OCTOBER 24, 1936

1936 : Meher Baba
1936 : Meher Baba
Imperial Airways " Hadrian " ; Hadley Page 42
Imperial Airways " Hadrian " ; Hadley Page 42

Courtesy of Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol.6-7 : p 2041 ( 1st Edition )

Cropped photo taken of Meher Baba  in Nasik, India in 1936
Cropped photo taken of Meher Baba in Nasik, India in 1936



The route that the plane took was  from Karachi  -  Gwadar, Muscat, Oman  -  Sharjah, U.A.E.  -  Bahrein  -  Kuwait  -  Basra, Iraq  -  Baghdad, Iraq.


The plane Meher Baba and his men flew in was called the "Hadrian" - one of 8 plane in the Hadley-Page Imperial Airways fleet. Each plane was given a name.

Hadrian's registration was "AAUE"  No.42 / 2


The price to fly between Karachi and Baghdad was over 30 English pounds


Click below to learn about the plane flown



Baba and the mandali left Karachi on the 24th on the 24-seat Imperial Airways Hadrian biplane.  It was his ninth foreign journey. Baba's first international air travel proved distressing for Kaka and Chanji who suffered from headaches and vomited during the flight, due to severe turbulence from Bahrain to Basra.

Lord Meher Page 1739 ( 2nd Edition )



At the time when Meher Baba's plane landed at Gwadar, this area was governed by Muscat on the other side of the Gulf of Oman. This land was purchased by Pakistan in 1958.

Kuwait flag in the 1930s
Kuwait flag in the 1930s
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the modern country in the Persian Gulf. For the former autonomous state in southern Arabia, see Qu'aiti.
State of Kuwait
دولة الكويت
Dawlat al-Kuwait
Anthem: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani"
"National Anthem"
Location and extent of Kuwait (red) on the Arabian Peninsula.
Location and extent of Kuwait (red) on the Arabian Peninsula.
and largest city
Kuwait City
29°22′N 47°58′E
Official languages Arabic
Ethnic groups
Demonym Kuwaiti
Government Unitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchyb[2]
 -  Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah
 -  Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah
 -  Prime Minister Jaber al-Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah
 -  Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Ali Mohammed al-Ghanim
Legislature National Assembly
 -  Independence from the Emirate of Al Hasa 1752 
 -  Anglo-Ottoman Convention 1913 
 -  End of treaties with the United Kingdom 19 June 1961 
 -  Total 17,820 km2 (157th)
6,880 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2014 estimate 3,965,022 (140th)
 -  2005 census 2,213,403[3]
 -  Density 200.2/km2 (61st)
518.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $163.671 billion[4] (58th)
 -  Per capita $58,080[4] (5th)
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
 -  Total $173.240 billion[4] (52nd)
 -  Per capita $45,824[4] (8th)
HDI (2013) Increase 0.790[5]
high · 54th
Currency Kuwaiti dinar (KWD)
Time zone AST / KSA (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy (CE)
Drives on the right
Calling code +965
ISO 3166 code KW
Internet TLD .kw
a. Nominal succession within the House of Sabah.
b. Emirate / princedom.

Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait Listeni/kˈwt/ (Arabic: دولة الكويتDawlat al-Kuwayt ), is an Arab country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq to the north and Saudi Arabia to the south. According to CIA, Kuwait has a population of 2.6 million as of 2012.[2]

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Kuwait was a successful center of trade and commerce.[6][7] Kuwait rivaled Basra as an entrepôt for trade between India and the Middle East.[8] In the early 20th century, Kuwait declined in regional economic importance and by 1934, Kuwait had lost its prominence in long-distance trade.[9] Kuwait's economy was devastated by several trade blockades; before these blockades Kuwait was prosperous.[10]

During World War I, the British Empire imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait because Kuwait's ruler supported the Ottoman Empire.[11][12] Following the Kuwait–Najd War of 1919-1920, Saudi Arabia imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait for 14 years from 1923 until 1937.[10][13] After World War I, Kuwait emerged as an independent sheikhdom under the protection of the British Empire. Kuwait's oil fields were discovered in 1937. Kuwait ended its treaties with the United Kingdom in 1961. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be rebuilt.[14]

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy[15] with a parliamentary system of government. Kuwait City is the country's political and economic capital. Kuwait has the most liberal political system in the GCC.[16] Kuwait is classified as a high income economy by the World Bank.[17] The country has the world's fifth largest oil reserves.[18]




Main article: History of Kuwait

Kuwait was historically the site of settlements from the Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC).[19][20] The earliest evidence of sailing has been found in Kuwait, the world's oldest reed boat was found in Subiya in northern Kuwait.[21] The Kuwaiti island of Failaka was first inhabited by Sumerians in 2000 BC.[22] In 224 AD, Kuwait fell under the control of the Sassanid Empire.[23] In 636 AD, the Battle of Chains between the Sassanid Empire and Rashidun Caliphate was fought in Kuwait near the town of Kazma.[24][25] As a result of the Rashidun victory in the seventh century, an early Islamic settlement known as Kazima was founded in Kuwait, Kuwait was known as Kazima for many centuries.[25][26]

Economic prosperity

In 1613, the town of Kuwait was founded in modern-day Kuwait City. In 1716, the Bani Utubs settled in Kuwait. At the time of the arrival of the Utubs, Kuwait was inhabited by a few fishermen and primarily functioned as a fishing village.[27]

In the eighteenth century, Kuwait prospered and rapidly became the principal commercial center for the transit of goods between India, Muscat, Baghdad and Arabia.[28][29] By the mid 1700s, Kuwait had already established itself as the major trading route from the Persian Gulf to Aleppo.[30] During the Persian siege of Basra in 1775—1779, Iraqi merchants took refuge in Kuwait and were partly instrumental in the expansion of Kuwait's boat-building and trading activities.[31] As a result, Kuwait's maritime commerce boomed.[31]

Between the years 1775 and 1779, the Indian trade routes with Baghdad, Aleppo, Smyrna and Constantinople were diverted to Kuwait.[30][32] The East India Company was diverted to Kuwait in 1792.[33] The East India Company secured the sea routes between Kuwait, India and the east coasts of Africa.[33] This allowed Kuwaiti vessels to venture all the way to the pearling banks of Sri Lanka and trade goods with India and East Africa.[33] Kuwait was also the center for all caravans carrying goods between Basra, Baghdad and Aleppo during 1775-1779.[34]

Kuwait's strategic location and regional geopolitical turbulence helped foster economic prosperity in Kuwait in the second half of the 18th century.[35] Kuwait became wealthy due to Basra's instability in the late 18th century.[34] In the late 18th century, Kuwait partly functioned as a haven for Basra's merchants fleeing Ottoman government persecution.[36] Economic prosperity in the late 18th century attracted many immigrants from Iran and Iraq to Kuwait.[30] By 1800, it was estimated that Kuwait's sea trade reached 16 million Bombay rupees, a substantial amount at that time.[30] Kuwait's pre-oil population was ethnically diverse.[37] The population consisted of Arabs, Persians, Africans, Jews and Armenians.

Kuwait was the center of boat building in the Gulf region.[38] Ship vessels made in Kuwait carried the bulk of international trade between the trade ports of India, East Africa, and Red Sea.[39][40][41] Boats made in Kuwait were capable of sailing up to China.[9] Kuwaiti ship vessels were renowned throughout the Indian Ocean for quality and design.[42][9] Kuwaitis also developed a reputation as the best sailors in the Persian Gulf.[43][44][28]

Kuwait was divided into three areas: Sharq, Jibla and Mirqab.[45] Sharq and Jibla were the most populated areas.[45] Jibla was inhabited by immigrants from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain. Sharq was mostly inhabited by Persians (Ajam).[45] Mirgab was lightly populated by butchers.

Kuwait was a central part of the trade in frankincense from Oman, textiles from China, and Indian spices, all destined for lucrative European markets.[6] Kuwait was also significant in the horse trade,[46] horses were regularly shipped by the way of sailing boats from Kuwait.[46] In the mid 19th century, it was estimated that Kuwait was exporting an average of 800 horses to India annually.[35]

In the early 20th century, Kuwait was dubbed the "Marsielles of the Gulf" because its economic vitality attracted a large variety of people.[47] In a good year, Kuwait's annual revenue actually came up to 100,000 riyals,[36] the governor of Basra considered Kuwait's annual revenue an astounding figure.[36] A Western author's account of Kuwait in 1905:[37]

Kuwait was the Marseilles of the Persian Gulf. Its population was good natured, mixed, and vicious. As it was the outlet from the north to the Gulf and hence to the Indies, merchants from Bombay and Tehran, Indians, Persians, Syrians from Aleppo and Damascus, Armenians, Turks and Jews, traders from all the East, and some Europeanscame to Kuwait. From Kuwait, the caravans set out for Central Arabia and for Syria.

H. C. Armstrong, Lord of Arabia[37]

In the first decades of the twentieth century, Kuwait had a well-established elite: wealthy trading families who were linked by marriage and shared economic interests.[48] The elite were long-settled, urban, Sunni families, the majority of which claim descent from the original 30 Bani Utubi families.[48] The wealthiest families were trade merchants who acquired their wealth from long-distance commerce, shipbuilding and pearling.[48] They were a cosmopolitan elite, they traveled extensively to India, Africa and Europe.[48] The elite educated their sons abroad more than other Gulf Arab elite.[48] Western visitors noted that the Kuwaiti elite used European office systems, typewriters and followed European culture with curiosity.[48] The richest families were involved in general trade.[48] The merchant families of Al-Ghanim and Al-Hamad were estimated to be worth millions before the 1940s.[48]

Downfall of economy

In the early 20th century, Kuwait immensely declined in regional economic importance,[9] mainly due to many trade blockades and the world economic depression.[10] Before Mary Bruins Allison visited Kuwait in 1934, Kuwait lost its prominence in long distance trade.[9] During World War I, the British Empire imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait because Kuwait's ruler supported the Ottoman Empire.[11][12] The British economic blockade heavily damaged Kuwait's economy.[12]

The Great Depression negatively impacted Kuwait's economy starting in the late 1920s.[13] International trading was one of Kuwait's main sources of income before oil.[13] Kuwaiti merchants were mostly intermediary merchants.[13] As a result of European decline of demand for goods from India and Africa, the economy of Kuwait suffered. The decline in international trade resulted in an increase in gold smuggling by Kuwaiti ships to India.[13] Some Kuwaiti merchant families became rich due to gold smuggling to India.[49]

Kuwait's pearling industry also collapsed as a result of the worldwide economic depression.[49] At its height, Kuwait's pearling industry led the world's luxury market, regularly sending out between 750 and 800 ship vessels to meet the European elite's need for pearls.[49] During the economic depression, luxuries like pearls were in little demand.[49] The Japanese invention of cultured pearls also contributed to the collapse of Kuwait's pearling industry.[49]

Following the Kuwait–Najd War of 1919-1920, Ibn Saud imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait from the years 1923 until 1937.[10][13] The goal of the Saudi economic and military attacks on Kuwait was to annex as much of Kuwait's territory as possible.[10] At the Uqair conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set.[10] Kuwait had no representative at the Uqair conference.[10] Ibn Saud persuaded Sir Percy Cox to give him two-thirds of Kuwait's territory.[10] More than half of Kuwait was lost due to Uqair.[10] After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi raiding.[10]

In 1937, Freya Stark wrote about the extent of poverty in Kuwait at the time:[13]

Poverty has settled in Kuwait more heavily since my last visit five years ago, both by sea, where the pearl trade continues to decline, and by land, where the blockade established by Saudi Arabia now harms the merchants.

Some prominent merchant families left Kuwait in the early 1930s due to the prevalence of economic hardship. At the time of the discovery of oil in 1937, most of Kuwait's inhabitants were impoverished.

Discovery of oil

In 1937, the 15 year trade blockades against Kuwait were lifted and Kuwait's large oil reserves were discovered by the US-British Kuwait Oil Company. Exploration was delayed until after World War II, the use of oil only began in 1951. Between World War II and 1948, Kuwait's inhabitants were still largely impoverished. A few years following World War II, oil exploration finally began. In 1951, a major public-work programme began to enable Kuwaitis to enjoy a better standard of living. By 1952, the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from India.

Independence and beyond

On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate; the sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, became an emir, and the country joined the Arab League. Iraq laid claim that Kuwait was part of its territory, but formally recognized Kuwait's independence and its borders in October 1963. Under the terms of a newly drafted constitution, Kuwait held its first parliamentary elections in 1963. The exploitation of large oil fields improved Kuwait's economy. Kuwait settled its boundary disputes with Saudi Arabia and agreed on sharing equally the Saudi–Kuwaiti neutral zone's petroleum reserves. During the 1970s, the Kuwaiti government nationalized the Kuwait Oil Company, ending its partnership with British Petroleum.

In the early 1980s, Kuwait experienced a major economic crisis after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and decrease in oil price.[50] This prompted the Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to recall the National Assembly in 1981. However, the crisis was short-lived as Kuwait's oil production increased steadily to fill the gap caused by decrease in Iraq's and Iran's oil production due to the Iran–Iraq War. The National Assembly was dissolved again in 1986.

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Kuwait supported Iraq. In 1983, the Shiite Dawa Party carried out a series of bombings, in opposition to Kuwait's support of Iraq.[51] After the war ended, Kuwait declined an Iraqi request to forgive its US$65 billion debt.[52] An economic rivalry between the two countries ensued after Kuwait increased its oil production by 40 percent.[53] Tensions between the two countries increased further in July 1990, after Iraq complained to OPEC that Kuwait was stealing its oil from a field near the border by slant drilling of the Rumaila field.[53]

Oil fires in Kuwait in 1990, which were a result of the scorched earth policy of Iraqi military forces retreating from Kuwait.

On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and annexed Kuwait. After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations, the United States led a coalition to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, in what became known as the Gulf War. On 26 February 1991, the coalition succeeded in driving out the Iraqi forces. As they retreated, Iraqi forces carried out a scorched earth policy by setting oil wells on fire.[54] During the Iraqi occupation, more than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were killed.[55] In addition, more than 600 Kuwaitis went missing during Iraq's occupation,[56] approximately 375 remains were found in mass graves in Iraq.

The Kuwaiti government and Emir returned in March 1991 and imposed a three-month period of martial law.[57] Kuwait paid the coalition forces US$17 billion for their war efforts.[57] Under domestic and international pressure, the parliamentary elections in 1992 proceeded. In 1993 the UN demarcated the new Kuwait-Iraq border, and Iraq officially recognised Kuwait's independence and the UN-demarcated borders in 1994.

The National Assembly was once again dissolved in 1999; secularists and liberals predominated in the resulting 1999 parliamentary elections.[58] In March 2003 Kuwait became the springboard for the US-led invasion of Iraq. Islamist and pro-government candidates fared well in the parliamentary elections of 2003. In May 2005, parliament approved a law allowing women to vote and run for parliament for the first time. In June the first woman cabinet minister, Massouma al-Mubarak, was appointed.

Upon the death of the Emir Jaber, in January 2006, Saad Al-Sabah succeeded him but was removed nine days later by the Kuwaiti parliament due to his ailing health. Sabah Al-Sabah was sworn in as Emir. Sheikh Nawaf Al-Sabah was named as crown prince and his nephew Nasser Al-Sabah was named as prime minister.

Parliamentary elections were held in 2006. The opposition – a loose alliance of reformists, liberals and Islamists – won nearly two-thirds of the seats despite government attempts to curb media freedoms.[59] The 2008 parliament was dissolved by the Emir due to constant clashes between the government and the elected MPs.[60] The parliament was dissolved again in 2009 due to corruption allegations. Four women MPs – Kuwait's first – won seats in the parliamentary elections of 2009.[61] In 2011–2012 there were protests inspired by the Arab Spring. The parliament was dissolved in December 2011 due to protests against the parliament. The prime minister stepped down following protests and allegations of high-level corruption.[62] In parliamentary elections in February 2012, the opposition, a loose coalition of secular liberals, Islamists and nationalists, won a majority. In October 2012, the Emir dissolved the parliament, paving the way for snap elections. The elections of December 2012 were boycotted by the opposition. The elections of July 2013 resulted in a liberal victory.


Main article: Geography of Kuwait
Satellite image of Kuwait

Located in the north-eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. It lies between latitudes 28° and 31° N, and longitudes 46° and 49° E. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. The country is generally low lying, with the highest point being 306 m (1,004 ft) above sea-level.[2] It has nine islands, all of which, with the exception of Failaka Island, are uninhabited.[63] With an area of 860 km2 (330 sq mi), the Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a 2,380 m (7,808 ft) long bridge.[64] The land area is considered arable[2] and sparse vegetation is found along its 499 km long coastline.[2] Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor.

Kuwait has some of the world's richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels (1.1×1010 m3) of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km2 (13.8 sq mi).[65] The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces.[66] The oil spills during the Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.[67]