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December 2016

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Over the years the seven islands ‘gifted as dowry’ got fused to become one of the biggest ports in the east and the metropolis it is today. It was not only maharajahs or people with money and power who moved, but those that had traded for centuries across the waters migrated to find better facilities.

The inhabitants of the western coast had established trade with the Arab world since prehistoric times. The middle Harappan Phase (2600-1900BCE) saw development of major maritime trade network with ‘merchants from Dilmun’ (modern Bahrain). These long routes were feasible by development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a central single mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth. These ‘dhows’ plied the Indian Ocean with spices, textiles, silks etc. These migrants too carried their gods with them and built small shrines. Hindus near the holi waters of the ‘Banganga’, the Parsees near the Grant Road Station, the Bohrasfrom Suratand the Bene-Israelis, Jews who had settled in 200 villages for 2000 years. All came in peace and lived in harmony with each other.