Malad is a neighborhod located in North Mumbai. Malad has a railway station on the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway, lying between Kandivali station to the north and Goregaon station to the south. The railway tracks of the Western Line divide Malad into Malad(West) and Malad(East).
Until the mid-20th Century, Malad was a sparsely populated locality cut across by creeks and mangroves. Since the late 20th Century, Malad has become an attractive residential area for white-collar middle-class population from different communities. There were also some small industrial estates. These two developments resulted in the growth of large slums too. Beginning in the early 2000s, Malad witnessed a process of gentrification, with the emergence of large commercial complexes, shopping malls, gated communities, and the large-scale demolition and relocation of slums. Today, Malad is often promoted as “Mumbai’s fastest growing locality”.
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In the 19th century, Malad consisted of a number of villages including Orlem(also known as Valnai), Kharodi, Rathodi, Malwani, Marve, Aksa, Madh and Chinchowli. The other old settlements in Malad were villages occupied by the local East Indian Community, Bhandaris, Kolis, and Muslim & South Indian People who are recognized as the original native inhabitants of Mumbai.
The name Malwani is now used to refer to the stretch between BMC Colony Gate No. 1 and Gate No. 8 and further extending to MHADA Colony. However, the historical Malwani village consisted only of the area which is now BMC Colony. Malwani is also the site of St. Anthony’s Church which is even older than the our lady of Lourdes Church in Orlem. The areas around the Malwani area used to be mangroves, salt-pans and agricultural lands belonging to the local east-Indians of Kharodi Village. These areas have been populated in the recent past. Many families like the Kolis, Vaitys, Bhandaris and the Kenis are old residents.
In 1934, Bombay Talkies, the first movie company to be founded in India, was established in Malad by Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani. Originally, much of the land to the west of the railway tracks was owned by East Indian families and was used primarily for agriculture. In 1970s many of them sold their lands to real estate developers. Prahladrai Dalmia Lions College of Commerce and Economics is the oldest commerce college in the North Mumbai. It was established in the year 1972.