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    There is an old saying, ‘The sun never sets on the British Empire’ because it spanned its tentacles across the globe. But how did all this happen is indeed surprising? While going through world history one will find that the Europeans dared many sea voyages and overland journeys in the earlier centuries which resulted in their cross-globe explorations and discoveries. The first British explorer to make an overland journey to India was John Mildenhall in Circa 1560-1614 and the one who sailed to Australia all the way from England was ‘Captain James Cook’. Cook an eminent cartographer is one of the most popular names in Australian History. He circumnavigated the globe at the extreme southern latitude. He was described in the House of Lords as the first navigator of Europe. But the public opinion about Cook is competing and is divided because he spent only about forty days on the Australian shores. His two brief visits to Australia out of his voyages were in the years 1770 and 1773 to discover the South Pacific for signs of the postulated rich southern continent of Terra Australis were beginning to surface by then. During these visits, Cook and his crew carefully examined the coast and the waters of Australia. They collected in-depth information for the British Empire about the economic potential of the land and how the British ships could navigate the Australian coast. The Britishers did a similar thing when they landed in India in 1600 only to colonize her later. Cook and his crew members were the harbingers of the British Colonization of Australia. They were also the centuries of British influence in the Pacific more broadly.


    Cook’s three voyages of discovery in the Pacific in the 1770s marked a significant turning point in the history of Britain and the Pacific. Other Europeans, particularly the Spanish, had been crossing the Pacific Ocean since the 1500s, but largely for trade. However, it was Cook’s journey that signalled the advent of the British influence in the region, and the beginning of significant, ongoing disruption to the First Nations peoples (Indigenous people) and their lands.


    The first Pacific voyage captained by James Cook had scientific and military goals. He was to observe and record the movement of the planet Venus across the sun from a location in the South Pacific so that the scientists could calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun. He was also instructed to fathom the sea depth and coastlines as a guide for future voyages. Cook was also supposed to look out for opportunities to expand the empire with the east coast of Australia in mind. The Endeavour observed the transit of Venus (also known as Earth’s “sister” or “twin”) from the islands of Tahiti located in the South Pacific in July 1769. Cook also mapped the north and south islands of Aotearoa New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. On his return home, Cook’s charts and journals were used to assert a claim against other colonial powers that Britain had lawfully taken possession of vast areas of Australia’s east.


    On his second voyage, Cook captained the HMS Resolution. He was accompanied by a companion-ship HMS Adventure, commanded by Tobias Furneaux. This time Cook aimed to further explore the far south of the Pacific to determine whether or not there is a major southern continent in the Antarctic region. Between them, the two ships made several forays into the south of the Antarctic Circle. The voyages included Tasmania, Aotearoa—New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Vanuatu (New Hebrides), New Caledonia and Norfolk Island.


    The focus of Cook’s third voyage which was his last was towards the North Pacific with the hope of finding a shipping route from the Atlantic to the Pacific – a ‘North-West Passage’. The journey went through the Kergueen/Kerguelen group of islands, Tasmania, Aotearoa—New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, Vancouver Island, Alaska and the Arctic Circle. From there the voyage headed back to Hawaii, where a dispute ended in Cook being killed along with 4 of his crew members and 16 Kanaka Maoli the native Hawaiians. A replacement captain then helmed the ship.

    The voyages gave the British government an overview of the layout of the entire Oceania region (Central and South Pacific Ocean) and a good understanding of their prospects for exploiting its lands and resources. This process of exploitation began soon after Cook’s third voyage, with various vessels soon setting sail to Australia, Tahiti, the southern oceans, the north coast of America and Aotearoa New Zealand to seek produce, hunt whales and establish settler colonies. Given the importance of Cook’s role on the voyages, he is considered a highly symbolic figure for First Nations communities of the Pacific.


    Aboriginal Australians first encountered Cook on 14 April 1770 when he sailed within the view of ‘Point Hicks’ in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. They immediately sent smoke signals of warning up the coast in the direction of the Endeavour’s travel.


    Each of Cook’s voyages lasted three to four years. There were hundreds of meetings, understandings and conflicts between Cook and his crew and First Nations peoples and communities during these years.

    Captain Cook followed the coastlines closely to record shipping information and create charts. He made many stops at many Pacific Islands to refuel and restock food supplies. At times, he negotiated with First Nations peoples, exchanging European items such as metal tools in return for the use of local resources. If he met resistance to his visits or his requests for supplies, Cook and his crew forced their way through with a variety of weapons. He wrote in his diary:

    ‘We attempt to land in a peaceable manner, if this succeeds its well, if not we land nevertheless and maintain the footing we thus got by the superiority of our firearms, in what other light can they then at first look upon us but as invaders of the Country …’

    While Cook went on to say he wanted to be seen as a friendly visitor, in reality, he laid the groundwork for armed colonizers. However, many non-indigenous Australians resist the label of ‘invasion’ even today.

    Cook took heavy weaponry on his journeys.  If First Nations people impeded him during his journeys or his refuelling and at the stops to rest, Cook used small shots as a first warning, followed by a musket ball, or firing the great guns overhead to demonstrate the ship’s firepower. Only in the last resort would he allow his men to shoot to kill.’


Before Cook set out on his first journey, the British Admiralty gave him secret instructions. They were both written and verbal. He was not allowed to read the written instructions until he had reached Tahiti and finished observing an important planetary event, the transit of Venus. Cook’s instructions were to head towards Australia and assess the east coast of the continent and its resources in all aspects: the beasts, fowls, fishes; the strata of the soil; for mines, minerals or valuable stones; trees, fruits and grains; and the number of natives and their genius, temper and disposition.

    The instructions also said, ‘With the Consent of the Natives take possession of convenient situations in the Country in the name of the King of Great Britain: Or: if you find the Country uninhabited take possession for his Majesty by setting up proper marks and inscriptions, as first discoverers and possessors.’

    Cook’s diaries of 1770 and 1773 show that he was a bit confused about his rejection by Aboriginals on the east coast and later Lutruwita (Tasmania). Cook failed to get the consent of the natives to enter the law and ceremony of the land. However, Cook went on to claim to the rest of the world that he had established ‘possession’ of the continent for the purposes of international law. He had broken Aboriginal laws and disregarded many of the existing rules of colonization. Millions of non-Indigenous people followed Cook’s footsteps, resulting in illegal land grabs and genocide. This is why Cook is remembered as ‘the original invader’ and a harbinger of the death of Aboriginal people and culture. In fact, to many First Nations people all over the Pacific, Cook remains a ‘Great White Evil.’


    During the first journey, Cook had some excellent luck. A remarkable Raiatean (an archipelago located in the South Pacific) man called Tupaia came aboard the Endeavour in Tahiti. He seemed very interested to join the journey. It turned out that Tupaia was a highly skilled navigator and was willing to share his extensive knowledge with Cook and Joseph Banks an English naturalist to translate his knowledge into at least two charts: ‘Tupaia’s Chart’, which showed the locations of 74 islands from the reference point of Tahiti, and ‘A chart of the Society Isles in the South Sea’.

    Tupaia was able to list all these islands despite not having visited all of them- his map was recorded as oral memory, the accumulated wisdom of generations of Pacific navigators. It is possible that Tupaia was interested in joining Cook’s journey as an opportunity to exercise his own knowledge.

    As Cook recorded in his diary: ‘I have before hinted that these people have an extensive knowledge of the islands situated in these seas.’ First Nations peoples of the Pacific were also able to predict the weather more accurately than Europeans at that time.


    Each time Cook stopped to refuel and restock he relied on the generosity of the local people. He would typically stop at each place for at least a few weeks. At times his requests for wood, freshwater and vegetables pushed the limits of what local people had to spare. When it came to fishing, Cook and his crew generally helped themselves and they were keen to catch as much as possible. Towards the end of their stay in Guugu Yimithirr country, the Endeavour crew broke the law by catching too many turtles in the unseasoned period. Guugu Yimithirr community members tried to get the crew to hand some turtles back, but the crew resisted. The Guugu Yimithirr resisted by letting them know this was not okay by setting fire to parts of Cook’s onshore camp. Cook and Banks tried to save their equipment, and both of them fired their guns at the Guugu Yimithirr.


    Something similar happened in Hawaii too, leading to Cook’s death – an event that has been interpreted and re-interpreted many times by European historians and anthropologists. But why did this experienced traveller get stabbed to death late in his third journey is the question?

    Was it due to a misunderstanding by the Kanaka Maolis (The Native Hawaiians)? It’s possible that when Cook first arrived he might have been accommodated as a kind of religious figure because he accidentally turned up in the middle of an important religious festival (the Makahiki). However, Cook and his crew definitely overstayed their welcome and after enjoying lavish hospitality they returned too soon, needing to repair a broken mast and that created all the trouble.


    Even though Cook definitely died in 1779, the strange thing is that the non-Aboriginal people in Australia seem to want to pretend that he lives on. Mudburra man Hobbles Danayarri an aboriginal lawman and community leader has noticed this, He says: ‘Aboriginal people all know that Captain Cook is dead. It’s the white people, European people, who don’t know that he’s dead, or who don’t accept that he’s dead, or who refuse to allow him to die because they still “follow his law”’.

    Maybe Cook’s Cottage is evidence of white Australia’s refusal to deal with these issues and to finally say goodbye to Cook – after all, the Cottage does have a life-sized statue of Cook standing in the back garden.


By Kamlesh Tripathi




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Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1. Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2. Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22; 33. Good name vs Bad Name 15.10.22; 34. Uttarapath—The Grand Trunk Road 1.12.22; 35. When Gods Get Angry 1.1.23; 36. Holinshed’s Chronicles 15.1.23; 37. Theogony 15.2.23







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By Kamlesh Tripathi

In the Cricket world cup 2015 only fourteen teams are playing. Which are divided into two pools that will play 49 matches in two countries, to decide the world cup title. International Cricket Council (ICC) recognizes more than 125 countries that play cricket. But many are not up to the mark to be included in the international circuit, such as the World Cup. ICC has 10 full members, 38 Associate Members and 59 Affiliate Members and that adds up to 107 countries. The West Indies cricket team does not represent a single country.

The world today has 196 countries and with that logic, cricket looks like an isolated game with only 14 countries, vying for the world cup which is far from a world phenomenon. Even when the cheer and clapping is getting louder each day as the tournament progresses in those 14 countries. And so, this magnificent pageant that is hosted every 4 years is only witnessed by a small section of the world. As the game is not as popular as soccer which is played in almost all the countries.

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In the same fashion we also have the shorter version of the game called the T-20 cricket world cup, every four years. And, in addition we keep having individual test matches, ODIs and T-20 series between countries which are generally followed by the supporters of their respective countries only. Recently, BCCI has also launched IPL series to promote, both domestic and international cricket. But, even with all of this, cricket is not getting sold exponentially beyond the 14 countries that participate in the world cup. So, there is a greater need to popularize cricket in less and non-cricket playing countries, by shedding traditional, autocratic and bureaucratic ways of thinking and dealing with cricket.

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The 14 countries that currently play in the international world cup circuit are- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, UAE, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies, England, Ireland & Scotland.

This more or less promotes cricket in their respective countries only, and to a certain extent in their neighbouring countries. But if cricket needs to spread to other countries by leaps and bounds. Something out-of-the-box needs to be thought through. A better way of popularizing cricket would be to have another world class tournament. Where, we could bunch teams of 3-4 countries, continent wise, and have a world cup tournament amongst them, such as;

Team 1: India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh

Team 2: Australia, New Zealand

Team 3: Pakistan, Afghanistan and UAE

Team 4: South Africa, Zimbabwe

Team 5: West Indies, England, Ireland and Scotland


Cricket was never played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, since Adam was a lad. It only came along with the Britishers and became an endearing and formidable game, close to a religion. Which goes to show, if publicized, facilitated and marketed well. It has the potential to become a game as popular as soccer.

Individual countries, and more pointedly India, may have done well to promote cricket in their own country. But Cricket as such has not seen a deluge of popularity, breaking barriers of borders and continents. Rather, it cocooned in its ego and bureaucracy and never butterflied across the world as soccer or lawn tennis. To sight and example, for so many years Bangladesh had to wait to get Test status and same goes for countries like Ireland and Scotland, that are still waiting.


Just citing an example. Increase the team members in the squad of Team 1, as referred above (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) by 3-5 and include new talent from China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives or any other country close by and give them a chance in warm up matches, or even just let them be with the team or include them in practice sessions or as twelfth man to be viewed by spectators back home. As this also will popularize the game back in their countries in a big way. For, didn’t it suddenly make a world of difference when some of our athletes were seen on world stage, in various disciplines at the Olympics?

And, hold this world cup tournament among continents every two years. As this will help in good publicity and brand building because public memory is too short, and keep the venue in some non-playing country or countries that play, but are not world class like China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives, Kabul, Spain, or the US to name a few. Request their dignitaries or popular figures to inaugurate and play the game at these inaugural matches. ICC is rich and could allocate a budget for this. Also, give special incentives including discounted tickets to tourists who want to watch the game of cricket from non-cricket playing countries. And just before the tournament, legendary and star cricketers depending upon their popularity like Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Sanat Jaisurya, to name a few, could give cricketing lessons to youngsters who want to play cricket.

Give this world cup tournament a well thought through, heavy weight title, making it look like a competition among titans, continents, giants, bravo juggernauts or even ET. For, this will have a domino effect in popularizing the game by leaps and bounds. Especially, in non playing continents or even non-playing countries or countries where the game is not played to its full potential. For where is the continued rejoice if the game continues to hover and be competed around in the same surroundings. Perhaps, the present day cricket may give you a feeling. As if it has been discarded and rejected by rest of the world and only adopted by few countries, with world potential still to be realized; and all in the interest of cricket.