The Gujarati community has a long tradition of seafaring and a history of immigration to foreign lands. The mercantile culture resulted naturally from the Indian state’s proximity to the Arabian Sea. Although air travel had replaced sea travel by the time I was born, this innate restlessness I feel to explore new lands is something that is irrevocably embedded in me.
For the Aztec, Toltec and Nahua people, it was disrespectful to mourn for those who had passed on. To them, departed souls remained members of the community and were kept alive in memory and spirit.
When recently there was news of militants destroying a 2000-year old temple in Syria, in a city from the Roman days, sights of the temple came back to mind, particularly a ceiling that I had once come across. This writing is not about the shortsightedness of destroying a remnant of a long-past civilization; rather, it is about a science, an idea… the possible significance of the Zodiac.
Subhas Chandra Bose was the most celebrated freedom fighter and charismatic influencer of the youth in India during the freedom struggle. His patriotism and obdurate refusal to stop till he achieved his desired goals has made him a patriotic hero. Due to his nationalistic temperament and leadership capabilities, Mahatma Gandhi was the first to address him as Netaji Respected Leader. Netaji was also the first to accost Gandhiji with the title ‘Father of the Nation’.
“I think people in Kyrgyzstan still haven’t faced that modernisation that other countries are going through. 60% of the population are still farmers and still follow the traditions that they came before. They’re following the three pre-existing traditions.”
In Egyptian myth, the afterlife was just as important as life. The dead stood before Osiris in the Hall of Truth, and their actions in life were weighed. If they were found worthy, they would pass on the Field of Reeds where they would life their ideal life, exactly it was on earth.
“A Dream in Marble, designed by the Fairies and finished by Jewellers.” The line long learnt came back to my mind at the thought of visiting the Taj Mahal. Throughout my childhood, I had only heard stories about it and seen pictures in my history books. It was beyond my imagination that one day we would actually visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. However, it’s easier said than done.
The concept of people packing their bags to explore new territories is as old as time itself. And despite coming from a long lineage of Gujarati merchants – I know that we are not alone in our desire to chart uncharted terrains in the names of commerce. There are others like us – from all cultures and creeds from around the world.