Friday, January 8, 2010

Gingerlee

Found out from a book, "A geographical account of countries round the Bay of Bengal, 1669 to 1679" by Thomas Bowrey that Vizag was called Gingerlee or Gingalee before the British took over. Must do a search and see where that leads. Actually Gingerlee refers to the part of the coast between the estuary of the Godavari and the Pagoda of Jagannath (assume it's Puri). Quite a bit of coastline. Not very specific at all.

The book itself paints an interesting portrait of the inhabitants. It says they are mostly of the Hindu merchant class and rigorously paid taxes, as they were in mortal fear and total awe of their Muslim rulers. They paid a huge price for the privilege of worshipping their gods.

The merchants were rich but feared to display their wealth, as inheritance was not their birthright but depended on the goodwill of the king. So they wore the same kind of clothes as their servants and lived in thatched huts. Probably accounts for the present Vizagite's psyche. Most still prefer to hide their wealth and live very frugal lives.