some prominent village folks came together and formed an Association known as United Social Welfare Association of Kurla under the Registration No. BOM/13/1977 GBBSD dated 04/01/1977. Its aim and objectives are to keep the East Indian Culture and Dialect alive, which is gradually diminishing. It conducts various cultural and social activities like East Indian Singing Competition, Village Sports, Feast of St. Gonsalo Gracia, Itroz, Senior Citizen Celebration, Crib Competition and Christmas Party for Children etc.
Bright Seva Samiti : Conducts ‘BAND’ Competition (the one and only competition)
Traveller’s Association : Conducts Introz for travellers for past 75 years
Kurla Parishioners Death Benefit Fund : It gives benevolent for its members of the event of Death.
Conclusion: Over the years, the government acquired East Indian land for its various projects. The humble village folks of Kurla, but ignorant as they were, were compelled to sell their land for a meager price. Now according to Government notification, the acquired land, that isn’t utilized for the said purpose , has to returned to their rightful owners. The migrants have encroached upon these lands. The government granted these migrants rehabilitation and other amenities, but regrets to state, the poor ignorant village folks have to fight legal battle in the court of laws to reclaim their land.
The village is strangulated by alien culture, because none of the ruling powers have sincerity to maintain the East Indian heritage. Worst than that, the humble East Indian of Kurla can’t even prove themselves of being an East Indian and claim Other Backward Caste (OBC) status from the Maharashtra Government.
Courtesy: Mr. Roque Gonsalves
Naupada Village is behind the Holy
Cross Church, whereas Kurla village is in front of the Holy Cross Church. The
original East-Indians were the families of "Gomes", "D"mellos", "D'souzas", "Pereiras",
"Gonsalves", "Correias" & "Antaos"
Naupada village is on a height, and has never been affected by floods (Even on 26.07.2005) when Kurla just quarter of a kilometre away was drowning in 10 feet of flood waters.
Courtesy: Joseph Philip Gomes
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