Gujarat

Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Lascars were sailors on the European ships mostly the British ships at a time when the European powers were locked in great tussle for taking control of the routes and spices found in India. British finally ousted all others and took control of India, first as East India Company and from 1857’s mutiny onwards for almost 100 years as British India Empire. The term “Lascar” is derived from Persian word “Lashkar” which means army or a group of soldiers. They worked on the foreign ships under Lascar agreement which gave the owners more powers under which lascars could be shifted… Read More »Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Remembering Tarla Dalal

India is a potpourri of diverse cultures. People from different places outside the sub-continent had been migrating to India since ages. It is generally thought that most of the migrants whether entering for commercial purposes, in search of greener pastures for their cattle which was the case of Aryans, or for grabbing and establishing their hold came generally through the Western corridor. This was not the only way people entered India. Parsees came by boats and ships first to Gujarat and then spread to other parts of India especially Mumbai. Ahoms entered India in the North East. Arabs arrived in… Read More »Remembering Tarla Dalal

Tana and Riri, Tansen and Akbar

Tansen was one of the Nine Ratna’s (9 Gems or extraordinarily talented) of Moghul King Akbar the great. He was a great musician with complete his mastery over Indian classical music. He is said to have created fire by singing the Raag Deepak (Lamp). His body was filled with heat and burning and he was in great pain due to the heat generated. He tried so many cures but there was no respite from this burning and suffering. Akbar distressed, suggested that the maestro go back to his home at Gwalior for some time and recuperate there. He went to… Read More »Tana and Riri, Tansen and Akbar

Freak Weather

I remember when we were young in late fifties and sixties, weather transitions were fairly uniform. The farmers whose hard work can turn to dust till the crops are harvested and safely brought home, were fairly confident about weather. We saw only poor monsoons once in a while and crops failing badly and food scarcity. In those days farming was dependent on the blessings of nature especially for water. The variety of crops and food items was not much. Only native seeds were used and often mixed crops were raised. For example, wheat alongwith sprinkle of barley or mustard. Only… Read More »Freak Weather

Karnaphul: Crinum brachynema From Maharashtra & Gujarat

Crinum brachynema, called Karna phul is an ornamental restricted to Gujarat and Maharashtra States in western India. Due to its narrow range of distribution and extreme rarity, it has been listed as Critically Endangered. It was first imported into the UK from India by Messrs Loddiges of Hackney, who sent the bulbs on to William Herbert at Spofforth (North Yorkshire). Herbert subsequently described C. brachynema as a new species, in 1842. Restricted to the North Western Ghats of western India, where it occurs in three areas: in the Dharmapur forest range of the Bulsar District in Gujarat State at about… Read More »Karnaphul: Crinum brachynema From Maharashtra & Gujarat

Khada Parsi Statue

That the Parsis are the architects of developing the Bombay is not a overstatement. This community which is known for honesty and great entrepreneurship was encouraged by British to settle in Bombay from Gujarat. They have made an immense contribution to the city. Besides being the entrepreneurs, the Parsis have been great philanthropists and opened many hospitals, educational institutions and bridges for the populace of Bombay. Although still they are a dominant force in the commerce, their population is dwindling which is matter of concern. There are many statues erected by them in the city in the memory of great… Read More »Khada Parsi Statue