THE EMERALD ISLANDS
Andaman & Nicobar Islands-How could I think of writing on Kalapani-black waters which once sent shivers down the spines of many Indians who came across ths dreaded name. My association with the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands begins way back when I was three months old when I first visited the place.For the next ten years I had been visiting thr islands each year regularly.My maternal grand father,a U.T. cadre Civil Servant had spent more than 3 decades in this dreaded(in his words most beautiful) island territory,which is the birth place of my mother as well. Andaman & Nicobar Islands consists of 572 islands & islets in the Bay of Bengal situated between 6°&14°North Latitude & 92° and 94° East longitude. The islands shimmer like emeralds in the Bay of Bengal extending from Burma(Myanmar) to Indonesia.Indonsia is only 145km from the last tip of the Indrian island of Great Nicobari i.e. the Indria point which is the southern most tip of our country and not the Kanya Kumari, generally believed. Mystery has shrouded these islands for ages because of their inaccessibility. But there are records, which suggest that geographers,Buddhist scholars & voyagers have refered these islands in their discriptions. As Legend goes,the Andaman archipelago is belived to have got its name from ‘Handuman’ which is the same as Hanuman,the legendary monkey god of the epic of Ramayana. Intrigned by the reports of ship-wreced sailors,Lord Cornwallis,the British Governer General commissioned a surey by Lieutenant Archibald Blair. Based on this survey, the first settlement was established at Port Cornwallis in 1729,for another 60 yeas,the iland suffeded oblivion. Only after the first war of Indipendence in 1857, a new settlement was established at Port Blair,where the patriots fighting against th british rule were sent as a penal measure.Veer Savarkar...
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