Providing for pigeons

In London pigeons are regarded as a nuisance, as pests. A previous Lord Mayor of the city once described them as “flying rats”. Now, feeding them is frowned upon. Gone are the days when you could buy corn to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

During our long journey through Gujarat in western India, we saw many places dedicated to feeding pigeons. In Bhavnagar, for example, I saw a man scattering seeds, which were being avidly consumed by a large crowd of grey pigeons. The grain was strewn over a large area in which there were several large bowls of water to quench the birds’ thirst.

In Ahmedabad, we saw a fenced off area supplied with drinking bowls as already described. This special feeding area was well supplied with grain scattered on the ground. In that same city, we saw a huge pigeon ‘hostel’. This consisted of a matrix of niches or pigeon holes in which the creatures resided. Feeding facilities were adjacent to the niches. This giant pigeon coop was next to a mosque or dargah close to the Nehru Bridge over the River Sabarmati.

In Rajkot, we spotted a cylindrical concrete pigeon coop mounted on a tall concrete pillar. And, in Porbandar a large area close to the beach is used to feed pigeons and other birds at the end of an afternoon.

During our very recent visit to the metropolis of Hyderabad in Telengana State, we have driven past pigeon feeding areas. On one of the bridges crossing the river, one of these feeding places occupied the whole length of one side of the bridge.

When wandering around the many bookshops in the Koti district of Hyderabad, we found a square surrounded by buildings. The centre of the square is a fenced open space where thousands of pigeons collect to feed on the copious amounts of grain on the floor. This area is overlooked by a cylindrical pigeon coop, which is illustrated above. The area is maintained by The Pigeon Welfare Association of Telengana.

The Lalbagh Gardens in Bangalore have at least one fine large cylindrical pigeon coop. I do not know how many other places in India care for pigeons as I the places I have mentioned, but from what I have seen so far, I can say that India is not devoid of popular concern for avian wellbeing.

Memories of imperialism

In the former Portuguese colony of DAMAN,

daman

“…there is a public garden, the Pargola (sic) Gardens. It contains a semi-circular colonnade and a monument built like a pile of rocks. The monument has a carved stone plaque commemorating the Portuguese who died on the 2nd of February 1559, the day that their country finally captured Daman.  A plaque beneath this is to remember those Portuguese who died on the 22nd of July 1954 during their unsuccessful defence of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The late queen_800

It is a sign of Indian tolerance that a monument celebrating the deeds of invaders has been left intact. I have seen examples of this elsewhere in India. For example, Cubbon Park in Bangalore has two well-maintained British statues, one of Queen Victoria and the other of King Edward VII, and in Calcutta there is the Victoria Memorial. In contrast, when we visited the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly The Victoria and Albert Museum) in Bombay, we saw a macabre collection of mutilated statues of British ‘worthies’. These had been vandalised during Maharastrian nationalist riots.

bau daji

This is a short excerpt from a new book/Kindle by Adam Yamey:

PAPERBACK   BUY A COPY                                  

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Books beneath a bridge

Another excerpt from

Travels in Gujarat, Daman, and Diu” by Adam Yamey

To be published very soon!

 

We were in Ahmedabad when…

… we passed the now disused Indian Picture House, a cinema, and reached the bridge that carries Gandhi Road over Tankshal.

 

AHM 1

 

The road beneath the bridge is lined with booksellers’ stalls piled high with textbooks.

AHM 2

There are also bookshops around the bridge in yards leading off Tankshal Road. Outside their premises, there are tables which are overflowing with books, new and used. These precarious piles of books reminded me of my favourite bookshop in Bangalore, Mr Shanbag’s Premier Bookshop, which closed some years ago. In that great establishment, only the foolhardy customer would risk creating an avalanche of books by attempting to extricate a book from the piles of volumes reaching from the floor to the high ceiling.

 

AHM 4

We visited Mahajan Book Depot, where we had been told books in English were available. Its amiable owner, a descendant of the shop’s founder told us that his was the oldest bookstore in Ahmedabad. His great-grandfather established it in 1891. His stock of books in English was not great, but I found one, a history book, which I purchased.

 

AHM 3