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…is an Arabic word, meaning an island or peninsula. Anything resembling an island; as, an island of ice. Can also be used metaphorically as in, to become or to resemble an island.

Used beautifully in the following sher, sung by the great ghazal maestro is his classic “Dil Mein Ek Leher Si uthi Hai Abhi…”

Yaad ke be-nishaa.N jazeeron se
Terii aavaaz aa rahii hai abhii
From the unnamed, ruined islands of my memories
Your voice beckons me even now

dil me.n ik lahar sii uThii hai abhii
ko_ii taazaa havaa chalii hai abhii
A wave of excitement and emotion has risen within my heart
As if fresh breeze has just blown my way


The word ‘jazeera’ was also commonly used in the Hindi version of the story of Gullivers Travels, which featured many islands and peninsulas in the travel adventures of  Lemuel Gulliver,  and aired on Doordarshan in India, many years ago. That was probably the first time it entered the vocabulary for many of us and added to the magical setting for the tale.


Al Jazeera, “The Island” – abbreviating “The [Arabian] Peninsula” and literally meaning “Shadow of island” or ” like/similar to island” – is also an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar. The original Al Jazeera channel’s willingness to broadcast dissenting views created controversies in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when it was the only channel to cover the war in Afghanistan live from its office there.