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”

Spirit of Adventure at Sea

By Ms Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

It has been a little over 500 years completion of the first-ever circumnavigation under sail undertaken by Magellan. While he succumbed to death before the completion of his historic voyage, it was eventually concluded by Juan Sebastian Elcano. While this pioneering attempt is hailed for the sheer enormity of the vision, the changes in Indian maritime perspective towards the spirit of adventure also deserves an equal applause. Continue reading “Spirit of Adventure at Sea”

Sentinels of the Deep: INS Karanj

By Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

The efficacy of submarines as a potent military machine was established during the Second World War. Since then, the advancement of these submersible combat vessels have earned them the sobriquet of ‘silent killers of the deep’. They are valued for their relative undetectability underwater and capability to sneak up and destroy a much stronger warships using lethal torpedoes or anti-ship missiles. This gives them the badge of being one of the best deterrents that any navy can possess. The Indian Navy inducted its first submarines in 1967, which were the Foxtrot-class submarines from the erstwhile Soviet Union. Today, the Indian Navy submarine arm has come a long way progressing towards indigenous construction and demonstrating India’s technological prowess. Continue reading “Sentinels of the Deep: INS Karanj”

INS Viraat – The Unfading Legacy

By Amruta Talawadekar & Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Senior Research Associates, Maritime History Society

This day, in the year 2017, i.e., 06 March, was when India’s second aircraft carrier, the mighty INS Viraat was decommissioned after 30 years of glorious service to the nation. This article is written as a tribute to this unique warship, which kept India’s shores safe and citizens protected during one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history. Thus, this article intends to rewind the clock and take a peek at those glory days through the eyes of one of its Captains who commanded INS Viraat when it was in full sail on the Indian high seas. Continue reading “INS Viraat – The Unfading Legacy”

Celebrating Woman in Indian Maritime History

By Mamum Megu, Reserach Intern

Introduction

International women’s day is an event to commemorate the progress made towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, it is imperative to acknowledge and appreciate the prodigious contribution of women to Indian Maritime History.

Women’s occupancy in the Indian Armed Forces initially came to fruition in the year 1888 with the formation of the Indian Military Nursing Service. The nursing staff of the Indian Army played an outstanding role during World War I. Their commitment in the wartime was so stellar that the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (India) was formed on 9 April 1942 that would expedite women’s workforce to serve in non-combat roles. Continue reading “Celebrating Woman in Indian Maritime History”

Exercise Milan: A Brief Overview of the Multilateral Naval Exercise in the Indian Ocean Region

By Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

The Indian subcontinent has a vast history of flourishing maritime associations that predominantly involved commerce, culture and religion. However, the legacy of the erstwhile Indian mariners and seafarers who plied the oceans afar was gradually eclipsed by the lure of terrestrial possession until the last century. The liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation reforms in India in the ’90s can be regarded as a tipping point of enunciation of a change in the policy and national outlook towards our maritime frontiers. It rendered increased attention towards infrastructural development of Indian ports and its underlying coastal areas thereby placing the blueprint of maritime strategies on a national pedestal. This paradigm shift in our strategic outlook gained gradual prominence. Continue reading “Exercise Milan: A Brief Overview of the Multilateral Naval Exercise in the Indian Ocean Region”