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Green Soldiers Heritage History of Maritine Trade in Gujarat PART 2 by P C JHA IRS.flv

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Published on Aug 25, 2011

HERITAGE - HISTORY Research applied for fillm production efforts by GREEN SOLDERS - C0-Producer Director, CINEMATOGRPHER
Nirav Parikh: niravparikh32@hotmail.com
Gujarat Customs Presents "History of International Trade and Collection of Customs Duty in Gujarat." Concept developed by P C Jha IRS ( retd.) Former Chairman of Central Customs and Excise Board. He conceived the idea to creation of the film production, supervised the collection of historical content material for the film and route the script. This film was made under his supervision as Chief Commissioner - Gujarat Zone.

In any country of the World the customs function has an ongoing love-hate relationship with the trading and traveling populace of the country. Hate, because, everyone hates to part with the customs duty on things so lovingly bought from abroad and love, because the Customs Dept. protects domestic industry by slapping the duty we hate to pay. Without the customs, industry in one's own country would have crumbled against the might of the established Goliaths of multi national corporations. Gujarat, with her more than 1,600 kms. of coastline, i.e. 1/3rd of India's total coastline, possesses a glorious tradition of mare tine activity dating back to more than 5,000 years.

The customs department casts a nostalgic and proud retro-glance at a historic period in its existence. The first tidal dock not only in India, but most likely, in the entire world is believed to have been built at Lothal in about 2500 B.C. It was equivalent in capacity to the present day VIZAG port. Lothal was a port-city which had some export oriented industries. Articles like beads of semi-precious stones, ivory objects, shell inlays and ornaments were manufactured in warehouses of Lothal town situated near dockyard itself for the purpose of export mainly to the countries of western Asia. The warehouse was easily accessible from docks by means of ramps. The customs duty on goods was collected in kind and the quality of exports was certified by affixing seals.

Surat was the only embarkation point for Haj pilgrims from the region under Mughals and was also known as "Bandar Mubarak" i.e. "The blessed port".

Little wonder then that the intrepid French traveller M. Jean de Thevenot -- a scholar, linguist, historian, botanist, chose to write a historic account of his visit to Surat.

These observations of the original documents in the museums in Paris and Amsterdam are considered to be the most authentic chronicle in the annals of the Indian Customs.

M Jean de Thevenot's firsthand account of the customs house procedure and the prevalent practices of inspection of baggage and goods at Surat during 1666 is something of an eye-opener.

In addition to superior order and security at Bombay, two local events, the storm in the year 1782 and the famine in the year 1770 hastened the decline of Surat port.

The shifting of headquarters of the Company from Surat to Bombay in 1687 A.D. led to the beginning of the eclipse of Surat as a principal port of india. In addition to superior order and security at Bombay, two local events, the storm in the year 1782 A.D. and the famine in the year 1770 A.D. hastened the decline of Surat port.

It is no exaggeration to say that the glory of Bombay was paved on the inevitable decline of the port of Surat. Surat did not fall because Bombay grew, Bombay grew because Surat declined.

Once known as a pot of gold, the Port of Surat today makes a justifiable claim to being a permanent landmark of monumental as well as sentimental importance in the history of medieval Indian Customs.

The period of 4000 years between Lothal and Bombay therefore offers tengable evidences of suprimasie of Gujarat in ancient medival maritime trade of Gujarat. Little wonder then that Surat is still fondly called 'Sona Ni Murat' -- the eternal Pot of Gold.

Even after the decline of Surat and rise of Mumbai, the magnificent maritime legacy of Gujarat has continued to play an important role in India's international trade. The emergence of ports of Kandla, Sikka, Vadinar, Dahej, Hajira, Mundra, and Pipavav, have amply proved, that given focused efforts, glory only gains permanence... and continues to glow brilliantly... for posterity.

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