The Desert Outpost
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r. Dunlop, first Collector of Ahmedabad district prepared a report dated October 2, 1820, called Salt Monopoly in Bombay Presidency.
Encouraged by the report, the House of Commons ordered the Company’s Government in Bengal to appoint a Select Committee. In 1836, the Company (in typically British methodical manner) sent a team of surveyors to the LRK. They went into an unknown, wild, desolate, vast and arid region covering 5000 sq. kms. Two important Baits (or high ground features) during most of the year manifest themselves like illusive islands in a mirage. Then, during the monsoon, they actually become islands, between July and October. These are named “Mardhakh” for James Murdoch and “Jillandhar” for A. W. Gillander. The islands have become their veritable signatures on the LRK soil! The two surveyors did such a splendid job that even today after one and three fourths of a century their measurements are valid. (Fortunately, people accepted the distorted names as local names. The names remain unchanged, unlike so many other place names in our country, which became fashionable after 1947.)
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