Rioting for puppy love

Urban legends scattered throughout the needle-narrow alleys of Bhuleshwar tell tales of hidden gems. The city’s sole sun temple, a pair of cool cannons embedded vertical in the ground for horse reins once tethered to them and, nearby, the old Cotton Exchange frieze depicting an event chain from the fibre bolls-and-bales stage to the final cloth packed for London…

Photo: Bharat Gothoskar
Inset: Sketch of Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, 1857

Here, too, stands the Panjrapole. Bombay’s largest animal shelter was funded by two soft-hearted sethias, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Amichand Shah, following what were possibly British India’s first recorded riots. The Parsi-Dog War of June-July 1832 – when Parsi traders fought British orders to ruthlessly rid the town of strays – was a significant test, fraying otherwise warm and cordial relations between the Parsis and English.

This act of defiance came from one of the wealthiest communities of the time. Strongly protesting the inhuman killing of dogs and mobilising local fervour on the issue, the revolt proved that Parsis were generally to be found on the side of justice, no matter how powerful the makers of heinous laws. The Bombay Dog Riots also exposed the fragility of early socio-political bonds in Bombay and much of Western India was gradually emboldened to rise against colonialism.


MEHER MARFATIA

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