Not much of the rich and great history of Manickpur is documented. It is only passed on through the generations by word of mouth. There are instances of this village in some oldmanuscripts.
In some old 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 Jagannath Temple in Puri in Orissa, and hence this place was named so. In 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 ofBombay (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 through the British that the name changed to its present status. Actually the Vasai Road station was known as Bassein road after renaming Manickpur road. Still the Indian railways refer Vasai Road as Bassein road, even the station indicators show this.
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 ManickpurEdit
The Main inhabitants of the village of Manickpur can be sub-divided into four categories, Kunbi, Khumbar, Vadval & 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.
Vadval'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 Salt pans 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 (Fishing) 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, Michael (Saminguel) Colaco was the first B.A. LLB Maryan Almeida was referred to as a Doctor, Pascal D'Sa was biggest trader of wood and had controlled the market services. Similarly Lawrence Lopes, Valentine Menezes, 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.
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. Rasik Ranjan a group of enthusiastic actors was formed in the early 1970s and died a natural death towards the late 1985's as most of them started to earn and devote more time towards their families. This group was rejuvenated in 2004. Since then Rasik Ranjan has not looked back churning one play or an act each year and also trying to involve as much as the youth of Manickpur to showcase their talents.
Reginald Fernandes, a man from Goa, came to Manickpur aged 10 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.
It was 10 October 1946 when Reginald Fernandes, a young man, came from Goa for being a choir master invited by Late Rev. Fr. D'cunha for a period of just two months. He then transformed the village with his melodious sounds and warm affection. The people of Manickpur too give him the same affection and convince him to stay on forever. In 1947 when Fr. Ignatius D'souza was the parish priest of Manickpur, he took a leading stance and formed the St. Anthony's Sangeet Mandal precisely the date was 13 June 1947.
There were plays performed to entertain the parishioners and also a jazz band was formed for the weddings held in the village, the name His Jolly Brothers. This band was famous from Manickpur to Agashi to Koliwada. Interestingly the average age for the members of the band was 20 years!
Another feat is that when Pope John Paul II had come to India in 1987 for a Eucharistic Congress in the then Bombay, there was a programme of prayers by the Pope when he came to Vasai. The entire responsibility of the singing was taken by Master Reginald. This was the first time that Marathi singing accompanied prayers. Here on Master Reginald was called to each and every parish of Vasai to teach them Marathi singing and songs.
The choir members are from age of 6 yrs to more than 70 years. The choir members expertise themselves in playing many musical instruments like Keyboard, Guitar, Violin, Tabla, Trumpet, Saxophone, Mouth organ, Sitar, Flute. They can read & write Musical notations. It is considered as one of the best choirs in Vasai. During festivals like Christmas, Parish feast, Easter, Feast of Mother Mary, the Lent Period specially on Good Friday non-catholic people from all over Vasai also go to Manickpur church to listen their music and singing.
History of St. Michael's ChurchEdit
The Jesuits lived in the Vasai Fort and had the parishes of Papdy, Sandor and Manickpur in their control. Up to 1605, people from Manickpur used to go to Sandor to celebrate theEucharistic. But since it was far, the priests established a chapel in Manickpur in 1606. This chapel was made out of wood and had toddy leaves thatched as roof. Till 1608 priests from Sandor used to come and celebrate mass and preach. Alexeo Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, then bifurcated the parishes of Manickpur and Sandor.
The land used to build the chapel at Manickpur was donated by a Portuguese lady Dona Ines Francisca to the Jesuits in 1572. The Jesuits had to sell off the land for some reasons unknown. It finally was bought by another Portuguese lady Dona Philipa De Fonseca. She finally donated this land back to the Jesuits in her will when she died on 20 June 1625. Rev. Fr. Adrian D'silva started the building of the church, it was then followed by Rev. Fr. Manuel Perez and finally completed by Rev. Fr. Manuel D'costa.
An interesting fact about the structure of the church was that it is located forming a triangle with churches at Papdy and Sandor as the other points. Also the distance between the churches is less than 2 miles.
In the year 1739, Manickpur was raided by the Marathas who came in through the east led by Chimnaji Appa. They destroyed all the Churches that fell in their way towards the Vasai Fort, and Manickpur was one of them. However it was later rebuilt in the year 1851 by Rev. Fr. E.R. Hull (Reference to this can be found in B.M.H Vol. 1.P.5)
That year the Jesuits fled the village and the diocesan priests took charge of the parish. They were in charge of the parish for almost 200 years and finally it was handed over to the Jesuits in 1949. Since then it is the Jesuits that have been running the Parish.