VILE PARLE

Ancient name: Velhe Padle

Anglesized : Parlem

 

 

Vile Parle Church Exterior and Inderiors

 

Baptismal font for many a baby,  today has no place within the chruch, left out in the open to bear the elements

 

 

 

In the early 1500ís Ville Parle, locally went by the name of Velhe Padle, and known by the Portuguese as Parley. It was washed on its western shores by the Arabian sea with Jewe now Juhu sitting on a ridge between Parlem and the Arabian sea. The marshy bay touched the present S.V. Road, formerly Godhbunder road and at high tide lashed the shores just 200 meters from the villages of Bhandarwar, Sutarwar, Pond and Irla. Parlem then formed the western periphery of the plains of Salsette. Juhu at high tide was completely isolated by this large body of water right up to Versova in the north and Koliwadato the south. Just sixty to seventy years ago (I myself have seen this), it was dangerous to step out after nightfall as snakes and foxes came out. The foxes came to the village in search of hens and ducks, which were reared by practically household. There was no electricity, and the streets were feebly lit by kerosene lamps. Every evening the lamp lighter came to trim and light the lamps and every morning he put them off. So also every Saturday evening at around 4:30 pm the Dhe-vundee peet-tau-na-ra or news announcer came to the village and stationed himself at the village cross sounding loudly his brass thali to assemble the people, he then read out in Marathi all the important news and the new orders or Laws made by

It was around the latter part of the 16th century that most of the villages were converted to Christianity, those who did not convert left the village and settled in other places of Vile Parle especially towards the north east. The people whose main occupation was agriculture made Vile Parle famous for its vegetables and the farmers from all over north Salsette ans Bassein came here every year to procure vegetable seeds. During the British Days, Vile Parle was known as the Vegetable Queen of the Suburbs. In 1929, the B.B. & E.I. Railways Company started the Bazar Special train which was run every morning from Virar to Grant Road having extra time special halts at Neela (Nala Sopara), Bassein, Bhaynder, Borivili and Vile Parle to pick up vegetables for the city. The train terminated at Grant Road and the whole citywas supplied with vegetables and fruits. Prior to the introduction of the railways, good were transported to the city by bullock carts and ferry boats.

The famous vegetables grown at Vile Parle were the Cucumber, Snake Gourd, Gousalee, White Pumpkin, Brinjals or Egg plants, Bendas or Lady fingers, Drumsticks and the special Mash Melon which is rarely see today. There were also two types of Rice grown here viz: 1) Rice Coarse (Patni) mainly used for making hand breads and 2) Rice fine (Coloum)

Parlem comprised of four ancient villages viz.: Pakady, Sutarwar, Bhandarwar and Pond. In 1560, Fr. Paulo-da-Trindade, vicar of Amboli, records that these villages as mentioned above, all comprised of the Parish of Ambivili and by 1589 there were in this parish 1637 adults and 400 children.

 

Villages of Vile Parle:

Pond

Pakady

Sutarwar & Bhandarwar

 

Courtesy: Teddie Rodrigues

 

 

POND GAUTHAN

pro. Po-und

 

The village of Pond , in those early days was situated on a ridge surrounded by mango and tamrind groves with a small lake or Pond on its north western slopes. The name of the village was derived from the cattle pound adjacent to the pond and the Old Police Station with its officers bungalow and a chawl for constables which was located at the western edge of the present Misquitta Compound. The village name is pronounced as Po-ound in the vernacular.

The Old Police Station Road divided the village of Pond into St. John ' s South Pond and St. Anthony's North Pond. The road itself is called Old Police Station Road since the Police Station was the oldest one after Bandra and it was only in the early 1930's that the new Police Station was built along with also a Cattle Pound at Andheri just outside the Railway Station on the East and the Old Police Station and Pound at Pond was closed down.

The People of Parlem had to travel by bullock cart to the church at Amboli every Sunday and Feast days and it was a difficult journey for the old and sick, hence through the efforts of the Vicar of Kalina Church that it was decided to build a Church at Vile Parle itself and from 1848 to 1850 the villagers were asked to provide the land for the church. The people were most generous in bequeathing their lands to the church which extended upto the present S.V. Road . Most lost due to town planning and selling.

 

Persons who donated lands, in order that the St. Francis Xavier Church be built (1850)

Mr. Joseph Micheal Misquitta,

Patel of Parla

Mr. Pascal Misquitta

Francis Luis Misquitta of Worli, Dadar,

Mr. Agustine Misquitta,

Mr. Vincent Vaz and

Mrs. Roman Vaz.

 

Since most of the donated lands belonged to the people of Pond in 1908, Fr. Vittorino D'Souza brought the Relic of St. Francis Xavier from Goa . The relic on arrival was taken in procession to the Church via Pond Village .

By 1917, the native Christian lost their majority in the Vile Parle outnumbered by the Hindu Gujrathi and Maharashtrians who poured into the place. After the new land survey in the late 30's, six town planning schemes were laid out in Vile Parle Nos.3 & 6 on the West and Nos. 1,2,4, and 5 in the East. The clout of the Hindus was now already growing and the helpless native catholic could not stop them from acquiring their lands through legislation as the British did not help.

 

A 10 feet road joining Pond to Juhu with lock gates at intervals constructed in 1930's by the Airport to control the sea waters at High Tide from flooding the airport.

 

The father of Anthony Misquitta donated the lands for the Police station.

 

---: Courtesy: Mr. Teddie Rodrigues :---

 

 

News update (2010)

Pond Gauthan boasts of a renewed community in the Vile Parle Catholic Association (VPCWA). the villagers having come together to claim back the land which was meant for the Old People's home. Many a East Indian Competition was held with the aim of getting funds to start up this projects. Over the years the land had been encroached and sought to be disposed. Now the youth have strengthened the arms of the old, and with the guidiance of the stalwarts within the organisation, they aim to make the VPCWA go far beyond just the limits of the village Pond Gauthan.

 

 

 

 

 

BHANDARWAR & SUTARWAR

The Villages of Suterwar & Bhandarwar or Parle (West)

 

Going Back a hundred and fifty years when Vile Parle had its first church built in 1850, we see that, between the church and the twin villages of Suterwar & Bhandarwar lay dense tall graces of Kahir trees (Acacia Catechum) keeping the place cool and in a perpectual twilight. The twin villages lay serene overlooking the tidal marshy sea water lagoon to the west and the freshwater lake to the South towards which the villages sloped gently downwards. An atmosphere of unhurried rural peacefulness prevailed. The sound of the chisel on stone, the creak of bullock cart moving towards the vai se and the sing song of the coir rope and the tatch makers were the only sounds that disturbed the stillness in these villages of a highly industrious people, that made Vile Parle famous throughout the Konkan of those early days.

The scenic beauty changes eighty years later in the early 1930's when we find most of the Khair trees chopped down to make way for the governments town planning scheme, Now one can see from the villages the twin spiritual towers of the church of St. Francis Xavier to the north , the railway lines to the east, the land fills and bungalows coming up to the west and the north west and to the south, the scene remains the same till 1950's when lake filled up.

The name Suterwar is seems was originally Sumbterwar in the vernacular Marathi which is the local language meaning the abode of rope and tatch makers and there are also pather vats or stone artisans that made the place famous. The industry produced the large grinding stones called Danthnis ment to separate the rice from its husk, the Garatts for makimg rice flower or bhirad (fine broken rice for preparing porridge a staple breakfast diet of the farmers, the stone Ukhals to pound the spices or polish the rice etc. They also made beautifully designed corbels for supporting wooden pillars of the house and for the support of the cross beams as also artfully decorated door stoppers and rectangular or round shape basins for co-bees for feeding slop to pigs. One may still see these creations in the different villages all over Bombay and Salsette and the mainland of North Konkan .

These products in the stone were sold all over North Konkan and even upto Goa . They were transported by bullock carts traveling in groups for safety. Those going south sold at Panvel, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, and Goa , These journeys lasted for about three months. The special stone required for the manufacture of these products was the gray black ochre hard wearing stone procured form the nearby quarries called Khans which were located where today stands the BEST Bus depot at Chunabhati in our Parish and from the quary where we have today the BSES Headquarter office and from Goregaon.

The village of Bhandarwar were mostly engaged in the pursuit of agriculture and were also timber and firewood merchants and bullock cart transport. It was these people who carted the Kurla black stone for the new church and the fourteen stations of the cross from the Cathechal of Our Lady of Expectation Cathedral at Bhuleshwar in 1941. The main Altar in the present church made form imported Italian marble was donated by Mr. Sebastian Misquitta of St. Braz Road and the present beautifully sculptured Altar Table depecting the last supper was donated by the Mendonca Family.

The twin villages have three main access roads. The St. Francis Road , The St. Braz Road and Sarojini Extension road., which people tried to name it after a saint but failed in their endeavor. Due to the villagers being near the sea marshes, the four wells could not provide good water as it was brackish, hence the majority of the people drew sweet drinking water from the large church well which was about 14 feet in diameter situated just about 12 feet to the south east of the present sacristy and about 6 feet west from the verandah of he old parochial house, the place today occupied by the Mother Theresa Institution. Till the late 1960's water was drawn by the people from here, after which the well was blocked. To date the villages have given us four priests viz: Fr. Mark Misquitta, Fr. Frank Fernandes, Fr. Malcholm D'Souza, Fr. Dereck Misquitta and Fr. Merwyn D'Souza, and a large number of Nuns.

 

 

---: Courtesy: Mr. Teddie Rodrigues :---

 

PAKADY

One of the oldest settlements in Vile Parle originating prior to 1257 AD when a part of the people who came along with their Chieftan Bhim Raja and occupied the Western periphery of the plains of Salsette. With the large Padhmale Fresh Water lake the east of the village where today stands the Domestic Airport and the forest of large trees of all types on the southeast called the Gha-bedi. The place was ideal for year long agricultural persuits and there were also all sorts of flowers and birds and animals in and around the forest and plains, numerous jackals and foxes roamed the area, which later prompted the British to establish a Jackal Club, whose club house stood near to stone quarry where we have today the BSES headquarters office.

 

The Pakhadi Village Settlement is on High Ground. If one walks from the Railway level crossing on the east towards the south on the Old Mahar-o-da Road now called the Vir Makarand Ghanekar Marg, one can easily observe the drop in the land which is about sixteen feet at the subway which was originally a Railway culvert from where water drained into the sea during monsoons, all this area East and West of the subway was a inlet and creek. The Pakhadi Villages has three main streets viz: the Misquitta Street with its Cross Lane , The Gonsalves Street and The Fernandes Street.

The Village had a Death Benefit Fund and has a hundred and twenty six year old Railway travelers Association which is still functioning. This Association presented the Church with 24 long pews shich are either side of the main aisle of the nave. They also presented complete set of new Vestements and Altar Clothes for all the Altars when its celebrated its Centenary. The Death Benefit Fund presented the Church a teak wood Altar Table, designed like a chalice, when the Latin Rights were changed over. The Village presented the Statue of St. Xavier which graces the main Altar.

They have also given the Church five Priests viz: The Late Fr. Cabral, The Late Fathe Joeseph Misquitta, Father Vincent Gonsalves. Father Jarvis D'Souza and Father Anthony Fernandes.

The Large Land Holders lost practically all with the rapid development of the City. What mostly contributed to this result was the Civilization from without abnormally grafted upon the country especially facilities of Communication. As the Railways led to Centralization in towns, the development of Manufacturing Units, Credit and its accompaniment of speculation, all to the detriment and destruction of Agriculture. The Railways instead of promoting agriculture were competing with it and promoted the development of Manufacture and Credit Finance

Today the younger generation has forgotten agriculture and independence. They are soley dependant on working for others and seem to be satisfied with it. They should instead take to education and Commerce in a big way to regain all that is lost.

 

---: Courtesy: Mr. Teddie Rodrigues :---

 

 

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