Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

Why my visit to Andaman Islands was serene yet disturbing

Bird-eye view of the Andaman Islands. (Source: Divya Goyal) Bird-eye view of the Andaman Islands. (Source: Divya Goyal)
Written by Divya Goyal | Posted: June 24, 2014 5:30 pm | Updated: August 26, 2014 11:16 am

andaman-main

It was one of the most beautiful landings I had seen, and I knew it then that the turquoise beaches of Andaman Islands will be an experience I will cherish for life.

The pilot (lucky for us) was in no hurry to land and gave a plenty of time to get a birds-eye view of the many tiny islands that comprise Andaman. Though from the top there was not much difference, with the clear blue water spacing islands with green reflection on the periphery of the shores. The scene was inviting me for a quick dip into the sea, but I had to wait for two days to have my time at the beach.

Bird-eye view of the Andaman Islands. (Source: Divya Goyal) Bird-eye view of the Andaman Islands. (Source: Divya Goyal)

Soon after I landed in Port Blair, I was taken to the city’s main tourist attraction – The Cellular Jail (Kala Pani). The place was imbued with the essence of patriotism of the early freedom fighters and I was overwhelmed by the same. The infamous jail was the residence of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for almost 50 years.

A model of the Cellular Jail. (Source: Divya Goyal) A model of the Cellular Jail. (Source: Divya Goyal)

The Cellular Jail housed many freedom fighters and various cruel jailers, as was informed in the light and sound show later that evening. The solemn architecture of the jail comprised 7 wings with a tower at the centre serving as the intersection, where the guards kept a watch on the inmates. The wings radiated from the tower like the spokes of a wheel, designed such that the face of a cell in a spoke saw the back of cells in another spoke. This meant absolute solitary confinement. Two of the wings are currently used as a hospital in the Island.

There were three ways of shackling the prisoners at the jail depending on the kind of ‘leniency’ they could ‘earn’ with their behaviour. The shackles obviously restricted the movement of the prisoners. (Source: Divya Goyal) There were three ways of shackling the prisoners at the jail depending on the kind of ‘leniency’ they could ‘earn’ with their behaviour. The shackles obviously restricted the movement of the prisoners. (Source: Divya Goyal)

The other areas of the Jail compound were developed to narrate the day to day activities of the inmates. The environment of the Cellular Jail and the burden of its history was only one of the places where the sense of sorrow would engulf the visitor on the Island. In the past Andaman Islands were used to imprison the exiled continued…

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