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Anjadiv Island .

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by K.L.Kamat
First Online: January 03, 2005
Page Last Updated: May 09, 2017

The Anjadiv (a.k.a Anjidiv) Islands, about a mile away from the village of Binaga in Karnataka, but belonging to the state of Goa, have been famous in Indian culture since the puranic period.  A renaissance poet has described it as the "resting place of Venus and her beloved". Deity Arya Devi, later known as Anji Devi is worshipped on the island since ancient times. The Romans who are said to have visited the island called it "Aigidioum" (land of Agi Goddess) and the Arabs have refenrenced it as  "Allan Gudde" (Allah's Hill).

The Portuguese colonized the island and built a fort and a church (Church of Lady Brothers). The Maplis of Kerala settled on the island in due course, and called it "Anaja Diva". The Portuguese corrupted it to Anjidiv.

After India became free (after an epic struggle against the British) in 1947, the island continued under Portuguese rule, and to symbolize their authority, the Portuguese Government set up a liquor shop on the island (a move certainly in mockery of Gandhi's prohibition ideology) and appointed four people to operate it. The bar did extremely well, selling over Rs.75,000 worth of feni (a popular variety of local liquor) a fortnight, most of it finding its way to India. This practice continued till 1961.

One day in October 1961 a fisherman from the village of Majoli was sailing in the Indian waters, when a nutty Portuguese policeman fired on him. In a show of support for the fishermen, India moved naval vessels in the area which were also fired upon. The tension escalated and on December 20th, India shelled the island, thus not only liberating the island, but paving way for Portuguese release of Goa.

In the last twenty-three years nothing has been done to develop Anjadiv.

The island, although surrounded by the Arabian Sea, has drinking water, and can support up to a thousand families. It also has tourism potential.

There is a Sultan's Battery in Boloor area which is uncared for.

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Adapted from author's 1983 entry in his diary. (see: Kamat's Diaries)

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