Ahmedabad: Vice President M Hamid Ansari
on Saturday said that India was the lynchpin of sea-based trade and
commerce for at least four millennia.
"India was the lynchpin (a source of support and
stability) of sea-based trade and commerce for at least four
millennia. The world`s first tidal dock is believed to have
been built at Lothal around 2300 BC during the Harappan
civilisation, on the Gujarat coast," Ansari said, at a book
release function here.
He released the book entitled "Gujarat and The Sea"
edited by Dr Lotika Varadarajan and its Gujarati translation
by Prof Makrand Mehta.
The book, a treasure trove of facts and facets of a
bygone era, includes the role of earthquakes in changing the
course of rivers and causing civilisational decline, and the
accuracy of ancient wind charts and maps.
It covers the textile traditions of Gujarat and the
impact it has had in West Asia, Europe and South East Asia.
"Any study of Indian history cannot be separated from
the context of the three large water bodies that surround the
Indian sub-continent," Ansari said.
Each of our coastal zones -Gujarat Coast, Malabar
Coast, Coromandel Coast and Bengal Coast- had their commercial
sectors of specialisation, their commercial interlocutors and
geographies of affinity, he said.
With trade came politics, cultural and human
interaction. Mutually beneficial trade yielded to more narrow
and selfish concerns causing Indian merchants to lose their
control over India’s maritime commerce, Ansari said.