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Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India

By Bhavyashree GNS, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the term ‘iconography’ refers to the use of images and symbols to represent ideas or the particular images and symbols used by a religious or political group. In simple words, iconography is concerned with the visual aspect of the study in regard to ideas, cultures, and the study of these. Iconography is considered as an important aspect as it makes use of various symbols, themes, and subject matter to convey meaning of the work.[1] Continue reading “Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India”

The bedrock of overhauling activities of the Eastern Naval Command: INS Eksila

By Ms Sadaf Khan, Archive and Collection Associate, Maritime History Society

The requirement to create an indigenous marine gas turbine overhaul facility was realised in the Indian Navy during the early eighties. An idea was laid out to create a composite and self-contained gas turbine overhauling facility. This independent facility was to be operated by service personnel which would cater to contemporary Gas Turbines and the ones acquired in future as well. As the government sanctioned for the same in September 1984, the foundation stone was laid by Vice Admiral SC Chopra PVSM, AVSM, NM, the then Flag Officer Commanding–in–Chief, Eastern Naval Command on 25 Aug 1988. On 22 October 1991, the facility was established at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as the Marine Gas Turbine Overhaul Centre (MGTOC) and inaugurated by Admiral L Ramdas PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM, ADC, the then Chief of Naval Staff.1 Continue reading “The bedrock of overhauling activities of the Eastern Naval Command: INS Eksila”

The Tales and Trials of the Indigenous and Formidable INS Arihant

By Ms Uma Kabe, Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society

“Of all the branches of the men in the forces, there is no one which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners”

-Winston Churchill.

India’s first indigenously constructed Strategic Strike Sub Surface Ballistic Nuclear Submarine (SSBN), Indian Naval Ship (INS) Arihant (S2), was launched at the Naval Dockyard at Visakhapatnam on 26 July 2009, by the then Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to commemorate the anniversary of Kargil War- celebrated as Vijay Diwas. Post the activation of the atomic reactor in 2013 and extensive sea trials thereafter, the vessel was commissioned into the Indian Navy (IN) in 2016 by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. The indigenous construction of INS Arihant helped India strengthen its defence and strategic planning while reinforcing its maritime standing. India was the only country to develop a nuclear submarine apart from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Manufactured under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project, INS Arihant, the lead vessel of its class, was collectively constructed by IN, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and a few Russian designers.[i] Tata Power and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) have also significantly contributed to the development of this Submarine. Continue reading “The Tales and Trials of the Indigenous and Formidable INS Arihant”

Reminiscing the Past: INS Khukri

By Ms Maitre Shah, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

Introduction

In the Indo-Pak War of 1971, at the naval frontiers many warships played important roles, INS Khukri (F149) being one of them. INS Khukri was attacked and sunk during the war. To commemorate its valour, a Khukri class corvette was commissioned in the same name. 23 August 2022 marks the 33rd commissioning anniversary of the Indian Naval Ship INS Khukri (P49). On this day, let us revisit the past and reminisce the journey of both the majestic vessels. Continue reading “Reminiscing the Past: INS Khukri”

Sugar in Milk: The Parsi Tryst with India

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

We have often heard stories of the jovial, dhansak eating and the overtly philanthropic Parsis. We have sometimes even swayed our heads to the medley “my name is Jeejeebhoy Jamshedjee” and never realised the person was an actual Parsi gentleman who made it big during the Raj. Parsis are everywhere from enterprise to entertainment. Though a miniscule minority, they have influenced us in a good way. We drive (Trucks and Cars) and drink Tata products(Starbucks) , we safeguard our jewels and food products in Godrej cupboards and fridges. Guess what…. these all are Parsi made products. Continue reading “Sugar in Milk: The Parsi Tryst with India”

The Tiger, The People and The Forest: Humans and Beasts in Conflict

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

The Sundarbans are a land mass formed by the large deposits of silt carried by Ganga and Brahmaputra from the hinterland and the relentless sculpting of silt mounds by the tides of the Bay of Bengal. This geological phenomenon gives birth to large clusters of Islands which are tightly bound and separated by narrow channels and stream. The slit composition of the Sundarbans Islands makes it an unstable landmass which are prone to disintegration caused by the vagaries of climatic fluctuations. The vast tracts of Sundarban lands are of such geological formation that has given rise to an expansive mangrove forest.

Continue reading “The Tiger, The People and The Forest: Humans and Beasts in Conflict”

Vanguard of the Skies and the Seas: INAS 300

By Ms Sadaf Khan, Archive and Collection Associate, Maritime History Society

Leading Fighter Air Squadron of the Indian Navy, the White Tigers was commissioned on 07 July 1960 by Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the then High Commissioner of India in Brawdy, Whales UK. During the commissioning ceremony Mrs. Pandit gave the Squadron its Crest- ‘White Tiger of Rewa’. With nine gallantry awards and unaccountable achievements in many major operations, White Tigers is one of the only squadrons to have operated in all three fighter aircrafts of the Indian Navy, the Sea Hawks, Sea Harrier and MiG-29K; and from all three Aircraft Carrier Ships I.e. INS Vikrant (R11), INS Viraat (R22) and INS Vikramaditya. Continue reading “Vanguard of the Skies and the Seas: INAS 300”

Enduring legacy of INS Kunjali

By Amruta Talawadekar, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

At the very end of the Navy Nagar in Colaba, Mumbai is a naval establishment that overlooks the southern tip of Mumbai called INS Kunjali. INS Kunjali is the naval base set up to administer the Regulating School of the Navy, the School of Music, the Provost Headquarters of the Navy at Mumbai, the IN-Detention Quarters, and the Indian Naval Band. 01 Jul 1954 marks the 68th commissioning anniversary of the Indian Naval base INS Kunjali. On this day let us revisit the saga of its meritorious service. Continue reading “Enduring legacy of INS Kunjali”

Traversing the Oceans: Indian Seafaring through the Eons

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

Figure 1 A Harappan seal depicting a reed boat coupled with oars. The presence of avian figures alludes to the historic disa-kaka used by seafarers in long distance travel. Source: Harappa.com

India has a long tradition of indigenous seafaring which is well attested from the late chalcolithic period to the late medieval period. Seafaring in India was a continuing practice contrary to the edicts of the Manusmriti That prohibited the crossing of seas especially those by Brahmins. Seafarers became the conduit through which Indian culture and religious traditions seeped into territories beyond the frontiers. In this article, we shall broadly speak of seafaring traditions from the earliest period up until the late medieval Continue reading “Traversing the Oceans: Indian Seafaring through the Eons”

REVISITING HMS MINDEN

By Ms Saba Purkar, Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Shipbuilding in India gained momentum in the nineteenth century when the East Indian Company built the Bombay Dockyard and started the construction of ships. The British initially used the Indian shipbuilding ports for repairs to deal with the increasing piracy threats from Indians and Europeans and other foreign powers. The constant sea battles and the rapid building of ships lead to the shortage of oakwood in Britain, which forced them to build ships in their overseas colonies. Hence, the company was sanctioned to build ships in India. In March 1736, the arrival of Lowjee Nusserwanjee Wadia in Bombay from Surat marks the start of the ‘golden age’ of shipbuilding in Bombay.

Continue reading “REVISITING HMS MINDEN”