Remembering a tragedy

The day it rained gold and death in Bombay: rare footage of the 1944 dock explosion

Approximately 800 people died when the Fort Stikine exploded in the city docks 70 years ago. April 14 is still observed as Fire Brigade Day in the city.

On the  afternoon of April 14, 1944, as World War II raged in the far corners of the planet, Mumbai was convulsed by two enormous explosions that sent a deadly shower of fiery metal and gold ingots hurtling down upon the city. An estimated 800 people were killed in the blasts, 231 of them from the dock services and fire brigade.

The explosion occurred on board a British freighter called the Fort Stikine, which had arrived at the docks from Karachi two days earlier. Her cargo was a lethal combination of wartime munitions and peacetime supplies: 1,395 tons of explosives, torpedoes, mines and shells shared the hold with bales of cotton, barrels of oil and timber. The Stikine was also carrying  £890,000 of gold bullion in bars in 31 crates.

It isn't clear what caused a fire to break out on the Stikine, but it spread quickly. Two explosions followed. They were heard far across the suburbs and sensors recorded the tremors as far as Shimla. Thirteen ships around the Stikine were destroyed, as were hundreds of homes in the vicinity of the docks. The Bombay Dock Explosion would be the most powerful blast in the eastern theatre of war, until the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

The tragedy would remain in the memories of residents for decades, and April 14 is still observed as Fire Brigade Day in the city.  Every now and then, dredging operations in Mumbai harbour still yield shells and gold bars. 

Here is a rare newsreel of the day.

Support our journalism by paying for Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.