Wish you all an exceedingly auspicious and hilarious festival season! “Shubh Navratra” and “Eid Mubarak” to all of you the world over!!!
I have always considered myself an exceptionally fortunate soul to have born at the world renowned pilgrimage, Govardhan, the land of Lord Krishna in the Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh, and to have brought up entirely at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the historic land of the revered martyrs of the Indian Freedom Movement, right since the time I was a baby 3 months old.
And I very proudly swear what a truly peerless and enchanting paradigm of national integration and communal harmony this ‘Mini India’ of a society has been despite being so agonizingly far off from the Indian mainland. In fact, it’s once again thanks to the diverse penal settlement that came into being following the “British hunt for hell that discovered Andamans”. This uniquely close-knit society is the only and ironically, the most treasured positive face of the barbaric hunt.
Well, the batches after batches of convicts, revolutionaries and freedom fighters those were deported from the Indian mainland by the British Government of India to these coral Islands where no human being had ever set foot on, included the followers of all the diverse religions and residents of diverse regions from all over the mighty un-partitioned India –
Rare picture showing convicts lined up at the Viper Island
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Marathas, Pathans, a huge number of mutineer freedom fighters from Bengal, Madras and from the huge Moplah uprising in the state of Travancore-Cochin (Kerala) & so on. The confluence of various cultures, languages, religions, customs and traditions from Maharashtra to Assam and Afghanistan to Kanyakumari wove a unique cultural matrix.
Hence, right since the dawn of wisdom, I’ve lived in an India true to its rich soul. Our residence at Supply Line, Port Blair was faced auspiciously with the Police Mandir (the temple), the Police Gurudwara (for the Sikhs), and the Police Masjid (the mosque) in a row and about a couple of kilometers from there was a Church at Gol Ghar.
Police Mosque at Supply Line, behind the historic Clock Tower at Aberdeen Bazaar, Port Blair
My dear friends, I’m talking about the model India in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, where Hindus & Sikhs celebrate Eid & Christmas savoring sewaiyaans (vermicelli) & hanging stars at their doors, Muslims & Christians celebrate Diwali & Baisaakhi lighting up diyaas (lamps), bursting crackers and offering prayers at Gurudwaras alike and thus cohabit the quintessential floating paradise sending out the outstandingly inspiring message of “Sarva dharma sambhaav” (communal harmony), national integration and “Vasudhaiiva Kutumbakam” (Universal Brotherhood) to their fellow countrymen in the mainland India and also to the whole world, at large.
This reminds me of the spell-binding lyrics of a song beautifully articulated way back in the early eighties by Mr. Madan Mohan Sinha Manuj, the former Station Director of Aakashvaani (All India Radio), Port Blair and a bosom friend of my father’s. He says –
“Himshikhar jiska Himalaya hai, phool veni ke usi ke dweep hain ye… Hamaare dweep hain ye” (She (Mother India), whose headdress is snow-crowned with the Himalayas, these Islands are the flowers of her beautifully pleated long hairdo…)J
A breathtaking view of the Brother Island in South Andaman
Waah!!! Kudos to Manuj ji for the lovely touching lyrics!
Award for the Islanders’ Blog!
Well, dear friends, this festival season has really started with a bang for me with a major, major pleasant surprise coming from my fellow blogger friend Paritosh who has conferred the coveted ‘Superior Scribbler Award’ on me for the very first time. And you know what? I’m ecstatic!!!
A world of thanks to you, Paritosh, for having scrutinized The Islanders’ Blog and for having conferred the prestigious award on me! I take this as a major responsibility not only to keep deserving this award but also to pass it on to the deserving fellow bloggers.
Rules of the Award -
- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to five most deserving blog friends. Check.
- Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award. Check.
- Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog and link to the original post at The Scholastic Scribe which explains The Award. Check.
- Each blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit the original post at The Scholastic Scribe and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who wins This Prestigious Honor. Check.
- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules to his/her blog. Check.
And here’s what Paritosh said -
I would like to give away the awards to:
- Shrinath Vashishtha : For his tireless blogging about the A&N Islands. His efforts has kept the little known culture and identity of the archipelago on the blog map of India.
- Mohammed Musthafa : A kid with the wisdom of a hundred year old. Sometimes I envy his writing and creative skills.
- Shilpa Sharma : For her latest post. For the first time in the history of (wo)mankind a girl has taken up the fight for the boys :D.... Seriously speaking, she has talent and needs to write more.
- Neeraj Shinde : For his passionate writing. He writes about a bouquet of topics and each of them is so masterly covered.
Well, Paritosh, I’m on my way to finalizing the names of the 5 blogger friends whom I’d like to pass the award on to and would soon complete that. Thanks a ton again!!! Cheers! J