The Indian Travelogue of Niccolao Manucci

When the Mughal Prince, Dara Shikoh was defeated by his brother, Aurangzeb, he had an Italian artilleryman in his employ by the name of Nicolau Manucci. According to Manucci, he was offered the chance to join Aurangzeb’s army but he decided to flee instead. In his memoir, Storia do Mogor (or Story of the Mughal), Manucci paints a fabulous picture of his life and casts himself as the long-suffering hero and Aurangzeb as the evil villain, his arch-nemesis. But can we believe him? Continue reading The Indian Travelogue of Niccolao Manucci

The Pirate-Admiral of the Konkan

The main base of the Western Naval Command in Mumbai is, like all naval bases, named as a ship would be. It’s called the INS Angre. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting the naval base, you can spot an imposing statue taking pride of place. It is the statue of a fierce warrior of the Maratha Empire, sporting an even fiercer moustache. This is the base’s namesake, Admiral Kanhoji Angre, one of the Indian Navy’s historical heroes. Continue reading The Pirate-Admiral of the Konkan

Muziris- First Emporium of India

If you were a Roman trader in the 1st century CE, chances were you travelled east towards India to do business. You would have gotten onto a ship at Alexandria on the northern coast of Africa, sailed along the eastern coast of Africa, through the Red Sea, then crossed the Arabian sea and headed towards India’s western coast. There were a lot of port cities along that coast, but your first stop would have been Muziris. Why? Continue reading Muziris- First Emporium of India