Surat : Tourists visiting the watering hole of Gujarat in the union territory of Daman might not be aware of its historical heritage sites. Daman houses Asia’s first municipal council building known as Daman Municipal Council (DMC), built in the 16th century during the rule of the Portuguese.
KC Sethi, an international art photographer, recently published the Coffee Table books on Daman, Diu, Goa, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli (DNH) under the Portuguese regime (1510-1961), delved into the history of Portuguese in India for 550 years.
Sethi said, “I clicked over 300 photographs, collected old pictures from Portuguese Consulate in Goa and some from Wikipedia. The most interesting monument that I found during my study was the Daman Municipal Council, which is the oldest in Asia. Surprisingly, the council still operates from the same building and is still standing firm”
DMC was built in the 16th century during the rule of the Portuguese, D.C.-Da-Braganasa, by the order of Portuguese hero who won the suppression, and it was granted the status of the municipality of the city of Evora in 1581 in Portugal. The Evora municipality in Portugal is now a memorial included in UNESCO World Heritage and was fully operational in 1585.
Daman municipality is the oldest municipal council in Asia. At the time of its construction, the engineering and extension of the Portuguese was on the brightness and there was a very fast work in the thick Daman fort.
A red signboard is found on the main gate of the building bearing the name of DMC in the Portuguese language, “Senado Publico Noble e Lil Proviscios de 1581″, which means “Daman Municipal Council, A public Senate is loyal to the provision of 1581”
It was called in the Portuguese rule by the name of ” Kamara de Damao”, later it was called “Kamara Municipal D Damao” and now the Municipal Council of Daman.
Before 1961, the municipal area of Diu Island was also under the control of the municipal council of Daman. The council of Diu was also called “Jedi Kamara-D-DDIO” and was built in 1616. But the Daman council was built in the 16th century under Portuguese law. In 1581 the city was given equal rights to that of Evora Municipal Council in Portugal.
The office of the president and the meeting hall of DMC is still worth seeing as it depicts the excellence of the Portuguese architecture. The 200-year-old shelves are kept in the storerooms. The architecture of this building is extraordinary and matchless.
From 1961 to 1987, Goa was under Central-ruled Union territory named Goa, Diu, Daman with Panjim its capital. Sethi first visited Goa in 1968, Daman in 1981, and Diu in 2014.
The first time the Daman council was formed in Daman was in 1970. Before this, it used to run as a local panchayat of Daman from 1961 to 1969. After the formation of Goa state in 1987, Diu and Daman got the status of Union Territory and Daman became its capital.
After the liberation of Daman, Diu, Goa on 19th December 1961, it was run by Local Panchayat and was formed first time in 1970 by elected councilors and headed by an elected president.
Role of DMC Daman ……
DMC resolves to intensify its efforts in providing better civic services to the citizens and a multitude of visiting patrons from all over the country and overseas. Other objectives before DMC are to improve quality of life and providing social and community welfare amenities with the public, private participation- with special emphasis on promotion of art & culture, environmental improvement, cleaning & greening campaigns.
(Article submitted by KC Sethi, an international art photographer)