Issue :   
We Wish You all a Happy and Safe Holi              March 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:March' 2020


Arabian days and nights

Mandira Ghosh

Iam inside a sophisticated huge aircraft with cushions on chairs and blankets with Arabian motifs.
Etihad I realised, means as ‘together’ or ‘join in one’ united, or may be come together which exactly is the name of the country United Arab Emirates. The UAE as we all know is divided into seven emirates with the more known emirates being Dubai, Sharjah, and the capital Abu Dhabi.
In Abu dhabi we watched a capital city with date palm trees, lined in geometrical perfection on the both sides of awesome clean streets.
Abu Dhabi was initially called 'Milh' meaning Salt probably due to the salty water of the Arabian Gulf. Basically the area had a lot of Deers (Dhibaa) through which the word 'Dhabi' has been referred. It has also been called as 'Umm Dhabi' by the local nomads meaning 'Mother of Deer'. In Dubai in next few days I also came to know the meaning of Jumeriah(In Dubai) that is black soil.

Next day at noon, I visited the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque the largest mosque in the country, the principal place of worship for daily prayers in Abu Dhabi. Thronged by devotees from all over the world, this Grand Mosque was constructed between 1996 and 2007. This majestic mosque was designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky. The main axis of the building is rotated about 11° south of west, aligning it in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia like may be other mosques of the world.

What a magnificent Mosque! People from all corners of the earth, women with their heads covered and wearing full selves came to pray in the mosque There was huge queue and for elderly people could take the exist in battery operated cars.The splendid motifs on the walls are indeed unparalleled and the huge rush made the families dismantled to be joined at the exit door.

The project was launched by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was successful in establishing this mammoth structure uniting the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds adjacent to the complex.

Also watched Emirates Palace, located in the heart of Abu Dhabi,. is outstanding in both its design and offerings.

Then it was time to visit the Heritage Village to experience the traditional aspects of the desert way of life, and immersing oneself in the time capsule that brings to life a souk, a mosque and an encampment from pre-modernized Abu Dhabi. One can shop, explore artifacts and watch artisans making pottery, blowing glass and weaving fabric on a loom and I with my limited budget purchased magnets for some of my New Delhi friends. A Delhi Haat in a nutshell.

Run by the Emirates Heritage Club, this reconstruction of a traditional oasis village provides an interesting glimpse into the emirate’s past and features public workshops where craftsmen demonstrate above mentioned traditional skills .The craftsmen share their skills with visitors, and also may offer them a chance to try them out.

City is no doubt majestic but didn't find anyone walking on the streets.The cars are with dark glasses and no woman on the streets.

I came to Dubai and enjoyed the best that Dubai could offer. It is amazing to look into metamorphosis of may be once dusty golden redyellow desert to some extent emerald green and then go for thrilling dune bashing, Cruise, camel ride during desert safari. Dubai whose more than 50 % working population are Indians knows how to welcome the tourists. Non Arabs will take 40 years to get citizenship of Dubai but a woman can get in 5 years if of course she marries a local Arab. Wow!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque The tour- conductor was an Indian and the driver was a Pakistani. And there was no war.
Dubai , the most dynamic and prosperous city in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as we all know is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai is the commercial capital of UAE as Mumbai is to India, Abu Dhabi status wise is like New Delhi but air is not polluted.
Indian population in as about 2.6 million out 9.2 million. In which over 1 million people are from Kerala alone.
If I asked someone in English the reply was in Hindi Thus is the power of Hindi., Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will be happy Dubai, located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, it is very powerful city of the Middle East. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub. Strangely enough, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil.
Now we should know that Dubai's economy depends just not on oil, but revenues come from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. That was evident and I realised the potential of this wonderful capital from my one week stay at Oaks Liwas heights, awesome place discovered by my daughter, located in Dubai's commercial area,. This contemporary apartment was just 5 km from the Dubai Marina Walk and 7 km from Marina Beach though I could visit the beach only once in seven days that was also in the afternoon. Dubai has so much to offer.

Dubai, located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, is very powerful city of the Middle East. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub. Strangely enough, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil.

Emirates Palace The tour operator who is Indian and the driver of the tourist bus already explained about Dubai a city from rags to riches story. They are friends with no intention of going into war as already said. They explained that before the arrival of oil, the revenue were from fishing and pearls but the business deteriorated with advent of cultured pearls from Japan. But then came oil. that metamorphosed the desert into somewhere gardens and even near forests. Amazing is the human spirit.
Nomadic cattle herders may have inhabited and settled here may be in 3000 BCE.
Sassnid empire controlled the area in 3rd century to the 7th century, when Umayyad Caliphate introduced Islam in the area. The area was sustained by fishing, pearl diving for a thousand years, The invention of artificial pearls in 1926 and the great depression of in 1929 caused a collapse in the international pearl market, which resulted in the emir Sheikh Saeed looking for an alternative source of income and inviting Indian and Iranian traders to settle there without paying any tax and Dubai becoming one of the leading re-export ports in the world. In 1966, oil was discovered in Dubai, which changed the country beyond recognition and led to Dubai becoming the vibrant, modern, business-centred eclectic city.

The first visit was to the Dubai Museum on the Al Fahidi Fort built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in present Dubai. We came to know of the history of Dubai year wise. We saw how the Beduins lived and how the residents live now. A giant metamorphosis. Al Fahidi Fort is square-shaped with towers occupying three of its corners. It was built of coral rock and mortar in several phases. An elephant with water coming out from his mouth welcomed us.

Why elephant and not a camel? was my question. Immediately outside the museum I washed my face with cool water from the traditional well..Water still coming out by a container with a pulley, water and not oil! Cool water to refresh all. A lovely painting of an with gold was purchased by a Sri Lankan tourist.where there was artefacts for sale too. Magnificent Persian carpets, Burka with zari work was wondrous.

My Bangladeshi driver who hailed from near Dacca informed about his 12 years of stay in Dubai and afterward Iqbal from Pakistan at Desert safari on his willingness to come to Delhi. For the information of the readers. Al means 'the' in English I came to know from them.

Dubai Museum on the Al Fahidi Fort From the fort, there is a path to the galleries, which display the general culture of the land, especially in the 1800s. It includes local antiques as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil, in addition to artifacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 BC.
Al Fahidi Fort was built in several phases. The oldest tower was built around 1787 and is believed to be the oldest building in Dubai that still exists today. The fort was used to guard the landward approaches to the town from the raids.A huge cannon welcomed us at the entrance and I had no intention of dying.
My next visit was the world-famous superstructure of Dubai, and the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, At the 124th and 125th of Burj Khalifa a photo-session and a picnic went on. Keep some of the pristine desert intact and don't transform all sand into Burj or constructions.

Dhaow Cruise Dhaow Cruise was an amazing experience and also hanging around the Dubai Mall which I was informed was flooded a week after I left .A 'Dhaow' is a traditional wooden vessel that has been refurnished into a floating restaurant with a buffet set up dinner onboard as well as a live show. The live show was splendid. Done by a magician cum dancer, the male dancer kept the audience who were people on board capitavated. Outside the beauty of the creek was beautiefed by glow of light in every building. Tourists started dancing and were advised to settle down. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian spread was great with reflection on water of the glowing light dinner was complete with payasayam and fruits.

If one is in Dubai one should know of the Emaar Properties without the knowledge of which the knowledge of modern Dubai is incomplete.

Real Estate company Emaar located in the (UAE). has changed the skyling of Dubai..

The projectof Emaar consisted of two developments of historical proportions: Burj Khalif and the Dubai Mall, the world's tallest building and world's largest mall respectively. I was fortunate to visit both.At a certain point in the architectural and engineering process, the original Emaar developers ran into financial issues, and required more money and economic funding. Sheikh Khalifa, granted monetary aid and funding, hence resulting in the changing of the name to "Burj Khalifa".

Burj Khalifa Dubai Aquarium The Dubai Mall officially opened in 2008, and Burj Khalifa in 2010. Despite a collapse in the real estate market in 2009, Emaar survived. The day I stood in serpentine queue to take the lift to go to 124th floor, entire China seemed to have come to watch. With Mandarin flowing around, I walked to 125th floor and found myself very tall with the expensive gift and souvenir shop at that floors, the greatest sale was of the replica of Burj khalifa. I too purchased one for 44 dirhams which is adorning my residence. Also purchased Aladdin lamp.
Visiting Dubai Mall and looking at the underwater zoo and the aquarium with was indeed captivating.
Located at The Dubai Mall,the aquarium, offered us a memorable journey into ocean life. With capacity to hold 10 million litres of water, Dubai Aquarium is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and it illuminates the marvels of the ocean floor, showcasing one of the most diverse collections of aquatic life. Located just above the aquarium, Underwater Zoo brings visitors up close with penguins, piranhas, crabs, water rats, sea horses, jellyfish and plenty more.

The Dubai Fountain I found myself then in the Downtown Dubai area among The Dubai Fountain The Dubai Fountain is the tallest performing fountain in the world that began operating in the spring of 2009. The musical fountain reminded him of Las Vegas one of the tourists informed me. I have not been to Las Vegas.But could watch the enthusiasm of people at 7 pm with cameras all around videos were taken by all til 7 30 pm.With the tall structures of Burj Khalifa and Emaar buildings shinning bright.
Each plant and tree is protected by a unique method and significant roads are protected by a Radar system on streets.

Desert Safari Adventure @ 64 can be exciting and informative and this is what I realised on our visits to of Abu Dhabhi and Dubai. With probably a weak skeleton system,it was practical that Desert Safari should have been avoided. But then destiny thought otherwise and among the tranquil sand, through the endless waves of sand dunes, reaching the emerald green oasis where another 430 persons had reached from all over the world was awesome. Watched the breathtaking sunset and also an experience. In the land of Dirhams every thing comes with a price. As said, not birds, not women can be seen. Falcon being the national bird is a prized possession I am told.
As we enter our resting place or an oasis after Desert safari by car of course falcon welcomed us at the gate. If you take your photo with the bird,then shell 20 dirhams just, the bird sits on your shoulder 15 dirham and on your head shell 20 dubai currency. Children were thrilled to be photographed with the bird and on the camel back that came again with a price. Not only children were thrilled but the elders too.

Olga Come and watch and see this metamorphosis of Beduin land into an ultra modern city- a city with sky-rises, malls, artificial lakes, creek inviting the Dhaow rides. One magician, who is a dancer, entertained the tourists from all over the world at night with dazzling lights all around. While in the desert children made sand castles, adults were entertained by Olga from Rhodesia performing belly dancing.
Long ago as a young girl in twenties I had written, In a Oasis through a Desert and later was acclaimed. I sang my own poem looking into the metamorphosis of the desert cities.

In an Oasis through a Desert

In the desert sand
Who can play the flute, who
can play the band?
Heat and dust on mirrored
Morning mist on ankles
Over the courtyard - the
moon alone always
Searching for someone -
near Damascus
On the thorns of cactus.
Rain comes to desert
Palms wait in the resort
Through the clouds - came
All of a sudden - a stranger
Tell me oh stranger
Are you thirsty?
Oasis is truth, life no mirage
Dreams may fade, life
stands apart.
Fresh morning awakes, sand
smiles for a while
Hope comes to the desert,
the blazing sun walks
thousands of miles