From the time humans stepped into water with the benefit of the buoyancy of a hollowed-out log, seafaring has always been a saga of respect for skill and human spirit. In the Indian Ocean, littoral communities along the coast have been traversing the length and breadth of the oceanic space for the past few millennia. On Tuesday, at the opening day of the maiden National Maritime Heritage Conclave, discussions on coastal communities recognised their influence along the coast and across the seas. Day 2 will reflect the elements of gender in Indian Maritime History and Trans-oceanic Connectivity. It is apt to examine what is needed for one to dare to venture to the sea. A seafarer requires a balance of specialised skill set, which includes navigation, maritime law, meteorology, etc.
A careful examination of history reveals accounts of women involved in seafaring activity. Maritime women of the Medieval Era were feisty and adept in aptitude across a broad spectrum from administration to military. In the medieval era period, one such heroic figure was Rani Abbakka, a warrior queen who fought against the Portuguese. Her story stands out as an excellent example of administration and skilled military tactics. Yet the stigma of Samudrolanghan slowed maritime activities and a resulting fear of sea halted flourishing Maritime activities. These were largely confined to coastal communities.
In more recent times, the involvement of women in the Maritime Sector has gained momentum over the past few years. Common perception is that prior to 1988 there were limited opportunities for women in the Maritime Industry. The annals of the Royal Indian Navy, especially during World War II narrate the saga of Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service. It was established to support the war efforts even if not on the ships. After the start of a global programme for integration of Women in the Maritime sector established by International Maritime Organization (IMO) many opportunities arose for women in the Maritime domain. After 1992 the Indian Navy permitted women to join as Short Service Commissioned Officers in specific branches.
Recent news of Indian Navy women officers joining combat duties from the aviation cadre on Navy warships drew significant attention and inspiration. It is not a singular moment of engagement but a continuing evolution of opportunities for recognising skill over gender. It requires great strength and skill to brave the sea and even greater resilience to sustain its challenges. Day 2 of the ongoing National Maritime Heritage Conclave will bring first-hand experiences from our panel of Maritime women. In the skills for seafaring, sea does not recognise gender group or oceanic genealogy. Specifically, the role of women in Indian Maritime History is a prominent unsung frame in the annals of history
The third session progresses into another unsung frame of the Maritime Domain which is Trans-Maritime Connectivity across IOR. The landmass of India being largely surrounded by the water bodies makes the ocean a medium of connectivity to the world. This Maritime connectivity largely transgresses into India’s unsung Maritime History. India being a landlocked country the sea blindness of Indians comes as a shock. A detailed study of our country’s maritime history reveals a strong oceanic connect dating far back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, with Lothal being one of the oldest port cities of the world and Rig Veda having one of the earliest literary references to maritime activities of the country.
Oceans have played an important part in Indian philosophy and have been associated with a variety of celebrations and rituals across ages. These maritime practices throw light on how India’s seasonal festivals and associated rituals have a clear connection between the maritime voyages and the climatological time frames.
India has witnessed cultural and traditional exchange, trade and commerce through the oceans for a long period of time. Contrary to popular belief, the system of a maritime passage through the Indian Ocean evolved out of a gradual integration of trading port towns along the coastlines of Africa, Arabia, India, South East Asia, China and Europe! The Indian Ocean Region experienced extensive maritime trade and at its peak rivalled the Silk Route.
Ships traversing the Ocean carried valuable merchandise, skills, knowledge, civilisation, culture, religions ideas inventions, artistic style, philosophies, and social customs from one end to another. This maritime web of commerce and cultural exchange operated on seasonal monsoon winds. Oceanic activity in the region encouraged by the unique feature of monsoons allowed the countries involved to have an active participation in maritime trade, thus creating a long history of maritime activities covering a period of about five millennia. Maritime activities of the past and the present have led to a cultural migration and created a global commerce that has influenced the face of Indian history and culture. This lineage of maritime heritage and history is indeed a testimony of our strong connections and relationship with the sea.
India’s strategic position in the Indian Ocean Region has ensured that we have a list of maritime stories and heroes that have left an impressive wake. We can say that the world that we see today is a legacy of our Maritime excursions and its history. India has a very rich maritime history and we are just beginning to explore it. There was a golden age of Indian seafaring and a major part of it remains unknown or unexplored creating an opportunity for us at Maritime History Society to dive deeper.
Staying true to the mission of ‘awakening maritime consciousness’, Maritime History Society holds an Annual Maritime History Seminar each year on a selected Maritime Theme. This year’s 42nd edition which is envisaged as a National Maritime Heritage Conclave (NMHC) is being organised in collaboration with Gujarat Maritime University, Gandhinagar, All India Marine Pilot’s Association and The Daily Guardian. This two-day conclave honours the theme “Unsung Frames in Indian Maritime History’’. Even in the emerging season of a maritime resurgence, awareness of our seafaring past and affinity for traversing the oceans is not a common pull for the populace. In that context the conclave is showcasing frames of reference that have largely suffered neglect in scholastic enquiry and narrations.
Day 1 of the conclave had explored the influence and importance of coastal communities and ended on a high note of announcement of the winners of the JG Nadkarni Memorial Essay Competition and release of a special musical tribute to the Indian Malams (boatmen); today’s session reflects upon the synergy of skills in the seafaring world. The proceeding gave a glimpse of the diverse spectrum of segments that make up the maritime dimension. There is literally a rare sector of academics that fails to have a maritime connect. It is a recognition of the geographical, climatological and cultural spread of the oceanic medium in addition to many more frames of reference and context. Celebration of the lesserknown narratives and sections of India’s maritime world is aimed to promote sea mindedness, incite a curiosity, and create awareness about India’s maritime heritage. Join the conclave by visiting https://mhsindia. zohobackstage.in/NationalMaritimeHeritageConclave2020. For more information visit our website www.mhsindia.org. And for updates of the other events follow our social media. The sea is a vast medium of opportunities and collaborations. Together we can achieve a resurgence of interest, scholarship and attention towards the Maritime Heritage of India. Maritime History Society, determined to evolve into an international institution of excellence in the maritime dimension invites your interest, involvement and integration into its journey forward. Do join us to tend to the sails, hold the sheets and surge ahead in the voyage of Heritage Awakening our Maritime Consciousness.
Ashwini Nawathe is Archives & Collections Associate, and Saba Purkar is Academic Assistant, both at MHS.
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’
The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.
Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.
On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”
He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”
SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI
The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.
Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.
Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.
Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.
Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.
During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.
To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.
Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.
With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.
IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT
An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.
The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.
The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.
More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.
During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.
Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the
IAF, he said.
ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR
JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.
Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.
BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.
The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.
BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.
According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.
“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”
As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.
Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.
IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US
In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.
Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.
The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.
The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.
The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.
The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.
The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services.
Opinion12 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports1 year ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News1 year ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News1 year ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports1 year ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Legally Speaking1 year ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Royally Speaking1 year ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur