INS Kunjali

Historical Background

Presently located at the southernmost tip of Mumbai, INS Kunjali was commissioned on 01 Jul 54, with Captain Michael Benjamin Samuel, VSM, as the first Commanding Officer. The establishment commemorates the name of the Kunjali Marakkars, the hereditary Chiefs of the Navy of the Zamorin of Kozhikode or Calicut, in the sixteenth century. The Marakkars organised the Malabar seamen to fight the Portuguese in many a battle between 1500 and 1600. The honorific title of Kunjali was bestowed by the Zamorin on the Commandants of his Naval force in recognition of their prowess in maritime warfare. There were four successive Kunjali Marakkars between the period 1500 and 1600 AD. The establishment was initially located at Talwar Camp, and subsequently moved to the Old Gun Carriage Basin near Colaba Causeway. The establishment was set up to administer the Regulating School of the Navy, the School of Music, the Provost Headquarters of the Navy at Mumbai, the IN Detention Quarters and the Indian Naval Band. In course of time the establishment also became home to the rotary wing assets of the naval air arm at Mumbai. The motto of the establishment is ‘Satyam Vad Dharma Char’ and means always speak the truth and tread the path of Dharma.

Bifurcation and Shift

The expansion of the Naval Air arm at Mumbai necessitated the creation of an exclusive air station at Mumbai and the Old Gun Carriage Basin, where INS Kunjali was located was considered the ideal site. Therefore on 15 Nov 98, the Provost and Band elements inclusive of the training schools were re-located to the present location of INS Kunjali at South Colaba. INS Trata which occupied this real estate at South Colaba had been re- located to Worli. The air station at the Old Gun Carriage Basin was referred to as Kunjali II, until her commissioning as INS Shikra on 22 Jan 09 . The Regulating School was shifted from INS Kunjali to INS Mandovi at Goa, on 26 Jun 09.

Navy Day Band Concert At Mulla Auditorium

Navy Day Band Concert At Mulla Auditorium

The IN Central Band

The IN Central Band and School of Music are co-located at INS Kunjali. The origin of magnificent ensemble called IN Central Band dates back to 1945, when a mere handful of Indian Naval musicians decided, quite quixotically, to ‘tilt at windmills’ and venture bravely into, what were then, somewhat uncharted waters. Amongst the better known of the Orchestra’s international renditions between independence and the turn of the Century are those in the United Kingdom during the Queen’s Coronation in June 1953; in Japan during EXPO-07 in April 1970; in the USA, in July 1986, to mark the Centennial of the Statue of Liberty; in Australia for the Bicentennial Celebrations held in January 1988; and, in Malaysia in 1990, during the International Fleet Review of the Royal Malaysian Navy. As the world rolled into the new millennium, the year 2000 found the band performing to thunderous applause in the USA, in participative celebration of the International Fleet Review held by the great maritime nation. Similarly, Tokyo, in September of 2002, resonated to both orchestral and military renditions by the Orchestra, which was stellar attraction in Japan’s International Fleet Review. Closer home, the UAE swayed to the captivating tunes of this much-loved orchestra as it performed during the International Defence Exhibition in March 2003. The summer of 2005 was a busy period for the Indian Navy Band, as it regaled audiences in Modena (Italy) and Albertville (France) during the back-to-back International Music Festivals held in these exotic locals, before finishing with a flourish in London in July of 2005, where it stood shoulder to shoulder with the best British Military Bands in the UK’s International Fleet Review. In Apr 2006, performing at the International Trade Fair in Germany, this musical agglomerate led all of Hanover to a foot-tapping and foot-tapping celebration of Spring. On July 14, 2009, the resplendent Indian Navy Band proudly led the Indian marching contingent down the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, as part of the Bastille Day Parade. As recently as in December of 2010, the orchestra set hearts pumping and feet tapping in Colombo, as it delighted connoisseurs and novices alike during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the Sri Lanka Navy.

The Naval School Of Music

The Naval School of Music is the alma Mater of every musician sailor of the Indian Navy.

Provost Headquarters

The Commanding Officer INS Kunjali is also the Naval Provost Marshal, Western Naval Command. The Provost Headquarters of Western Naval Command functions from INS Kunjali. to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline among naval personnel. The Provost Headquarters also coordinates all provost, piloting and security activities related to the visit of dignitaries to Mumbai.

Back to Top