Ancient Indo-Arab ties discussed

ABU DHABI - A two-day seminar on the ancient trade contacts between India and the Arabia, with a particular emphasis on the UAE, began in the Capital with speakers taking the ties back to third millennium BC.


Nissar Hoath

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Published: Thu 24 Nov 2011, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:38 AM

Organised by Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Cultural and Media Centre in conjunction with the Indian Embassy here, the seminar was attended by a large number of historians, authors, archaeologists and musicologists from India and those based in the Arab world.

“These entrenched relations nestle inside the shared Indo-Arab history, especially the fraternal, affable intermingling connections that have intertwined India and the United Arab Emirates since the early sprout of their roots in history, and when Mahlab bin Abi Safra and Al Qassem bin Abbass landed in India with the good news of Islam. Now India has rendered itself the largest non-Arab haven for the Islamic civilisation throughout the history,” Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President’s Representative, said in his opening speech.

The seminar attended by Indian Ambassador M.K. Lokesh as the Chief Guest was inaugurated by Habib Al Sayegh, Director-General of the centre. Shaikh Sultan further added since the beginning of the 16th century, the relations between India and the UAE have witnessed remarkable developments. “You may recall that the use of Indian Rupee lingered in the Emirates for an extensive period of time owing to the incessant shuttle of trade exchange between the two countries. Consequently India has gained ground as the focal point of the UAE’s exported commodities such as natural pearls. Likewise, the Emirates’ market has ever swarmed with myriads of Indian products, which bred ultimate conformity and embodiment between the two peoples,” he added.

Dr Christian Velde, Resident Archaeologist at Ras Al Khaimah’s Department of Antiquities and Museums told the seminar the early Bronze Age has been identified as the first trade contact between culture of the UAE and India. He said: “At this time the western area of India was part of the Indus valley culture. This was one of the major prehistoric civilisations that have shaped the world in the early days and which covered parts of India and Pakistan in its greatest extension.

Eissa Abbas Hussein Yousif, Archaeological Survey and Excavations Supervisor at Sharjah’s Directorate of Antiquities, said the archaeological sites in Sharjah bear witness to the ancient and strong relationships between the Indian sub-continent and the Omani Peninsula, which are evident in the large number of finds and variety of potsherds excavated in different sites in Sharjah that were occupied at various historical periods. Examples of these archaeological sites are in Tal Abraq, Wadi Al Helou, Jebel Buhais and Dibba,” explained Yousif.

Dr Sunil Gupta, Assistant Keeper at India’s Allahabad Museum, said the link between the coastal UAE-Oman and western India dated back to proto-historic times (4th Millennium BC).

He said: “The Bronze Age (3rd and 2nd Millennium BC) saw full intensity of exchange between the Arab and Persian region and western part of the sub-continent. The UAE-Oman region was in all likelihood the fabled land of Magan, producing copper and other goods for the Mesopotamian and the Harappan civilisational areas.”

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