Policeman of British India Era Bombay, 1900 Postcard

A 1900 postcard of a policeman in British India era Bombay (Mumbai). Attired in the colonial-era police uniform, complete with a baton that is strapped to his waist belt. This young constable looks all fit and ready to go. Today the Mumbai policeman apparently looks smarter and well-attired. And have far better salaries and perks compared to the colonial era.

Until the 17th century, Mumbai was initially under Portuguese control. The Portuguese formed police posts and set up a basic law structure. But after the Portuguese gifted Bombay to the English as dowry from the marriage of King Charles II to Catherine of Braganza. The British became the new owners and these structural policies would have obvious changes. Governor Gerald Aungier, in 1669 formed a basic militia comprising 500 Bhandaris.

Today’s Mumbai police force can be traced back to the Bhandari militia. By 1672 working of law courts commenced. Although the judges did not have any proper legal knowledge nor had any training in the dealings of law at the time. And these primitive policing and law courts remained unchanged for a very long time. It was only after the 1790s that all matters of rulings and policing took shape. That became clearer and clearer and enforced new rules and policies accordingly.

Read more- History lessons: The story behind Bombay’s hawaldar. See my post- Calcutta Traffic Policeman – Old Photo 1920.

Did you know- the “Indian Imperial Police” of British India became the “Indian Police Service” after independence.

From the collection- 1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#16)., View of Poona or Pune – Old Print 1855., Rare Nilgiri Mountain Railway Steam Locomotive Drawing., Electric Trams of Madras / Chennai – 2 Old Photos 1935