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BBNers - International Experiences Thread - Sharing Global Information & ExperiencesViews: 610
Nov 02, 2006 12:45 pm International Thread - Carry On Sharing

Ranjit Gorde
Where do I begin? ....................

Ever since Tarun started this most interesting tread, I have been confronted with this question. I think I am going to break my inputs into installments so that I don't become a drag:

Salaam wa alekum or in short Salaam, which means peace in Arabic. Shalom in Hebrew. Salaam could be used as a greeting in most Asian countries west of Bangladesh right up till Lebanon and in many north African countries.

Long before the black gold was struck in the Arabian Peninsula, the people in that region used to live as nomads and in small groups. They used to wander in the sandy deserts looking for water and food/dates. Once in a while, they would come across another group wandering around to look for water and food. "Salam wa alekhun" did the trick so that both the groups could hang out together or part in peace.

Much has been said about Dubai and the UAE. But the action actually began in Bahrain. The Oil was first struck in Bahrain (1930s) in that region. So the small island became the center of trade and commerce, education, etc. The first refinery, the first bank, the first seaport, the first industry, you name it, all that the Gulf has today actually began in Bahrain. And in some respects, the other AGCC are yet to catch up with it……………..

Bahrain was called Delmon in the ancient times. There was trade link between Indus Valley and Bahrain, Alexander built a fort in Bahrain, he even ordered couple of ships to be built in Bahrain.

Oil and trade apart, Bahrain is possibly the biggest natural pearl producer. When we were small, our landlord Mr. Al Arrayyad, who was the biggest pearl merchant, used to proudly tell us that one of his tear drop pearls adorns the crown of Queen Elizabeth II. The pearl was so precious and rare that he could not put a price to it, so he gave it free.

Speaking about the royalty: Bahrain is ruled by Al Khalifa family. Few years back, when security wasn't a big deal, royalty was so close to the people. There used to be weekly ‘darbar’ where anyone could go and talk to the Amir and share the meal with him. My family has attended many functions where the Amir/King would be present. I remember, my mother talks about one occasion when the present King of Bahrain, who was the Crown Prince at the time, sitting at the same table as my folks got up and brought her a drink. Once I met the brother of the king, who was the defense minister at the time, in the busy Gold Souq and shook hands with him. I blurted a greeting in Arabic, but His Highness answered me back in Hindi...............


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