The porim of Vasai
Not much of the rich and great history of Manickpur is documented. It is only passed on through the generations by the word of mouth. There are instances of this village in some olden manuscripts.
In some of the olden Portuguese manuscripts, this place was called ’puri‘, no explanation is found on why it was called so. One of the assumptions is that earlier there might have been a temple on the lines of the Jaggannath Puri temple in Orissa, and hence this place was named so. On Portuguese and English manuscripts this place was also referred to as ’porim‘.
This name gradually changed to ’manickpuri‘, there is no instance of any written documentation on this. It is also said that many South Indians settled here due to the proximity of Bombay (as it was earlier known) which was rich in terms of industries, mills and factories. The name then gradually changed from ’Porim‘ to ’Manickpurm‘.
When the Railway was laid by the British, the station that is now known as Vasai Road was then known as Manickpur Road. So it was the Britsh that the name changed to its present status.
Geographically or Topographically as you may call it, Manickpur is situated on a hillock and the base is of stone therefore it is believed to have very strong foundations. Hence it has withstood many floods and also earthquakes.
Inhabitants of Manickpur
The Main inhabitants of the village of Manickpur can be sub-divided in to four categories, Kunbi, Khumbar, Wadval & Koli.
Kunbi’s were the original inhabitants of this village. Starting from the Parvati Cross to the Chowk, Fadbao, Kharbao, Chinchkombda to Naupada is where these people originally built their houses and lived. Almeida, Colaco, Lopes, Menezes are some of the surnames you would associate these people with.
Khumbar’s lived across the Talao or the pond of Manickpur in line with the Church Road. As the materials for making earthenware was easily found here. D’souza, D’mello, Gracias, Pereira, Alphanso are some of the surnames you would associate Khumbar’s with.
Wadval’s lived to the south of the Church, this place was called Barampur. They were engrossed with Agriculture and allied activities. Ghosal, Carval, Vaz, Cerejo are some of the surnames associated with Wadval’s.
Koli’s lived along the creek and carried out the business of Fishing. Shivachya Gharacha, Ghastya are some of the surnames associated with this community.
About Marriages, the people of Barampur (the Wadvals) would marry with the people in the south of Vasai. Khumbar’s have their streak from Agashi to Marol. Kunbi’s would find their spouses within the nearby villages of Chulne, Gokhivere and mostly within Manickpur.
Even though Manickpur was built on stony land, there was sweet, semi-salty and salty land around it. Similarly there were Saltpans across it. The people of Manickpur actually working in the saltpans was very few but those engaged in allied activities was high. Transportation of salt, making wooden covers for salt… were some of the activities. Sutar-ali (Carpenters), Kumbhar-ali (Potters), and Kolis were engaged in their traditional activities, the Railway added to their source of income.
Thus were formed Teachers, Clerks, Railway workers, Welders, Fitters, Mechanics…etc who used to frequent Mumbai through the Railway trains. Dominic Ghosal was referred to as an Engineer and he was a Marine Engineer – the first in Vasai too. Pius Almeida was a reputed Chartered Accountant, Maryan Almeida was referred to as a Doctor. Similarly Lawrence Lopes, Valentine Menezes, Saminguel Colaco, Francis Mascharenes left an impression on the people of Manickpur.
In the field of Literature too, Manickpur was at the forefront. Rock Carvahlo was an award winning Journalist and a Poet and also the first Journalist from Vasai. Fr. J. S Miranda started the ‘Shod-Bhod’ news letter. Then ’Shanti Doot‘ a magazine was published first in Manickpur later transformed to the present day popular ’Suvarta‘ magazine.
Manickpur was ahead in many of the other fields as well, Manickpur Urban Co-Operative Credit Society, St. John D’Britto D’Ed College, St. Xavier’s Technical Institute, The Alcoholics Anonymous…etc.
Street Play / Theater
The magic of Street Plays was brought on to spread awareness by Dr. Dominic Lopes and now carried over by Juran Lopes and his troup ’Nav Nirmiti‘.
Reginald Fernandes, a man from Goa came to Manickpur aged 22 years and transformed the entire village as well as Vasai with his melodious notes of music. He inculcated the Musical background of Manickpur. He started the St. Anthony’s Sangeet Mandal and taught music and the values governing life to the children of Manickpur. With his inspiration many of the children of Manickpur are serving the Lord.