Navy Team Tarini at the Vivekananda International Foundation
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Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini (INSV Tarini) comprising six women officers of the Indian Navy circumnavigated the globe in 254 days. The voyage commenced on September 10, 2017 and was completed on May 21, 2018. The expedition was called ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The vessel was skippered by Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi, and the crew comprised Lt Cdrs Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lts S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

The vessel covered over 22,000 Nautical miles, visiting five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius. The expedition was covered in six legs, with halts at 5 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius). To qualify as circumnavigation, it had to meet the criteria of crossing the Equator twice, crossing all Longitudes and as also the three great Capes (Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope).

INSV Tarini is an indigenously-built 56-foot sailing vessel and which was inducted in the Indian Navy in February 2017.

The team was received by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF. It was followed by a detailed presentation by the Skipper, Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi.

Commemorative remarks by the Director, VIF, is reproduced below:-

“We have gathered here today to felicitate Team Tarini for their valiant feat of circumnavigating the globe in a sailing vessel. As you may be aware, the expedition was called Navika Sagar Parikrama. The Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) covered about 22,000 nautical miles in 254 days. In the language of us land lubbers, it would translate to 40,000 km. What makes it so valiant and special? Well it was valiant because they faced wind speeds up to 60 knots (108 kmph) and waves of up to eight meters (more than two story building). And it is special, because it was the first ever women team to circumnavigate the globe in the eons of Indian history. The team needs no introduction. The skipper (or the Captain of the INSV) was Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi (28 years old). Other members of the crew were Lt Cdrs Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lts S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

A word about the Sailing Vessel ‘Tarini’. It was built by Shri Ratnakar Dandekar, of M/s Aquarius, Goa. The same person who built INSV Madhei that has circumnavigated the globe twice, helmed by Capt Dilip Donde and Cdr Abhilash Tomy separately. I am inquisitive to know how much lead Tarini has in her keel.

I am sure you will hear about the voyage from the Team, but let me capture for you a sense of the life onboard a sailing vessel mid-ocean. The sun could be scorching, the winds merciless, sails could part, spars could break, the boat could flood with water and there could be fire, illness or injury and cooked meal is a luxury. These conditions may be abnormal for us, but is a sailor’s constant companion. There is no hard land to rest and no one else to rescue in peril. So it takes indomitable courage and skills to undertake such an arduous venture. I was wondering what must have been the calling of these brave naval officers. But I am sure each one of them would be yearning to return to the seas once again. Here I am reminded of a quote by John Masefield:

I must sail again, to return to the lonely sea and the sky;
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

Juan Sebastian Elcano was the first to circumnavigation of globe with a team of 18 survivors in 1522 and took three years and one month to complete. Since then over 100 circumnavigations have taken place in the last five centuries, of which women have circumnavigated about a dozen times. The first woman was Admiral Louis de Bougenville of the French Navy who had disguised as a man in 1769.

Whilst you are aware of the historical contributions made by women in India’s history, let me give you an account of some of the recent achievements. Bhakti Sharma was the first Asian women and the youngest in the world to create a swimming record in the freezing waters of the Antarctic. Arunima Sinha climbed the mount Everest despite an amputated leg. Other young talents like Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Mary Kom, PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik have made India proud. Ironically, both the Olympic medals in 2016 Rio Olympics were won by women. These great Indian women have been joined now by the Team Tarini. They bring us the hope that every Indian girl has the potential to achieve whatever she wants to.

Some of us sitting here must be wondering as to what it takes to bring up daughters to achieve such daring feats. The Arthava Veda, which is believed to been composed in 1000 BC mentions that girls too should train themselves as students and only then enter into married life. The Sukta (11.5.18) specifically emphasises that girls should receive the same level of training as boys. Another Sukta (14.1.6) calls upon the parents to gift their daughter intellectuality with the power of knowledge before she leaves for husband’s home. I mentioned these examples to give you a glimpse of how much importance Indian civilisation attached to the empowerment of women. In fact one Sukta (12.1.25) is a prayer: ‘Oh Motherland! Give us the aura which is present in girls’.”

“Before I stop, I wish to share a quote of Vivekananda, he said: ‘Our right of interference is limited entirely to giving education. Women must be put in a position to solve their own problems in their own ways. No one can or ought to do this for them’. And our Indian women are capable of doing it as any in the world”.

Interaction with Children and Audience

On completion of their presentation the Team was felicitated by Dr Arvind Gupta. Thereafter, the team interacted with the children and audience.

Event Date 
September 27, 2018

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