India should have a full-fledged maritime university, said historian MGS Narayanan

October 18, 2014

In order to construct a complete maritime history of the country, India should set up a full-fledged institute for maritime studies at the level of a maritime university, said eminent historian MGS Narayanan. The institution, Centre for Maritime studies, can be set up in the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala with several departments like history, oceanic study, technology and underwater archaeology, opined the historian, he said delivering the keynote address the third edition of the Annual 'Dilli' series INA seminar on 'Indian Maritime History Expeditions, Operations & Players', at the Indian naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala, here on 17th October. "To start with we have to prepare a tentative bibliography of maritime literature in different languages of India. Dictionaries of sea-related terms, listing words for parts of ships and commodities related to voyages have to be created," he said. To construct a complete maritime history of India we require more details about the Indian colonisation of South East Asia, and the relation between Indian states and the West Asian communities of Jews, Syrian Christians, and Arab Muslims, he said. The specific accounts of harbour construction and ship building through Indian history, and the detailed study of Puranic literature about Indian voyages, especially Buddhist literature, have to be collected and studied. Inscriptions, coins, and accounts of ships and shipwrecks have to be examined for filling such volumes, for which a full-fledged institute needs to be set up, he said. However, our maritime history is not very glorious, opined MGS Narayanan. "Though we are surrounded by the sea, and though we had peaceful trade and migrations from India towards the East, and from the West towards India throughout history, our awareness of the sea and the world of maritime activity were not as great as that of England or China," he said. The two-day seminar will conclude today.

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