By Dennard D’Souza, Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Ports were where maritime trade blossomed, people from far and wide brought their ware to an assigned place which would often be near a port and would exchange it for other commodities. This was pretty much the role of all ancient port towns like Alexandria and Rhodes. Today however I shall introduce one such port town that is very close to our city–Mumbai and was at one time a major maritime hub on the western coast of India this city is the ancient port town of Sopara.


The Naval Dimension of the 1971 Indo – Pak Ops

By Dennard D’Souza, Research Associate, Maritime History Society

The 1971 Indo Pak war was a defining battle fought by the tri forces of the Indian state. The battle resulted into a twofold achievement for India. Firstly, it paved the foundations of a new country which until 1971 was a de facto colony of West Pakistan thus, unshackling its people from political servitude and securing political autonomy of the indigenous inhabitant on their own land. The second achievement of the Indian State was a moral victory of the Indian ethos over the ideological medievalism of Pakistan. The Bangladeshis, then East Pakistanis not only suffered political subjugation at the hands of their western cousins but were also subjected to a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing prompted by Ideas of racial superiority that inflicted post partition Pakistani society. Although the battle was fought and won on Terra Firma its destiny was sealed in the waters of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. In this blog we shall analyse the role of the Indian navy in securing paramountcy for the Indian forces in the Indo Pak war of 1971.

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By Dennard H D’Souza, Research Associate, Maritime History Society

While flipping through the pages of history, we hear the stories of great maritime voyages undertaken by brave Indian Sailors. Be it the stories of the Kalingan Sandabha who sailed from the coast of Odisha to the far-flung Bali some two thousand years ago, or be it the great Chola fleet that ploughed through the waters of the Indian Ocean to capture the lofty city gate, Vidydhara Torana of the Sri Vijayans. Don’t we feel the urge to witness those momentous events of Indian Maritime history? Don’t we want to experience the briny sprays that waft through the breeze as the sails hoist high? Many of us pine for that experience but some have managed to recreate nostalgic experience by reenacting such ambitious voyages.


The Makara: Transforming a mythical creature into an object of Art

By Dennard H D’Souza ,Research Associate, Maritime History Society

My first encounter with the Makara was on a gateway of the Sanchi stupa. It featured a man wrestling with a serpentine monster geared with tusks of an elephant. Little was I aware of the creature and its significance in the Indian scheme of tradition. All of a sudden, it appeared in bas-reliefs and sculpture in lands as far as Japan. This set me thinking about the concept of Makara as a marine being that suddenly became a decorative motif all throughout Asia.

The Makara is a mythical creature which resides in the depth of the waters, where it lives in a state of elusive isolation. Like all mythical creatures, the Makara too has many fantastical descriptions. But most plastic representations  portray it to be serpentine with a mouth of a crocodile and tusks and snout of an elephant.

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Vande Bharat: Indian Navy’s Samudra Setu Mission

By Dennard H D’Souza ,Research Associate, Maritime History Society

The Vande Bharat is one mammoth mission to evacuate the diaspora Indians stranded all throughout the globe. It has been touted as one of the biggest achievements of the Modi government in almost warlike peace times. But in all this conversation we should not lose sight of the contribution of the Indian navy. The operation Samudra Setu is the Navy’s major deployment in the current times. The last we heard of such an evacuation of Indian and foreign nationals was from Yemen, operation Raahat in 2015. This was done on behest of the Ministry of external affairs. But what makes Samudra Setu different is the purpose of its mission. The navy out here has to combat the unseen enemy which is lurking at the corner. This enemy is the devious corona virus which make every person a potential carrier. The navy has to perform a fine balancing act by ferrying passengers and keeping them apart.

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