This is a very rare and important Survey of India sheet depicting the critical Bombay-Poona (Mumbai-Pune) corridor just after the end of World War II and on the eve of Indian Independence. Bombay Island and much of its fast-growing suburbs appear on the extension in the far upper left, while to the southeast, in the interior, is the key city of Poona, connected to Bombay by the famous Great Indian Peninsular Railway (G.I.P.R, built to Poona in 1858). The coast of the Arabian Sea to the south of Bombay features the former pirate haunts of Alibag, Murad and Srivardhan. Else, the countryside is shown to have a great density of villages, farmland and forests, making a complex patchwork quilt of land use.
The ‘provisional’ first edition of the present map was issued by the Survey of India field office in Dehra Dun in 1917. Scientific surveys undertaken from 1921 to 1926 improved and updated the quality of the mapping, leading to the publication of the first formal edition in 1930; this was followed by the second edition of 1941, which was re-issued in 1942 and as the present edition of December 1945.
Bombay was since the late 17th century India’s premier port, the so-called ‘Gateway to India’. During World War II, the city was a major entrepôt for troops and supplies to support the British Imperial war effort. As shown on the map, in 1945, the densely urbanized area was largely confined to Bombay Island and in 1945 the metro area had only around 2.5 million residents (today it has a population of well over 20 million!).
Poona, a location favoured by the British became a major Raj military and administrative centre in the 19th Century, but by the 1940s it was a leading centre of Indian nationalism. Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned there from 1942 to 1944. In 1945, Poona had population of around 400,000; today to has approximately 4 million residents!
All such Survey of India sheet surveys tend to be rare to very rare. They were generally made in only small print runs and had low survival rates due to heavily field use. We have not been able to trace another example of this map in institutional catalogues.