Exploring the complexities of Bombay’s varying time zones

Ms Amruta Talawadekar
Senior Research Associate, MHS

Bombay (now Mumbai) is known for its uniqueness, whether in terms of its cosmopolitan culture, diversity in architecture, or varying dialects. An interestingly peculiar thing that Bombay was known for was the fact that it had its own standard time. Prior to India’s independence in 1947, Bombay had three time zones. This may seem unusual, as most cities typically have a single national standard time zone. This article explores Bombay’s varying time zones and the nuances behind their existence.

Till the late 19th century, before the introduction of Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT), the world followed its own local time predominantly based on the position of the sun. After the introduction of GMT, the British established a standard time zone for the entire Indian subcontinent in 1905, known as Indian Standard Time (IST) which was 5 and a half hours ahead of GMT. Continue reading “Exploring the complexities of Bombay’s varying time zones”


“We do this job because every once in a while, someone is out there without hope, desperately praying for their life, and we get to be the answer.” ― Coast Guard (U.S.)

Uma Kabe, (Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society)

The Indian Coast Guard is recognised as the maritime law enforcement and search and rescue agency of India with jurisdiction over the Territorial Waters, Contiguous Zone and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). India primarily has three layered security – the Coastal Police monitor the Coastal waters up to 5 miles, and the Indian Coast Guard in collaboration with the Indian Navy (IN) monitor the maritime zones up to the EEZ and beyond as mandated in their charter. All these three agencies work in close cooperation to secure the vast coastline of the country. Operating under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Indian Coast Guard was established on the 1st of February 1977 as an interim law enforcement agency safeguarding the Indian Coasts with two small corvettes and five patrol boats handed over from the IN.[1] Later on 18 August 1978, the passing of the Coast Guard Act indicated a formal go-ahead from the Parliament for the establishment of the Indian Coast Guard as the duties and the functions of the service were also codified in the Act Continue reading “Ready..Relevant..Responsive”


By Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

International Customs Day is celebrated on 26 January every year. In order to look at the stellar role of the Customs Department in India, the blog titled ‘International Customs Day- A Historical Perspective on the Indian Customs’ is dedicated as a two-part series. The following is the first in the series to trace the historical aspects.

World Customs Organisation and International Customs Day 2023:

Before delving into the history, it is pertinent to understand what Customs are. Every nation has a dedicated Customs Authority that is responsible for the collection of duties and tariffs and overseeing the interchange of goods. Each nation has its own regulations and codes regarding the nature and kind of commodities that are permissible for import and export. The law to regulate such practices is under the jurisdiction of the Customs Authority. In order to increase interoperability on a global scale, the World Customs Organization (WCO) is set up as an international organization that oversees the different customs administrations related to international trade. Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS DAY- A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE INDIAN CUSTOMS”

Natal: The word that crept into the Indian lexicon.

Dennard H D’Souza Senior Research Associate (Maritime History Society)

The birth of Jesus is widely known as Christmas in India, owing to the predominance of the English language in the South Asian Subcontinent. It is also interesting to note that Christmas in many pockets of  western India has a different nomenclature. In Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat it is referred to as Natal, a word of Iberian origin but Portuguese to be precise.


As Goa remained a colonial settlement of the Portuguese in India for the longest time – approximately for  four centuries. It is astonishing to note that Maharashtra and Gujarat which were part of the British Raj were still influenced by the linguistic sensibilities of the Anglosphere and retained a Portuguese loanword “Natal” Continue reading “Natal: The word that crept into the Indian lexicon.”

Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Jahanara

By Sadaf Khan, Archives & Collections Associate (Maritime History Society)

Figure 1 Jahanara Source:,_British_Library,_Add_Or_3129,_f.13v.jpg

In the previous two segments, we have read about Mariam-uz-Zamani and Nur Jahan’s maritime pursuits. While Mariam-uz-Zamani had to struggle to navigate her path in maritime ventures, Nur Jahan, on the other hand, played her cards well. With a political acumen and a vision for economic success, she managed to pull off her maritime enterprise smoothly without a glitch. In this last and final piece of the Trilogy- Mughal women in maritime trade, we read about Shahzaadi Jahanara, popularly known as Begam Saheb (Princess of Princesses). Continue reading “Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Jahanara”

Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Nur Jahan

By Sadaf Khan, Archives & Collections Associate (Maritime History Society)

Figure 1 Nur Jahan  Source:

In the last segment we read about Mariam-uz-Zamani’s maritime pursuits, she builds up a trading empire and is actively involved in the proceeds and functioning of her maritime venture. Despite being the Queen Mother, she had to deal with the perils of the maritime trade imposed by the Portuguese, which she managed to navigate with all the brevity of a wise trader. In this blog, we shall explore the maritime quests of the ‘Light of the World’ – Empress Nur Jahan. Continue reading “Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Nur Jahan”

Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Mariam-uz-Zamani

By Sadaf Khan, Archives & Collections Associate (Maritime History Society)

Figure 1 Mariam-uz-zamani  Source:

The grandeur of the Mughal court narrated in the chronicles of foreign travellers are well documented pieces of history. These stories were carried to places far across the world. The Mughals today are well known for their palaces, artworks, marble works, stone intarsia, painted stuccos and tile works. They are also known for their bewitching luxurious fabrics, their magnificent palaces filled with visitors from far and wide and their sumptuous court cultures. One major aspect of the Mughal era is the status and the position of women, both at court and the realms. The Mughal women have always made their presence felt in domains such as literature, art, politics, religion, architecture and trade. Their contributions have in turn helped in strengthening the cause of the Mughal empire.  Popular belief portrays Mughal women as caged birds who lacked freedom due to the establishment of a fixed harem (zenana), a sacred and forbidden sphere where women lived, veiled and separated from the courts of the emperor.[1]  This caricatured representation of Mughal women can be refuted by the lives of famous Royal women thriving in the empire, notably Mariam-uz-Zamani, Nur Jahan and Jahanara. These women had the benefit of education and were masters of their own will which aided in expanding their horizons over their various pursuits. This article on Mariam-uz-Zamani will be one in a trilogy of the three Mughal Women and their Maritime pursuits. Continue reading “Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Mariam-uz-Zamani”

The Unsung Hero: Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla Maitre Shah, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

Image 1 Potrait of Captain Mahendranath Mulla. Source – Maritime History Society Archives

09 December 1971, was a fateful day. In the midst of the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the Pakistani Naval Ship (PNS) Hangor torpedoed and sank the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Khukri (F149). 09 December 2022 marks 51 years since the Type 14 blackwood class anti-submarine frigate INS Khukri sank. The Commanding Officer of the ship, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla chose to go down with the majestic vessel along with 18 officers and 176 sailors who lost their lives. Let us take a trip down the memory lane and commemorate the gallantry of Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla.



A country stands strong with the support of its citizens. The endless efforts of the nation builders and the sacrifices of its military personnel has made India a strong and progressive nation. The limitless endeavors of the officers serving in the defence services have constituted India to be a militarily powerful and assertive nation. Today, the Indian Navy (IN) in particular is a multi-dimensional force. There are several unsung heroes who have worked relentlessly to serve the nation. One such hero was INS Khukri’s Commanding Officer, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla. Continue reading “The Unsung Hero: Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla Maitre Shah, Research Intern, Maritime History Society”

World Tsunami Awareness Day

Kajal Gautam

Research Intern

Maritime History Society

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

Source: 9th_century.jpg


The term ‘Tsunami’ is derived from the Japanese word “tsu” meaning harbor and “nami” meaning waves and is used in reference to a phenomenon that is related to tidal waves that are characterized by a long wavelength and period.[i] Created by heavy displacement of water, tsunamis can be generated from any large event, ranging from earthquakes and underwater explosions, to volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts. Rare but extremely dangerous, tsunamis have claimed multiple human lives while also leading to heavy destruction of human property and infrastructural damage. Continue reading “World Tsunami Awareness Day”