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Maritime Heritage Of India Book

This photo-essay book is a modest attempt to link our maritime past, along with the entire It traces about years of India's maritime history and heritage. This photo-essay book is a modest attempt to link our maritime past, along with the entire progress, to the present, and in light of the same. Read "Maritime Heritage of India" by Indian Navy available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. This photo-essay book is a.

Further information: Lothal and Indus Valley Civilisation The region around the Indus river began to show visible increase in both the length and the frequency of maritime voyages by BCE. The trade in lapis lazuli was carried out from northern Afghanistan over eastern Iran to Sumer but during the Mature Harappan period an Indus colony was established at Shortugai in Central Asia near the Badakshan mines and the lapis stones were brought overland to Lothal in Gujarat and shipped to Oman, Bahrain and Mesopotamia. Archaeological research at sites in Mesopotamia, Bahrain , and Oman has led to the recovery of artefacts traceable to the Indus Valley civilisation, confirming the information on the inscriptions. Among the most important of these objects are stamp seals carved in soapstone , stone weights, and colourful carnelian beads Most of the trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley was indirect. Shippers from both regions converged in Persian Gulf ports, especially on the island of Bahrain known as Dilmun to the Sumerians.

Behera Ed. New Delhi: Aryan Books International.

Maritime Heritage of India

Plates Col. Price Rs. Agrawal and Lalit Tiwari Behera's book is a welcome addition to the limited literature on early maritime activities. The absence of S. Rao among the authors seems a bit glaring, as he is the pioneer of Marine Archaeology in India. In such a compendium, it is difficult to maintain a uniform quality and therefore there is considerable variation in the standards of scholarship in different articles.

Nor is there any evidence of theme-wise coherence in the arrangement of articles. The maritime tradition of India is as old as our civilization and as vast as the Indian Ocean. This volume is a collection of essays on Indian seafaring and maritime activities. The subject matter ranges from sea trade to cultural links with the outside worlds, especially with Rome, Sri Lanka and South East Asia, and is based on textual sources and archaeological data.

Some of the papers throw light on the traditional boat types with specific reference to their technique of construction and navigation. This book is edited by K. He is currently conducting research into the indigenous tradition of boat building and navigation in the Indian Ocean.

This volume has grown out of an international seminar on Kalingas in the Indian ocean and maritime heritage of India, held at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar in The volume contains 22 articles by wellknown scholars in the field of traditional Indian maritime activities. The first paper "Indian seafaring traditions: archaeological perspectives", was presented by I. He has described the ancient Indian ship and boat building techniques with the help of historical and archaeological data.

He covers the maritime activities during the Harappan, post-Buddhist and medieval times. The second article is "Indian maritime activities: Vedic, epic and Puranic sources" by U. In this article, Dhal describes the Indian maritime activities as referred to in the Indian epics, Vedas and other mythological texts.

He gives many references from Rigveda, the earliest book of the Aryans. The third article discusses the ancient trade between India and Rome under the title, "Indo-Roman trade" by K.

Basa and K. Basa and Behera present a lot of archaeological evidence in support of the Indo-Roman trade in ancient times. They also describe the routes for trade and items of trade between India and Rome. The fourth article covers 43 pages of this book, written by K. Basa, on ancient trade between India and South-east Asia during the period c.

In the fifth and sixth articles, the writers, Haryati Soebadia and Wayan Ardikara, summarise the Indian-Indonesian cultural and trade relationship. Soebadia explains how Indian cultural influences came to Indonesia. He elaborates these with the help of historical and textual evidence. Ardikara, however, covers only the trade relationship between India and Indonesia on the basis of archaeological and textual data. According to him, forest products, spices, aromatic woods, beads, pottery, tin and probably textiles had attracted the attention of Indian traders to come to Indonesia.

Quantification is difficult in the pre-modern period. It would seem that while the Chulias are referred to both as merchants and ship-owners, the same is not the case with the Kling who seldom find mention as ship-owners. These two terms are of much earlier circulation in the Bay of Bengal. Foreign and local merchants involved with tax farming appear in the inscriptions from Java dated between to AD.

The term kling refers both to people specifically from India, and also as a general term for foreigners and in one instance, it occurs as a part of the personal name - si kling Barrett Jones , p. Similarly the expression Colika is said to denote people from south India Sarkar , p.

Shipping It would be best to begin by tracing the sources, which have been used for a study of shipping ; the trajectory through which the ethnographic record came to be compiled ; and the advantages or otherwise of the ethnographic data for an understanding of maritime history.

The theme may be studied from two perspectives, the two not being mutually exclusive : one, the technology of the water craft ; and second, the communities involved in the construction and sailing of boats and ships. While the first approach has had a relatively larger following, the literature on boat-building and sailing communities continues to be inadequate.

A pioneering work on Shipping in the Indian subcontinent that is yet to be replaced is Mookerji's study of A comprehensive survey of textual sources, the work encompasses a time span truly monumental - extending from the Vedic period to the nineteenth century.

Perhaps a significant contribution of Mookerji's study was to provide a comprehensive compilation of textual references to seafaring, including the use of the Sanskrit work, Yuktikalpataru, a 5. Mookerji's compilation has been reworked by subsequent scholars. While Chaudhuri , p. A more recent contribution by Sahai adds a chapter on the post- Independence period It is evident that none of the textual sources on shipbuilding are adequately detailed to allow for the reconstruction of watercraft based on these.

It is nevertheless significant that in the eleventh century, these instructions should have been incorporated in a work on statecraft and attributed to the authorship of a king.

In the wider context of South and Southeast Asian Maritime History, it is from the ninth-tenth centuries onwards that there are increasing references in inscriptions to fishing rights ; duties levied on commodities brought through the water-routes ; and to revenue being obtained from taxes on fishing.

This is also a period of expanding maritime networks in the Indian Ocean. A second source used to advantage by Mookerji is the evidence from sculptures, paintings and coins. But one aspect that Mookerji missed was the active encouragement given to seafaring activity by Buddhism at this time Ray More recent analysis of the iconographie data from the Indian subcontinent has been undertaken by Deloche who also includes memorial stones within his purview.

In this study, Deloche further expanded the scope by attempting an identification of these representations of water craft on the basis of ethnographic parallels Hourani associates the history of Arab seafaring in the Indian Ocean with expanding commerce that reached its peak in the ninth-tenth centuries AD. After the tenth century the references are few and far between and present a continuation of the earlier established traditions. The sources used for the study continue to be literary combined with pictorial representations.

Hourani, however, accepts that shipping in antiquity cannot be straitjacketed into national boundaries and that his study is to be located within the larger context of traditional shipping in the western Indian Ocean. Documentation of boat types There is historical evidence to indicate the existence of an indigenous trading network in the Indian Ocean in antiquity, as also the prevalence of a 6.

RAY distinctive sewn-plank tradition of boat-building Ray , p.

It was these sewn-plank vessels that were used as cargo carriers in antiquity. In contrast, a majority of watercraft in Indian waters, at present, is used for fishing and ferrying passengers across river-crossings, mechanised trawlers having taken over much of the coastal and long-distance transportation by sea. Documentation of these craft has followed the trend set by early European explorers to the region, with few exceptions.

The seventeenth and eighteenth century observers often regarded indigenous rafts and boats as relics from India's ancient past, not accommodating for internal dynamics of water transportation that considerably modified the build of larger vessels engaged in trade or warfare. While there have been continuities in boat-building techniques, such as the persistence of the stitched tradition, the hierarchies of scale have changed.

From being used for cargo vessels, the stitched tradition now survives in small boats employed for beach seining along the east coast Kentley , p. A distinction has also to be made between the use of watercraft for fishing, as at present, where investments are generally on a modest scale as compared to those for cargo vessels. This distinction between boat and ship on the basis of economic and social significance is well worth stressing. An area where European intervention resulted in radical changes is in the sphere of classification of watercraft.

In its English version, it refers to a wooden sailing vessel with a lateen sail, which sailed the western Indian Ocean. From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, both the English and the French had expanded their trading enclaves on the coasts of India into full-fledged establishments.

There was, at the same time, a shift in the European perception of India's contribution to the development of science and technology. With a view to preserving these ancient achievements, attempts were made to record in detail relics of the past and a new discipline was born - that of maritime ethnography. One of the results of this early development of the discipline of ethnography was the classification of the watercraft of the Indian Ocean into neat categories, often based on European terminology.

Thus Portuguese and Dutch 7. Writing of coastal traffic of Travancore in the early sixteenth century, Duarte Barbosa termed the small rowing vessels bargatim Hill , p. In contrast, Tome Pires had little acquaintance with matters maritime and the names of boats that he gives are all transliterations into Portuguese of equivalent words ibid.

Thomas Bowrey may be credited with the introduction of new classifications, such as the masula - a term that continues to be used for the frameless stitched boats of India's east coast. This is not a term used by local boat builders and users who adopt the generic term for boat such as padagu, padava and padhua.

Nor does the term incorporate any typical boat type, as there are significant variations in size, shape and method of construction among the vessels said to form a part of the masula family Kentley , p. But perhaps Bowrey's contribution should be recognised more in terms of his boat drawings, rather than boat typology 3. This system of classifying boat types also presented a marked contrast to the situation prevailing along the Indian coasts.

While European ship-types may be categorised on the basis of differences in their tackle, the same is not true of the indigenous craft of the Indian Ocean.

In the case of cargo vessels, regional variations are often superficial and limited to the nomenclature used rather than significant technological differences between them.

In contrast, the hull forms of fishing boats is more region specific, though here again more than one nomenclature may be used to define a vessel. For example, the terms patia and danga are often used interchangeably for clinker built vessels on the Orissa coast. Another difference between the two is that while fishing craft are often built either by the community themselves or by itinerant boat-builders, the large cargo vessels are constructed at boat yards.

These travel to distant centres of the Indian Ocean depending on the remunerative freights offered and return to their home ports for overhauling during the south-west monsoon. Often boats of the same type and build are given different names on account of the nationality of the owner. Divergences are insignificant and defined primarily in terms of ornamentation.

The sambuk, though of Arab origin is often constructed in boat-building yards on the west coast of India, an important centre being at Beypore, south of Calicut on the mouth of the river Chaliyar Wiebeck , p.

In addition to the sambuk, a variety of water- 8. RAY craft, such as the padava, kotia, pattemar, etc. Its major advantage was access to a wide variety of timber from the rain-forests which formed the upper basins of the river Kunhalli , p. Thus the baghla and the gunjo are the Arab forms of the Indian kotia, the Arab bum the counterpart of the Indian dhangi and nauri, with the Indian batel representing the Arab sambuk Hornell , p.

Admiral Paris formulated the hypothesis that indigenous watercraft were as much expressions of a culture as were palaces, religious buildings or fortresses. As a trained French navigator he circumnavigated aboard the Astrolabe, the Favorite and the Artemis and catalogued the extra-European' craft Reith This trend continued in the writings of Hornell who argued that a distinctive climate and coast formation dominated or influenced by distinct ethnic stocks resulted in the evolution of characteristic boat-types Hornell , p.

As subsequent research has shown, this is perhaps an over-simplification of a complex process Qaiser ; Deloche , p. Hornell was perhaps a pioneer in the field of documentation of watercraft. Based on ethnological studies, he described distinct boat-building traditions that evolved along the major regions of the Indian coastline. Thus the kotia is the ocean-going craft of the Kutch and Kathiawar coast, while along the Konkan, pattamars are used for coastal sailing.

The dugouts of the Malabar coast are best suited for the extensive inland network. Along the entire east coast, the catamaran is the characteristic fishing craft, the name being derived from the Tamil term kathu maram or tied logs, together with the masula, also known as padagu among Coromandel fishermen.

What is intriguing is the distinction in the boat designs along the Palk Straits. On the Tamil side the catamaran and boat canoe alone are used, while on the Sri Lankan side the outrigger canoe called oruwa is the dominant type Hornell , p. In reissued in , Hornell published the distillation of a lifetime's work in Water Transport in which his major preoccupation was with tracing the evolution of watercraft, as also their common origins and diffusion.

Many of Hornell's conclusions continue to be repeated in academic writings and it is only the boat typology formulated by him that has been modified in recent years McGrail , p. Another argument put forward by Hornell relates to the common origins of certain boat types and their dispersion through migrations and movements of people, a typical example being the outrigger canoe. The 9. Any association of boat-building traditions with ethnicity, e.

Arab tradition, Austronesian tradition, Tamil tradition, Ralinga tradition etc. Varadarajan, for example, argues that there is a distinction in the technique of joining planks in the islands of Lakshadweep, excluding Minicoy and the Maldives.

In the first group, plank joinery approximates the coir sewn tradition of the Arabian Sea ; in the latter, however, continuous sewing is notable by its absence. In its place planks are edge to edge joined by means of adze prepared pegs.

This suggests diffusion of the lashed lug technique associated with Indonesia Varadarajan , p. Boat building is not essentially ethnic in character, though in certain areas, historically there has been an association between certain groups and distinct boat-building traits.

In antiquity, as at present, there were no national barriers to seafaring activity and merchants and sailors travelled on the routes most beneficial to them.

For example, Buzurg writing in the tenth century states that Al-Rubban Abharah had learnt the art of seamanship as a fisherman in the Gulf, having first been a shepherd in the district of Kirman. He then became a sailor on a ship trading with India, and finally commanded the markab sini or China ship itself Tampoe , p.

In addition to the mobility of men, there is evidence for the use of raw materials like wood, coir rope, etc.

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The Periplus Maris Erythraei, for example, refers to the import of teakwood and beams and logs of sisoo Dalbergia sissoo and ebony from the west coast of India to Oman section These reports, based on interviews with boat-builders provide an overview of boat-building activity along the coasts of the southern states, but fall short of addressing issues of historical relevance Ray a, p.

Similarly RAY information on traditional boat-building centres historically is lacking, as also possible shifts and changes in these and factors leading to innovation and technical change. Most of all, the historical dimension is non-existent. Survey and exploration to identify coastal structures and landing places could perhaps overcome this.

Ethnographic studies based on present traditions of boat building and navigation indicate that a variety of craft are used along the coasts of the Indian Ocean ranging from the log rafts and dug-outs to cargo carriers. Indeed the east and west coasts of the subcontinent are characterised by two distinct boatbuilding traditions : while the former is home to the log-raft ; it is the dugout that prevails along the west coast. In contrast, sewn craft are found scattered throughout the entire coastline Deloche , fig.

It has been argued that the contribution of ethnographic studies is primarily as indicators for resolving questions on the technical capabilities of water-transport.

The same problems have arisen whenever and wherever men have built boats of wood - hence the importance of the ethnographic approach Greenhill , p. But the scope of ethnographic studies should not be restricted to providing technological analogies, as has been the case so far.

One region where attempts have been made to document ethnographic data with a view to addressing questions of historical relevance is Oman Vosmer , p. In places such as Musandam in northern Oman, numerous communities continue to employ traditional maritime practices such as fishing, coastal trading and boatbuilding.

Especially useful for the purpose was the isolated village of Kumzar in the northern province of Musandam, ninety kilometres across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran. The inhabitants have developed a unique nautical terminology with borrowings from Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese and their own language.

Many of the terms are corrupt forms of loan words from Farsi and Portuguese, but can provide useful information about cultural contact and perhaps the source and timing of the introduction of certain technologies into shipbuilding in the region. Information on the possible size and provenance of ships can also be obtained from an analysis of anchor finds, of which three basic types have been distinguished in the western Indian Ocean Vosmer et.

This approach has had an earlier proponent in Alan Villiers. In , he undertook a journey from Ma'alla to Gizan in a small Red Sea zarook, Sheikh Mansoor and published his impressions of the travel Villiers , p. The cargo that the ton ship carried consisted of trans-shipped goods from Aden including Australian flour, two cases of Japanese matches, a number of bales of Japanese cotton goods, some rice and coffee and other items.

In , Tim Severin recreated the seven voyages of Sindbad from Oman to China in a ship made from Malabar timber and held together with coconut rope Severin In contrast to boat-building, nautical sciences have not received the attention they deserve, especially in an historical context. In the traditional system, navigation was based on stellar knowledge, and nautical learning was founded on the accumulated experience of navigators. These skills were communicated orally and learnt during years of apprenticeship.

The maritime literature in Greek, Sanskrit and Arabic dated prior to AD, was largely descriptive and integrated accounts relating to coastal navigation, winds, ports, etc. From the end of the ninth century, however, a change occurs and there are references to maps and portulans, though the real expansion takes place in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Grosset-Grange , p. Other papers that attempt to investigate the process of development do so by analysing innovation and change in boat technology Patel ; Kurien This phenomenon is explained by the need to resort to alternate occupations such as coastal cargo trade to compensate for the less productive marine fishing grounds in Gujarat and the lowest demand for fish in the hinterland Kurien , p.

In contrast, fish resources are both abundant in Malabar and also available close to the coast. As a result the carrying capacity of watercraft becomes a non-issue and the traditional vessel used in the region is the small dugout or vallam. Fishing and sailing communities The next issue of relevance here is the study of the communities that utilised the boats, viz.

Secondary sources on this theme are by and large ethnographic and anthropological studies of localised fishing communities in the Indian Ocean Pokrant , p. The theme has also been of interest to researchers involved in the process of social and economic development of the fisheries sector.

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In the context of inland water transport, a study was undertaken in Bangladesh to document the country boats including their construction, operation, ownership and competition with mechanised vessels Jansen et al. The objective was to review the relationship between the country boat sector and processes of rural development and impoverishment, with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the country boat operations. RAY Fishing as a resource strategy has received little attention in archaeological studies so far.

Contributions that analyse the subject in an archaeological context are few and far between.