All fishing boats on the Gujarat coast of India fly a flag or a number of colourful flags.
The possible reasons are:
- Recognition or spotting by other boats against the all-blue colour of the sea.
- Identification of the owners and by implication of the crew.
- To add colour to the otherwise uniformly blue colour of the sea.
- To decorate the boat.
- To seek the blessings of the deity.
This is Porbandar fishing harbour. The Flag that you see uppermost is of the association of the fishermen. It is not on any boat, it has been hoisted on top of a building across the creek.
THEBLUEDRIVE have come across a variety of flags on the Gujarat coast. The dominant theme is the God, the deity. The fishermen are either Hindu or Muslims and the flags reflect their faith.
The fifth reason given above appears to be the predominant one. This is understandable. Fishing on high seas for over a month at a stretch is a tedious and risky business. One has to depend on luck to find the fish and on the God to survive the storms and other dangers. Irrespective of their efficacy the flags and the images on them should be a source of succour or, at any rate, of hope.
The Muslims though large in number in the region and also in the fishing industry do not appear to be very particular about the flags they fly. The Quranic green appeared a few times.
The Abbasid Sunni black currently used by ISIS was found flying at a place called Borsi alongside the national Flag of India. They did not have the inscriptions found on the ISIS flag.
The National Flag is found in many shapes and sizes, with or without the Ashok Chakra.This one is at Umbergaon Creek.
Among the Hindu Gods, Hanuman appears to be the most popular.
Lord Shiva is in close competition in popularity.
His son is also seen occasionally.
The OM also finds its place on some flags.
We started our journey along the coast on 15th August. Most of the boats were being readied for the sea after the monsoon lay-off. It is quite possible that they received new flags along with a coat of paint. The flags in most of these photographs appeared new.
What appears most prominently on these flags are not the Gods, they are the Goddesses. The Devi, Maa. The fishermen seem to have more faith in them than their male counterparts. Khodiyar Maa is worshipped everywhere in Kutch and Kathiawad.
There are others also whom the Boat-owners worship.
One new addition to the Pantheon is the Devi Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi currently of New York, NY, USA. They could not find an authentic image of her and had to make do with the corporate emblem of the company where she is employed.
Jalaram Bapa, the saint also appears on the flags.
The Brahmakumaris are also making their presence felt on the fishing craft.
Nani Daman harbour offers a variety in terms of colours.
and also the material used. Whilst most flags appears to have been made of cotton cloth this one appears to be made of silk.
The sports enthusiasts are not to be left behind.The Mumbai Indians are here on Daman seas.
Jhulelal the Sindhi saint was found on a solitary fishing vessel.
On various days.
Posted on 6th October 2016.